(Almost) Everything You Need to Know About the People’s Pilot Competition

We here at TVWriter™ love getting email and answering questions and all that stuff. In recent months, we’ve received even more than the usual number of queries about one of our favorite projects (and certainly our favorite writing contest), The People’s Pilot.

We’re happy to continue responding and answering specific questions, but it seems to us that one easy way to bring a large number of TVWriter™ visitors up to speed on what The People’s Pilot is and does is to re-publish, right here, right now, the “About” page on the web.

So, without further ado, here it is!

About the People’s Pilot
by LB & Team TVWriter™

With more broadcast, cable, console game channels, and original online video programming available for viewing than ever before in media history, all of it garnering larger audiences everyday, the market for bright, fresh, and original series programming ideas is at an all-time high.

The old pros who have been the traditional creators of TV series have had to share the creative load with newcomers of all sorts, but the creative demand goes on. Executives and audiences are more ready than ever before for new creators who can supply them with material unlike that ever before seen.

Some pundits call today’s entertainment situation “Peak TV.” Others pronounce this a “Golden Age.” We at TVWriter™ think of it as “The Era of the Unique Vision, a time when TV is more open to new writers than ever before. To help you sell yourself and your series ideas, we’ve updated our long-running (over a decade and a half!) PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION to give our entrants the best possible shot at success.

We are all about giving agents, showrunners, and executives exactly what they now are looking for: Spec pilot teleplays that showcase you, the new writer operating at your very best. If the suits love the writing of a spec pilot, they have the best reason in the world to trust the writer to come through in the development process. A strongly-written spec pilot shows you’re ready for the gig.

Here’s a Really Important Bit

Winners, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of:

  • LETHAL WEAPON (upcoming)
  • WESTWORLD (upcoming)
  • MOM
  • ROME
  • New! Vesta Giles, a 2014 Finalist, is now finishing her second script assignment as a writer of LIFETIME TV MOVIES.
  • And that doesn’t include the various one-off writing gigs and staff jobs we don’t yet know about. We’d love to see you join this fine group of successes!

How the People’s Pilot Works

The PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION is held yearly, opening for entries March 1 and staying open for 8 months, until November 1. We do our best to announce the Winners, starting with Semi-Finalists, over a two week period in January and February of the following year.

The contest is for scripted series intended for just about any media you can think of. Broadcast TV. Cable and satellite TV. Internet series on major sites from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu through YouTube, Vimeo and other popular uploading channels and venues, to your own personal website.

Following in this new direction, the PP is divided into 3 prize-giving categories:

  • Scripted series One-Half Hour Or Less in length – including everything from broadcast and premium cable length shows through 11 minute Adult Swim and Cartoon network type shows to short-short 5 minute or less internet shows
  • Scripted series One-Hour Or Less in length – including broadcast and premium cable length shows and personal, idiosyncratic shows as short as 30:01 minutes and as long as 60:00 minutes
  • UPDATED!!! Scripted series More Than One Hour in length – including mini-series and other shows whose episodes will be feature film length (like several on seen on BBC and ITV in the UK. Especially welcome in this category are series deliberately designed to be binge-watched and viewed at longer sittings. (Can any other contest say the same?)

All three categories are open to all series genres:

  • Drama
  • Comedy
  • Action
  • Dramedy
  • Anthology
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Children’s
  • Soap Opera
  • Medical
  • Legal
  • Police & Detective
  • Historical
  • Live Action
  • Animation
  • Puppetry
  • Anything else we haven’t mentioned that you want your series to be

In other words, the PEOPLE’S PILOT is wide open to whatever you want to express and whatever expresses you as a creative force best.

Tips for Entrants

  • A good pilot combines the “origin” or series backstory with a typical episode of what the series will be.
  • A good pilot makes sure that the characters are clearly defined and interesting enough for us to want to see them week after week.
  • A good pilot describes things. No one’s ever seen this show before so don’t be afraid to take a few lines here and there to tell us about the characters and the sets. Paint a word picture so the reader can better understand where they are and who’re they are with and in that way fully appreciate your series concept.

A pilot script is our only requirement, but, optionally, you can also include a series proposal. In our experience, the best proposals contain the following elements:

  • A summary of the basic idea behind the show, including the setting, genre, theme, etc.
  • A summary of the main continuing characters, their background and appearance, personalities, and interaction with each other
  • A statement of the kinds of situation in which the characters will be placed, including what the basic structure of those situations will be, what effect these situations will have on the characters, and what effect the characters will have on them
  • Continuing character and story arcs if any
  • A short list of possible episodes with enough different stories to show that the series will be viable week to week

Jumpstart Your Career With A Contest Win That Counts

In recent years new online writing contests have been springing up with almost dizzying speed. Not all writing contests, however, are created equal. TVWriter™’s PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION has been running online since the year 2000 – the dawn of the 21st Century. Winning or placing highly in PP means something. It’s a genuine step into your future. Jump start your career with a contest win that counts.

No matter who you are, no matter where in the world you live, this is your chance to do all you can to make contemporary media as good as you always thought it could be!

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