Editorial Reviews. Review. Everything you wanted to know -- and things you didn' t even know to ask -- about writing a successful TV pilot. Before you type FADE. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. William Rabkin is a veteran showrunner whose episodic credits include Monk, Psych and The Glades. He has written and/ or. Writing the Pilot book. Read 44 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Television networks are so desperate for new voices and fresh ide.
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Goldberg, Lee, date. Successful television writing / Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin. p. cm. — (Wiley books for writers). Includes bibliographical references and. When I finished Writing the Pilot a few years back, I figured I'd managed to cram everything I had to say on the subject in that little page package. But that was . Writing the Pilot - site edition by William Rabkin. Reference site eBooks @ bestthing.info
The way stories are told. The way series are consumed. The kinds of stories that can be told. The limitations on content at every level. The limitations on form at every level. And maybe most important of all: The restriction on who is allowed to sell a series.
What's far more confusing about the future is that there are as many changes in the business models for "broadcasters" out there, and no one knows which ones will prevail. Broadcast networks depend almost entirely on advertising dollars. Basic cable networks live on ad revenues and per-subscriber payments from cable and satellite systems. And the changes in the delivery model are actually affecting the way our viewers watch our shows - and that in turn is affecting the shows that are being bought and produced.
It turns out that we approach a series differently if we're going to binge an entire season in three days instead of taking it week by week.
Writing the Pilot
And while you might leap to the conclusion that this only applies to shows produced for Netflix, that's actually not true - the market for syndicated reruns on independent and cable channels is mostly dead, and the afterlife for almost every drama currently produced will be on a streaming service. So in those cases you are writing for two completely different audiences.
And this is only the beginning of the forces that are changing the ways stories are told on television these days. Who could have guessed, for example, that a change in the way networks count their viewers would result in a huge acceleration in the pace of storytelling?
Or that an overabundance of outlets would lead to a complete liberalization of the kinds of stories that would be allowed to serve as foundation for a series? TV drama storytelling has been changing constantly since the turn of the millennium, but the pace of that change seems to accelerate with every passing television season - except that there really isn't any such thing as a television season anymore. I hardly want to count this as a book since it's so short.
I feel like the book provides very generic and generalized information without actually bothering to teach any skills. So, if you already know this stuff, this book isn't for you. At the same time,if you don't know any of this stuff, this book isn't for you. Maybe it was a bit of a money grab. Feb 28, Ethan M. Rogers rated it really liked it.
Rabkin deftly deal with the two most important concepts for a writer to understand. Let's face it, the NBA has, what, 35 job openings every year. Studios have less than that and if you don't know someone, you're not getting in the door.
Look, the deck is stacked against you. Deal with it.
Success happens when Preparation meets Opportunity. Just because you aren't likely going to sell your TV script this is Writing the Pil Rabkin deftly deal with the two most important concepts for a writer to understand.
Just because you aren't likely going to sell your TV script this is Writing the Pilot, after all doesn't mean you shouldn't learn how to write one, that you shouldn't write the best damn pilot script you can. Because maybe, just maybe, lightening will strike and you'll have something, a calling card, a printed work that people can look at and marvel at the brilliance of. But you have to learn to write first because, really, learning to tell a good story is a reward in itself. As with anything, there has to be a passion there if you truly want to pursue it.
I say this not to discourage you but to prepare you for the hard work ahead and, hopefully, the satisfying joy of a victory hard won. Rabkin does, I think, a good job of driving key points home whilst "keeping it real" as they say. The verbosity of scholars is often troublesome and tiring, they wax on, ad infinitum, saying the same thing, over and over again, leaving you with the feeling that you have read so very may words that you have now begun to lose the thread of what the conversation was about, which can be both troublesome and tiring, this scholarly verbosity - just so many words to say so little.
Rabkin, thankfully, avoids this sort of self appreciation in favor of taking up the mantle of teacher and guide. Definitely worth a read if you have even the slightest interest in maybe, one day, writing a Television series. Apr 02, Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: This slim volume is packed with great advice that every aspirational TV screenwriter needs to read before writing their pilot script.
Just some really good tips about making sure your idea is good for a TV series vs a movie, knowing what your story engine is, understanding character development and making sure you have the central theme and conflict of your series defined.
Rabkin's examples are all good and relevant. His writing style is breezy and enjoyable. Mar 06, Michelle rated it really liked it. This book pointed out a lot of interesting things to think about if you're interested in scripting a pilot for a TV series or even just interested in analysing why a particular television series succeeded or failed. I really enjoyed his points about having a central conflict that can drive the show for seasons and the kinds of pilots there are and how to decide which type to have.
But I feel like he kind of buried the lede: But that's changed! Networks are now downloading spec pilots! So I'm writing this book to let you know how to do it. Then in the last chapter, he's like: Aug 13, Lee Goldberg rated it it was amazing.
He writes with a casual, humorous, and knowledgeable voice that sets this book far apart from other screenwriting books. It's like having lunch with a good friend. But don't mistake that light touch for a lack of depth or academic value. His detailed analysis of what makes a great pilot And his indepth analysis of the pilots for "Fast Forward," " "Writing the Pilot" is entertaining and jam-packed with useful information.
And his indepth analysis of the pilots for "Fast Forward," "Life on Mars" and "Fringe" are particularly smart and insightful.
He gets personal, too. He deftly uses examples from his own successful TV career to illustrate the thought-process behind developing and writing pilots and candidly discusses some of mistakes along the way and what he learned from them. Spec TV pilots are all the rage right now and his book couldn't be more timely. If you want to get into the TV biz, or if you are a veteran TV pro struggling with pilot-writing issues, "Writing the Pilot" is a must-read.
Jan 14, Author rated it really liked it. This book doesn't cover everything about the writing of a pilot, but it gives a very big step forward in getting started. It mostly focuses on the process and key things to do in prepping yourself to write, but doesn't get into too many specific writing tips.
All of the advice seemed really valuable, and there were quite a few pieces that made me want to think about how I've been approaching writing to see if I'm doing it Rabkin's way or not. There were definitely a lot of things to try, and I'd This book doesn't cover everything about the writing of a pilot, but it gives a very big step forward in getting started. There were definitely a lot of things to try, and I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in writing an original TV series.
Writing the Pilot
This book gives you a lot of great advice from someone who's done it on how to go about writing the pilot. If you're looking for a writing book that gets into immense details for how to write, this isn't the book.
If you're looking for a book that helps you figure out how to approach writing a pilot and how to get started, I'd definitely recommend this book. Sep 10, Anya Meksin rated it did not like it. Riddled with typos and cliches, this book more like a pamphlet that was probably dashed off by the author in a single weekend could only be useful to the most inexperienced writers, who have never before considered the basic principles of storytelling, like conflict and character.
The ideas here are simplistic, the tone is irritating, and the take-aways are muddled. Particularly useless is the fact that the main case study the author uses is for a pilot he himself wrote that was 1 never produ Riddled with typos and cliches, this book more like a pamphlet that was probably dashed off by the author in a single weekend could only be useful to the most inexperienced writers, who have never before considered the basic principles of storytelling, like conflict and character.
Particularly useless is the fact that the main case study the author uses is for a pilot he himself wrote that was 1 never produced, and thus not exactly worth imitating and 2 adapted from an existing book series, and thus not even concerned with coming up with original material. If you've been handed an entire book series, your concerns as a writer are probably very different from someone trying to realize an original idea of their own.
Jul 05, Rochelle rated it really liked it. Typos and glaring questions aside Alfie is an FBI agent that doesn't speak a second language? Yes, it's half a shameless pitch for a previously passed-on television series, but Rabkin uses the other half to offer contemporary advice for the aspiring small-screen writer. He may refer to young women as "girls" and poo-poo the storytelling structure of--personal fav--Veronica M Typos and glaring questions aside Alfie is an FBI agent that doesn't speak a second language?
He may refer to young women as "girls" and poo-poo the storytelling structure of--personal fav--Veronica Mars, but Rabkin's suggestions adequately spark.
This book gave some good advice. Emphasis on "some. If you're writing a pilot, pick up one of the countless other books out there instead.
Extremely helpful and succinct. I found a lot of the advice relevant to novel writing as well as television writing. Will definitely be hanging onto and referencing in the future. May 25, Jefferey Spivey rated it liked it. This book offers great insight into the psychology behind crafting a TV pilot that will sell. It's more philosophical.
A big picture concept book vs. However, if you're looking for a TV writing guide that gets into specifics i. It's a solid intro to the industry and the essential elements of any good show. But when it comes to actually writing your pilot, you'll need another resource to complement thi This book offers great insight into the psychology behind crafting a TV pilot that will sell. But when it comes to actually writing your pilot, you'll need another resource to complement this one.
Writing the Pilot: Creating the Series
May 03, Dan rated it really liked it. Good insight. He has great information but sells the book short in that he has no suggestions, just passing on information he has gleaned professionally. Good but not great. Worth a read though.
Dec 27, Kathleen DeMarle rated it liked it. This booked was an easy read and offered some basic insight to writing a pilot. It is more specifically geared towards writing for a drama series but the information could easily be carried over into writing for a sitcom.
Mar 25, Willo Johnston rated it it was ok. Some useful stuff, but TV has changed since , so much of it is out of date. Also, lacks depth - reads a bit rushed chat; like he has other things to do. Jul 17, Alexx rated it really liked it Shelves: Very valuable for anyone interested in the process of TV writing. Dec 05, Rory Diamond rated it really liked it. The most succinct and helpful book on TV writing I've read!
Mar 17, David Olsen rated it it was amazing. Some great insights in here. Writing the Pilot by William Rabkin Writing the Pilot is a simple guide on how to write a television pilot.
What makes this book good is not just what it covers, but what it doesn't. Writing the Pilot doesn't tell you how many days to write in. It doesn't tell you about screenplay format. It doesn't tell you what subjects are good. It doesn't tell you what genres are good.
It doesn't tell you about agents or managers. It doesn't tell you about act structure and commercial breaks. It doesn't tell y Writing the Pilot by William Rabkin Writing the Pilot is a simple guide on how to write a television pilot.
It doesn't tell you about revision. It doesn't tell you about pitching. It doesn't tell you about networks.
It doesn't tell you about studios. Writing the Pilot doesn't get bogged down in all of this stuff because, I believe, it's a book for writers. If you've written very little, if you've never read a pilot before, if you don't know how one gets an agent, I think you might not be ready for this book. Writing the Pilot teaches it's readers to think about the pilot as more than a good idea. Ideas are one episode. Franchises are what keeps the show going.
The Franchise of a television show is why people keep coming back. It let's the viewer know what they're going to consistently get as the television series continues.
Writing the Pilot covers a few key ingredients for what needs to go into a pilot. Conflict, characters, supporting characters, the world, the tone, and the fun. The value in this book is it's laser focus. I wish I had read it before I had written the however many pilots I've written. Mar 29, Kylie rated it it was amazing. On a scale of , this book definitely hits a solid 9. Any aspiring author or spec pilot writer MUST read this book. This book perfectly illustrates the perks and downsides of the TV industry.
It also focuses in on how to build your main characters and supporting characters and how to bring something new and exciting to your plot using them. This book goes far beyond writing the pilot of a spec TV series.
I would strongly rec On a scale of , this book definitely hits a solid 9. I would strongly recommend this book to any readers who also have a love and passion for writing and are specifically looking to enter the television industry even though this book applies to all genres of writing. The author speaks in a voice that everyone who reads will be able to understand. You can hear his voice in your head while you are reading because he writes as if he is speaking to you directly.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new hobby or career or anyone that just wants a good laugh in the afternoon.
You can pick up 4 pages a week or even skip around from chapter to chapter. The order is up to you because Rabkin makes this book easy to follow. Overall, I highly recommend this book be your next afternoon read. Apr 10, Claude Nougat rated it really liked it.Such a discussion must also incorporate online platforms such as Netflix, which are, by definition, distributors of web series. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. And something happens.
This was a show that was going to cross back and forth over the border, even teaming up an American detective with a Mexican one.
It's like having lunch with a good friend.