When someone asks me about the projects I’m presently working on, I’ll give them a brief rundown to which they’ll invariably respond: “But what if they all go?” Yes, theoretically, it’s possible that, say, multiple projects could receive a simultaneous green light but, realistically, it’s more likely that none of them receive the go-ahead. Which is why you really need to hedge your bets and be a bit of a creative multi-tasker. In truth, the number of projects I have on deck may seem like a lot, but scheduling and prioritizing certainly mak things easier…
Ah, now these are the projects that are completely self-generated, from concept to completion. It may be a verbal pitch or a one page overview or, in some instances, even a finished pilot script. Over the last few months, I’ve verbally pitched four originals, one of which advanced to the “further exploration” stage before being turned down. At present, I have two out for consideration. The first is that SF military pilot I mentioned this past summer. The other presently exists as a one page overview and is my favorite, a spiritual successor to Dark Matter that offers a similar ship-based, action-adventure approach with colorful characters and an underlying sense of humor.
In this case, you were working off someone else’s idea, be it a simple pitch or an adaptation. Usually, the material has gone out to multiple writers and it’s your job to come up with the best possible vision for a potential television series. What differentiates it from the source material? Where will you take it? What’s the first season plan? And how do you see the series progressing past that first season? I’ve got a little over a half-dozen of these takes in the works – a comic book, a contemporary SF novel, a contemporary horror novel, a classic SF novel, a Korean drama series, and an anime series – and, if any of them spark some interest, we move onto…
A broadcaster or production company is investing in you and an idea. It’s your job to prove to them that their faith in you and said idea has not been misplaced by delivering a phenomenal series overview, bible, and/or pilot script. I am presently one series overview and 17 pages of a script into one of these. I have a soft spot for this sci-fi project and the people involved, so I’m really hoping my efforts pay off with a straight to series order sometime this summer.
THE HIRED GUN
And then there are times when you need the assistance of a proven professional like, say, an experienced showrunner, to help reassure a potential broadcaster, lock up a sale, and/or hit the ground running when the green light is given. Since Dark Matter’s cancellation, I’ve been lucky enough to have been approached about three such opportunities. Ultimately, none were quite the right fit, but a new project – a brilliant hard SF series that came my way recently – is all sorts of intriguing and, I have no doubt, will be fantastic – with or without my involvement.
Well, as I said, I’m already an act deep into this pilot. The trickiest scene is behind me, we’ve made planet fall, and we’re about to explore our new surroundings. I suspect it’ll be smoooooth sailing from there. Tonight, I switch gears to watch the final five episodes that anime series as I have a call on Tuesday to present my take for a t.v. adaptation (as well as my take for an adaptation of that awesome Korean drama). And then, it’s an anxious wait to hear word back on my pitches.