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Home » Archives » January 2007 » "Working Under Poodleskirts"
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01/21/2007: "Working Under Poodleskirts"

When you're pitching a pilot to a network, you don't have to have already picked out a title (although I always have). You do have to tell them about the tone of the show. How funny is it? Does it have a sense of heightened reality? Is it gritty, with hand-held camera work? What other show does it *feel* like?

You don't get to do that with a spec. A reader will instantly know if your spec is an hour or a half-hour, of course, but they won't know about tone. And, unlike the executive in the pitch session, they don't have anyone there to clue them in except the script itself.

That's one of the reasons the title of a spec pilot is way more important than the title of a pilot you're actually paid to write. With a spec pilot, there's important prep-work that the title can do. If you write a spec called "Streetwise" you're cluing your reader into something tonally different than with one called "Working Under Harriet," which is also tonally different than "Poodleskirt Diaries."

Lots of shows that are actually on the air don't do this, of course. You can tell *nothing* about House from the fact that it's called House. You can't tell anything about tone or even genre from that title. But they have promos, publicity, Entertainment Weekly. You don't, so think long and hard about that title. Make sure it's doing more for you on that title page than just filling the space above your name.

Lunch: Lamb and rice and that rose-flavored ice cream from Shamshiri, a Persian restaurant


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January 2007

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