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The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts characters ✓ 106 ↠ ❴BOOKS❵ ⚣ The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts Author Ellen Sandler – Berkingmad.co.uk The Spec ScriptNo one I hope watches television all the time bNot likely to be canceled the day before you finish your spec script People who will be reading your spec will be familiar with the show and the characters A hit is a hit because it works A show that works will be easier to write and will make a much better sample One of the reasons you write a spec is to benefit and learn from aexperienced writer who created a successful show Hits are copied There will be new shows like it on the air and those are shows that will be looking for staff If you ve written a spec of the show they ve cloned it will be an excellent sample to demonstrate how appropriate you would be for their showWhat defines a hit It used to be that only shows in the top were hits but that s changed In these days ofviewer choices and lower network ratings it isn t always obvious what constitutes a hit but numbers are still the first guide Check the weekly rankings To be considered a hit a commercial network show should be in the top to on the listYou aren t limited to prime time network programming to find on air hit shows to write Another reliable gauge for spec script status is awards If a show has been nominated for Emmys Golden Globes or any of the various Guild awards it s a mark that the industry is aware of the show and respects itShows like Monk USA Network Veronica Mars CW Weeds Showtime The Shield fX The Closer TNT and The Office NBC may not pull big ratings but they have won multiple nominations for their stars and writers which raises their profile and makes them viable choices for your spec You have a connection You went to acting school with someone in the cast your roommate s buddy is an assistant editor on the show or your cousin knows a production assistant s life partner If you have a genuine connection no matter how minor it could be a big help For one thing it will be easier to get scripts of the show to study and you ll find out why that s crucial in the next chapter If it s a multi camera show they shoot in front of a live audience and your connection can get you seats for a taping and maybe even an introduction after the shoot If it s a single camera show you may be able to get an invite to the set to observeThe most important advantage is the possibility of getting your spec read by a writer on the show and a chance for some professional feedback and who knows maybe even a recommendation to that writer s agent or the showrunner But don t expect that just ask for feedbackMany people will advise you not to write a spec of a show you want to write for because you won t write it as well as the writers do and they ll pick it apart There s some truth to this however I think that if you know someone in any capacity at a show the chance to get expert feedback is too good an opportunity to pass up You might not get hired there but you re likely to have a much improved spec script to show to everybody else Again write a show you like This is so important it bears repeating Even if a show meets all of the above criteria perfectly if you don t like the show and you don t enjoy watching it you won t write a great spec script So find a show you like and that also meets most if not all of the above guidelines and that s the show you should specWhat if the show you love doesn t fit any of the other reuirements My grandma always told me It s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor one It applies here Wouldn t it be just as easy to love a show that meets the other reuirements too Or maybe not My best friend fell in love with a guy who had no money when she married him and now he s a multimillionaire they have three houses and she s got pearls the size of golf balls So sometimes if you ignore the good advice and just follow your heart it works out okay But then that s real life which is a lot less predictable than televisionWhy is TV writing different from any other kind of writing How will writing a spec script open doors What do I have to do to get a job writing for TV Writing for television is a business And like any business there are proven strategies for success In this uniue hands on guide television writer and producer Ellen Sandler shares the trade secrets she learned while writing for hit shows likeEverybody Loves Raymond andCoach She offers concrete advice on everything from finding a story to getting hired on a current seriesFilled with easy to implement exercises and practical wisdom this ingenious how to handbook outlines the steps for becoming a professional TV writer starting with a winning script Sandler explains the difference between selling and telling form and formula theme and plot Discover A techniue for breaking down a show style so youre as close to being in the writing room as you can get without actually having a job there The elements for that essential Concept Line that you must havein order to create a story with passion and conseuence Mining the Deadly Sins for fresh and original story lines Sample scripts from hit shows In depth graphs script breakdown charts vital checkpointsalong the way and much much..
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Was also a great artist and that he in fact would rather make a great artistic picture than eat a good meal Shaw finally got up thanked Goldwyn for the meeting but respectfully declined to sell him the rights Goldwyn was stunned Why not Shaw replied The trouble sir is that you are interested only in art while I am interested only in money Form Versus FormulaWhat writing for money means is that when you sit down to write you have to follow the rules By rules I don t mean formula formula is what makes a writer a hack and leads to predictable dull scripts that nobody wants to read past page However there is form uite a different thing Television scripts have a specific form and you must follow itIt doesn t matter if you think you know how to do it better or funnier than what s on the air That s not your job when you re writing a spec script Your job is to do it exactly the way it s done and still be original If you follow the rules without originality your work will be okay but it will not distinguish itself as specialYes you re writing for money but you are not writing only for money You must also put some art into your commercial product It s very unlikely that you ll ever get to write for money if you don t put something of yourself into your script The richest most successful television writers I know have all written commercially savvy products from a personal point of view Creative with the form No Creative with the content YesOn any given day on any given reader s desk orlikely on the floor there are going to be three piles of scripts The piles will look like this Pile A the smallest one will be as you probably guessed the good scripts The ones with a story we care about dialogue that jumps up off the page something very special that s worth noting These are the scripts that will get passed along with Recommend written on the coverage formPile C will be the hopelessly bad scripts handwritten incorrectly formatted offensive plagiarized and so forthAnd Pile B the one that rises endlessly to the ceiling That is what I call the Big Pile of Okay Scripts that look like scripts read like scripts and might even have some pretty good laughs There s nothing really wrong with them but there s nothing really right with them either This in my experience of reading scripts I ve read thousands honestly and in the experience of everyone else I know who reads scripts for a living is the category that the vast majority of scripts fall into I don t think I need to tell you where these scripts are going suffice to say they are not going on to anyone else s deskOnce in an agent s waiting room I picked up a scratch pad to make a note As I tore off a page I saw that the back had printing in the distinctive Courier font on it These were lines of dialogue This agent had scripts cut up and made into memo pads You know those scripts came from Pile BBut the good news is that many of these okay scripts could be turned into A scripts with significant commitment to the writing process Or maybe that s the bad news I guess it is if you thought writing for TV was going to be easyThe exercises in this book are tools to guide you in following the form and infusing it with your own original creative force That will get you from the Big Pile of Okay to RecommendAnd if you can do that you can probably get paid to write TV What Show Should You Spec Write a show you love to watch That in my opinion is the single most important factor in choosing a show to write Don t write a spec of a show you don t like even if someone in the industry has told you it s the hot show to write When you get to pick and your spec may be the only time you have that opportunity by all means be picky Only write a show that you relate to a show you like to watch with characters you care about That is first and foremost but it s not the only criterionHere are three other factors to keep in mind when choosing a show to write for The show must be on the air nowThis is a rule Don t write a Friends spec even if you saw every episode and you have the greatest idea for a Rachel story ever Anything that is off the air is an old show even if it went off yesterday and the reruns are playing every dayThere s a story that s been circulating around Holly wood for years you may have heard it about somebody who wrote a great episode of the old Dick Van Dyke Show and people thought it was so gutsy and original that the writer got a lot of interestFirst of all I don t believe that really happened I believe someone did it I just don t believe it got them work and secondly if it is true then it s been done and no longer has any value as a gutsy original moveSo please write only a show that s on the airIn fact any show that s been on the airthan five years is probably too old to write a spec for even if it s not going off the air for a coupleseasons If you re sending out an episode of an old show the feeling is that you re not fresh not current not keeping up with the trends and in TV that is death It should be a hit show Here s why A hit show is.
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The TV Writer's Workbook A Creative Approach To Television ScriptsBOOKS The TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative Approach To Television Scripts Author Ellen Sandler Berkingmad.co.uk The Spec ScriptNo one I hope watches television all the time but everyone watches it sometimes Television is pervasive and common in the sense of communal familiar and available to all Television esta The Spec ScriptNo one I hope Writer's Workbook: MOBI watches television all the time but everyone watches it sometimes Television is pervasive and common in the sense of communal familiar and available to all Television establishes our ethical moral social and God knows material boundariesthan any other factor in modern life More than the moviesthan politics no wonder you want to write for it It s powerful Because it is common television is The TV ePUB often dismissed as insignificant unworthy of respect or care Because it is pervasive it is voracious television needs material and it reproduces like an amoeba constantly dividing and replicating itself to fill the continuing voidTelevision needs and it needs it now That s where you come in Your job as a writer is to supply it with content This leads to fast which leads to sloppy which leads to formulaic writingIt TV Writer's Workbook: ePUB s not brain surgery you ll often hear people in the industry say about working in TV As a way to deflate self importance it s a perfectly good sentiment but resist the impulse to use it as an excuse to lower standards because in a way when you create for TV you are doing a kind of brain surgery You are shaping people s perceptions and affecting their realityA career TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative eBook as a writer TV Writer's Workbook: A Creative eBook in Hollywood begins with excellent writing excellent by commercial standards we ll get into that in a minute After that it s about persistence tenacity and some luck though less than you might think These are not secrets Everybody knows the rules The secret is committing to them That s what makes a career happenIn order to write for TV you must get a job In order to get a job you must have material to show that you can write Usually that will be a spec scriptWhat Is a Spec ScriptA television spec script is an unsolicited original episode written for an established TV show No money no contract no guarantees In all likelihood a spec script will never be sold or produced What it will be is read That s what you write it for to be read by as many people connected to show business as you can get it to Everyone counts You never know who knows someone who knows someoneThere are two different kinds of spec scripts one for TV and one for film You write a spec screenplay when you are not established enough to get a deal to write a screenplay based on a pitch You write a spec screenplay and hold on to the dream that a studio will pay you for the rights to make it into a movie Orlikely pay you for the rights to change it completely and never make it into a movie but at least you get a check You can sell a spec screenplayA television spec script is different You don t write a TV spec with the expectation of selling it to the show It could happen it has happened it s Hollywood everything happens once or twice and if it happens to you great Call your lawyer and make sure you re protected on the back end Not as sexy as it sounds but evenexciting see Showbiz Meanings for Regular Words A Selective Glossary But what s muchlikely and therefore what we ll be talking about in this book is that you ll write a spec TV episode to prove that you can do the work It s a writing sample a portfolio piece In film people are looking for a script but in TV they are looking for a writer Why Write for TV I teach scriptwriting classes and when I ask students why they want to write a spec script I usually get an answer like It s fun Well that s great but that won t get you to the end of your script because a lot about writing isn t so much fun A lot of it is frustrating confusing and downright hardSo they think about it and I hear To tell a story or To make people laugh I ve even heard Because I really really really want to All of those are good reasons to write something but not necessarily a TV spec scriptThe only reason to write a television episodic spec script is money When I teach I usually draw a big on the whiteboard and everybody laughs I suppose because that s what they were really thinking but were afraid to say Or maybe they were even afraid to think it Maybe they feel it s not a worthy reason to write But the truth is that television is a commercial medium and you write it for moneyThere s a story about George Bernard Shaw who in the s came to Hollywood for a meeting with Samuel Goldwyn the head of MGM Goldwyn wanted the rights to Shaw s plays but naturally wanted to pay as little as possible for them Goldwyn went on and on about what a genius Shaw was how much he admired his plays what a great artist he was and how he Goldwyn.