Welcome to the twenty-third of our Creative Challenges. WriteMovies’ 100-Day Creative Challenge 23 is about TV show formats.
Guidance: For the next 20 minutes, use whatever method you like – thoughts and ideas, mind maps, diagrams or sketches, a sample of script, prose, poetry – as you prepare a creative piece, about:
A script that could be an episode of the next series of a current TV or online show.
- As you work through this task, you might also consider how this activity relates to TV show formats.
- Save or photograph your work as a document called “100DayCC23”. Then reflect on this experience and what it has taught you about you and your writing: what comes naturally to you, which aspects were easy and difficult, and the subjects, angles and attitudes that you like to focus your writing on.
- Share online if you like using the hashtag #100DayCC23 to compare to other people’s experiences and support each other, or submit to our Academy Lite if you’re a subscriber!
When you complete the Challenge – or if you get completely stuck – then look at the Feedback below!
It’s important to recognize the ‘formula’ of successful shows – those elements which occur in every episode, the things it wouldn’t be itself without. The challenge for writers is to make those same handful of elements, with the same characters, come over in a fresh new way every single time – for maybe 200 episodes! That’s really not easy to do, but it creates an opportunity. Ongoing shows can run out of ideas and need new blood and new ways of looking at their formula in order to succeed. You can use a strong ‘spec script’ like this to approach the series makers, knowing they have to commission writers to make stuff like this in their next series – it may be that not all of those slots are booked up already, and you can find a way in. Earning credits and money on an existing series, especially one in decline, might not always be as creatively fulfilling as what you want to do in writing, but it can really open doors for people to give you the chance to get that made too, further down the line. Trying to get a more ambitious project by a first-time writer sold, is seriously hard work and faces a mountain of challenges – we make that our business at WriteMovies, so that our writers don’t have to do it all themselves, but even with our contacts and friends in the industry, the number of scripts produced from new writers is a really low number.
General tips and feedback:
Many writers, naturally, don’t find it easy to be creative ‘on tap’ – especially for work that they didn’t set themselves. But to write professionally, you will usually need to meet deadlines and requirements, that can’t be put off, for briefs you didn’t choose for yourself: even if you’re ill or feeling down, you’ll usually have to just find a way through, and get the results that are needed, to the quality that’s necessary. So the WriteMovies Creative Challenges are designed to help you find ways around the crucial issues of ‘block’.
We do this by setting a (deceptively!) simple brief, and encouraging you to use a variety of methods, approaches and creative products in order to find ways around it, and generate some kind of outcomes that might be useful to you in the future. Whatever state your mind and mood are in – energetic or tired, stimulated or bored, motivated or disengaged, etc – there are different ‘modes’ of creative productivity which you can engage, to make the best of it: editing your work if you can’t write, making notes if you can’t generate script, etc. Try a mix of methods to make the most of activities such as the Creative Challenges, especially anytime you get stuck: just keep adding notes, sketches etc freely, you can decide later whether any of them are useful! Also note that the brief is to ‘prepare’ a creative work – not to actually make it straight away, before you feel ready to! But if you’ve come away from this with a passage of prose or script or even poetry, well done!
Hopefully this activity will have shown you the potential value of our Creative Challenges, and the benefits of making a routine to complete them, and persisting with it day by day to gradually improve all aspects of your writing and to develop solutions to ‘block’, that you will become more and more proficient with over time. We recommend that you commit to fulfilling the 100-Day Creative Challenges, sharing your outputs to gain the support and feedback of other writers working on the same activities, and if you’d like expert daily feedback from us on this and much more, additional material, subscribe to the WriteMovies Academy Lite now!