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 (since the year 2000!) 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.
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!
How the People’s Pilot Works
The PEOPLE’S PILOT COMPETITION is held yearly, opening for entries June 1 and closing November 1, at 10 PM Pacific Time. We do our best to announce the Winners, starting with Semi-Finalists, over a three or four 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.
The PP is divided into 2 prize-giving categories:
- Scripted Comedy Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, web series, audio series, cell phone series et al) of any length required for telling your story
- Scripted Drama & Action Series – intended for any electronic platform (including broadcast and premium cable series, web series, audio series, cell phone series et al) of any length required for telling your story
All categories are open to any imaginable genre or sub-genre, including:
- Science Fiction
- Soap Opera
- Police & Detective
- Live Action
- 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 best expresses you as a creative force.
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
Similarly, if a produced version of the entry authorized by writer(s)-submitter(s) exists, the writer(s)-submitter(s) may optionally link to a video – or in the case of an audio series pilot an audio – recording of the produced pilot script instead of or in addition to the script to further aid the judges regarding nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed. Keep in mind, however, that a video that isn’t up to the standards of the industry may have an adverse affect.