nbc writers on the verge – my pilot is done

after struggling for weeks, i finally finished my pilot, and i’m happy with how it came out!

i had a lot to think about after the last round of notes and the feedback from the table read. at times, i wondered if i should give up on it completely, throw it away, and just write a new pilot from scratch. instead, i let the script sit for a couple weeks, and i let the notes sink in.

around this time, i had a meeting with my wotv mentor, who works in comedy development at nbc. he was nice enough to read my script and he gave me some very insightful notes, and that’s when things started to click.

i started to see my pilot in a new way, and i was able to wrap my head around some of the previous notes that i couldn’t figure out how to implement. i cut out one character and expanded another. i adjusted the goal for my main character. i changed the motivation for one of the supporting characters. i added more jokes, cut exposition, and trimmed pages. i focused on the relationships between the characters and thought more about how the actions by the main character affected everyone.

after making my revisions, i turned in my pilot in along with my happy endings spec to wotv. i’m so relieved i’m done! and the script is much stronger than it was a few weeks ago. so now, wotv is going to put all of our scripts and our bios onto usb thumb drives and give them to agents, managers, and nbc execs.

writing this pilot has been extremely challenging and caused me a lot of anxiety. it was really frustrating because i know that i know how to write. i’ve written specs, and short films, and short stories. i should be able to write a pilot, but for some reason, there were just some basic conceptual things about a pilot that i couldn’t figure out right away. it took me longer than i wanted, but i learned so much and i know every pilot i write from now on will be much stronger.

i already started another pilot so i can apply everything i’ve learned during wotv, and the writing process is already a lot smoother on this script. now i know how to set things up properly with characters and their flaws, goals, stakes, and dilemmas (all the great stuff jen grisanti teaches). most of my past scripts have a network friendly tone, but with my new pilot, i’m going for an edgier cable tone. i’m really excited with my new idea!

  1. Terry left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Success! Congrats on finishing! I’m sure the pilot and spec are great. (PS, I’m a writer new to LA and love the blog!)

    • kiyong left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      thanks terry. welcome to LA! you should attend the monthly friday night drinks mixers and the yahoo tv writers group mixers.

      • Anonymous left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        hey friday night drinks sounds great.
        anyway, wanted to say congrads!!! on getting that pilot done. and 2nd one is started this is just great news.
        keep us updated what happens next and that thanks for your updates.
        hope to get my elementary spec done sooner than later. and then wait for my notes.
        cheers,

        ron ron

  2. Kristy left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Congrats on the new pilot. Been reading your WOTV journey from the beginning. Ironically enough I applied last year with no luck obviously but I wrote a new pilot, gave it to my agent who got me TV agents and I signed with new managers, now I have a meeting at NBC Universal for a potential staff job, I guess things have a way of turning out 🙂

    • kiyong left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      that’s awesome! for which show? did you have a feature agent first? best of luck.

      • Kristy left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        It’s for Grimm. Yeah I got a manager at a young age who got me an agent, I since left the manager and spent last year just writing. Wrote this pilot, was looking for a new manager but long story short my feature agent read and got on board and got me a TV team put together.

        I do both films and TV but since I just moved out to LA in August, and being diverse, I want to take a full run at TV while it’s season.

        • kiyong left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm

          very cool. please keep me updated, and welcome to LA.

      • Kristy left a comment on April 12, 2013 at 6:04 pm

        Any chance I can pick your brain about some aspects of WOTV? I was encouraged to re-apply this year at my NBC meeting and my TV agent thinks it would be good to cover my bases.

        I’d love to exchange a few emails if you can!

      • kiyong left a comment on April 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

        sure, email me. i might post the question and reply on the blog.

  3. Anonymous left a comment on April 9, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Congrats that’s fantastic! Way to weave through the weeds.

  4. bryanmora513 left a comment on April 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Its a great feeling when the clouds of uncertainty dissipate and you can see the changes you need to implement. I think the greatest thing to do is to be patient and allow the “AHA” moment to happen rather than banging your head against a wall forcing something to happen. Love reading your blog and watch you make something of yourself. It’s inspirational.

    Anyway, i was looking forward to your next writing workshop since i was planning to move into the area soon but things i am postponing the move and therefore can’t participate in your workshop. Do you plan on doing more of those workshops in the future?

    • kiyong left a comment on April 14, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      thanks bryan! i hope i do make something of myself! i’m just finishing up my current workshop, but yeah, i’ll probably take a little break and start another workshop in june.

  5. Anonymous left a comment on April 14, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I always admire your journey. I’m the current intern at Nick’s Writing Program, and between that and your blog, I’m so pumped to continue writing my spec.

  6. Anonymous left a comment on April 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Hi Kiyong,

    I’m currently on my 3rd draft for my Happy Endings spec and have a few questions about it.

    1.) I have a main character drifting aimlessly through the B & C plots and not really contributing anything to the story should I even bother including them? Outside of a few lines in the cold open.

    I feel like these programs want you to demonstrate your understanding of the show’s voice, which means incorporating every main character into an A-B-C storyline. Shows like Community have characters barely appear in an episode and it works. I’m also not Dan Harmon though.

    2.) I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to introduce new characters into a spec. I understand not creating new characters where the entire episode revolves around them, but what about a minor character that serves the plot? For instance I included Penny’s boss, a character never mentioned before, but fits into the show’s universe.

    3.)Is it ok to introduce new locations? I’ve only been using established sets so far.

    4.) What do judges want more in a sitcom spec? One bursting with jokes or funny plots that are tightly constructed? I guess this depends on the sitcom as well.

    • Anonymous left a comment on April 18, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Just wanted to say that I really appreciate that you continue to update this blog and provide aspiring writers like me a glimpse into the world.

    • kiyong left a comment on April 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      hey i’ll answer this in a post if that’s ok.

      • Anonymous left a comment on April 18, 2013 at 9:55 pm

        Works for me.

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