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Home » Archives » January 2008 » FNLy Enough
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01/14/2008: FNLy Enough

A Friend-of-the-Blog is writing a spec pilot that he described as Friday Night Lights in a _____ (noun omitted to protect his idea). He recently asked me a question about plotting this pilot. He wanted to know how much plot to put in those first few pages versus how much pure character development. As I think about this now, it occurs to me that there's no reason that those of you writing spec pilots can't take advantage of the same system I recommend for those of you writing specs for established shows. By which I mean: look at an example.

If you want your pilot to have the feel of Friday Night Lights... why not look at the FNL pilot? How did they establish the mood, story, characters when they were at square one? There's nothing wrong with learning from those writers who've gone before you. A quick look at ebay reveals there's a copy of that very script for sale, and that's after a two-second search. For all I know, the script, or a transcript, is available elsewhere on line for free.

Want your spec pilot to have the mood of House? Grey's Anatomy? Ugly Betty? I would highly recommend taking a squint at those shows' pilots. Maybe you'll like what you see, maybe not, but you'll certainly learn a lot from contemplating why those shows' creators made the choices they did in introducing their premises and characters. Don't lift scenes or words, obviously, but check out where they start their story, how early they establish back stories, how soon the central hook of the show is made evident... all that good stuff is right there to be studied.

Lunch: a chicken salad sandwich from that cute little grocery store in the canyon on Beverly Glen.


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January 2008

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