The TV Series Story Development process includes a full Treatment of the show and the First Episode. This gives the TV Producers and Executives everything they need to know about your TV Show Project, including a summary of the basic concept and theme, the backdrop, and a list of the main characters. The treatment also includes a summary of four additional episodes that show the first season. The TV Series Treatment is generally 10-12 pages but could be longer if required. A first episode is 30 pages for a half hour show and 60 pages for a one-hour show. The First Episode is written in FINAL DRAFT software which is the industry standard for screenplay writing.
The TV Series Treatment highlights:
The Title of Show - Creating a compelling title that hints at the core theme of the show and includes the personal plight of your main character(s) and protagonist(s) is the goal here.
The Logline - A logline describes the core concept of the show and should only be a few sentences long. It describes the main character's plight and unique circumstance that drives the TV Series forward.
The Main Concept - An overview of the TV series idea in a one-page description of the world or setting it takes place in, the unique conflicts faced, and the dynamics between the main characters that fuels the story. This is a great sales tool because it highlights the most interesting facets and themes of the TV series. It should be done in three paragraphs, but a few pages are okay as long as the writing is tight and reads efficiently.
A complete list of Main Characters - Describing your main characters and main protagonists is another key element to the series. Each character has a goal and a background. For the purposes of the treatment, the background is less important than the characters current circumstances and shared conflict. It is short paragraph clarifying how they view their world, and how they relate to others. Creating irony with their behavior (stamp) helps identify them easily from the other cast. Find the flaw in a hero, and a redeeming quality in an antagonist is all key.
First Pilot Episode - This is the full first pilot episode sets the entire tone for a TV show and introduced the main character and theme. This usually accompanies the Treatment as a Final Draft file and is either 30 pages or 60 pages long, depending on the TV show.
Summary of four additional follow-up Episodes - The Treatment also includes a summary (a few paragraphs) about the episodes that follow the pilot episode. The summary should include the main characters and their main conflict and also should highlight the theme and tone to the TV show appear both solid and consistent.
TV SHOW STRUCTURE:
A Pilot Script Structure - A half-hour show or sitcom may have two to three acts. And hour long TV show can have up to five acts.
1 Hour Drama (4 -5 Acts. 50-60 pages) Structure:
Act 1 - The first act is really the 'teaser' for the entire show and should bring the audience directly into the world of the main characters. Here we witness their conflict and dramatic events in ways that grab our curiosity and pulls us into the story further and into the character's world. The first act also introduces the protagonist and the obstacles imposed if they are required for the show. The additional acts should further the main conflict until it is either resolved or left with a 'cliffhanger' ending. The additional acts should introduce additional characters or parties related to the conflict and plot, feeding the various factors our main character must face. The final act and ending should leave us wanting more.
Act 1 - The Setup. This is where the main character establishes their unique need and the conflict they face. At the end of Act 1, there should be a cliffhanger that raises the stakes for whatever situation is in Act 1. Act 2 furthers the main plot and them and adds more complication and obstacles for the main character. The stakes are heightened as the conflict escalates, forcing a resolution. The 3rd act is where resolution comes into play and forces your main character toward a humorous or ironic conclusion.
For more details about the TV Series Development Process contact Suzanne.