June 18, 2007 Jill

Will Dixon asks:
Can you elaborate? Are they still teasers anymore or just Act One’s with a sexy beginning? And where is the title sequence falling in that opening chunk…pre first image? Or after 18 pages/minutes?

Can I elaborate? I was afraid to, lest you think my obsession with these details a little over the top, but now that you ask”

I can’t address the location of the title sequence in these pilot scripts, since I have yet to see the produced versions (but I will and I will keep you posted on that front). However in terms of how nine hour-long pilot scripts are laid out I can give you more detail.

The short answer is there is a lot of variation:

Five of the scripts are divided into six acts:
Reaper, New Amsterdam and K-Ville each have a teaser followed by acts one to five, while The Darlings (a.k.a. Dirty, Sexy, Money) and Pushing Daisies avoid the word Teaser and label the acts one through six.

Four of the scripts are divided into five acts:
Life on Mars and Viva Laughlin call the first of those acts a Teaser but Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Babylon Fields call the first act Act One.

The scripts range in length from Life on Mars’ wacky 50 pages to 66 for Reaper, but most hovering around the 60 mark.

You can read more about character dramas Viva Laughlin, a drama by Robert Lowry, here and Dirty, Sexy Money by Craig Wright, here.

It looks like K-Ville, written by Jonathan Lisco, is a straight-up gritty crime show.

Did I mention that the paranormal is big this coming season? Pushing Daisies, written by Bryan Fuller, Reaper, written Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, written by Josh Friedman, Babylon Fields, by Michael Atkinson and Gerald Cuesta, New Amsterdam written by Allan Loeb and Christian Taylor and Life on Mars written by David E. Kelley (who can get away with a 50 page script) and Stu Moss all have sci fi, horror or fantasy elements.

And while we’re on the subject of horror pilots, go out and find a screener of the pilot of the new British series Jekyll written by Steven Moffat. I’m telling you now, you need to see it. Hurry up. What are you waiting for?

Find this. Watch it. Amazing!

Comments (2)

  1. wcdixon


    So until they hit the air, who knows where the title sequence will land.

    So 5-6 act one hours seems to be the rule as opposed to the exception…and the Teaser has either been done away with or blended into Act One.

    Very interesting.

  2. Jill Golick


    The size of the initial sections I’ve been looking at makes them First Acts, really. Not teasers. They take you deep into the story.

    I had a theory that what you called the initial section had to do with the traditions of the genre you were writing in. I thought maybe when the show was a comedy or a cop, for example, the writer would call it a teaser.

    I haven’t been able to make the theory stick.

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