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TV Formula 101: Building an Engine For Your Show (PT117)

Alex and Nick discuss why TV formulas still matter and how to build a successful TV engine for your pilot and show.

What is a TV engine? Why is a “formula” a necessary ingredient for a sustainable TV series? What are some ways serialized and character-based series use formulas to their advantage? How do you generate a sustainable and compelling engine for your show? How do you express that formula in a script?

Plus, we launch our Patreon page and are hosting a mixer to celebrate!

The Paper Team regenerates…



1 – Paper Team is now on Patreon! You can support us starting as little as $2/month and get exclusive TV writing advice in exchange, including cheat sheets and bonus episodes. Join us at https://www.patreon.com/paperteam

2 – To celebrate the launch, we’re having a free mixer! Join us Saturday, January 19 at the Harlowe Bar in West Hollywood. The event starts at 5PM and runs all evening. More information available at http://paperteam.co/mixer


Announcements: Patreon launch and Mixer details (00:26)
1 – Why formulas are still important in TV (03:39)
2 – How to generate a TV engine (09:09)
3 – Common questions and problems (22:44)
Takeaways and Next Week On (26:34)


TV Pilot 101 (PT30)
TV Pilot 201: Keeping the Reader Interested (PT84)
Day Break
Act Breaks (PT15)
Weaving Storylines: A/B/C Stories (PT53)

Special thanks to Alex Switzky for helping us edit this episode and everyone else who supported us this year.

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If you have any questions, comments or feedback, you can e-mail us: [email protected]

Paper Team
Paper Team
Alex Freedman & Nick Watson

Paper Team is a podcast about television writing and becoming a TV writer.

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