Sunday, August 21, 2016

#Scriptchat Transcript Kam Miller @kammotion on TV Pilots - August 21, 2016

Kam Miller @kammotion was our guest, offering advice on writing your TV pilot! Pilots give showrunners and TV execs a clear sense of a writer's voice, dexterity, command of the page, and vision. Sarah Newman @sarahalexis4 moderated. Enjoy!

Read the transcript below or click here.

#Scriptchat Transcript Kam Miller @kammotion on TV Pilots - August 21st

#Scriptchat Transcript Kam Miller @kammotion on TV Pilots - August 21st

Kam Miller was our guest, offering advice on writing your TV pilot! Pilots give showrunners and TV execs a clear sense of a writer's voice, dexterity, command of the page, and vision. Sarah Newman @sarahalexis4 moderated. Enjoy!

  1. @SarahAlexis4 Thank you for having me! I'm excited to chat with everyone. #scriptchat
  2. Best site to do #scriptchat from is here:  (just click “sign in” in upper right hand corner)
  3. Ah. TV pilots. Where you're expected to put your absolute best foot forward. #scriptchat
  4. I just had a brutal day waiting tables... the only thing that got me through it was knowing that I could come home and #scriptchat
  5. Just finished mine for the umpteenth time. Shaved off some pages, gave some minor characters more to do. #scriptchat
  6. checking into the chat tonight. It's my first time here. I'm Ramona, a blogger with interest in writing for TV. #scriptchat
  7. @SurrealistFemme I grid the pilot. Then outline it. The grid is the most important step for me. #scriptchat
  8. @SarahAlexis4 Character-driven story structure marries the character arc to the story so you don't have to worry about plot. #scriptchat
  9. Hello @kammotion - TV Pilot, chase your protagonist up a tree then through rocks at him or her #scriptchat
  10. @kammotion If scripting a sitcom pilot, which is best: 3-cam or single? #scriptchat
  11. Q: When writing a TV pilot, do you watch for current trends b4 writing the script or adapt ideas you already have? #scriptchat
  12. @SamSquamchman The grid is a representation of your story on one page. It focuses on the character wants, scenes, structure. #scriptchat
  13. @kammotion @SamSquamchman thanks for the answer. Is there an example? I'd love to see this in action. #scriptchat
  14. @dwacon Depends. What do you want to do with your production? Shoot on a stage only or shoot on locations, too. #scriptchat
  15. @monaspoeticwax @SamSquamchman Yes. There are several grids in my book with detailed explanations and link to grid templates. #scriptchat
  16. Q: It's said for a pilot, readers need to see how it can last 60+ hours. Does the recent trend of shorter seasons change that? #scriptchat
  17. So, when coming up with your idea for a pilot, how much are you thinking about an entire possible season? #scriptchat
  18. @kammotion Q: what's the best way of making a procedural original whilst still sticking to the common structure of the genre? #scriptchat
  19. @Cryodilicdalek I pitch/write what I'm passionate about. You can't chase the market. I believe you have follow your passion. #scriptchat
  20. Everyone else is asking such great questions... don't mistake my lack of asking w/ a lack of curiosity #scriptchat
  21. @SamSquamchman There are several examples of grids in my book and links to templates. Two chapters on grids. #scriptchat
  22. Q: Do the powers that be prefer concise and descriptive action or flowing and wordy? #scriptchat
  23. @kammotion I envisioned a script 3-cam…mentors @ WGA argued single cam was better even though locations limited. *head scratch* #scriptchat
  24. Q: When thinking about character arcs, are they spread out over a season or the entire series... assuming there is one ;) #scriptchat
  25. More specific you are narrower the range of who could play the part, but more developed the character becomes @KimCurrier #scriptchat
  26. @Al_1701 @SamSquamchman The character should want something. If she doesn't want something, you lose story drive. #scriptchat
  27. @dwacon 3-camera seems to sell well internationally (Big Bang Theory, etc). Not sure why #scriptchat
  28. @kammotion @SamSquamchman What if their initial arc is discovering what it is they want? Like they want something, but don't- #scriptchat
  29. @dwacon I love old 3-camera sitcoms (Newhart, etc), never had an idea for one, though #scriptchat
  30. @blueneumann I often wonder if shows like Black•ish would play better/worse as 3cam… note their Good Times parody episode... #scriptchat
  31. @JonFour No. You need to demonstrate that your show has life beyond the pilot. You need to project where the series can go. #scriptchat
  32. Q: when it comes to loglines/pitching what are ways to make yours stand out? #scriptchat
  33. @blueneumann @dwacon the jokes are usually simpler because they require less cultural awareness. #scriptchat
  34. @dwacon 3 camera feels more broad and theatrical. It fits big, explosive, expressive stuff. Not familial drama. #scriptchat
  35. @kammotion Can you give tips on developing the engine for a new series... #scriptchat
  36. Writing for a market that is always changing is a waste of time. Write YOUR STORY. #scriptchat
  37. @SamSquamchman I'm thinking 60-100 hours. I want my characters to live full lives. I'm thinking 3-5 season, at least. #scriptchat
  38. @dwacon Though I quite like how shows like How I Met Your Mother and Red Dwarf mix single cam and 3-cam together #scriptchat
  39. @kammotion @SamSquamchman Glad this isn't just me. If I wanted to leave a character half-cooked, I'd write a feature. #scriptchat
  40. @chasinglamely Compelling characters. Audience loves characters. Put them in interesting worlds and you've got a show. #scriptchat
  41. @Angie_Lavallee That's kind of unfortunate, eh?(I'm sorry, I'm addicted to Canada jokes) #scriptchat
  42. @KimCurrier I tend to put race into scripts bc I want casting to know I want to be inclusive. And yes, we'll get the best actor. #scriptchat
  43. @kammotion I've tried that. I think I'm hanging onto the structure more than the people. It's a little outside my wheelhouse! #scriptchat
  44. Q: I have 2 ideas for shows, but have never written any spec episodes; do you recommend doing that before starting on my pilots? #scriptchat
  45. Any tips on packaging? What's the next move after you've got a name actor attached? #scriptchat
  46. @kammotion It's great to chat with you, too! Q: Can you expand on the concept of edgy and noisy shows? #scriptchat
  47. @SurrealistFemme I write in my e-chair. I usually have some dark chocolate on hand. I love writing. I look up and the days gone. #scriptchat
  48. Spec episodes are largely a waste of time. Showrunners are looking for original material that shows voice @SamSquamchman #scriptchat
  49. @Cryodilicdalek man, I can imagine. I tried going the other way and it just made me angry! #scriptchat
  50. When you're in the zone, creating and the world around you disappears... #scriptchat
  51. @SamSquamchman Yes, write spec episodes of shows that are similar in structure to the shows you want to write. So helpful. #scriptchat
  52. @MsChristieJulie Edgy and noisy mean unique. A combination of elements we haven't seen before. It doesn't always mean R-rated. #scriptchat
  53. @kammotion Q: If you were seeking a rep to take you into the market, would you approach managers or agents first? #scriptchat
  54. @Cryodilicdalek Yes. It's difficult to write concisely. We screenwriters write lean. We have to pack a punch with few words. #scriptchat
  55. @chasinglamely Both. Managers may be more open. But if you have access to both, I suggest approaching both. #scriptchat
  56. Q: Would you recommend 1/2 hour shows to begin with? I am a new screenwriter/never went to film school; so I'm learning as I go. #scriptchat
  57. @kammotion I just canned a manager, so I'm back to the querying process at the moment. Just trying to figure out where to focus! #scriptchat
  58. @dwacon Story engine is how you get NEW characters into your show. Often this is accomplished through the main characters job. #scriptchat
  59. Generally speaking managers are easier to approach. Agent comes in to seal deal @chasinglamely @kammotion #scriptchat
  60. Sometimes, I think being the guest on this would be awesome. Then I see a busy chat like this and I'm glad I'm not. #SoBusy #scriptchat
  61. @SarahAlexis4 Creating three-dimensional characters. Understanding the characters and what motivates them. #scriptchat
  62. @rdlln @kammotion they are, but in my experience it's so hard to tell good from bad beyond the big firms. #scriptchat
  63. Done Deal Pro forum is a good place to shoot the shit regarding managers @chasinglamely @kammotion #scriptchat
  64. Q: Do you really need to write a "show bible" with your pilot? How much of the story are you pitching when trying to sell it? #scriptchat
  65. I got an imbalance with one of my projects: my lead is a character I developed ages ago, the others are almost brand-new #scriptchat
  66. @kammotion Do you think that Blake Snyder's outline from Save the Cat has become to predictable when it comes to features? #scriptchat
  67. @rdlln @kammotion I know, I'm a long-time member... but it's hard to get completely trustworthy info. #scriptchat
  68. @SurrealistFemme @kammotion One dev exec IMMEDIATELY recognized that I was using STC. Never more. RIP Blake… #scriptchat
  69. @SamSquamchman I have heard that you can write it... but better to get paid to do so... #scriptchat
  70. @SamSquamchman I suggest a show treatment vs. a bible. I pitch the TV series, not the pilot episode. #scriptchat
  71. Don't need a bible/pitch doc until you've got someone interested in shopping it @SamSquamchman #scriptchat
  72. @SamSquamchman I would. You're not just trying to sell a screenplay, you're trying to sell a project, business and franchise. #scriptchat
  73. I brainstormed recently to see if I had enough ideas and it started to evolve into a bible #scriptchat
  74. @kammotion Would you recommend working on more than one script at a time? Is this something done commonly in the business? #scriptchat
  75. Q: I here the word treatment a lot. How is it different from the show bible or pitch doc? #scriptchat
  76. Q.@kammotion In a sitcom pilot, should we sacrifice good laughs at the expense of story? #scriptchat
  77. @PeoplesCourt79 Usually we've got several things in development. We may be working on a couple of scripts. But that's up to you. #scriptchat
  78. @Al_1701 A bible can be 70 pages. A treatment is usually 12-15 pages. I have chapter and examples in my book. #scriptchat
  79. @blueneumann I've done that. I also like to outline the pilot, then a midseason episode, then a season finale. #scriptchat
  80. I use pics & text. Summary. Story world. Tone. Characters. Relationships. Logs for future eps @SamSquamchman @byChrisPhillips #scriptchat
  81. @battyink You need good story and laughs. The story has to hang together. It's has to be funny, too. #scriptchat
  82. @kammotion Q:In tv writing how many weeks or months should pass in your story per episode?Ex: Episode1 (May) and Episode2(July) #scriptchat
  83. Q: If lucky enough to sell, as a newbie (obviously) I wouldn't be running the writers room, but would I be assured a spot there? #scriptchat
  84. @SamSquamchman never. The guy who created Lost got an Ep credit and a cheque and was never seen again. #scriptchat
  85. @kammotion A mutual friend of ours who went out on generals says they are looking for pilots with over-40 female leads. Agree? #scriptchat
  86. @SarahAlexis4 Practicing your pitch based on a great treatment. Conveying your passion. Eliminating unnecessary details. #scriptchat
  87. @chasinglamely @SamSquamchman So your first idea should be one you love enough but can let go of easily? #scriptchat
  88. @chasinglamely @SamSquamchman Probably to Abrams' detriment since he's been trying to recreate that series since. #scriptchat
  89. @Calidreamer16 @kammotion surely that depends on the show? On 24 it was an hour. Some episodes of HIMYM took place over 5 years. #scriptchat
  90. @Calidreamer16 It depends on your show and what you're trying to accomplish with your show. #scriptchat
  91. @blueneumann @SamSquamchman No. Never. The idea that you can let go of easily is the idea you shouldn't be writing at all. #scriptchat
  92. @kammotion Is it more favorable to write for movies before being considered for television? #scriptchat
  93. @JLalliWriter Different networks have different demographics so it depends on the network. #scriptchat
  94. @JLalliWriter @kammotion I'm hearing the same thing from my friends. ABC seem to be especially keen for one, #scriptchat
  95. @Al_1701 @blueneumann @SamSquamchman Absolutely. Don't let showrunner leave the table until you have no choice, let alone a seat #scriptchat
  96. Q: Do you use real people for inspiration in your characters? how do you keep dialogue unique to each character? #scriptchat
  97. @PeoplesCourt79 Not necessarily. Follow your passion. Write what you love because you're going to have to do the work. #scriptchat
  98. @rdlln @Kfu3000 @ScriptsScribes I'll have a look. My ex-manager was highly recommended on DDP. He was a nightmare. #scriptchat
  99. @Cryodilicdalek It depends. If I'm brought a project based on a real person, sure. But my own characters aren't. #scriptchat
  100. Q: How many characters (other than the main) is common to introduce in a pilot? #scriptchat
  101. @Cryodilicdalek Re: dialogue – Each character uses specific words, dialect, rhythm, cadence to their voice. #scriptchat
  102. @SamSquamchman That's the Pandora's Box of questions. It's always Sunny introduced one. ER introduced almost a dozen. #scriptchat
  103. @SamSquamchman You can have as many as you need. In Modern Family – 11 char. In other shows – not that many. #scriptchat
  104. Great advice. RT @kammotion: Follow your passion. Write what you love because you're going to have to do the work. #scriptchat
  105. @MsChristieJulie FWIW, you should have a portfolio for each pilot. You can't sell in pairs while you're new. #scriptchat
  106. @MsChristieJulie At least, 2. But the more the better. Some will ask for the third sample to be a spec of an existing show. #scriptchat
  107. Q: other than your own (which I will be buying shortly) what books or blogs\\ would you recommend? #scriptchat
  108. @SarahAlexis4 Read as many as you can. But Alan Ball's Six Feet Under and True Blood. Modern Family. I love Marry Me. Hannibal #scriptchat
  109. Next Sunday #scriptchat: @tomvaughan - screenwriter of WINCHESTER, starring Helen Mirren TOPIC: Character's relationship with structure.
  110. Q: What do you think of webseries as a showcase for TV writing ability? Is one a good shop window for the other? #scriptchat
  111. Thank you so much @kammotion! This has been most informative. I appreciate you taking the time. Have a great night! #scriptchat
  112. @SarahAlexis4 @kammotion Thank you. Both of you. Kam for the insight, Sarah for the awesome hosting job! #scriptchat
  113. From #scriptchat to #blogchat. I'm back after a long hiatus. Looking forward to chatting tonight. #blogchat
  114. @MsChristieJulie Thank you! It was great chatting with you. Good luck on your writing and thank you for reading my book. #scriptchat
  115. @chasinglamely Thank you! It was great to chat with you. And yes, @SarahAlexis4 did a fantastic job moderating! #scriptchat
  116. Also thanks to @SarahAlexis4 for doing a great job hosting! Goodnight everybody and happy writing! #scriptchat
  117. @blueneumann Thank you! It was great chatting with you. Good luck with your writing. #scriptchat

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