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Old 10-04-2019, 08:38 AM   #1
opie
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Default Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

What is the current preference among managers and buyers for 30 min pilots -- do they want to see origin pilots, or episode 2 or 3?
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

I don't know industry wants. Here's just my opinion.

I think 95% of shows deserve a real pilot and set up the world. Then there are the shows like Always Sunny in PA where the pilot episode could have been always any episode of the series basically. It's just another day in the life of the characters. The Office feels same way. They have to set up some things....

So what kind of idea are you writing?
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

I always have the same opinion on this: JUST WRITE YOUR SHOW. DON'T SPEC.

Reason being: I had zero clue about TV writing. Wrote my first ever pilot. Reps told me DO NOT WRITE THIS. Sold it. Almost got it made.

I'm not speccing sh!t unless I'm close to staffing. Even then, WHY SPEC? It's not like I'd actually get to write anything year one. So, what the fukk you want me to spec for?

I know some showrunners are like "I need to know if you can write in my voice..." Dude, I can. OR... you can just change my dialogue. Which you 100% will (a lot of it). So what does it mater? Isn't it more important that I have good fixes, story beats, and GET the series concept?

Idk... If I'ma showrunner that's my first question "Here's a problem: character X and character Y have a fukk of a time with ______." Gimme 3 solutions. I don't care if they're shitty, I just want to know that one MIGHT work in a way I didn't think of.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opie View Post
What is the current preference among managers and buyers for 30 min pilots -- do they want to see origin pilots, or episode 2 or 3?
Wait... I think I totally misunderstood your question.

ANSWER: They want to see your pilot and your bible.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Thanks for responses. The question stems from a 2017 article in Vulture (Pilot Script Checklist) that includes: "Try not to start on day one of anything. You’ll hear the note over and over 'Start with episode 2, midstream.'”

So I'm trying to determine from people that know the current state of affairs in the business if this is accurate today.
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Old 10-04-2019, 04:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opie View Post
Thanks for responses. The question stems from a 2017 article in Vulture (Pilot Script Checklist) that includes: "Try not to start on day one of anything. You’ll hear the note over and over 'Start with episode 2, midstream.'”

So I'm trying to determine from people that know the current state of affairs in the business if this is accurate today.
I think they're saying it in the "go into the scene late, get out early" sense. That, or they're just stupid. I can't imagine anyone recommending you skip the pilot episode whereby we miss the entire reason this show should exist (inciting incident etc).

I've never seen a show begin on episode 2.

Your pilot should be the THING that sets up the entire central question/theme/premise of the series.

...pause...


JUST READ THE ARTICLE

...play...

I just pulled the full quote "- Is this particular episode the right time/place to start this series? Try not to start on day one of anything. You’ll hear the note over and over “Start with episode 2, midstream.”

Yeah, they just mean don't start the show way before the THING happens. Btw - that's a stupid fukking note that I've never heard, cuz it's a fukkin stupid way to phrase it.

Examples:

SOPRANOS: This is THE DAY he has the nervous break down of sorts. This is THE DAY he goes to see a therapist. (Feel me? Easiest way to think of this is "THIS IS WHEN THE WORLD THEY'VE KNOWN ***BREAKS*** AND IS NEVER THE SAME")

BREAKING BAD: This is THE DAY he breaks bad (we don't wanna see a whole episode of him teaching school. Boring. Get us to the point of the series in the pilot).

In one of my pilots it's THE DAY an A-list chef loses his sense of taste. Both my guy and Tony had something in their world 'break', and BREAKING BAD has that concept in the title.

The simple of it is: Don't write a pilot that doesn't include THE THING. Otherwise ignore the Vulture comment, it's too confusing/specific/insidery to be helpful to newer writers. Not a fan of how she phrased it AT ALL.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

This is an article/checklist about sitcom pilots, not one hour serial dramas. In a sitcom pilot it is often recommended to write an episode that more accurately reflects a typical episode look and feel (e.g. Parks and Rec) rather than an origin episode that would not be a typical representation of the regular conflict within the show. Just looking for feedback from those with experience/success in the 30 min sitcom pilot space. Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by opie View Post
This is an article/checklist about sitcom pilots, not one hour serial dramas. In a sitcom pilot it is often recommended to write an episode that more accurately reflects a typical episode look and feel (e.g. Parks and Rec) rather than an origin episode that would not be a typical representation of the regular conflict within the show. Just looking for feedback from those with experience/success in the 30 min sitcom pilot space. Thanks.
Ahh... so you're talking about 'speccing' a sitcom? Or?

Yeah, I know nothing about sitcoms nor how they work.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Ken Levine has written about this several times in his blog.

http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2016/0...se-pilots.html
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Old 10-05-2019, 02:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Sitcom Pilot: Origin or Episode 2.5?

Thanks for posting. That's interesting. Many different views on this. Former comedy agent Priyanka Mattoo at UTA and WME says, in regards to pitching pilots:

"You might notice that we haven’t discussed pilot story. That’s because buyers want to hear a bunch of ideas and decide which one will be the pilot. Generally they avoid premise pilots like the plague – rarely are scripts commissioned which is the first day everyone meets each other – they’d rather you write episode two or three, so that we are just popping into the world midstream."

Last edited by opie : 10-05-2019 at 02:45 PM.
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