That’s no small feat, so I want to take a moment to celebrate the achievement before reality sinks it.
Ten episodes, over 500 pages, and I wrapped it up with an ending that is both satisfactory if the show only lasts one season, and also opens the door for new adventures in Season Two.
While I am thrilled with this accomplishment, I have also learned from my many years as a writer, to temper my excitement.
After all, if no one buys the series, and it never gets made, I will have just spent the better part of a year pouring my heart into a project that no one will ever see.
But let’s stay positive and talk about things like everything is going to happen as planned.
I’m proud of myself for tackling this age old philosophical question:
I think Aristotle was the first to pose that question. I know he never got around to writing that TV series that was always on his bucket list, and I didn’t want to suffer the same fate.
My producer friend had been after me to write a series, but I’d never really given it serious thought.
After all, I’m a screenwriter, who moonlights as a joke writer for television. What did I really know about writing a TV series?
Do you mean other than all the hours of TV I’ve watched in my life, and then thought that I could either do much better, or wished that I’d come up with such a brilliant idea?
I didn’t know anything about blogging, either, and that’s turned out pretty well.
I’m always up for a writing challenge, and I’ve forever assumed that my boring life would be the perfect fodder for a popular TV series, so I had to go for it.
Let me be perfectly honest. This has been a challenge like no other in my writing career. One doesn’t just decide to create a TV series, and then it magically happens.
But the hard work has been exhilarating. I’ve written pretty much every day for months. If I wasn’t turning out script pages, I was scribbling down notes. I recorded and watched hours of some of my all-time favorite TV shows.
All that work totally paid off. I’ve never been this prepared for a writing project.
I’m infamous for coming up with an idea, and then just opening up the laptop to see where the story and characters take me.
This time around, I had outlines and a hard ten episode limit.
Sure, I still ignored the outline at times, and let the story and characters run amuck and lead me to the ending they wanted, but I always knew how the season was going to end.
Anytime I veered from my outline, some future story idea had to pay the price because there was no way the ending was changing, and I couldn’t write more than ten episodes.
Many ideas didn’t make it onto the page. Luckily, some of them can be used in future seasons. Others, however, will never have their moment in the sun.
Episode 10 was challenging because everything had to be wrapped up by that final page. There was no Episode 11 option should I decide to wander off the beaten path.
I’ve known for months what the final two scenes were. I just had to get there, and decide what absolutely had to make it into that final script.
At one point on Saturday, I was writing out on the front porch, and wandered across the street to talk to my neighbor about whether I should include a scene in the finale. It wasn’t absolutely necessary to get me to my ending, but it would offer a little comeuppance for the character who’d turned into the series’ antagonist.
So perhaps that gives you some idea of who the antagonist might be, and why it would be tempting to write a scene where she gets a little payback.
That was a challenging decision.
About halfway into Episode 10, I realized that two of the minor characters, who had appeared in every episode to this point, were not in the outline. Their stories had been wrapped up, and they were not involved in the final scenes. However, it occurred to me that if this series got made, and if it then didn’t get renewed for a second season, I’d regret not giving these characters some screen time in the last episode.
So into Episode 10 they went because it seemed like the right thing to do.
I did have a setback on Friday night. I arrived at a point in the script that I knew was going to be difficult to write. I had to recall one of the most heartbreaking events of my life, and I wasn’t sure how I would react to it.
Like a baby.
I wrote through the tears, and I just hope I did the scene justice. Journeying back to my time at NYU has been a blast, but even though those were four of the happiest years of my life, I did experience a horrible loss during that time.
And it was something that could not be left out of the story because of how much of an impact it’s had on my life since.
When I finally made it to the last scene, I was depressed. I didn’t want the story to end. These characters have been living in my head for so long, and I’m going to miss them.
Hopefully, there will be more seasons, so I can play with them again.
Even though I’ve known the ending for months, I still cried when I wrote the last two lines of dialogue. And not because they’re sad, but because I’m a big sap.
I did a read through of Episode 10 the next day, and those last two lines makes me cry again. I just hope you all get a chance to experience them, too, and then tell me if they moved you to tears.
Everyone keeps asking me what happens next. This is the part I hate. I pour my heart and soul into these scripts, and now the business types have to decide if they are worth the money necessary to bring them to life.
If my producer can’t get it done, then I’m going to figure out something on my own.
This story deserves an opportunity to entertain you all. Let’s hope Hollywood agrees with me on that…
Are you excited to watch my TV series if it gets made?