Thursday, October 29, 2009

Television Drama Writing

Television drama writing is in high demand. TV constantly needs new writers. They are always looking for the next big hit series or a �box office� smashing mini-series. Even the soaps need writers. After all, the soaps are officially called �Daytime Dramas�. To get a job in television drama writing, you need to first begin to watch television drama with a very critical eye. Analyze why you like or dislike a show. Try asking yourself some of the following questions:
Does the story make sense?
Are the characters believable?
Do they sound and act like real people?
Are there too many characters or not enough?
Is the show exciting or boring? Does it reach your emotions?

After asking your self these questions, go and read what the TV critics had to say about the same program. See if you agree or disagree. One of the most important talents you need in television drama writing is the ability to look at your own writing with a dispassionate and critical eye.

There are several different types of scripts used for television drama writing.

Original Drama serial scripts � these are usually a single story told over several episodes. Steven Spielberg�s �Into the West� is a good example of this type of television drama writing script. You only need to write the first episode but you do need to provide a scene by scene outline for the rest of the story.

Original drama series � networks love this type of television drama writing script. Here you need to write the pilot for the series. Concentrate on creating believable characters and a good story line.

Calling card and Spec scripts � If you are not paid to write it, it is called a spec or speculative television drama writing script. A calling card script is just designed to show off your talent. If it is really good enough, you might even be able to sell it. But the purpose is to get hired on a television drama writing team.

A common place to start a television drama writing career is writing for the soaps � continuing dramas � or daytime dramas, whichever name you prefer. Working on someone else�s story line and characters is a good place to learn the fundamentals of script writing. The first thing you will need to do is write a calling card script. This script must have original characters. Its purpose is to show the head writer or producer your original voice and how you write your own characters. If the producer is sufficiently impressed with your calling card script, they will usually invite you to shadow a current storyline. That means you will do everything that a commissioned writer would do except for the payment and actually seeing your script produced. If they like your �shadow�, you may get hired to write for the show.

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