Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Write A Television Script

A new writer to the entertainment industry may very well ask how to write a television script. The first thing a new writer needs to do is write a TV spec or speculative script. Each spring the networks tell their show�s producer whether or not the series has been renewed. If they are renewed, the producers start reading spec scripts from writers to decide who to hire as full time staff and who to hire for freelance jobs. This same process takes place for cable and syndicated programs as well just at different times of the year. This article will explain the basic rules for how to write a television script.

Create your calling card script
A calling card script is the first step needed to learn how to write a television script. Calling card scripts are original scripts with original characters that are designed to show off a writer�s talents. They are not meant to be produced. They are a sales media for the writer to sell themselves as a writer. Select the genre you want to write for and then pick a show your really like in that genre but not the one you actually want to write for. It�s illegal for producer to review spec scripts based on their programs. Then write an original story with original characters to fit that genre based on the general story idea of the show you selected.

Master the structure
Step two in learning how to write a television script is using the correct structure for your story. Hour long shows are written in four acts. Each act needs to end with an unanswered question so the viewer will stick around to find out what happens next. Most hour long shows have three sub plots. Plot 1 is the main plot, plot 2 usually features a story involving supporting characters and the third plot serves as comic relief. The program weaves all three plots together. Sit coms have two acts and a lot more variety in how they are put together. The best book on standard TV script format is David Trottier�s �The Screenwriter�s Bible�.

Understand the Vision
Step three in learning how to write a television script is to carefully research the show you plan to emulate. You must understand what the producer�s vision for the show is. Watch the program, Read everything you can find on the show. Follow the vision in you calling card script.

Lear how to criticize
Step 4 in learning how to write a television script is to learn how to both give and take criticism. TV writing is a collaborative exercise. You must be able to share your ideas with others and except criticism from others for your work as well as give constructive criticism to others about their work. Writing for TV is all about being a team player.

Create multiple specs
Step 5 in learning how to write a television script is to write a second or third speculative script as soon as the first one is done. As soon as some one likes your script they are going to want to know what else you have. The last thing you want to be considered is a one hit wonder. Be sure to have two or three samples available. I hope this article answered your questions on how to write a television script.

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