Category Archives: Script Series

ABOUT THE BLOG: An Update and a Few Thoughts

The Diversionist has become that most hoary and yet consistent of blog cliches: once the writer’s beloved home base and regular publication, only to devolve into a quiet hole where the only posts are the occasional apology for the ongoing silence. In the past three months I’ve posted a grand total of twice, a shameful record.

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CHECK OUT: The Compass Network

I’ve written about how I’d like to expand the script series model so that more training screenwriters can give it a shot. I’ve also been pretty clear that I love being part of a creative community, networking and learning from brilliant folks out there in the global Internet space.

This summer, I have, with the help of a pair of friends and colleagues, taken a big step towards all of these goals.

Check out The Compass Network, the online community we launched last month.

The culmination of a lot of years thinking about writer development, script series, networking and promotion for writers who aren’t in a place to prove themselves to Hollywood bigshots – or, alternately, aren’t in a place where training is easily accessed. I know MZPtv made me into the writer I am now, as much as Ryerson University did, and I’ve been thinking about how to pay that forward for ages. This is how I’m going to do it.

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SCRIPT SERIES: Why Read a Script Series?

Yesterday, I explored the benefits of writing a script series. But, though I think they’re an excellent learning tool, they’re not just an exercise. Script series are also their own distinct form of entertainment, one that readers have been enjoying for almost a decade at MZPtv, and even longer at their forebears like SimplyScripts. The thought of reading a script for pleasure seems unusual (and some would use stronger words), but writers have to write enjoyable scripts. How does one pull in the attention of a gatekeeper, an executive or producer or agent, if not by telling a great story and using the unique benefits of scripted storytelling.

Script series aren’t just for writing. They’re for reading.

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SCRIPT SERIES: Why Do a Script Series?

Writing requires practice. And if you want to write TV, you can only learn so much from practising writing features. The two forms are very different beasts, and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. At the micro level it might. in terms of writing style, but when it comes to plotting, pacing and characterisation, it’s a different ball game entirely. Not only that, but writing a pilot, a midseason episode, a season finale, a series finale are all distinct skill sets – ones that are particularly hard to develop on your own out in the wild.

What this means is that, when you’re given your first assignment for a scripted TV series, you’ll only have learned so much from writing original pilots and spec scripts. You’ll know how to write an episode of TV, sure, but both of those things are islands and your script will be more like the middle part of a track keeping a speeding train from careening out of control. It’s a muscle, and unlike feature writers, it’s one you’ll have a hard time strengthening.

Which is why I think Script Series are a tremendous training tool for writers in scripted television, particularly dramatic (which is where my focus lies). But what exactly are ‘Script Series’?

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