Click here for Done Deal Pro home page

Done Deal Pro Home Page

Loading

Go Back   Done Deal Pro Forums > About the Craft > Screenwriting
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-05-2008, 09:32 PM   #1
elephant1978
Member
 
elephant1978's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,460
Default Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

This is in regards to an hour-long pilot and I realize it should be in the TV forum. But I put it here because I think the issue of dealing with notes from either your reps or producers is a delicate situation and this could help a wider group of members.

I wrote a pilot that got a tremendous response from my manager and my agent. This is a comedy-drama version of a Nip/Tuck type show. It's basically a final draft except for one seemingly small issue. I open with a scene of a supporting character that ends with a nice segue into the introduction of the main character. They suggest I move this back a little and start right on the main character. They seem to believe that you shouldn't start something on anybody but the main character.

I disagree with this note. I wrote this thing with no chains on me and came up with something quirky and unique. I think it's a rather inspired introduction to the main character and that their suggestion is run-of-the-mill, ordinary, obvious stuff. My manager is a little more serious about this than my agent. My agent has a nice belief that if you love it, it should stay. But it's really a no-win situation for me. If I fight to keep what I want, I upset them. If I keep them happy, I have to change something I really like. I've cooperated with all of their other notes, even a few I didn't love. I trust in their guidance. But I have to wonder where I draw the line and stand up for my creative instincts. I realize I've never had a sale, but I can't believe that their instincts are always more correct than my own.

So my question for everybody is a two-parter: 1) What would you do about moving that scene? Is it indeed acceptable to start on a supporting character? 2) How would you handle this situation with your reps?

Ele...
elephant1978 is offline  
Old 01-05-2008, 10:00 PM   #2
dexter
User
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 196
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Sadly I can't advise you on dealing with reps, but I like your instincts. IMHO the more you deviate from a clichéd intro, the better. Almost like they're asking you to write on-the-nose dialogue. Having said that, have you asked trusted friends/readers for their opinions? Perhaps the intro is roundabout or misleading in some way other than the fact that it doesn't alight on the protag? Which, again, can be quirky and fun but if the concern is that it doesn't draw the viewer in...
dexter is offline  
Old 01-05-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
wcmartell
Member
 
wcmartell's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: studio city
Posts: 5,940
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

I'm probably not going to be much help, but I'll be supportive...

I think if this were a *quality* issue, you should address the note. But it sounds like a *preference* issue. No one is saying it's a terrible scene, right? Just that you should start with the star.

A preference thing should be decided by the people with the money. Before that, the script should be *your* script. The best script that it can be, but if there are two "equal" ways to do something, it needs to be your way until the guy with the money pays you to do it his way.

Two suggestions:

1) Find some successful show that opened with a supporting character. There are a zillion non-comedy shows that do this (law and crime shows always open with the crime) but I just don't watch enough comedy shows to come up with an easy example. I don't even think it has to be the pilot - if it's just a regular episode, I think that shows that it can be done. "Hey, EARL often opens with a supporting character, and it's a massive hit!"

2) Tell your peeps that the network is going to want to make some changes anyway, right? So you want to leave this as is, so that they don't make some other change that may damage the story. It's your sacrificial lamb.

But I think if you really think it works best as is, you should keep it.

- Bill
__________________
Free Script Tips:
http://www.scriptsecrets.net
wcmartell is offline  
Old 01-05-2008, 11:34 PM   #4
ylekot43
Member
 
ylekot43's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 1,181
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

You use the term "nice Segue". I've had situations where someone wanted to move one of my scenes and I resisted at first... but then realized I wasn't in love with the scene where it was... I was in love with the segue.

I think it might help to ask yourself that same question.

Good Luck
__________________
"Take the thing you love, and make it your life"--Californication. jayarnoldlaw@gmail.com
ylekot43 is offline  
Old 01-05-2008, 11:51 PM   #5
joe9alt
Member
 
joe9alt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 1,835
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Stick to your guns but clearly and passionately explain why you're sticking to them...they'll dig you even more even if they won't admit it.
joe9alt is offline  
Old 01-05-2008, 11:51 PM   #6
elephant1978
Member
 
elephant1978's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,460
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ylekot43 View Post
You use the term "nice Segue". I've had situations where someone wanted to move one of my scenes and I resisted at first... but then realized I wasn't in love with the scene where it was... I was in love with the segue.

I think it might help to ask yourself that same question.

Good Luck
I'm in love with the scene. I mentioned the "segue" is to point out that it isn't a meaningless scene in terms of the main character's arch or the story as a whole. There's a payoff to the scene that relates to the bigger picture. To tell you the truth, there's foreshadowing for something I would want to reveal seasons later hidden in that scene. As you can see, I'm pretty proud of it.

I also happen to think that logistically it wouldn't work moving this scene later. I'm surprised this isn't completely obvious to my reps.

And to answer Bill Martell, yes, it does sound like a preference issue for them. They simply seem to believe that a story should be started on the main character.

Ele...
elephant1978 is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 12:33 AM   #7
velysai
Member
 
velysai's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Delaware -- not in Canada, not just a river, & aka the big a$$ traffic jam between MD & NJ.
Posts: 1,046
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Do they refer to the main character in the opening scene in any way? How important is this supporting character? Does your main character get an even better introduction than this supporting character (which is main thing) even if it's not first?
__________________

"We're all immigrants now, man."
- Zia (Patrick Fugit), "Wristcutters: A Love Story"
velysai is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 12:59 AM   #8
elephant1978
Member
 
elephant1978's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,460
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by velysai View Post
Do they refer to the main character in the opening scene in any way? How important is this supporting character? Does your main character get an even better introduction than this supporting character (which is main thing) even if it's not first?
Basically, the opening scene is of a supporting character who will re-enter the main character's life and cause a lot of problems. They are friends who haven't spoken in years. What we see is his reason for seeking the main character out.

After this, we meet the main character and he has a good few pages where we learn about him, his success, his life...it's a nice sequence that is intercut with flashes to these aspects of his life. And through this "montage," if you will, we meet the rest of the supporting cast.

Ele...
elephant1978 is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:09 AM   #9
Mac H.
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,852
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Is it possible to tweak the scene so it is ABOUT the main character but not actually have the character in it until the end?

And doesn't the 1st episode of 'House' start with a scene of the patient ... leading into a nice seque of how we learn all about House ?

Mac
Mac H. is offline  
Old 01-06-2008, 01:25 AM   #10
elephant1978
Member
 
elephant1978's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 2,460
Default Re: Disagreement with reps on a note -- need your opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac H. View Post
Is it possible to tweak the scene so it is ABOUT the main character but not actually have the character in it until the end?

And doesn't the 1st episode of 'House' start with a scene of the patient ... leading into a nice seque of how we learn all about House ?

Mac
I think I mention the main character as much as I can in that scene. He's essentially the solution to the supporting character's problem. It's like watching Ghostbusters. Slimer messes up the library or whatever...who you gonna call?...intro our future ghostbusters. I think it makes sense. I'm confident that I introduce this main character in a creative and effective way.

If this is true about House, please let me know. I could use some examples. Especially if it's the pilot.

Ele...
elephant1978 is offline  
Closed Thread


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 10:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Done Deal Pro

eXTReMe Tracker