On TV and Writing

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I recently read a post on TV writing that allowed me to think about whether writing a TV pilot is the right medium or not for my next writing project. (You can read the post here).  A few minutes later, someone emailed me asking if I wanted to partner up on a teleplay and all of a sudden all the stars aligned.  Here are the questions I asked myself before I decided whether to make it a screenplay or a TV script.

Has it been done before?

The answer as far as movies go was definitely a “yes”.  There have been plays on it, movies on it and even foreign films.  For me, I didn’t want to go down the road of making another film, but I saw it as a great vehicle for a streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu, that can push out 13 episodes at once.  If I had decided to go down a screenplay route, I could see it as being unoriginal and honestly, I may have been bored writing it.

How long is the story?

I needed to decide whether the story could be told in a 2 hour movie or a television medium and the answer was both, but the way I envisioned it being told would have been better as a TV show.  With TV shows, you get to know the characters more:   their past, their emotions, their whole demeanor.  You wouldn’t be able to do that with a movie.

Does it have the potential to be multiple seasons?

While I could see it going more than one season, I could also see it being just one season as a limited series.  I actually don’t mind whether it’s a one season deal because the story is fairly self-contained.

Would it have a good cast?

Not that it really matters, but having a shortened 13 episode season would really allow for some actors to have the ability to come out and sign up, but I am not a casting agent or director.  That’s not up to me and to be honest, many TV shows make stars out of a whole new list of actors and/or actresses (see:  Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why).  The cast isn’t a writer’s job…so asking this question to myself really didn’t have much of a point.

The point is…I had to weigh the pros and cons of both.  In the end, I like being challenged and this will definitely challenge me to write a good script for a medium that I’ve never tried before.  The article I liked above definitely asks me to go outside my comfort zone and I really truly am doing that here.  Writing has always been a passion for me and I have been doing it all my life.  Now I get to take on a whole new journey.