Jim Uhls is not your average screenwriter. For one thing, his nickname is “Professor Peculiar.” For another, as this exclusive off-kilter discussion of his craft demonstrates, Uhls is eager to break the first rule of Fight Club: He talks about Fight Club. A lot. That seminal film, directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Panic Room), pushed every boundary possible for a studio movie, and Uhls’ darkly funny script, adapted from the Chuck Palahniuk novel, is a wickedly subversive example of how to successfully adapt an “unadaptable” book. Step inside the mind of the man who figured out how to do it, as Professor Peculiar explains how to use a newspaper story approach to build a brilliant pitch, why you should interview your characters, how to know when to “stick a fork” in your screenplay, and the macabre particulars of how and why he had to murder his brother’s cat.
The idea here is that you simply make a request in the comments with your email or PM and someone will send it to you anonymously. Typically this works quite well.
This site will be of plenty of interest to TV fans, but fundamentally it’s for people who want to take their love of TV and transform it into something more practical: actually creating telly that people want to see. These scripts are here because the only way to learn how to write a TV script is to read A LOT of other TV scripts, and there aren’t many places you can do that. So here you can study scripts for existing shows, some of your old favourites, and many that never even made it to air. Figure out what makes an episode work, how to format that spec, why a pilot failed and how to write in four, five or six acts.
The first episode of a TV show is called the pilot episode. Writing a pilot is one of the toughest things a TV scribe can do. In it, you have to introduce your central character and core cast, build enough of your show’s world without overwhelming the audience with backstory, create an episode “template,” and communicate the show’s tone. Oh, and you have to tell a really good story as well, or no-one will come back for episode two!
Rod Serling’s final interview. March 4, 1975: Not knowing that he has less than four months to live, Rod weighs in eerily on awards, prejudice, censorship, compulsion, immortality, final unproduced screenplay The Stops Along the Way (which J.J. Abrams bought), (not) planning ahead… and crying.
Writer/Producer Vince Gilligan was interviewed for nearly four hours in Burbank, CA. He talked about knowing that he wanted to be involved with storytelling, in film or television, from a very early age. He discussed his education at NYU Film school and winning a screenwriting award which lead to his first jobs in television writing. He discussed becoming a staff writer on The X-Files after a chance meeting with series’ creator Chris Carter. He spoke in great detail about his seven years as a writer, and later producer, on X-Files and described several specific episodes including the Emmy-winning “Memento Mori”. He spoke about the short-lived spinoff, The Lone Gunmen, and how both series were affected by the events of 9/11. He spoke at length about his current project (then concluding season 4), the AMC drama Breaking Bad, which he created and produced. The interview was conducted by Jenni Matz on August 9, 2011.
Simon had the show nailed from the beginning. Near the end of the overview, he says:
But more than an exercise is realism for its own sake, the verisimilitude of The Wire exists to serve something larger. In the first story-arc, the episodes begin what would seem to be the straight-forward, albeit protracted, pursuit of a violent drug crew that controls a high-rise housing project. But within a brief span of time, the officers who undertake the pursuit are forced to acknowledge truths about their department, their role, the drug war and the city as a whole. In the end, the cost to all sides begins to suggest not so much the dogged police pursuit of the bad guys, but rather a Greek tragedy. At the end of thirteen episodes, the reward for the viewer -— who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show — is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead, the conclusion is something that Euripides or O’Neill might recognize: an America, at every level at war with itself.
The final section is entitled “BIBLE” and contains draft outlines of a nine-episode season. —