The Ultimate Step by Step Guide to Writing for TV

One of TVWriter™’s favorite sites goes all out with a detailed guide on how to write for TV. Our friends at Script Reader Pro have earned the blessing of our Beloved Leader, Larry Brody himself.

Um, these are writers, yeah? Where are their laptops? And their coffee cups?

by Script Reader Pro

How to Write for TV: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Career

As an aspiring screenwriter, you may have noticed there’s quite a bit of confusing information out there regarding writing for television.

In this post, we’re also going to dispel many of the myths and confusion surrounding writing TV scripts.

Here’s What We’ll be Covering:  

?  Should I write a TV spec script if I’m a feature writer? (Yes)

?  If I want to start writing for television, should I try writing a TV show that’s already on air, or an original?

?  What about single or multi-camera?

?  Network or cable?

?  How should I format a TV script?

?  What can I do to break into television writing once my script’s done?

So let’s get to it. (Full disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something we make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.)

If You Want to Get Into TV Script Writing You’ll Need a “Spec” Script (Or Three)

As in the land of features, if you want to break in, you’ll need a “spec” script. This is a script written “speculatively” that showcases your talents and can be used as a calling card.

In TV, there are two main types of spec script:

?  “Spec episode” for an existing TV show

?  “Spec pilot” for an original TV show

Let’s take a quick look at both of these in turn.

The Spec Episode

In the world of TV script writing, a “spec” usually means a sample episode of an existing show. It’s also known as a “TV spec”, “sample episode” and “spec episode.” For the sake of clarity, we’re going to use the latter.

Writing a spec episode is the traditional way writers use to break into television writing. But it’s less in vogue now than a few years ago.

This entails writing an episode of an existing TV series that showcases your ability to write current characters that people know and love. In a way that feels real and familiar, yet fresh.