Adventures in Digital Series Land #103
by Lessa Dean
I’ve been working like a psycho. So busy, in fact, I blew off going to last night’s YouTube NYC’s chat with Pixar people, which really looked great (plus, I had an edit session). Here’s what I’ve up to:
Deep into animating the new series. At this point, I’m *hoping* I’ll be done in about 2-3 months. Working on three new projects with my production partner. We both were super busy/caught up in the winter and now are back working with a vengeance. It feels great and productive and I’m loving the projects.
Finally, working working working on rewrite/reimagining of a project I originally thought would be a digital series. Now I’m thinking of it as a 1/2 hour original pilot script and the Not-So-Secret Showrunners/Writers World on Twitter saved it. Let me me explain.
There are a lot of really good writers and experienced showrunners on twitter. And many of them dispense great writing/producing tips. You just have to know where to look.
Among my favorites are Jeffrey Lieber who wrote the original pilot for Lost and is the showrunner for NCIS. He posts Showrunner Tips and they’re funny and true and great. And even if you’re a long way off from being a showrunner, they really give you a good understanding of what running a show is like. He also gives good writing tips and opens up twitter to Q&A’s once in a while. Do them. They’ll help you.
Another is ScriptMag, which is now posting tons of really useful articles on writing, producing and tips for becoming a staff writer in tv.
Another great source is My Tracking Board. Endless tips, lists, deets on spec script sales. It’s great. Plus, one of the guys who runs it took the time to answer some of my questions and even sent a sample pitch bible to me.
And finally, another fav: Scott Myers who runs Go Into The Story. GITS is affiliated with The Blacklist, the famous list in Hollywood of top scripts that haven’t (yet) been produced. As most people know, The Blacklist has also become a place to, possibly, get discovered. You upload a script, for a fee, and they vote on it. Scripts with high marks get send out in newsletters and yes, many of the writers of these scripts have found big agents (UTA, CAA, WMA, etc.) and had their scripts bought or optioned as a result.
Scott Myers is a writer (http://screenwritingmasterclass.com/bios/scott-myers/) and GITS has tons and tons of script writing pointers. Scott participated in #Scriptchat, something I’ve previously written about, a week ago and went into his 7 Character Description Keys.
The 7th key is: Switch Protagonists. I cannot tell you how helpful this is. I was at a place with the script I’m working on (the 1/2 hour pilot) where I was banging my head against the wall, trying to make it fresh and interesting. I was incredibly frustrated and nearly at the point of no return: That’s right, I’d resorted to reading inspirational quotes on Facebook. Yes, things were looking grim.
The show has three leads; one is the protagonist. And while I liked the other leads, something was missing and feeling a little formulaic. When I flipped it, i.e., switched protagonists and started analyzing them from a protagonist pov (with goals, journeys, etc.), those characters became so three-dimensional I literally hate to break away from the page to work on other projects. And this was just the trick I needed.
By using that tool to dig deeper, especially when you’re writing comedy which can be joke-centric, there’s a larger payoff. I now can’t wait to “visit” these characters every morning during my writing sessions. Thanks, Scott Myers!
You can find all of this info by following and searching on GITS, Twitter and Script Mag and, of course, TVWriter™ . If you have any favs you follow on twitter, please add them in the comments.