Click here for Done Deal Pro home page
Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > Business > Business Questions and Advice
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-04-2020, 10:07 PM   #1
gardnuk
New User
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Default Mini series packaging question

Although it might seem as a format question this ultimately falls in the domain of packaging. I have a three hour (160 pages) mini series in the making, a film noir drama in “three acts”. Would the work be best presented as a single-bound 160 page manuscript or as three separate (and more easily maneuverable) scripts?
gardnuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 12:37 AM   #2
Bono
Member
 
Bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,361
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

First, I don't have direct experience with this.

But if you have 160 pages and thinking TV mini series -- I'd totally break it up into 53 page scripts -- and query with the pilot and state that it's part of a mini-series.

Do they make mini-series that short though? I grew up with the 6 hour mini-series....

Very interesting though. I wonder how you got here and not just wrote a feature film or tv pilot... hmm....

I just think querying a TV Pilot is easier than querying a mini-series as 160 pages sounds like a big turn off from unknown writer.
Bono is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 01:33 AM   #3
gardnuk
New User
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

I can’t quote any series that short at the top of my head but I’ve seen productions that basically consisted of three one hour installments. Hence the term “mini-series”, although I may well be abusing it.

This started as a feature film but is one of these pariah projects that just can’t be cut down. And 160 pages is too long. This is film noir, not Spartacus.

OK:

Catherine the Great. HBO 4 part miniseries.

Fleshing and beefing up what I have is not a problem. It’s what gave me the idea to turn it from a film to miniseries.

Last edited by gardnuk : 06-05-2020 at 01:49 AM.
gardnuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 08:08 AM   #4
Done Deal Pro
Administrator
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,686
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

They do make some shorter/three-part series. Over the years, we've listed a little over 30 "three-part series" on the main site. Not that more haven't ever been done or set up, but they do exist, of course.

Frequently people use the words limited series or miniseries a bit interchangeably and maybe one can argue either way for the distinction on certain projects. Miniseries, I always feel are a more on the side of three to six installments. Not to overly date myself but SHOGUN, THE BLUE & THE GREY, ROOTS and THE THORN BIRDS frequently come to mind. They usually are more epic in scope & feel.

Limited series is usually applied more to series which range in length maybe up to ten episodes and are stories which fall in between the grander tales of miniseries and a "regular" TV series which is generally planned to be recurring for any number of seasons. People play a little loose with how they define their projects and of course, they are no real hard & fast rules since one can start splitting hairs about it.

In this case, I might suggest you consider going with "limited series" to describe this, since I'm pretty sure most don't think of "film noir" as having a grand scope to it -- no offense to your script or the genre. But might "scare" people off less, so to speak.

As far as packing goes, that can be a large topic. One could surely discuss for hours. Not knowing exactly what you have in mind in terms of putting a show together or what you know about packing in general, I would offer up that it's generally agencies that package shows by pulling in their own clients (showrunners, directors, actors, etc.) to have something to offer to a network or streamer. Yes, a producer/production company can also put together a package to present as well. Thus either way could work for you. A production company might be the best, if you are not repped and/or established. There are almost always exceptions, but generally a writer is not doing all this. I can't say never, but I don't recall this really ever hearing of it. (Maybe someone else can offer up some examples, if they have.)

What is your definition and vision of doing this yourself, if that's what you are thinking of trying to do? Are you trying to put all these pieces together yourself? Play producer?
__________________
Will
Done Deal Pro
www.donedealpro.com
Done Deal Pro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 09:50 AM   #5
gardnuk
New User
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

Thanks for your input! I think limited series is good. This was in effect exactly what HBO’s Catherine the Great was. It needed to tell a story in more time that could be done in a film. The same thing has happened here with my script. There are enough plot lines going to merit three episodes. I have two other limited series like this in the works but the difference is that they were conceived as such; this present project just ran out of control length wise and I cannot fathom why. I normally have a good eye for running time/content.

I have no great desire to package this; I’m not wired as a salesman. I just want it opted and sold. And, naturally, for whoever hopefully wants it, to stay true to the story line. I may have abused/misused this term "packaging".

My main most pressing deal is very material, like I put in the OP, how to bind it together, either one long script in “three acts” or as three separate manuscripts.
gardnuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
Bono
Member
 
Bono's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,361
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

Maybe look to what people did before. I'm thinking TV and thinking I would do it by episodes.

https://nofilmschool.com/Download-th...byl-Script-PDF

I haven't watched yet, but clicked on first script out of 5 and it's 55 pages long.
Bono is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2020, 10:23 AM   #7
Done Deal Pro
Administrator
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,686
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardnuk View Post
My main most pressing deal is very material, like I put in the OP, how to bind it together, either one long script in “three acts” or as three separate manuscripts.
I've never worked on a limited series or miniseries, so this will be much more a mix of "instinct" with some work experiences. I'd go with what Bono was suggesting. Break it up into installments -- three, four or five episodes - as need be. I would strongly suggest you treat each like not only a piece of the bigger "picture" but also individual installments that entice once to keep coming back -- especially with all the episodes leading up to the final installment, of course. I wouldn't just take what you have and pick 60 pages at a time and say, I'm all good to go. Not that you haven't done this with your writing & story but do make sure there is again a structure for each episode and an overall structure to the episodes in relation to the whole. Make it look like other limited series. Don't have them try to figure it out. You don't want them thinking too much on your story's behalf.

And make sure that first installment/episode really "sings" and makes anyone want to read more and find out what happens next -- have a little "cliff hanger" or powerful moment to carry over into the next episode; a hook, if you will.

You might even want to take a look at CHERNOBYL, for example, to see what Craig did with each episode. Might not perfectly match with your story but could potentially give you some direction:

https://johnaugust.com/library

Hope this can help some.
__________________
Will
Done Deal Pro
www.donedealpro.com

Last edited by Done Deal Pro : 06-05-2020 at 01:03 PM.
Done Deal Pro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2020, 02:02 AM   #8
gardnuk
New User
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 6
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

Once again, thanks to you both for this helpful input.

Actually, when I mentioned a script in “three acts” I really meant three episodes; I thought (still think) describing the work as a film noir drama in “three acts” sounded, well, eclectic, chique.

In any case following your advice I would write a treatment, approach a producer, agent, etc. and have the three installments ready, probably handing over one for review if requested.

I have to be honest, while I have lots of experience dealing with East Cast agents and book publishing, I have avoided film agents and the West Coast as if they were the plague. Irony is, I have over the course of the last ten years hammered out something like six screenplays (with two other mini-series still on the anvil) and am finally getting up the gumption to move them. It has been the problematic nature of this last project which ironically brought things to a head and lit a fire under my ass. Although not within the parameters of this particular forum, the length of the work has forced me to review the options (and advantages) of addressing TV as a venue for the manuscript. We view TV here (I’m in Europe) through a digital cable company, it offers a package with all kinds of independently produced TV dramas. HBO and Showtime are naturally the biggest players. This is the Golden Age of Independent TV. Why not use it?
gardnuk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-06-2020, 11:19 AM   #9
JS90
User
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 103
Default Re: Mini series packaging question

Quote:
Originally Posted by gardnuk View Post
Once again, thanks to you both for this helpful input.

Actually, when I mentioned a script in “three acts” I really meant three episodes; I thought (still think) describing the work as a film noir drama in “three acts” sounded, well, eclectic, chique.

In any case following your advice I would write a treatment, approach a producer, agent, etc. and have the three installments ready, probably handing over one for review if requested.

I have to be honest, while I have lots of experience dealing with East Cast agents and book publishing, I have avoided film agents and the West Coast as if they were the plague. Irony is, I have over the course of the last ten years hammered out something like six screenplays (with two other mini-series still on the anvil) and am finally getting up the gumption to move them. It has been the problematic nature of this last project which ironically brought things to a head and lit a fire under my ass. Although not within the parameters of this particular forum, the length of the work has forced me to review the options (and advantages) of addressing TV as a venue for the manuscript. We view TV here (I’m in Europe) through a digital cable company, it offers a package with all kinds of independently produced TV dramas. HBO and Showtime are naturally the biggest players. This is the Golden Age of Independent TV. Why not use it?
As someone who has worked in writer's rooms and just recently started a role in development, my advice is to ditch the "film noir in three acts" pitch. The film noir element is fine. If anything I'd spend more time elaborating on that. But ALL seasons of serialized TV, be they limited series or otherwise, are essentially three acts. I get that this is literally a three part series but if this pitch came across my desk for me to vet for my boss I'd definitely have a "what?" reaction to that part.
JS90 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker