Saturday, November 20, 2004

[TV] How to Write a TV Series

A sketchy, first draft Table of Contents for a book on TV Series Design:

Update: I won't be indexing new entries for a while, so you can find a list of new posts on this page.

0. Introduction
..... 0.0.1 What's going on?
..... 0.0.2 The Goal
0.1 Three things to know
..... 0.1.1 The Situation
..... 0.1.2 The Situation is a Tube
..... 0.1.3 The Question
Some Starting Points
0.3 The 4 Essentials in action
0.4 What to expect

1. Creating the Vision
1.1 The Character of the Show
..... 1.1.1 Emotion
..... aka Mood or Tone
..... Scripts are Emotion
..... 1.1.2 Genre
..... 1.1.3 Continuity (Loose or Tight)
..... 1.1.4 Open or Closed Episodes
...... Advantages and Disadvantages of Open vs. Closed

1.2 The Characters in the Show

..... 1.2.1 Primetime Adventures - the game
..... 1.2.2 Issues
1.3 Tone

..... 1.3.1 Moments
1.4 Describing the Characters
..... 1.4.1 Principles

2. Assembling the Team
2.0 How I hire
..... 2.0.1 3 Levels of Power
2.1 Writers
..... 2.1.1 Two Leaders
2.2 Producers
2.3 Casting [and this will be a large section]
..... 2.3.1 'Freaks & Geeks' advice

3. Writing the Scripts

3.1 Series Arc
..... 3.1.1 Continuity

..... Easy Continuity
..... 3.1.2 Not getting cancelled
..... 3.1.3 How Do You Create Cool Long-Running Plot?

3.2 Learning about the characters
..... 3.2.1 3D Characters
..... 3.2.2 More about Backstory
..... Examples of Backstory
..... 'Oldboy' - Backstory = Plot Twist
..... 3.2.3
Interviewing the Actor

3.3 Character Arcs

3.4 Individual Episodes [This gets broken down further]
..... 3.4.1 The A-Plot
..... The Question
..... 3.4.2 Subtext
...... Using Family Dramas as an example
..... 3.4.3 Scenes
...... 3.4.1 Layering Scenes
...... 3.4.2 The Worst
3.5 Dealing with the Network
..... 3.5.1 The Goal with Executives
3.6 The Pilot
..... 3.6.1 Indoctrination
..... 3.6.2 Orientation

4. Pre-Production
4.1 Choosing Directors
..... 4.1.1 The Director's Bible
..... 4.1.2 The Test Episode
4.2 The Look of the Show

4.3 The Read-Through (and what comes after)

5. Ways to Improve Communication
5.1 6 Hat.
5.2 Sharing the vision.
5.3 Listening till you get to the bottom.
5.4 Gung-Ho.
5.5 Assignments based on passion.
5.6 Sharing an episode.

6. The Ideal Process
6.0 Introduction
..... 6.0.1 Saving Time
6.1 Overview of the Process
6.2 Phase 1
..... 6.2.1 More on Phase 1
..... 6.2.2 The Demo Script

7. How to Join a Team (Writing for someone else)
7.1 Introduction to writing for someone else
7.2 Knowing your place in the hierarchy
..... 7.2.1 Go into a meeting as the 'new guy'.
7.3 How to be a good team member

8. How to Build a Team
8.1 Peak Performers


That's the first half. Back soon with the second. And of course it'll be chock-full of lovebites anecdotes, examples from other shows and POVs from everyone involved in the process.

7,350/ 40,000 [10/7/05]
The Goal is to write 40,000 by 1 April 2006


Anonymous said...

Thankyou for all the useful information on your website. Also, good luck on your goal.

Farrah Erickson :)

Denyse said...

Found your pages on Google and read them with great interest.
Planning to write a series about a young man who wants to be a contemporary musician against his family's ambitions for him to be a lawyer/accountant
Thank you for the ideas, information and advice.
Will revert when I suceed
All good wishes for your success for your generous sharing

De x

Anonymous said...

Also found your pages on Google, and read them through. I have a 4book fantasy series as my current project however believe a second-idea bubbling under the surface could be well presented as a TV series.
Its a project anyhoo. Thanks for kickstarting my with your awesome information.


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