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Alex and Nick go over how formatting works in TV scripts and the various pre-draft documents you’ll be writing on TV shows.

What are the formatting and structural differences in writing a TV screenplay as opposed to a feature? How do half-hours and one-hours differ in their acts and page count? Which documents will you be writing before going to draft on a TV episode? What are important formatting elements to know and common mistakes to avoid?

Plus, we answer questions about genre and screenwriting software you should be using.

The Paper Team adjusts their margins…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: TV format versus TV genre, and screenwriting software you should be using (00:52)
1 – Differences in formats: TV and feature, one-hour and half-hour, network and cable, multi-cam and single-cam (10:56)
2 – Story areas, treatments, and outlines: documents to write before going to draft and annotating revisions (18:10)
3 – Formatting on the page and common mistakes (26:02)
Takeaways and Resources (56:35)

Links

“Comedy v. Drama: Declare Your TV Major” (PT02)
Final Draft
Fade In
WriterDuet
Highland
Celtx
Movie Magic Screenwriter
Scrivener
“Being a TV Script Coordinator” (PT21)
Scenechronize
Movie Magic Budgeting

Resources

“The Hollywood Standard” – Christopher Riley

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

Alex and Nick break down four iconic TV characters to look at what makes them memorable.

The TV characters explored in this episode include David Palmer from 24, Lindsay Jillian from You’re the Worst, Michael from The Good Place, and Scorpius from Farscape.

What makes a great TV character? How are the characters introduced in unique ways? How do shows flesh out specific goals, needs and wants? What are key moments and decisions that can define characters?

Plus, we celebrate the new year.

The Paper Team sizes people up…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: Happy new year! (01:00)
1 – The four TV characters (02:16)
2 – Why we picked these characters (05:12)
3 – Character introductions (10:10)
4 – Character traits (17:53)
5 – Character’s macro series arcs, wants, and needs (25:29)
6 – Key character moments (38:08)
Next Week On (50:16)

Links

David Palmer (24)
Scorpius (Farscape)
Lindsay Jillian (You’re the Worst)
Michael (The Good Place)
“Analyzing Great TV Pilots” (PT54)
David Mamet’s memo to his writing staff on The Unit
Scorpius costume designs
“All About That Paper” (2×04 – You’re the Worst)
“Try Real Hard” (3×01 – You’re the Worst)
“Day 2: 4:00AM-5:00AM” (2×21 – 24)
“The Trolley Problem” (2×05 – The Good Place)
“Nerve” (1×19 – Farscape)
“Liars, Guns and Money” (2×19 – Farscape)
“With Friends Like These…” (2×20 – Farscape)
“Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars”

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

Alex and Nick celebrate the end of 2017 by taking a look back at Paper Team’s past year, and a look forward at what is to come in 2018.

What were the most popular Paper Team episodes of the year? What was the best thing of 2017? What new gifts did Nick and Alex exchange with one another?

Plus, a word about contacting our guests.

The Paper Team throws some confetti…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: A word about etiquette (01:10)
1 – Paper Team 2017: A year in review (03:26)
2 – Best of 2017 and our milestones (11:39)
3 – Preparing for 2018 as a TV writer (35:37)
4 – Paper Team goals for 2018 (44:29)
Gift Exchange and Next Time On (48:10)

Links

“Networking 101: How to Talk With People in Hollywood” (PT05)
“How to Follow Up (Without Seeming Desperate)” (PT07)
“TV Pilot 101” (PT30)
“TV Spec Script 101” (PT34)
“TV Writer vs. Fandom: Writers’ Rooms and Fan Interaction – Paper Team Live at WonderCon 2017” (PT38)
“Should You Pay for TV Writing Education?” (PT19)
“Managing TV Writers ft. Daniela Garcia-Brcek (Circle of Confusion)” (PT59)
“Assisting TV Comedy Writers ft. Gary Sundt (Superstore/The Goldbergs)” (PT43)
“Writing Adult Comedy Animation ft. Alison Tafel (BoJack Horseman)” (PT39)
“Spec v. Pilot: What You Should Be Writing Next” (PT04)
“Breaking in & Writing From “Outside the System” ft. Hilliard Guess (The Screenwriter’s Rant Room)” (PT47)
“TV Writing Competition Winners: What Happens Next?” (PT55)
“Finding Frances” (4×07 – Nathan For You)
“The Movement” (3×03 – Nathan For You)
“The Movement” – Jack Garbarino
“Git Gone” (1×04 – American Gods)
“Firestorm” (1×10 – The Orville)
“Dance Dance Resolution” (2×02 – The Good Place)
“The Ricklantis Mixup” (3×07 – Rick & Morty)
Dark
DuckTales 2017
Draemings
Julien Baker
Jordan Peele Breaks Down “Get Out” Fan Theories (Video)
Paper Girls
“SLAM!” – Pamela Ribon
“Navigating Your First TV Writing Job ft. Britta Lundin (Riverdale)” (PT67)
“The Emotion Thesaurus” – Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
Hemingway Editor
The Salmon Pages
Scorpius comics
Codenames Duet

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

Alex and Nick discuss nonlinear narrative in television writing, from flashbacks to flashforwards.

What are effective uses of nonlinear storytelling? When should you work with flashbacks, flasforwards or parallel storylines? What are dos and donts of nonlinear narratives? Are there drawbacks of out-of-order storytelling?

Plus, we talk The Mick case and Amazon’s Lord of the Rings.

The Paper Team flashes around…

SHOWNOTES

Content

Paper Scraps: The Mick and Amazon’s LOTR (00:52)
1 – Brief history of nonlinear storytelling in TV and when to use it (04:52)
2 – Examples of effective TV nonlinear narratives (13:16)
3 – Dos-and-dont’s of nonlinear (31:39)
4 – Drawbacks of nonlinear (35:23)
Takeaways and Resources (40:43)

Links

“Protecting and Over-Protecting Your TV Script: Copyright, Ownership and Idea Theft” (PT23)
Wikipedia’s list of nonlinear narrative television series
Primer
FlashForward (TV Show)
“Time’s Arrow” (4×11 – BoJack Horseman)
“Thanksgiving” (2×08 – Master of None)
“The Visitor” (4×03 – Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
“Get Me a Lawyer” (1×01 – Damages)
River Song (Doctor Who)

Resources

“Slaughterhouse-Five” – Kurt Vonnegut
“Nonlinear Storytelling” – Game Design Concepts
“The 21st Century Screenplay” – Linda Aronson

This episode brought to you by Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Writing Competitions

Use code PAPERTEAM to get $15 OFF when you enter a Launch Pad Competition

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode.

If you enjoyed this episode (and others), please consider leaving us an iTunes review at paperteam.co/itunes! :)

You can find Paper Team on Twitter:
Alex@TVCalling
Nick@_njwatson
If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

TV Writing For You

Alex Freedman

I'm Alex Freedman, the writer behind TV Calling.


I started this site in 2008 to chronicle my own journey in television writing.

723 posts and 9 years later, TV Calling has also become a comprehensive resource dedicated to the full TV writing industry — from spec to success.


Everything here is written by yours truly (unless otherwise credited), so feel free to blame me for any missed deadlines.


I hope you'll answer your television calling, and join me in this creative journey.


Write on.


P.S.: New around? You should start here.

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