Story Worksheet For Writing A TV Pilot


This is the template used by Jennifer Grisanti.

1) START BY DEFINING YOUR DILEMMA.
• Will you start with a series dilemma or a pilot dilemma?
• If you start with a series dilemma, it should stem into your pilot dilemma and then into your pilot goal.
Question to answer – What is your starting dilemma?

2) WHAT IS THE EXTERNAL GOAL THAT STEMS FROM YOUR DILEMMA IN THE A-STORY?
• By identifying the external goal, all of your other pivotal points in your story will connect back to this goal.
Question to answer – What is the external goal in your A story?

3) WRITE A LOGLINE FOR YOUR SERIES AND YOUR PILOT (A STORY).
• Use the formula set up of who (create empathy), dilemma, action and goal with a twist of irony.
Question to answer – What is your series log line? What is your pilot log line?

4) WHAT IS THE STARTING DILEMMA FOR YOUR B STORY? WRITER THE GOAL THAT STEMS FROM IT.
• Think of a theme that ties your story lines together.
• Think of an arc that ties together, theme, symbolism and message that connects your story lines.
Question to answer – What is the starting dilemma for your B story and what is the goal that stems from it?

5) WHAT ARE YOUR ACT OUTS?
• Your act outs should be obstacles, escalating obstacles and an “all is lost” moment that all connect back to your goal.
• You can double the impact by having your act outs end on strong obstacles in the A and B story so that it really hits.
Questions to answer – What are the ending moments on your act breaks and how to they connect back to the goal in the form of an obstacle, escalating obstacle, turning point or “all is lost” moment?

6) WHAT ACTIONS DOES YOUR CENTRAL CHARACTER TAKE IN PURSUIT OF THEIR GOAL?
• Try to write at least one action they take per act that leads to the obstacle.
Questions to answer – What are the actions taken in pursuit of the goal by the central character in the A story for each act?

7) WHAT ARE THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL STAKES FOR EACH GOAL? WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN IF THE GOAL ISN’T ACHIEVED?
• Make sure that there is an external/internal stakes arc throughout.
• Remind the audience what your character/characters have to lose.
Questions to answer – What are the external stakes for each arc? What are the internal stakes?

8) END YOUR ACT OUTS WITH A QUESTION. ANSWER THE QUESTION AT THE TOP OF YOUR NEXT ARC. 
• Think about splitting the moment of tension with your act outs. When you end it with a question, you make your audience want to come back for the answer.
Questions to answer – What are the questions coming out of each act?

9) ENSURE THE EXTERNAL GOAL IN THE A STORY IS ACHIEVED OR PARTIALLY ACHIEVED.
Question to answer – What is the moment where your central character achieves the goal in your last act?

10) SET UP WHAT YOUR SERIES WILL BE. END YOUR PILOT IN A WAY THAT MAKES YOUR AUDIENCE WANT TO RETURN TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
• Make sure that the concept of your series is crystal clear.
Question to answer – What do you do to set up your series?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s