I write for television as a job. I am currently wrapping up work on the third of three television shows for which I have been commissioned to write. This does not imply that I am a better or even merely competent writer than you. Nonetheless, it at least improves the skills I have.
luring clients to hire me as a television show writer.
Here’s how to write a sample pilot to send to agents, executives, showrunners, etc. if you’d like to obtain a job writing for television (you should, it’s amazing). I thought I would put all of my ideas down in writing as I receive a lot of queries about this topic.
In the past, it was believed that you should create a spec script (which stands for “speculative,” or for free) to use a sample from an existing television show. It would appear that the term “spec” is mostly used to refer to a spec script for an existing series, but in reality, it refers to anything you write for free. A spec pilot is when you write an original pilot for which no money is being paid. You do it “on spec” if you write something for a studio at their request for free.] This eventually evolved into writing an original pilot based on your own ideas. At some point, people probably got sick of reading the Friends scripts.
I have never written a pre-production script for another show. All of my work and meetings are based on my original pilot scripts.
Because situation comedy and thirty-minute shows are my expertise, I will primarily discuss them. However, a lot of this will apply to hour-long drama.
Your Idea If you’ve made it this far, you probably have some idea of what you want to write about. However, one thing you might want to think about is how your idea affects the world you want to create with your pilot script. If your show’s premise is that it takes place in a haunted bakery, you should choose characters who will make the most of the story’s premise. You should inquire about your show’s lead character and the specific ways in which the experience of the premise affects them. How does the situation you’ve created complicate or relate to his or her primary issue?
Consider the ways in which the world you want to create with your pilot script is influenced by your concept.
Alternately, if your show is based on a character, such as an incompetent bounty hunter, what situations can you put him or her in to make the most of their comedic potential? What is most likely to cause this individual conflict?
Which of the characters you introduce to them aids or hinders them in resolving their internal and external conflicts?
You pair skeptic Dana Scully with Fox Mulder, a fervent believer. You pair intellectually brash Frasier with his strict, blue collar father. Cheers is run by who? a ball player who has overdosed on alcohol. Who is the main character in your documentary about what seems to be your typical office? The loudest and most obnoxious man to ever live.
Who is the last human on the planet? The man with the fewest chances of surviving after the apocalypse. In this way, a lot of writing is math. So that you never have to work again, you populate your world to get one and a half hours of story and conflict.
There are other things to think about if your show idea doesn’t start with a great comedic idea. Master of None is a show about dating, relationships, and social issues that is based on Aziz Ansari’s worldview. He wanted to use the show and the characters to express how he felt about larger issues. Therefore, it was up to him to select the characters and setting that would enable him to best convey that point of view. If Freaks & Geeks is a show about what life was like for the outcasts in high school, then the characters’ interactions with one another and their surroundings are the source of the conflicts. This is true for all shows, but they aren’t high school students aboard a spaceship in this instance. As a result, the stakes become more ingrained in the day-to-day and each other. As a result, it is likely that the characters will need to be more specific and clearly defined from the beginning.