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Old 12-16-2016, 05:14 PM   #21
finalact4's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,848
Default Re: Thoughts on reading spec pilots

I opened a pilot I wrote this year as a flashback three hundred years ago (but still in our future) and shot in black and white with very select imagery in the color red-- for example, a little girl's RED ribbon in her hair and a specific shot of RED BLOOD-TEARS.

It was a franchise design decision. Each episode's teaser is set in The Year of the Plague (2149) which explains how humanity was decimated to near extinction. Each teaser explores the mistakes of the past and establishes the theme of the episode in the future. And buried in the past narrative is a huge secret that we build to that has an impact which is revealed later in the series.

The idea is to unfold two timelines at once. "The Year of the Plague" which causes the downfall and decimation of humanity, and the first season which is "The Year of the Healer," (2463) where the first rebellion in the New Republic's history finally begins at the end of the first season.

The black and white vs color esthetic is a way to distinguish the two worlds (timelines of the story).

After the teaser, we jump forward three hundred years to "current time" where the episode plays out and we see how the past has informed the future. It explores themes and struggles of whether man is destined to destroy itself and his world or will he learn from the past and save humanity.

So, for my pilot, the flashback is an important tool as it is built into the franchise and narrative itself.

I'll have to rewrite it, I know that, because the Black List review had this to say:

One Weakness (which is the biggest one):
Whilst we are certainly in a golden age of television, the budget required to pull of even a third of this pilot would be nothing short of the most monumental undertaking in network history (and from a business stand point - very unlikely as it’s original I.P).


TV series potential:
In its current incarnation, prospects for a sale are unlikely. It’s not that the idea isn’t strong enough, it’s simply to do with the sheer size and cost. It goes from a fun idea to commercial suicide, and most producers will likely view this as a solid and creative writing sample as opposed to something they’d ever actually undertake. The writing is strong, and some of the concepts in here are HUGELY imaginative and marketable (eg. what kid wouldn’t want a moodipet plush?). There hasn’t been a rugged, Indiana-Jones like adventure hero such as Novak on tv screens for a long time, and this is another huge asset to the work, but further development will be essential before sending out. The scale is just unmanageable as it is, even for tv.

Ambitious? Yes. A little embarrassing, well, yeah. Needless to say I've some work to do on it. I know that. It's clear that they've figured out that I'm a big budget feature writer... I'm planning on writing a book proposal in the future. Hell, why not.

Thanks, Jeff Lowell, for starting this thread and opening a very interesting discussion that provides a lot of good insight, as writers, we need to be considering when we make the choices we make for our TV projects.

These are the kind of discussions I look forward to.
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” Pablo Picasso
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Old 12-19-2016, 05:35 PM   #22
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,159
Default Re: Thoughts on reading spec pilots

Originally Posted by Levenger View Post
Thank god my pilot starts with a woman turning off her alarm clock and going for a run...all before hubby even wakes up!
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