Writing TV Pilots: As TV Expands, There is Opportunity for Those Who Grow TV Skill Sets

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The original TV pilot script vs. the spec feature. Spielberg recently bought a one-hour spec pilot that people in the business were flipping over. This used to only happen with feature scripts. But now, spec pilot scripts have come of age and are in the game to stay.

Everybody wins with this. Markets widen as these lines blur.

Now a word from your sponsor: I am presenting a webinar intensive online for The Writers Store about writing original TV pilot scripts. There is a lot of fascinating, and perhaps essential, material to learn there.

I believe it helps to be fluent in both areas TV and feature writing. Soon, a theatrical feature script may immediately serve as the pilot for a series — going from big screen to smaller screen in weeks or months.

Stories are stories. The hunger for filmed entertainment only grows. Important to acknowledge: Film scripts are not exactly like TV scripts in certain specific ways. As the synergy between the mediums  heighten, and as home screens get bigger, TV shows may be more like movies. People settle in for the best episodes as if they are watching a great movie.

Understanding film structure may help you to write a great TV episode. Still, the pilot script is different from a feature script in many ways. Understanding those differences is crucial.

Tom Benedek wrote the screenplay for Cocoon, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and other films. In addition to teaching the craft of screenwriting, Tom has interviewed dozens of agents, managers, production execs, working screenwriters for his Network Hollywood class at ScreenWritingMasterClass.com. He has written screenplays for Robert Zemeckis, Lawerence Kasdan, Lili Fini Zanuck and Richard Zanuck, David Brown, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Richard Rush, Harold Ramis, Lauren Schuler Donner and Richard Donner, Ray Stark, and many more.


The Television Plunge: Writing the Original TV Pilot Script

Screenwriting Webinar from The Writers Store

500_scripts-a-listactors_smallUnderstanding the One Hour Dramatic form is important for screenwriters today. The ground has shifted under all screenwriters in the last five to ten years as television has gotten much better. As screen size in the home increases and the price shrinks, opportunities for screenwriters are expanding in response.

An original half-hour or one-hour pilot script can be a great calling card for a screenwriter. Having one can open many doors in TV and in features. Those 30 to 60 pages have to be great television – a well-structured script with strong characters and a compelling story that can unfold over many episodes.

There is an art to it as well as a craft, and this craft can be learned. Join screenwriter and instructor, Tom Benedek, for this live webinar and learn the nuances of TV writing and add more treasures to your screenwriter’s tool kit.
You Will Learn:

  • How to construct the world of your show
  • How to build out a solid family of characters for your series concept
  • How to structure the episode stories in your pilot script.
Register Now

One thought on “Writing TV Pilots: As TV Expands, There is Opportunity for Those Who Grow TV Skill Sets

  1. spec script

    What about writing for a show that’s already on the air?

    Yes, fine I have a half a dozen pilot ideas, but there are some shows currently on air that I also have ideas for. How do you generate interest in that material?

    I know Paramount used to accept spec scripts for Star Trek (Next Gen, DS9 and Voyager anyways), do other studios/networks do this?