Scripted TV is heading into edgy mainstream territory. Indie commercial. Conservative radical. As with every industry of the day, DISRUPTION is the current industry paradigm.
With a mature TV marketplace, audiences are growing tired of rehashed stories, characters and situations. They are less inclined to accept the status quo, but not quite ready to embrace the outlandish. Good storytelling will always remain the bedrock of quality TV, no matter how its execution evolves.
If you have a fresh writing voice, a unique take on a popular theme, or you’re just left field in your view of the world, cablers want to hear from you. Odd is the new normal.
If you have a vision that can be executed over a season, network executives want to hear from you. Since the commercial stakes have been lowered with the smaller networks, especially online, they are more inclined to take a chance on newer writers without extensive writing credits. Of course, extensive credits and industry referrals will also boost your chances.
If you’re a writer that’s previously staffed on TV show, you’re more likely to be elevated to show runner status.
If you’re a newer writer, write a pilot and outline for several episodes to show your Tv show has a story engine that can perpetuate story lines. Pitches are still difficult to sell unless you have an extremely high concept idea.
If a TV executive says “Wow. I haven’t seen that before”, that’s a good sign.
Think about the world you create. It lends itself to specific characters and themes. What is its time period? Events that occurred two or three decades ago are the basis of several TV shows. They are the new period pieces.
Complicated and morally dubious characters are still popular right now. As are psychologically damaged rather than well adjusted individuals. Your characters should be pushing boundaries and fighting the establishment. Anti-heroes engaging in illegal activities may be off the main burner for now. We’ve seen too many of them. But tastes are cyclical.
Make sure your characters are interesting, compelling, specific in their flaws and have a clearly defined and distinct world philosophy. Do they explore a universal truth that global audiences can relate to?
Characters that force us to view the world’s social constructs in new way. We don’t have to agree with them, just appreciate them.
Since TV is also viewed as a social commentary as well as entertainment, now is your time to shine.
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