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Home » Archives » May 2008 » Two Long!
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05/28/2008: Two Long!

Gentle Reader Claire in Massachusetts writes in with a great question. She notes that a lot of drama series are launched with two-hour pilots and wants to know if that means it would be a good idea to write a double-long spec pilot.

It is true that this is happening more and more. One reason for this is so a pilot that is never ordered to series can still be aired as a television movie and recoup some of its cost. I suspect we'll see more and more of this.

Notice that it also allows writers more time to tell a story despite the fact that they have to do so much character-introducing and world-establishing.

And yet, I wouldn't recommend writing a two-hour spec pilot. Specs are writing samples and when someone is looking to staff a show or even find a new client or select a contest winner, they usually have to read a lot of samples all at once. In their haste, they're gonna be grabbing the slimmest scripts, not the fattest ones. And this holds true across genres. Even if you're writing something with a sci-fi flavor (Sci-Fi network loves the two-hour pilots).

Comedies don't generally have over-long pilots, but they do sometimes have those extra-long episodes. Don't take that as an excuse to make your Office spec come in at 50 pages. Shorter is better, in comedy specs even more than in drama.

Lunch: egg foo yung from the commissary. It's never quite as good as you'd hope.


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