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TV Writer Spec Scriptacular Winner – Best Comedy 2015 (Official Feedback)

FEEDBACK ABOUT YOUR 2015 SPEC SCRIPTACULAR ENTRY

This Feedback isn’t meant to include all the notes that script coverage would give. Not because I wouldn’t like to, but because it’s impossible for one man to do all that for the hundreds of contest entries we get each time the People’s Pilot is run.

My purpose with the Feedback is to give you an understanding of how you did in the contest relative to other contestants and also the professional standards of our industry. That means letting you in on how the judges score the contest and what score they gave you. It’s my hope that you as a writer will then interpret the info and apply it to your entry so that you can improve both the script and your writing in general.

Our scoring has changed this year in an effort to make the judges’ decision more transparent and easier to understand. The judges consider 5 different elements, awarding from 1 to 10 points, with 10 being the highest. The points are then totalled and averaged into the entry’s score…with occasional allowances for other factors emerging from the judges’ discussions with each other. (This last situation happens as rarely as we can make it happen, so it’s really quite infrequent.)

The Elements are:

CONCEPT – How effective a hook your basic premise is

IMPACT – The emotional connection your script makes with the reader. How well does it hold the reader’s attention?

STORY – Does the plot work? Is it true to the script’s internal logic? Is the reader surprised?

DIALOG – How realistic? How suitable? How clever? How revealing? How interesting? How – ulp – cliched?

SHOW CAPTURE (for spec episodes) – How closely do the characters match those on the show itself? How closely does your plot adhere to the pattern of the show itself?

CHARACTERIZATION (for TV Movie/Screenplay/Special entries) – How real do the chracters seem? How interesting are they? Are they stereotypes/cliches?

As you read on, remember that this is the Spec Scriptacular. That means that in the first two categories your script is being judged by the standards professionals use to judge a series episode. In addition to the basic elements of screen and TV writing – plot/story/characterization/dialog/formatting – we’re also looking at how close you come to writing what could be, in effect, the the best episode that could ever appear on this series. Or to put it another way, if the showrunner of this series reads your script, how likely is s/he to say the magic words that can guarantee a staff job: “Wow. This is just the way I would’ve written it!”

If you’ve entered a script in the third category, consider that your script is being judged by the standards at which professionals judge a one-shot screenplay, special presentation, or pilot script. In addition to the basic elements of screen and TV writing we’re also looking at the viability of the premise and the way you’ve realized it. Will the concept appeal to enough viewers to make production worthwhile? Is it exciting enough phsyically or emotiionally to be viewed again and again and perhaps become the basis for a series? Does what we read here have that special something that indicates audiences – and critics – will fall in love with it?

What the Number Values Mean:

No one gets a 10. A script that knocks out everyone who’s read it, that is at the level of a pro at his/her peak, gets in the 9s, and scripts in the 9s are the ones that usually take the first three places. In the case of a comedy, a script that has us laughing continuously and wishing to God that we’d written it is a script in the 9s.  In the case of drama, a script that has us on the edge of our seats, caring for the characters almost as much as we care for ourselves and making us wish we’d written that one too is a script in the 9s.

A script that is head and shoulders above everything else in terms of the values of its genre, which shows a thorough understanding of the creative and practical aspects of TV writing, and moves the judges to great appreciation of its writer usually scores in the 8s.

A script that is professional through and through but could benefit from a rewrite because it’s just not feeling special enough usually scores in the 7s. A script that scores in the 6s usually is one that shows that the writer is talented and knows what s/he is doing but one with which the judges disagree in terms of a lot of its story and character choices. It’s one that wasn’t as fascinating as it could have been, along the lines of a good first draft. Okay but not finished.

A script in the 5s is one that really isn’t ready to be shown around. The format may be correct, but the rest just isn’t at a professional level. Its various elements – plot/story/characterization/dialog/formatting just didn’t resonate with the judges.

A script in the 4s goes further in that direction. It’s one in which one of the basic elements is so below par that to the professional reader it demonstrates that the writer still needs to learn much more about his/her trade.

A script in the 3s is one in which at least two of the basic elements are so below par that to the professional reader it demonstrates a that the writer needs to learn still more about his/her trade.

A script in the 2s is one in which at least 3 of the basic elements are so below par that to the professional reader it demonstrates even more of the above.

A script in the 1s is one in which 4 of the basic elements are lacking, including a total lack of formatting.

A script that scores a 0 is one which seemed to the judges to be literally unreadable for one reason or another.

Your entry, THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: KIMMY IS A VIP, scored:

TOTAL: 9.05

CONCEPT: 9.00

IMPACT: 9.00

STORY: 9.00

DIALOG: 9.00

SHOW CAPTURE: 9.25

COMMENT:

Your episode of TUKS finished 1st in the sitcom category.

The judges were blown away by what you did here. One of them said it succinctly: “This has everything. Humor. Fits the show. Good story. Good pacing.”

Okay, so you didn’t get a series of 10s. Nobody ever does. It’s all a matter of degree. In theory, every area we put a scored down is one you could have polished a little more, but I can’t think of how, or how anything you did further could ever even be noticed.

So, although I’d like to be able to add to find something to complain about, I can’t. This was the kind of script every showrunner hopes to get from a member of his or her staff. Hell, it’s the kind of script every showrunner hopes to write.

I look forward to working with you and watching you fulfill your potential.

Best,

LB

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