What makes a TV series good?

It can be difficult to get into the entertainment industry. However, television executives are always open to new ideas. Before you pitch a network your script idea, ensure it contains these essential elements.

Strong character development

Good television shows are built on memorable characters that people remember and continue to watch week after week. They are the driving force behind each episode’s plot. Unlike films that have limited space for character development, a television series allows them to grow and progress. (Think of Walter White’s transformation from suburban dad to a drug kingpin in Breaking Bad or Meredith Grey’s journey from shy intern to the respected doctor in Grey’s Anatomy). Your pitch should include at least 2-5 characters that are well-rounded and have strengths, weaknesses, and struggles that your target audience can identify with.

Writing for Script & Screen course details

Original plot

It’s hard to create original content when there are so many scripts being pitched every day. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. An executive is more likely to approve a well-researched concept that they feel will succeed. Your plot should not be the same as any other televised story. It must stand alone. Strong writing and original ideas are key to the best plots. They also have an excellent understanding of what motivates and drives characters.

Conventional

You know the importance of structure if you have ever listened to someone tell a long story that had no beginning, middle, or end. The structure of television dramas and sitcoms is four to five acts. They introduce the conflict, set the scene for the episode, and then resolve it at the end. To learn how to write for television, you should read as many scripts from the genre that you are interested in writing or imitating as you can. You can download them from websites like SimplyScripts.

Solid working plan

Although you may have an idea for a New TV Series, have you created a plan for the entire series? How do you know what happens to your main characters after three seasons? Make sure that you are familiar with your characters and the world in which they live before you pitch your idea. A comprehensive 3–10 page treatment should include:

  • Title – This should be catchy and dynamic to help you market your idea.
  • Logline A one- or two-sentence summary that describes your show’s main plot and/or characters.
  • SynopsisThree paragraphs to outline your idea more in-depth.
  • Characters –Brief description outlines for each main character (focus on motivations and not physical appearances).
  • Episode arcs: Provides a summary of 3-4 episodes that gives an overview of how each episode will unfold and how the series will develop.