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Writing the TV Drama Series 3rd edition

Writing the TV Drama Series 3rd edition

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Writing the TV Drama Series
How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV
3rd Edition
by Pamela Douglas

M I C H A E L

W I E S E

P R O D U C T I O N S

Table Of Contents
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION INTRODUCTION WHAT’S NEW IN THIS EDITION HOW TO USE THIS BOOK xiii 1 3 5 5 7 9

If You’re a Writer… If You’re a Teacher… FROM JOHN WELLS Executive Producer: ER, The West Wing, Southland

Chapter One

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TV DRAMA SERIES?

13 14 14 15 15 15 16 18 18 18 21 22 23 23 26 26 26 27 28
Writing the TV Drama Series
How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV
3rd Edition
by Pamela Douglas

M I C H A E L

W I E S E

P R O D U C T I O N S

Table Of Contents
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION INTRODUCTION WHAT’S NEW IN THIS EDITION HOW TO USE THIS BOOK xiii 1 3 5 5 7 9

If You’re a Writer… If You’re a Teacher… FROM JOHN WELLS Executive Producer: ER, The West Wing, Southland

Chapter One

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TV DRAMA SERIES?

13 14 14 15 15 15 16 18 18 18 21 22 23 23 26 26 26 27 28

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Published by: Michael Wiese Productions on Jul 22, 2011
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09/29/2013

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Writing the TV Drama Series
How to Succeed as a Professional Writer in TV
3rd Edition 
byPamela Douglas
MICHAEL WIESE PRODUCTIONS
 
 vii
Table Of Contents
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION xiiiINTRODUCTION 1 WHAT’S NEW IN THIS EDITION 3HOW TO USE THIS BOOK 5
I You’re a Writer…
5
I You’re a Teacher…
7
FROM JOHN WELLS
9
Executive Producer:
ER, The West Wing, Southland 
Chapter One
 WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TV DRAMA SERIES? 13
Three Qualities of Episodic TV Series
14
Episodic Characterization
14
The “Long Narrative”
15
Anthologies
15
Series with closure
15
Serials
16
Collaboration
18
Five Myths About Television
18
Myth 1: TV is small movies.
18
Myth 2: TV is cheap.
21
Myth 3: You can’t do that on TV.
22
Myth 4: All TV series are the same.
23
Myth 5: Television is a wasteland.
23
The Rules of Series TV
26
Anhourshowhastotanhour.
26
Seriesdeadlinesareforreal.
26
•Dramaserieshaveanactstructure.
27
Eachseriestsafranchise.
28
 
viii WRITING THE TV DRAMA SERIES / PAMELA DOUGLAS
Ready, Set, Go!
35
Summary Points
36
 
What’s New?
36SPOTLIGHT ON DRAMEDY 37GUEST SPEAKER: DAVID ISAACS 40
(
M*A*S*H 
,
Cheers
,
Frasier
,
Mad Men)
Chapter Two
HOW SHOWS GET ON TV AND THE TV SEASON 45
Chart: Traditional Two-Year Development and Productionof a New Show
46
Year One
48
April: Create Your Proposal
48
(1) Write a TV Format
49
(2) Write a Pilot
51
(3) Write a “Backdoor Pilot”
52
(4) Create a Presentation Reel
53
(5) Attach a “Package”
54
(6) Get a Web Following
54
May: The Production Company
55
June: The Studio
58
July and August: The Network
59
 
Chart: New Series Development at One Network
60
September to November: The Pilot Script
61
December and January: The Greenlight
64
February to April: Pilot Season
65
May: Pick-Ups
66
Fullseason
67
Shortorder
67
Midseason
67
Backupscripts
68
 
Year Two
68
June: Stafng
68
July and August: Write Like Crazy
69
 
Chart: Sample Character Arcs for a Season
71
September and October: The Debut
72
November through March: Completing the Season
73

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