Film Courage: We put out a call a few days ago on our Youtube community tab for people to chime in with some questions, so I am going to read a few if that’s okay?
Peter Russell, Screenwriter/Story Doctor: Oh, yes please.
Film Courage: So this comes in from Rosemary Orange. She says “When you write a spec pilot how many episodes should you have ready to go? Do you only pitch the pilot?”
Peter: Yes, you only pitch the pilot and look…everything I say is probably wrong. I’m just going on my experience right. Because everybody can be different. Nobody knows how showbiz works. But I’ll give you what I think and what is working for us.
For JACK JOHNSON we wrote a pilot and four other episodes. But everybody only wants to read the pilot okay.
Now we have outlines too for the other four episodes but generally speaking and it’s great to have five episodes. If you want to go to an extreme examples David Simon’s WIRE he had written every episode and he put that on a story bible and his extended outlines but I think what you need generally speaking and check this with managers and agents because I don’t know sometimes. I’m not a manager but a pilot is a crucial thing to have and then a one or two-sheet which gives it a concept of the show which is say with JACK JOHNSON it’s two pages, it’s Jack on the cover and…what’s our cut line…RAGING BULL meets…I can’t remember…meets somebody. So it’s a two-page concept sheet but the pilot we work and work and work on. Now we’ve written other episodes. We’ve written a whole miniseries but what they seem to want to see is the pilot, this two-page line and oh!…RAGING BULL meets ROCKY. That makes sense right. So our pilot is a long pilot, it’s a miniseries, it’s actually a 120 pages. It’s probably too long. But see the pilot and then have the other episodes if you’ve got them ready but the pilot is what everybody reads and then they’re going to say Do we want a sales deck? When we get to that. We’re actually compiling what is called a sales deck now.
Sales decks are essentially (at least from what I can tell) about 20 or 30 PowerPoint slides. Or if you’re smart and you have a Mac. But they are essentially two or three lines per deck What this show is about, who the market is, what this is for? They’re generally for the producer’s sales team…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
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¡CALAMBRE! is a 53 minute episodic black and white film about a poet who returns to his hometown of New York City to rekindle an old flame, only to complicate his return with new women in his life. A film by Carlos Renaso.
LA-based filmmakers! Join us Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019 from 7-9 p.m in North Hollywood for this 2-hour Q&A style event with horror filmmaker James Cullen Bressack. James will help you navigate the ins-and-outs of being a horror filmmaker (whether it’s your own production or as a director-for-hire). His 61 producer, 38 writer and 34 directors credits show his intense commitment to his work. He’s grown up around the business and he’s still several years shy of turning 30. More info via Eventbrite page here.