If you read my blog regularly it’s no secret I love TV. Really love it. I think I loved it more though before I became a writer. I could just watch and get lost in the story. I didn’t pay attention to the structure, the character development, the foreshadowing, the clues. I was still in my teens. When I started writing books it was almost impossible to read books for fun. But it also affected my TV watching. I wasn’t buying story points as easily anymore. When I decided I wanted to write TV scripts I started paying more attention to my favourite television shows. I started keeping track of how many acts were in each episode. I paid attention to the structure, especially the procedurals.
The best part about wanting to write for TV is that when I watch TV it’s not goofing off. It’s work. It’s study. The study part was easy. The first teleplay I wrote was for my favourite show. I watched Supernatural from the very beginning. I mean, it debuted in my birthday month. How could I not watch it? I loved the characters. I loved the stories. I’m a huge fan of horror movies so the show was a great fix every week. The hard part was finding scripts from the show to study. I wanted to see how they did it. I found the pilot online but that wasn’t enough. I ended up buying two other scripts on eBay. I photocopied the scripts then started highlighting like crazy. Each character got a different colour so I could make sure I had the balance right. My first teleplay turned out pretty good. I wrote two more for the show then started writing movies.
Now, I’m back to wanting to write television shows again. I want it all basically. I have so many ideas, they need an outlet. Not all of them are novel ideas. So now I’ve got movies, TV shows, novels and short story ideas vying for attention. I’ve been participating in TV writer chats on Twitter. When my feature screenplay is finished and polished I will pull out one of my spec pilot ideas and start writing.
If you want to write for television (or movies) I highly recommend the following sites/groups/podcasts.
Screenwriting U – They offer classes on screenwriting that are simply amazing.
Scriptchat – They have a Twitter chat every Sunday on screenwriting.
TVWriterChat – Also has a Twitter chat on Sundays about writing for TV.
TVWriterPodCast – I just started listening to this podcast. Awesome! Lots of great information about writing for TV.
TV writers to follow – A database of TV writers on Twitter and their handles. Follow them!
Sources for TV scripts to study – TV Writing, More TV scripts, My PDF Scripts
The advice most writers who want to write for TV hear is that they need to move to LA. Well, that’s not really possible for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t travel there for meetings. And a lot of shows actually film in Toronto. I would love to write for one of those. For that kind of job I would gladly brave the TTC. Well, the GO train, actually.
Now, I’m off to the day job. Then tonight working on the feature script. I’m loving the characters and the story as the script progresses.
Until next time…