TVWriter™ Newsletter – October 2013


TVWriter™ Newsletter – October 2013


It’s Fall in Hollywood, which means, um, nothing, really, weatherwise. In terms of television it’s a whole ‘nuther thing. The beginning of another TV season dedicated to not rocking the boat. (Unless your show is on NBC, in which case it’s all about rock, baby, rock.)

My Fall advice, for what it’s worth, is simply this:

Do rock the boat. Create scripts and shows and presentations and proposals that are new, different, and exciting. Because if ever the continuously fragmenting medium we still call TV needed to push the boundaries, it’s now.

And, yes, I’m speaking as a viewer as well as a “creative.”

Enjoy our latest newsletter, and if you’re sick of reading email today, hey, c’mon to TVWriter™ and read this whole thing in living color et al HERE.




What can we say? As the Whole Civilized World must certainly know, the 2013 Winners have been chosen and are now listed on the permanent “Winners” pages in both the People’s PIlot and Spce Scriptacular parts of the site, along with every single Runner-Up, Finalist, and Semi-Finalist since TVWriter™’s version of these Hunger Games began.

If you want to get an eyeful of greatness, and maybe see how many of the names will be familiar to you from their subsequent appearances on your home screens, why not take a few moments to fasten your eyes on both the People’s Pilot and Spec Scriptacular All-Time Winners pages?

Which reminds us that we’ve made some big changes to the running dates of both contests for 2014. The People’s Pilot will open for submissions January 1 and close June 1, as usual. But the Spec Scriptacular opening will be July 1 and it will close to submissions December 1.

This not only allows our judges to concentrate more on each specific contest, it also allows entrants to focus more intensely as well. And we’re hoping that it’ll ease the financial burden, such as it may be, for those who are entering both by spreading it over a longer period of time.

We’ve made a few other changes as well, which means:

Everything you need to know, old and new, about the People’s Pilot is HERE.

Everything you need to know, old and new, about the Spec Scriptacular is HERE.

Or just go to TVWriter™ and find the contest of your choice in the righthand index.


The next TVWriter™ Advanced Online Workshop starts Wednesday, October 23, 2013 and considering how quickly it fills up, there’s no better time to sign up than right now.

This is the workshop for writers who already know the basics and have a specific project to workshop with LB. The Advanced Workshop is limited to 5 students, so if you’re interested in getting in on the fun in August, you really should have a look-see at the Advanced Workshop info and sign-up form

The next version of Larry Brody’s Master Class will begin Thursday, November 7, 2013.

The Master Class is the online workshop for professional level writers who want to spend an intense month perfecting your current work. That means you have a draft of 60 pages ready to be read and tweaked. Or revised, or, who knows, maybe thrown away, but we don’t want to scare ya. Let LB himself analyze your story, plot, and characterization just as he would if he were producing your masterpiece.

LB accepts a maximum of only 3 students at a time in this one so if you’re interested you definitely need to get more info and reserve your place ASAP.

Or find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE.


Teleplay Format

by LB

For all practical purposes, teleplays come in three formats. There’s one-hour film, half-hour film, and half-hour tape.

The hour film format is used for dramas, action shows, and primetime soaps. It looks a lot like typical screenplay format. Most hour dramas run about 50 pages long but some – those incorporating a lot of fast-paced dialog – can be as long as 70 pages. Scripts in this format start with a three page “Teaser,” which is followed by four “Acts” and, sometimes, a one page “Tag.” Sometimes the teaser is actually part of the first act. And sometimes the tag is actually part of the fourth act. The first act is usually longest, with each succeeding act a little shorter than the one before it. In an action show the last act often is just the “chase,” or climactic sequence.

The half hour film format is for sitcoms. It too looks like typical screenplay format, except that the scripts run about 40 to 45 pages. These teleplays also usually start with a three page teaser and end with a short tag, but in between those two book ends are only two acts.

The half hour tape format is also for sitcoms. It looks a lot like stageplay format, including double-spaced dialog and uppercase stage directions. Tape format shows run about 45 to 50 pages in length and also have short teasers and tags and two acts. Traditionally, half hour tape format was used for sitcoms that were taped before an audience while half hour film format was used for sitcoms that were filmed on a soundstage, but nowadays just about everything is filmed so it’s merely a matter of prodco or network preference.

What are you sitting there for? Now that you’ve got the format, “Start writing!”

That’s it for now. Our work here is done. (Now it’s up to you.)

Team TVWriter™

Larry Brody – Head Dood
Tim Muncher – Keeper of the Faith
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats
Gwen Brody – Beautiful Dreamer

Now a few words about folks we believe in:


LB’s classic how-to book, Television Writing from the Inside Out, has been revised and updated. What more could any screen or television writer ask for? All profits go back into TVWriter™ so buy it HERE!


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Be sure to check out TVWriter™ for all the latest news, products, and a wealth of info on screen and TV writing!