Five Ways to Ruin Your Pilot

I’ve been trying to think of a good reason to write a post on this topic for a long time. The Mindy Project is as good a reason as any.

The Mindy Project has everything going for it, with Mindy Kaling having amused us for years as both an actress and writer on The Office. She plays a doctor; we haven’t had a good doctor comedy since Scrubs. As much as I hate the term “adorkable,” she is that, a point not unnoticed by executives who scheduled her show back-to-back with New Girl. She’s got B.J. Novak on board as a producer and a director (Charles McDougall) with The Office and Parks and Recreation cred.

The pilot was released a month early, along with those of some other Fox shows, on Hulu. Some people like it. I do not. Here’s why.┬áIt commits a number of sins that are sure to damn a pilot straight to hell. Continue reading

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Point of Attack, or Where to Start your Pilot

Jack Bauer, 24Anyone sitting down to write a story, whether it’s for television or any other medium, has to decide where to start. It seems like a simple question. You start at the beginning.

A protagonist’s story arguably starts from the moment of his or her birth, or earlier. So for purposes of this discussion we’ll call the beginning the “inciting incident” that kicks off the action of the story at hand. The inciting incident can happen before or after the camera begins to roll, however, giving the writer choices to make about Point of Attack. Continue reading