TIPS FOR WRITERS
5 STAFFING TIPS
1. Be prepared for your meeting. Go in with intention. Know the background of the person you’re meeting with and the background of the show you’re meeting on.
2. Think of any personal experiences and stories that would be strong background for the concept of the show. Remember to bring these up in a brief way in your meeting.
3. If there is something you love about the show, share it. If there is something you do not love about the show, do not share it unless asked to do so.
4. I always suggest watching something written by the person that you’re meeting with. This way, you can genuinely comment on what you like about their work by citing an example.
5. Make sure to close the meeting by making it clear that you passionately want the job.
TIPS FOR PITCHING YOUR PILOT
1. Go into the meeting with passion for your concept and confidence with your pitch.
2. PITCHING – If you have a personal story that inspired the pitch, share it. This adds substance to your pitch and tells your audience why you are the perfect writer to write this. Start with your log line. Think set up of who (create empathy for your lead character), dilemma, action and goal. Also, for your log line, add a twist of irony. This tells your audience where you are going. Then, pitch your themes. Give them a sense of who your lead character is. Then, give a paragraph pitch. If they ask a lot of questions, share your page pitch.
3. Most writers spend too much time on story and not enough time on character or too much time on characters and not enough time on story. Really be conscious of the balance of your story.
4. Take us into a world we don’t know and sell it in a way that makes your audience want to know it. If you are going into a world we do know, sell it with a new angle-utilize your voice.
5. Start your character in a place that is easy to empathize with. Specify the powerful dilemma that starts your Teaser and then the goal that stems from this dilemma. Discuss the obstacles, escalating obstacles and turning point. Make us root for the achievement of the goal.
- A way to find your voice is to think about the moments of recognition in your own life. I came into recognition that most things in life are not what they seem to be but there is so much beauty in what is. It is how you interpret the world around you. You will reach a point in your writing where it comes easier to borrow from your own truth versus trying to mimic others. Accept your role as the messenger.
- When you are writing up your character breakdowns, think about what is the wound that drives the character and the flaw that gets in the way.
- A strong way to reveal back-story is through symbolism. Create an arc for the story about a symbol. Create anticipation leading to reveal.
- When you are thinking about what motivates your central character, think about whether there is something in his/her subconscious that connects with the goal due to a past wound and by solving the goal in the story, they not only help others, they help themselves. To go deeper, think about whether there is something in your own subconscious that resonates to the goal and why the pursuit needs to be successful.
- “Story Line” Tip – In your writing, theme is the icing on the cake. It is the thread that pulls everything in your mosaic tapestry together. It is an idea that resonates in all your story lines. Theme expresses how your central character goes about achieving his/her goal.
- To make a really strong A story, think about having a personal side of the story parallel the professional side. Then, at the act outs, couple both sides of your story and have scenes one after the other that end in an obstacle.
- In the first 3/4 of your script, make your lead character respond from their ego. In the last 1/4, make them respond from their spirit. An example is in UP IN THE AIR. In the beginning Ryan responds from his ego and his non-committal lifestyle. Through the story we see him move from detachment to attachment as he …learns through the story the value in committing, moving from his ego to his spirit.
- The message that you embed in your story line lets the audience access your vision. While constructing your journey, think about how you utilize theme and symbolism. When you add a message to these two components, you complete your story.
- When you’re writing a TV pilot, create a powerful dilemma in the Teaser. The answer to this dilemma is what your series is about.