How To Write a One-Hour TV Script

Welcome to the glamorous world of scriptwriting! Of course, you probably already know that along with the thrill and fascination that this profession holds, it also involves hard work – a lot of it. One of the ways that you could effectively tackle a script assignment is to be strategic. Here are some of the best strategies you could employ in order to write a one-hour TV script:

  • Start by finding out as much about the TV show as you can. First of all, know whether the show is to be a part of a series, or a stand-alone. If it’s a part of a series then you would have to know about the intricacies of the show (the development of the plot from the beginning, the relationships of the characters with one another, the planned events that will lead up to the season ender, etc). Knowing these background info will ensure that the script you write will be in logical harmony with the rest of the episodes.
    If the TV show is a stand-alone episode, you will definitely have to know of the following details: the TV format, the genre, and the target audience. You should also watch previous shows in that same slot, so you would have an idea about how to structure the show that you will write.
  • Find out the duration of commercials to be aired. Remember that you will have to factor in the time of the commercials along with the rest of the show’s run.
  • Have a formula. Though there isn’t really one cookie-cutter way of writing your script, it would make things easier for you if you start with a known “formula” for writing TV scripts; you could just modify your script according to your creative preferences.
  • Separate the show into five segments. The first part introduces the show and acts as the “warm-up”. The second part showcases the rising action of the show. The third part builds up to the climax. The fourth part shows the resolution. Finally, the fifth part concludes the show and provides a teaser for the next episode.
    You could create a bullet point of the key events that will happen for each segment. Use this as your guide when writing the detailed script later on.
    As you work with these five segments, you will find that you will have an easier time structuring the show and translating your ideas into a workable script. You will also find that these segments will help you keep the storyline solid, uncluttered, and easy to understand.
  • Write the detailed script. Make sure that you consistently and effectively illustrate the personality of each character in the show through using the proper dialogue for each of them. Avoid using clichés when constructing the dialogue, and keep the lines as realistic as possible. Ask yourself: will a normal person actually say this line in real life?
  • Time the script. Even before rehearsals start, you could estimate for the time that each segment will take. You don’t have to be too exact with the time: adjustments could be made later on if your script is a little longer or shorter than an hour.

As you get used to writing scripts, you will find that it will be an easier task to fulfill. You will also eventually get a feel for the length of script that you will need to make in order to fill out the requisite one-hour time frame.


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