Film vs TV script



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  • Film vs TV script

    I'm ready to start a new project after having written two film spec scripts that my agent is sending out. I have a call scheduled with her next week to discuss next project, but I wanted to get your thoughts.

    I've not yet done a tv pilot script or treatment and am curious about experimenting with that. At the same time, I feel comfortable with feature scripts. I've got solid ideas for either direction. What's easier to sell these days? What direction to go?

    I can kill time on the experiment of TV writing if there is something to learn there, but if it'll likely not be more beneficial to diversify, then I feel like sticking with film specs is easier. It takes me about a 4-6 weeks full time writing to get a decent draft for a 100 page film script (aka ready to be read by agent). In addition to just sheer writing difference, I'm wondering if there is a better TV selling season vs film selling season.

  • #2
    Re: Film vs TV script

    First, congrats for having an agent to begin with. Second, it depends on which way YOU want to go. Currently, according to the WGA, salaries for feature writers are dipping while TV writers' salaries are rising. If you want to write a TV pilot, tell your agent who can arrange a meeting with a TV lit agent at the agency that reps you, in case the agent you have doesn't handle TV projects.
    "A screenwriter is much like being a fire hydrant with a bunch of dogs lined up around it.- -Frank Miller

    "A real writer doesn't just want to write; a real writer has to write." -Alan Moore


    • #3
      Re: Film vs TV script

      A great pilot script is a plus for your portfolio even if it doesn't sell.
      If you really like it you can have the rights
      It could make a million for you overnight


      • #4
        Re: Film vs TV script

        Film vs. TV Pilot -- Two vastly different animals that can be researched here....

        Hour Long Pilot:


        Cheap and easy Kindle downloads will help you decide.

        Oh...and this throw from Dr. V.
        Last edited by YakMan; 07-05-2013, 06:57 AM. Reason: Dr. V. had a nice link...


        • #5
          Re: Film vs TV script

          As somebody who was invited to submit for a writing staff job, I think writing for ESTABLISHED television isn't just an education, it's a freaking trial by fire. Film scripts and other originals allow you to conjure characters and plots from whole cloth, but writing for established canon... it's scary as hell, and requires strike drone precision and maybe a bit of hubris in considering your work worthy of the attention of the people who created and continue to perpetuate it.

          It's also rewarding when you pass it off to your reader, wait for the abuse, and hear them say "I can see this. This is an actual episode of that show." It's more rewarding than when people appreciate your feature, to my way of thinking.

          Of course, if you're writing your own pilot, I'm not sure how far that'll get you in learning dollars except as far as bringing your page count in on a precise number. I've scripted a web original and it feels a lot like a condensed feature to me.


          • #6
            Re: Film vs TV script

            Thanks, all. Madbandit, my agent does handle tv also, so I'm hoping she will just have a strong opinion one way or another. I'm not in LA, so any meetings will have to be scheduled for a trip out, which I plan to do (with the agent's encouragement) but I wanted to have some more samples under my belt first.

            Good advice as re compression exercise, Vance. I'm usually pretty good about page count. My feature scripts come in at 95-110 pages and I edit the hell out of them. But a tv pilot would require an entirely different kind of compression so I do think I'd benefit.

            I'm looking to do an original sitcom pilot or, as a film, a romantic comedy, so maybe I will work though the film script and then build a series from it. At least I'd have a world scaffold to hang a season on.

            I'm going to order your book suggestion, Yakman, and see what I have ahead. Meanwhile, I'm a bit confused about what is really required at this point: a pilot script (check), character list?, synopsis of season one?, 5-6 episode summary? Lots of differing advice out on the interwebs.

            You all have been great. Thanks again!