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*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.



I didn't really have an image to illustrate my near-pointlessness, but the one I've chosen, while obvious why I've chosen it, is not without some (tenuous) context.

It wasn't all that long ago that you just didn't really write spec pilots. In fact, it's so recent that I'm occasionally coming across someone who's still a little surprised by the fact that the new standard is "a spec and a pilot." Increasingly rare, though.

I'm damned happy that paradigm shifted, because that old world...dreadfully dull, dontcha think?

Besides, how is it it took so long for The Powers That Be to realize that you're just not going to get the best sense of a writer's true ability and personal voice if all you ever see is them doing specs? I'm mean, yeah, your voice can and should come through in a spec, but it's going to be mutated or muted by virtue of the fact that the show's tone must be maintained. A pilot is pure.

And I do so love writing them. While occasionally, I get to the end of a spec and I'm really happy about how it turned out (My House, for instance), there is nothing better than creating a character who can grab you by the collar push you down into your chair (or whatever) and tell you "Oh, yes! You are are going to write the hell outta me." After finishing some massive Dexterization, I decided to get into my next pilot right away, just to get over the blank page mockery.

I've always found it easier to write something when there is already something there. Even if it's just the first page. So I got it started. I knew how the script opened, then my character decided I wasn't done yet and took me through the next two scenes and also left me somewhere I hadn't entirely planned on. It was something I'd considered earlier, but then went another direction. She thought better of it.

I'm not really even done fully plotting out the thing, but now that I've got her on the page, talking to me, talking to other people, she's telling me how things are going to go. And if I don't listen there will be trouble.

Here's the other thing about pilots. Really long shelf life. Shows get cancelled, fall out of favor as the "hot spec" or even suffer from being the "hot spec." (I honestly don't get why a producer or whomever would do anything other than save that huge pile of the The Office which probably have several with the same episode premise (and have probably read a hundred of already in their life), until after I've read through the smaller pile of 30 Rock (that calls for a picture of the Fey)). That pilot though, probably going to be good for years, unless you wrote one about a guy who talks to the dead or serial killer that kills murderers.

It's a good time for --personally-- for pilot writing because I'm getting my hands on some more of this year's pilot scripts. Some are ridiculously good. Some, less so. Either way, it's energizes the pilotiness. It totally messes with prioritization though, as I've got got other projects going on that, while they will get done, just aren't getting done as soon as I would like. And one of those projects is costing my upwards of a hundred bones a month until it's done.

Yeah, I think I'm going to go work on that for a few hours now instead of writing this post.

And no, I didn't go see Baby Mama this weekend, because Fey didn't write it. So I'll wait for NetFlix.
©2024 Michael Patrick Sullivan
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