When Watching TV Is Work – February 25th, 2016

Are you writing a spec of the hottest television show for fellowship season? Then you’ve probably run into one big obstacle: it’s hard to find scripts for your show.


Yes, it’s easy enough to find the pilot. Yes, you probably have access to scripts if you’re an assistant. Yes, if you live in Los Angeles then you must check out the Writers Guild Library.

But if none of these are available to you, what is the answer? Watch a TON of TV…

…at least half a season of the show you want to spec.

…oh, and you have to take notes while you’re watching because you need to gather data. That data will be processed via two different: “per episode” and “per season”. Today, let’s discuss “per episode” data.

What questions do you want your data to answer?

-How many acts are there, including teasers and tags? Note: you can usually count the commercial breaks but you should verify this against the pilot script.

-How many scenes are there in each act?

-What are the different stories (A Story, B Story, etc.)?

-What is the average length of a scene?

-How many scenes involve the main character?

-How many scenes involve the reoccurring supporting cast?

-Who is the principal characters of each story line?

-What are the main locations used in each episode?

Knowing this will help you nail the shape of your script.


Next time we’ll look at season long considerations.

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