“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...
Serialized Storytelling

Serialized Storytelling

Over the holidays, I finally checked out HBO’s THE WIRE, a decade after its five-year run began.  I found myself binge-watching through the first three seasons.  This show was never a clear hit with audiences, and didn’t win many major awards.  But WGA screenwriters...
People We Care About

People We Care About

This Sunday Downton Abbey goes up against Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men and House of Cards to try to win its first Emmy as Outstanding Drama Series.  It’s probably not going to happen, I’m guessing – thought it is now the most-nominated non-U.S....
Screenwriters World 9/27-29

Screenwriters World 9/27-29

I’ll be speaking again this year at the “Screenwriters World” conference in Los Angeles.  It takes place September 27-29 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City.  I’ll be speaking on “Writing the TV Spec Script” on Friday...
All-time best written series

All-time best written series

I couldn’t resist creating a chart that breaks down the recent WGA member-voted “Best written series of all time” by decade and type of show. What conclusions, if any, can be drawn from this? (If you have trouble viewing the document below, you might...
The Two Types of TV Stories

The Two Types of TV Stories

Script Magazine has published my new article delineating the two types of stories on television — “procedural” and “personal” — which are easy for writers to get confused by. It’s being posted on their website in connection...
MODERN FAMILY: 4 stories in 3 acts

MODERN FAMILY: 4 stories in 3 acts

I found this week’s MODERN FAMILY (“Strangers on a Treadmill”) to be a good example of how bare bones a “story” can be, and still have a beginning, middle and end.   (Or, if you will, three dramatic acts of Setup, Complications,...
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