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Category Archives: pilot script

Sex Ed: The Pilot

  The Fourth Independent Television Festival takes play in LA July 31 to August 6.  It is billed as the only festival for independently produced pilots in LA: ITVFest prides itself on being for and about the pilotmakers. I was lucky enough to get a pre-screening of one of the entries, an energetic comedy with […]

Under the Gun: An interview with Flashpoint’s Creators – Part 2

The second part of Contributor Mike McPhaden‘s interview with Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern: How did you educate yourselves about TV pilot craft and structure? MORGENSTERN: Well, we’ve got a pretty substantial shelf of books by now: How To Write This, How to Fix That, How to Make Things Better. [Laughter.] ELLIS:  And we watched […]

Caprica: No Corners Cut

Mike McPhaden did me the enormous favour of reading the Caprica pilot script and writing this review of it: When I first heard that David Eick and Ronald D. Moore were planning a spin-off to their acclaimed reboot of the Battlestar Galactica series, I reacted with predictable fanboy glee. But when I learned that Caprica […]

Joss and Four Acts Part Deux

I checked back through Joss Whedon’s body of work. And guess what? The guy always writes in 4 acts, although usually with a teaser up front. Here are some stats: Buffy: teaser and 4 acts (pilot and regular episodes) Angel: teaser and 4 acts (pilot and regular episodes) Firefly pilot: teaser and 7 acts (2 […]

Joss and Four Acts

There’s a comment thread on Whedonesque – the Joss Whedon fan site — about my post about Dollhouse and the fact that the script is written in four acts. I’d leave a comment there but you have to sign on to do so. I tried to join but the site is not accepting registrations. I […]

Joss Whedon Strikes Again

Joss Whedon‘s pilot script for his new series Dollhouse is fabulous. I can’t wait to see the series and find out what happens next. I’m not giving anything away — or at least I’m trying not to so I’m sorry if this reads cryptically. Dollhouse is genre — sci fi. As usual Whedon brings strong […]

The Shield

This post is dedicated to my agent, Glenn, who love The Shield and always points to it as an example of a great television pilot. And I agree. I’m all about first acts these days, so most of my comments will be about the first act structure and scene construction. (Which leads to a fair […]

My Dirty Little Secret

I’ve been a little light on the postings lately, for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is that there weren’t that many new pilots on television in August and I’ve been in the mood for fresh pilots as opposed to archival. Plus looking ahead to September and October, I’m going to have my […]

Pilot Structure Part 2

Here are three more techniques to keep in mind:Sub-plot Free First ActsA teaser or first act of a pilot can follow a single story line without introducing a single subplot. The teaser of the CSI pilot is almost all about one of the mysteries of the week. The seven minute teaser for Burn Notice, on […]

Mad Men

I’m predisposed to love this show. People I like tell me it’s great. Plus, my dad was an ad man in the 50s and 60s. He wasn’t a Madison Avenue type. His office was on Peel Street in Montreal. He worked his way up from copywriter through the executive ranks until he was running the […]