Saturday, 21 November 2009

That Television Calling Card Script.

So I’ve been out of university for awhile and still feel overwhelmed at the amount of screenwriting and industry advice/information available; the monumental task ahead of me in all its stages and phases; the route possibilities and pathways; all compiled with all the other things I want to do like living, writing and stuff. However, one decision has made its way to the forefront and is such an obvious one: to write something. But not just anything.

I'm on the back of a serious two year relationship with WWII Drama and recently have been engaging in many flirts and not committing to anything. But the good news is I'm done playing the field and ready to step into something serious again.

But it would be foolish of me to just write whatever I liked because at this point in my life everything I'm doing is working towards an ultimate goal. So like in a script every line of dialogue and action needs to be leading somewhere; it needs to have a point and a purpose within the bigger picture. So everything that I do and write now needs to have that same point and purpose and be leading somewhere.

It may appear obvious, although not everyone realises that what they write for television needs to be relevant in today's world, suitable for the small screen and is what is wanted by the industry. So this has become my new romance or rather, an old flame I patched things up with.

So the television calling card script is my next target, challenge and focal point for the next six months or so. If all goes to plan it will also form as my entry to the Emmy script competition for 2010.

With this script I'm aiming to demonstrate that I can write effectively within the world of television and write the type of script that people are looking for. Ultimately, it will be used to sell myself as a writer and only time will tell if it's the best possible script to do that.

So there are some basic questions to ask myself before proceeding into the project to make sure I stand the best chance possible in writing a great, relevant and suitable script:

Have I picked the right story that will drive me through the next six months and not leave me having to carry it through or give up on?

Does it move me? Am I passionate enough about it? Do I care about the characters? Is it uplifting, tragic or inspiring?

Is it suitable for television?

Is it a contemporary drama or sitcom? Will it have a realistic budget? Few characters and a general location?

Is it relevant and dramatic enough for television?

Is it relevant to recent national events/issues? Is the issue/event explored in terms of character action and change? Is it emotionally engaging?

Is it relevant and suitable in relation to what's on television now or has been in the past? To what's in demand?

Does it fit into a specific television slot and style of programming? Has it been done or explored before?

Will it be visually appealing?

Is it set in a visually interesting location? Is the location symbolic in any way to the characters and the story? Will it take place as much outdoors as it does indoors?

-- End to the line of questioning --

I am equally excited and anxious at writing this story but feel it's the right time to do so. So with all these initial factors and questions answered in my head, it’s time to get on and commit to this.

However, the usual last minute worry and concern remains:

That it might not fit the sixty minutes, be realistic enough, or even work as a television drama.

That's what rewriting is for. So it's nothing to worry about until there's a first draft. A television calling card script can be up to 90mins for a contemporary drama (30mins for a sitcom). But for now, it's important to just get something written down and then go from there.

Now onto an exciting and intimidating set of words:


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