This is it. It’s finally here. The final draft of episode one. It’s been a very long seven weeks to get here, and I apologize for those who were waiting to see what I could accomplish with this idea. I had this idea over a year ago, while I was working as an assistant stage manager for a production of Hamlet on the green. It’s been a long time coming and I have to say I am so happy and proud of the final result. I never found the time to work on this idea when I first had it. That is until I took ICM 528 Content Creation. I was not only allowed to further pursue my Master’s degree in Interactive Media and Communications but also to start a TV series that I’ve been wanting to do for over a year.
I’ve learned so much over these past seven weeks. Going into this project I had no idea how to format or write a TV script before. I’ve only ever learned how to write feature-length scripts or short 15 page scripts. It’s kind of crazy how different scripts can be. Both feature-length movie and TV scripts can be shown on television, but the formatting for them is so different. I talked a lot about the differences between the two in a couple of my early posts, but I’ll do a brief overview for those who haven’t seen them. A feature-length script is three acts.
You have the beginning, middle, and end. A TV script can be formatted one of two ways. The first way is that it’s five acts.
Act 1: Introduce your characters and present the problem.
Act 2: Escalate the problem
Act 3: Have the worst-case scenario happen
Act 4: Begin the ticking clock
Act 5: Have the characters reach their moment of victory.
That way of formatting a TV script is for shows that don’t have a linear story. For example, NCIS or Law and Order. The second way is that there aren’t acts in each episode. You don’t have to reach a conclusion at the end of every episode. Many episodes can even end on cliffhangers (which is what I’ve done with both my pilot and episode one scripts).
Moving on to the actual work that I completed this week. This week was focused completely on finishing Episode One. Although, my mind was looking ahead to when I got to do a read-through of the script. Finding the time to work on finishing Episode One was a challenge. I’d get home from work completely mentally and emotionally drained. I teach kids how to film. Which is/was an amazing experience, until this past week. I’ve worked with kids for six years and this particular class was easily the worst class I’ve ever had. Making the two-hour commute there and back was rough enough as it was, but dealing with those kids for six hours was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Thankfully, I survived the experience and it’s over. So that meant I was able to focus on finishing my script. I spent the whole weekend working on it, staying up into the early mornings both Friday and Saturday nights.
I needed the script to be as perfect as it could be for the read-through. Turns out, to working on a script sleep-deprived is not the best idea. The story was still coherent, but there were a lot of grammar and spelling mistakes that I found during the read-through. The read-through was amazing. Having multiple people who’ve acted in New York read my script was the greatest experience I could have hoped for my finished product. All of the actors got so into their parts. They were changing their voices, screaming, laughing. It’s so difficult to explain in words, the experience was just magical. Then the feedback I got, just made me over-the-moon. Firstly they were upset that it ended and they wanted to know more about what was going to happen. That’s honestly one of the best compliments a screenwriter can get (in my opinion). Secondly, they all agreed that this is a series that they could envision being a Netflix original (which is the ultimate goal for my series). The only problem that they had with the script was that they thought Aurora’s dialogue was a little too mature for someone of the age I wrote in. Her original age was five-years-old, but after we all talked it out we agreed that Aurora being seven made the most sense.
Thank you all so much for taking this journey with me. I’m probably not going to be posting as much about this project in the upcoming weeks. I’ll probably take more time on the future episodes and focus a lot on making Episode One and the TV Pilot more “Netflix-ready” and ready to be sold.