Unfortunately, Real Life has been distracting me from blogging – and my pilot script.

Yet John August’s brilliant analysis of Premise Pilots dragged me back today. I was having this debate with my director friend about a TV pilot he’d like me to write.

Basically, it involves an ordinary guy having his world turned upside down when he realises he’s living in a secret dystopia. However, the problem is this: you need a lot of setup. It’s therefore difficult to make a pilot that captures the action-adventure spice of the rest of the series because the first episode has to highlight his dull, vanilla life.

Another interesting post is Bitter’s commentary on capitalisation in action paragraphs. I like to capitalise characters’ entrance in every scene – though, in my sit com pilot, it doesn’t seem to be working. I also note important props and sound effects, which Bitter identifies as outdated techniques.

Then there’s Scott’s answers on Act One length. This post is about feature scripts, but it may well apply to BBC television scripts (not so much American/ad channels). writersroom advice recommends Act One is only three to five pages of a thirty-minute episode! Setting up your pilot script in that length of time is likely untenable – pushing it to eight pages might be the out you need.

So, enough advice absorption – now to find some words to write down!


  • In the comic book world if you need a lot of buildup, there’s a little trick you can use in your writing. Jump straight into the action. Tease it. Then go back and tell how the character got there. This can be a big risk cinematically, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with proper care.

    Also, you could take a cue from The Matrix (the first movie of course). Build and foreshadow with enigma and mystery. Hint at something larger and keep the audience wanting more.

    • It’s fun to jump-start things! I have my New Guy character walking in to the middle of an office fight, rubber dart guns included.

      I think the second draft will help me cut down some pages.

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