Answer the following questions in a file on your USB drive (so you will have a copy to keep). Then, paste your answers into the fields below.
1. Title of Series
2. Source(s) of Idea (including URL(s) to some information on the source(s), if available)
3. Series' Fundamental Conflict or Tension
Like all series, the premise of your series idea will be based on the following formula:
a primary tension or conflict + a containing situation = the premise
The tension produces either comic situations or dramatic plots. These tensions arise out of a contradictions in the condition of the hero or the world of the story:
* a fish-out-of-water situation,
* a secret life,
* a mystery,
* unlike characters thrown or stuck together, etc.
The conflict is not immediately resolved, however, because of a "containing situation," which makes the conflict
Examples: Hillbillies living in Beverly Hills; an advertising executive whose wife is secretly a witch with magic powers; an agent for the highly regimented, rationalistic FBI investigates supernatural and extraterrestrial phenomenon and "wants to believe."
In a sentence or two, describe this basic tension
In a sentence or two, describe the containing situation that prevents the conflict from being resolved in an episode or two
Describe the genre of the show and give a couple of examples of actual shows in that genre (current or past)
5A. (Option One: Single Character
Focus): Character Types or Positions
TV series--and stories in general--tend to feature the same character types. These types are products of the relationships of these characters to the hero (and thus to the audience). Note that in a series, rather than a one-time movie concept, relationships among these types are never resolved. Below, examples are given parenthetically from the series Seinfeld.
the Buddy(George, Kramer)
the Love Interest (Elaine, current episode's girlfriend)
the Antagonist(s)/Blocking or Complicating Character(s)
(Newman, Jerry's parents, George's parents, Jerry's various short-time girlfriends, George's various short-time girlfriends, Soup Nazi, sometimes Kramer, sometimes George, sometimes Elaine).
List one or more "A.B.C." characters below
5B. (Option Two: Ensemble Focus)
Rather than focusing on a single, lead character, ensemble comedies and dramas feature groups of friends, co-workers, family members, etc. An example would be Parks and Recreation or Girls. Emotionally, an ensemble grouping almost always functions as a replacement family--if it is not literally a family
The writer weaves together the characters' multiple story lines and subplots to explore a group, professional world, or sub culture. Each character in the ensemble has a distinct, defining role or value that arises from his/her character or situation in that shared world.
The shared world itself provides the unifying subject of the ensemble show, which might be a place/time, profession, event, social issue or conflict, etc. This subject provides thematic and dramatic continuity among the characters, episodes, and seasons.
5Bi. Unifying Subject
In a paragraph, describe the Unifying Subject of the series (a Place/Time, Profession, Event, Social Issue or Conflict, which will generate conflicts, plot lines, situations, misunderstandings, etc.)
5Bii. Characters in Ensemble and their Roles
List Major Ensemble Characters Names and their defining roles or values
Source: Chris McGuire's Ensemble Comedy
6. In a short paragraph,"describe "how the characters came together, the circumstances that hold them together, a description of that world" (see The TV Writer's Vault/Scripted Projects for more)
7. Real Places or Sub-Cultural Universes
Most series feature particular locales or settings which provide background texture or realism, generate plot complications, or even represemt the ultimate subject and meaning of the show (Seinfeld/New York City; Dexter/Miami; Beverly Hillbillies, Sopranos/New Jersey).
In a sentence of two, try speculating on the meaning and function of the setting and other aspects of realism or real-world texture on your series concept--or on your reasons for having a generic setting like the middle-class suburbia of The Simpson's Springfield.
8. Try to write a one-sentence summary of your concept.
For example, "A likeable husband's tolerance and marriage is tested by the constant intrusion of his overbearing parents and dim-witted brother" - Everybody Loves Raymond (From The TV Writer's Vault, see also Wikipedia's Log Lines).
See also some pitched log lines for movies (not TV series) with a producer's critiques from The Inside Pitch.