Monday, June 01, 2009

In which Amy spills about her TV writing projects --

TV writing is difficult.

I started with my spec script.

Not the actual writing of it. The research. The watching of episode after episode after episode. The reading of How-To books. The episode break downs (which I'm infinitely proud of. Our professors in screenwriting used to challenge us to do movie break downs. Heck no am I ever doing a break down of something 90 minutes or longer).

The thing with my spec script was I kept having to come up with a different idea. I had a great story. I was excited about it and felt it fit the show well and was fairly sure I could execute it well. Then I was skimming episode summaries of seasons I had yet to see - and found a nearly matching logline. I have yet to see the episode - it could play out completely differently - but why bother? I was ruminating on a second idea when that one was also blown out of the water by another episode.

But, dear readers, third time's the charm. Finally I had an excellent medical premise for the script. The story aspect needed some work. It still does. I'm hammering out my outline. I have never felt like the outline was as important as I do now right now for this spec. Maybe it's because I made those episode breakdowns. Maybe it's because I saw how tightly structured the episodes. It's tough, finding the ultimate balance between being new and inventive and outstanding and demonstrating that I know the structure and story and tone of the show. I have still not actually started writing the episode, which is bad news since I want to have it finished before the end of the month.

And then there's the pilot.

Oh the pilot. The pilot that I had no real intentions of writing because I had no real ideas for it. But I had an idea. And I sat down the other day. And I wrote. And I wrote seven pages in one day, which is more than I've written in one sitting since the last time I had a deadline. No outline. Vague understanding of what I wanted to accomplish in the episode. Now I'm on page 15 or something, and I'm quite happy with it, especially as a first ditch effort at a pilot.

The paranoia that's setting in (there's always paranoia, you know), is that what I find interesting and engaging is bo-o-or-ing. It constantly gets rammed into writers that audiences are abnormally advanced when it comes to... being an audience. They've seen countless stories, they know the plot twists, they're looking for the red herrings. It's your job as a writer to stay ahead of them. It's not an easy race.

But right now, I'm just looking forward to the challenge of finishing these scripts.

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