Creating an idea for a series which we love and which still adheres to the requirements of a particular broadcaster has been a recent shared challenge for me at Flickerpix. There is still a lot about writing character driven narrative which I’m trying to figure out. I see the broadcaster brief as less of a limitation and more of a challenge. How does writing for a 10 year old audience differ from an 8 or 14 year old audience? I would guess that looking at particular life events would be a good place to start but what about the language and types of characters? I usually categorise the books that I read a little more broadly into children, young adult fiction and other, usually depending on the age of the main characters if it’s a more modern book. Paying more attention to target audience in the bookshelves might be more helpful.
Trying to distill an idea into a short form while still maintaining the humour and demonstrating how the characters drive the narrative has been another challenge. The video link below has some useful tips.
- Think about the competition. Is there something on air that is already similar to your idea? Have a good answer why it’s not that.
- Think about where you see your show. Know the difference between networks and where you are able to sell. Don’t handicap yourself with a tiny niche.
- Think about what relates to your target audience. What are in their lives?
- Ask for feedback. What doesn’t make sense to them? Start soft pitching the idea. See where you stumble or are too convoluted.
- Your bible is your presentation guide. Don’t read from it. Ask if people want a hardcopy or a pdf emailed to them.
- Kidscreen, miptv, mipcom (bigger for animation).
- Your bible should be around 10 pages, a fun easy read. Overview, character descriptions, episode examples.
- Overview – tagline, start at the beginning, you need to start with the basic information! What are the rules, tone, genre, length of episodes, storylines? The overview is 1 – 2 pages describing the complete package. Give exact examples, be clear about the points. This is the stage.
- Character descriptions. Adjectives don’t tell you much. Be creative about how you describe character. The look of the character can be a good opportunity to start with ‘the opposite’ statement. E.g. Mandy is disgusting. She uses her sweet looks to get her way. Show the conflict between what the character is and what the character wants to be.
- Episode spring boards. This is the area that makes or breaks the bible. Show the beginning, middle and end. Give the examples that draw the overviews and characters together. What is it about the characters that motivate actions in the story line? Who is important in your show? Have you given them enough prickles in their personalities to drive the story off of each other?