One Problem Affecting Everyone

One Problem Affecting Everyone

At the heart of a good original TV series idea is one big problematic situation. It somehow affects all the series regulars. And it leads to endless new stories. It’s not unique to particular characters, but is the over-arching reason for the series’...
Series = Ensemble

Series = Ensemble

When coming up with an idea for a television series, and writing a pilot script, writers often make the mistake of approaching it like a feature. Meaning, they focus on a single main character, with a single problem and goal. That’s not how television works. I can...
The 20 Script Must-Haves

The 20 Script Must-Haves

The things that make screenwriting hard to succeed at are not mysterious. They’re just not easy to achieve. Successful scripts differ from unsuccessful ones for some pretty concrete reasons. Below you’ll find my list of the 20 most important attributes of...
Web of Conflict

Web of Conflict

What’s the key thing to focus on when developing a TV series idea? The answer is simple: the characters. Specifically, a web of entertaining-to-watch characters who have conflicted relationships with each other. Ideally, you would also have a big, intriguing,...
8 Characters of Comedy

8 Characters of Comedy

When I work with anyone developing a half-hour pilot, I always recommend Scott Sedita’s book The Eight Characters of Comedy.  Written primarily for actors (Sedita is an acting coach in Los Angeles), it can also greatly help writers.  It presents eight archetypes found...
The Idea is EVERYTHING

The Idea is EVERYTHING

I’ve consistently found that most of the notes I have on any script I read — and certainly all of the most important ones — are notes I would have had on the basic idea behind the story, if it had been pitched to me before it was written. And so, the #1 piece of...
TV webinar 10/9

TV webinar 10/9

I’m presenting a live webinar for The Writers Store, next Thursday October 9 at 1 PM Pacific, on “Creating the Winning Series Premise.” In this 90-minute Powerpoint/audio presentation, I will distill everything I’ve learned from my years of creating and (sometimes)...
“Premise pilot”

“Premise pilot”

“Premise pilots,” in my experience, are not seen as a good thing. But the definition of a “premise pilot” seems to move around a bit, depending on who you ask. Some sources on the internet say that a “premise pilot” is when the...
New Webinar online

New Webinar online

  My April 3 Writers Store webinar on “What Makes a Great TV Idea: Learn What Hollywood Looks for in an TV Idea and Pilot Script” is now available in their online store for $79.  This “archive” version is basically the same thing as being there...