First, read the article, “Take Me To Your Pilot: 3 Rules for Writing a Successful TV Pilot.”
The article is originally from writersdigest.com.
- Click the link in the article title above to read the article online,
- Print and read a pdf archive of the article, embedded at the bottom of this post.
Next, you’ll want to get a feel for the first few minutes of a pilot script. Browse through several screenplays for the pilot episodes for what would become a successful series.
- A good place to start is this article from Good in a Room, “TV Pilot Scripts: 10 Most Wanted.” This article contains links to the pilot episodes of some of the most popular series on TV, including “Breaking Bad,” "The Office," "Lost," and "The Sopranos."
- For a more extensive library, browse OVER 13 YEARS of unique pilot scripts at: https://sites.google.com/site/tvwriting/us-drama/pilot-scripts
Now, return to your Series Outline and investigate the first few sentences of your Pilot Episode plot line. Following the standard screenplay format you used for your Bailey / Elliott scenes, you will write the first 2-3 pages of your pilot episode. If you figure that the accepted standard is that 1 pg. = 1 min., I’m asking you to write the first 2-3 minutes of your own TV series.
Type out the first few pages of your pilot episode.
Show me what you’ve got!
Again, this will take some time.
You’ve already done SO much of the work! Remember these?
- Who? – Character Summaries
- What? – Series Synopsis
- When and Where? – Series Outline
… and your Visual References can help you remember the tone, look, and feel you wanted to go for. OH AND BY THE WAY… feel free to revise any prior steps as you go along. J
Pilot Episode Grading Criterion:
- Scene Headings (INT/EXT etc.)
- Action and dialogue is formatted correctly
- Typed, proofread
- 2-3 pages in length
- Corresponds with the pilot’s plot description from the Series Outline
- Emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the school day on the due date (attached MS Word document or shared Google Document are acceptable)