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So I read Adventureland…

 

I saw Adventureland in the theater, and I really liked it. I walked out basically thinking that it had a great tone, with a wonderful element of nostalgia.

 

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Wait — an hour?

OK, so I’ve pitched my pilot to several people, and even let my sister read the first few pages. Many of them have suggested that it be an hour. An HOUR. Like, 44 minutes of television programming.

I did a little research, and watched the pilot for Ugly Betty, one of my old favorites, and read the pilot, written by Silvio Horta, who adapted the show for English in the United States. {Read the pilot script here}. This pilot is a great model for my pilot, and it actually inspired me to take my story into a different direction for a stronger ending.

However — an HOUR?! That’s a lot of time! I realize that many dramatic comedies, like Ugly Betty, and Desperate Housewives, Psych, and Glee are an hour long. Still, come on! I totally envisioned that it would only be a 22-minute, wham-bam, in-and-out kinda pilot.

But I fear my friends, family and mentors are right. This show has to be an hour.

Don’t they know hour-long shows have a bajillion-acts! Don’t these people know how much more work that is?! The Ugly Betty Pilot is 61 pages. I’ve seen some Grey’s Anatomy scripts that are seriously like 70 pages. What is a girl, used to a solid 30 pages, supposed to do?

I guess get cracking.

Unfortunately (and fortunately) I only have a week and a half until I should send this out to people. I’m writing this pilot for FOX’s writer’s program, so everything’s due June 30 — that includes getting someone who is already in the industry to read it and then sign off on it.

Also, my protagonist is Liz Lemon, essentially.

Entering the Frenzy?

by munhitsu

I know April is only a couple of days away, but I am heavily debating whether to get involved in this year’s Script Frenzy. Now that I have a spec script under my belt, I feel about 6% more confident about writing a screenplay.

I have a few ideas in the pipeline that I could tackle if I reeeeeaaaaallly wanted to:

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I think I want to make comedies….

somewhere between this…

and this

Not that there really is “an in-between” for me. Just judging by these trailers, and what I’ve heard, I have to see these movies because they are essentially what I want to make. In fact, Bridesmaids is basically how I pitched the vision of my own production company last spring to my producing class: “comedies with Judd Apatow-like humor that actually understands women past a one-dimensional shrew or one-dimensional psycho.” Because as much as he’ll give a woman a funny line, his women are still pretty flat or succubus-ish.

Grey’s? Yeah, it used to be called St. Elsewhere

I watched the first three episodes of St. Elsewhere, season one last week, and it made me realize how much of a foundation it laid for all of the hospital shows that have followed: ER, Grey’s Anatomy, House, Private Practice, Chicago Hope, Scrubs — even Off The Map, and the effing hilarious web series Children’s Hospital.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t huge into any of the big medical shows aside from Grey’s and I did watch Scrubs from time to time. But Grey’s Antatomy got too wacky for me last year, so I haven’t visited Seattle Grace Hospital since the closer of season 6. I do go through withdrawal sometimes, but it’s best that I watch some quality television, since I do spend a lot of time watching Tabatha’s Salon Takeover and Top Chef.

There are a lot of great things to take away from St. Elsewhere: ensemble casting, relationships, dark comedy, quick pacing, quality filming, and the fact that this show begins in 1982 — and it LOOKS like it. There was a guy walking around in a leisure suit like it was a t-shirt and jeans, so that rocked my world for a minute.

The thing that bothered me is that so many of the storylines in the three episodes of St. Elsewhere that I saw were basically all later used on Grey’s; the main difference was that instead of a predominantly male cast, this was through the eyes of female, and the intensity on Grey’s is dialed up to 11. But it got me thinking: when you’re stuck within the confines of a hospital, you’re bound to repeat things. There just are certain themes, and stories that are, as long as you’re talking about the same premise: young doctors learning at a hospital, while trying to balance any semblance of real life they have left.

This show loooooooved some continuous shots. It’s pretty amazing for a weekly show, though it is an hour-long series. They follow one doctor into a hallway talking to another doctor, who hands something off to another doctor who we start to follow, who passes a nurse on her way to attending to a patient, who we then settle the camera on — all while people coming in and out of the scenes are dropping one-liners and giving short updates to their stories. Actually, most of the time, the lines in these scenes barely played into the storylines, but might have exposed more about the character’s attitude or background.

And for as much as they want to play up the fact that Denzel Washington was in this show, he maybe has 2 lines per episode. Perhaps that changes as the show progresses, but so far, we just know that he’s a doctor, he’s black, and his parents are rich (which  that’s the only way some black dude could become a doctor, and he’s still at the crappiest hospital in the state of Massachusetts). I also find it odd that the actress Kim Miyori, who plays Dr. Wendy Armstrong and has a decent amount of lines on this show, is not in the opening credits, but Denzel is. Perhaps there’s a reason for this — according to IMDB, she does get dropped after the second season.

The women on this show are interesting. So far, there’s not a lot of sexual tension between doctors, except that Howie Mandel’s character is being seduced (though he thinks he’s doing the seducing) by this creepy girl who works down in the morgue. She’s really creepy. It’s kinda hilarious.

Just because this freaking cracked me up

I had to post this…

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