That Guy At The Nose Of The Airplane

April 16, 2011

I’ve been stuck on this pilot I’m writing for a long time now.

I remember a time 2 months ago when I felt I was a short toss away from scripting. Seriously. And now, I’ve been in meltdown (too soon) for way too long. I finally talked to someone about what was holding me back and it helped. Not tonnes, but some.

Today, that same friend sent me a (mostly unrelated) link to a blogpost about screen writing. It helped a bit more.

I’ve spent the past hour reading old posts from another screenwriting blog I used to frequent and – yep – feeling better.

Anyway, here’s an interesting excerpt from that last blog that really has nothing to do with my problem, but it’s a fascinating perspective on TV as a genre.

Simply put, I think when we talk originality on TV we’re using a different mixture, or recipe, than when people talk originality in art or in the novel or even the movie. Originality in TV to me is more akin to originality in popular music. [those itals are me]

When you hear an unbelievably catchy song on the radio (these days, if you’re talking a new song you haven’t heard before, I’m probably talking, on the satellite ratio) the thing that gets you is that most of the time it pulls off an impossible trick: it simultaneously feels and sounds fresh and familiar. Maybe there’s something about the bassline or the chord progression, or maybe it’s built upon a sample from an earlier song you liked…but to me the pleasure comes from feeling that it’s both new and familiar – both receptors in your brain go crazy, and that’s why some songs you hear for the first time and go, “that’s amazing!” and you love it right away.

I think that’s kind of like what we do in TV. TV is about constantly pulling off the impossible trick. When you drag people out to a theater (and I’m talking about viewers here who aren’t 18 year old boys with no sense of history) you have a bit of a higher burden on creativity — it needs to not be something you’ve ever seen before, or if it’s even the slightest bit pastiche, it better be great pastiche, like The Departed. Same is true of a good novel, I think.

Anyway, the whole post is a great read if this thing is… your thing.


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