Read writing the pilot by William Rabkin Online


Television networks are so desperate for new voices and fresh ideas that for the first time in history they're buying spec pilot scripts and turning them into series. Today's aspiring writer can be tomorrow's showrunner. But it's not easy. Conceiving and writing a pilot that can launch a series is a complex assignment even for a seasoned pro. This book will take you througTelevision networks are so desperate for new voices and fresh ideas that for the first time in history they're buying spec pilot scripts and turning them into series. Today's aspiring writer can be tomorrow's showrunner. But it's not easy. Conceiving and writing a pilot that can launch a series is a complex assignment even for a seasoned pro. This book will take you through the entire process, from your initial idea through the finished script. You'll learn how to identify a concept that can carry one hundred episodes or more; how to create characters who will stay interesting year after year; how to design the unique world those characters will live in; how to identify the essential elements that will set your series apart from everyone else's; and most importantly, how to capture it all in one 60-page script. William Rabkin is a veteran showrunner whose executive producing credits include the long-running Diagnosis Murder and the action hit Martial Law. His recent writing credits include Monk, Psych, and The Glades. He has written a dozen pilots for broadcast and cable networks, and written and/or produced more than 300 hours of dramatic television. He currently teaches screenwriting in the University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert's low residency MFA program....

Title : writing the pilot
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 11568339
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 98 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

writing the pilot Reviews

  • Marie
    2019-04-26 22:19

    If you're a writer who's had more experience writing poetry or novels, but had always been curious about writing for the screen (particularly, for television), this is definitely a good starting point. Rabkin's advice is both honest, pithy, and immensely valuable for the novice. It also helps that he has a great sense of humor—which is definitely a necessity if you hope to make it in this industry. Does this mean that you'll be ready to write your first pilot? Probably not. There's a lot of prep work and soul-searching that needs to be done first, but what Rabkin offers is a chance for you to start with the right mindset. Before you can even begin to to think about interior and exterior shots, he encourages you to think hard about the premise of your show. This is important because a series can last for about a hundred episodes—do even you know what will happen at the end of Season 2? Or is what you have on paper simply just "a cool idea"? Rabkin offers a dozen different examples on how to pressure-test for this and I'm not gonna lie: there's a lot of hard truths here. The industry is constantly changing, but the one thing that doesn't change is that for every success, the failures are almost innumerable to count. That's what I appreciate most about Rabkin. He doesn't pussy-foot around about the odds, but isn't all doom and gloom. He reminds the reader about why their ideas captured them in the first place, encouraging them to dig deep into why they feel their story is worth telling. And if they have an answer, well, then that's all that really matters.

  • Michelle
    2019-05-08 02:38

    This book pointed out a lot of interesting things to think about if you're interested in scripting a pilot for a TV series or even just interested in analysing why a particular television series succeeded or failed. I really enjoyed his points about having a central conflict that can drive the show for seasons and the kinds of pilots there are and how to decide which type to have.But I feel like he kind of buried the lede: in the first chapter he's basically like, in past books (including his own) people always said it was impossible to get a pilot accepted without extensive experience and connections in the industry. But that's changed! Networks are now buying spec pilots! So I'm writing this book to let you know how to do it. Then in the last chapter, he's like: you still need to either have a really compelling life experience so they contact you, or you have to go film it yourself. Wat.

  • Lee Goldberg
    2019-05-15 00:15

    "Writing the Pilot" is entertaining and jam-packed with useful information. He writes with a casual, humorous, and knowledgeable voice that sets this book far apart from other screenwriting books. It's like having lunch with a good friend. But don't mistake that light touch for a lack of depth or academic value. His detailed analysis of what makes a great pilot...vs what makes a great opening episode for a simply brilliant. And his indepth analysis of the pilots for "Fast Forward," "Life on Mars" and "Fringe" are particularly smart and insightful. He gets personal, too. He deftly uses examples from his own successful TV career to illustrate the thought-process behind developing and writing pilots (and candidly discusses some of mistakes along the way and what he learned from them). Spec TV pilots are all the rage right now and his book couldn't be more timely. If you want to get into the TV biz, or if you are a veteran TV pro struggling with pilot-writing issues, "Writing the Pilot" is a must-read.

  • Robin Conley
    2019-05-04 00:25

    This book doesn't cover everything about the writing of a pilot, but it gives a very big step forward in getting started. It mostly focuses on the process and key things to do in prepping yourself to write, but doesn't get into too many specific writing tips. All of the advice seemed really valuable, and there were quite a few pieces that made me want to think about how I've been approaching writing to see if I'm doing it Rabkin's way or not. There were definitely a lot of things to try, and I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in writing an original TV series. This book gives you a lot of great advice (from someone who's done it) on how to go about writing the pilot.If you're looking for a writing book that gets into immense details for how to write, this isn't the book. If you're looking for a book that helps you figure out how to approach writing a pilot and how to get started, I'd definitely recommend this book.

  • Lauren
    2019-05-12 20:23

    This is quick read. It's a pretty simple guide to stuff one would want to keep in mind while writing a spec pilot. Rabkin illustrates all of his points with helpful case studies. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone with a series idea floating around in their heads. Rabkin nicely breaks down how to organize those ideas and make them something more tangible.On a side note, I was frustrated with all the copy errors. I felt like no one edited or even read this book before it was published. Terence Winter blurbs the back and I have to assume he didn't read it. If he did and didn't inform Rabkin about all the copy errors then Terence Winter is a bad friend.

  • Andrew Williamson
    2019-05-15 19:31

    Well, the book was heading for a 3-star review until the demoralising final chapter. Generally, writing the pilot was a lot of filler and not much killer (I barely made any notes), which in such a slight book is poor form. Saying that, it was a pleasant, interesting read. However, that final chapter says, in effect, forget trying to pitch your screenplay 'cos no f*cker's gonna read it, so get some cheap ass camera, your rubbish actor mates, and make the pilot yourself. After all you just want to make the thing don't you?I read this to see if I might book myself onto Rabkin's $399 screenwriting course. Thank God I bought the Kindle book first. What a crock!

  • Paula
    2019-05-11 19:28

    I hardly want to count this as a book since it's so short. I feel like the book provides very generic and generalized information without actually bothering to teach any skills. So, if you already know this stuff, this book isn't for you. At the same time,if you don't know any of this stuff, this book isn't for you. Maybe it was a bit of a money grab. Bummer.

  • Shelby
    2019-05-01 20:23

    Extremely helpful and succinct. I found a lot of the advice relevant to novel writing as well as television writing. Will definitely be hanging onto and referencing in the future.

  • Rochelle
    2019-04-25 21:19

    Typos and glaring questions aside (Alfie is an FBI agent that doesn't speak a second language?), this succinct introduction to conceiving and executing an original tv pilot is chalk full of relevant, useful examples. Yes, it's half a shameless pitch for a previously passed-on television series, but Rabkin uses the other half to offer contemporary advice for the aspiring small-screen writer. He may refer to young women as "girls" and poo-poo the storytelling structure of--personal fav--Veronica Mars, but Rabkin's suggestions adequately spark.

  • Jefferey Spivey
    2019-05-19 22:15

    This book offers great insight into the psychology behind crafting a TV pilot that will sell. It's more philosophical. A big picture concept book vs. something that gets in the weeds. However, if you're looking for a TV writing guide that gets into specifics (i.e. formatting, acts, plot points, etc.), this isn't the book. It's a solid intro to the industry and the essential elements of any good show. But when it comes to actually writing your pilot, you'll need another resource to complement this one.

  • Joe Jaffa
    2019-04-27 03:34

    This book gave some good advice. Emphasis on "some." 90% of the advice it gave was pretty bad, and the writing felt very dry.If you're writing a pilot, pick up one of the countless other books out there instead.

  • Kathleen DeMarle
    2019-05-09 19:39

    This booked was an easy read and offered some basic insight to writing a pilot. It is more specifically geared towards writing for a drama series but the information could easily be carried over into writing for a sitcom.

  • David Olsen
    2019-05-21 00:13

    Some great insights in here.

  • Stephen Perlstein
    2019-05-21 00:15

    Writing the Pilot by William RabkinWriting the Pilot is a simple guide on how to write a television pilot. What makes this book good is not just what it covers, but what it doesn't.Writing the Pilot doesn't tell you how many days to write in. It doesn't tell you about screenplay format. It doesn't tell you what subjects are good. It doesn't tell you what genres are good. It doesn't tell you about agents or managers. It doesn't tell you about act structure and commercial breaks. It doesn't tell you about revision. It doesn't tell you about pitching. It doesn't tell you about networks. It doesn't tell you about studios.Writing the Pilot doesn't get bogged down in all of this stuff because, I believe, it's a book for writers. If you've written very little, if you've never read a pilot before, if you don't know how one gets an agent, I think you might not be ready for this book.Writing the Pilot teaches it's readers to think about the pilot as more than a good idea. Ideas are one episode. Franchises are what keeps the show going. The Franchise of a television show is why people keep coming back. It let's the viewer know what they're going to consistently get as the television series continues. Writing the Pilot covers a few key ingredients for what needs to go into a pilot. Conflict, characters, supporting characters, the world, the tone, and the fun.This book also covers a few important other things like, "Why This Show, Why Now?", Reasons to write a pilot, and a brief thought on the business. The value in this book is it's laser focus. I wish I had read it before I had written the however many pilots I've written.

  • Kylie
    2019-05-02 03:40

    On a scale of 1-10, this book definitely hits a solid 9. Any aspiring author or spec pilot writer MUST read this book. This book perfectly illustrates the perks and downsides of the TV industry. It also focuses in on how to build your main characters and supporting characters and how to bring something new and exciting to your plot using them. This book goes far beyond writing the pilot of a spec TV series. It goes into the TV industry in it’s entirety and writing in general.I would strongly recommend this book to any readers who also have a love and passion for writing and are specifically looking to enter the television industry (even though this book applies to all genres of writing). The author speaks in a voice that everyone who reads will be able to understand. You can hear his voice in your head while you are reading because he writes as if he is speaking to you directly.This book is extremely real-world relatable because not only is it a non-fiction book but this is the author’s actual “real-world.” He is an author in real life and is using writing as a way to share his experience and knowledge to the aspiring authors of the world. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a new hobby or career or anyone that just wants a good laugh in the afternoon. It isn’t a book you need to read in a hurry. You can pick up 4 pages a week or even skip around from chapter to chapter. The order is up to you because Rabkin makes this book easy to follow. Overall, I highly recommend this book be your next afternoon read.

  • Claude Forthomme
    2019-04-30 03:30

    In our digital age, it is clear that forms of entertainment are rapidly changing. TV series that used to be looked down upon as a minor form are now hot while Hollywood, once the Queen of entertainment has a hard time keeping up. Novels - even in the ebook format - are beginning to look like they're coming in last, even behind video games. It is time therefore for writers to look at what is happening on TV and learn how to do it.This is why "Writing the Pilot" is such an essential read - highly informative and crystal clear. But, and this is a big but, writing TV specs is one thing and selling them is quite another as explained in the last chapter. In fact, only established writers manage to sell specs; this is not something the average professional novelist can hope to do, much less the newbie. In that sense, if you thought you could learn to write specs in order to sell them to TV networks, you're in for a disappointment.The book however is very useful to help you think through your novel: the approach, the structure, the pace. Some of the advice applies straight to novel writing and it's not the kind of advice you normally get in your MFA course. Which is why I highly recommend it.

  • Kamryn Adams
    2019-04-29 19:21

    Ok, so at the risk of being repetitive, if you have never written a creative project this is a pretty good high level overview. There are lots of great examples to review - not in the book - but in mentioning shows like The X files and Veronica Mars. The character chapters are pretty good if you have never created characters. The last chapter is encouraging. NOT! I recommend this book for non-writers or non-fiction writers who aspire to be TV writers. It is often listed as one of the "must read" or "top 10" books to read for TV writing. That's why I chose it. I'm not disappointed. I'm just not overly enthusiastic about it. No info on formatting, structure, etc. It's not really about WRITING the pilot as much as its about the creative thinking behind a TV series. Its short and sweet and worth the 89 pages.

  • Bill Williams
    2019-05-18 03:20

    Writing the Pilot by William Rabkin is an interesting window into the production of a television series. There have been changes to that industry that have made it more possible for outsiders to have a shot at having someone read their work.I read the book as a writer who creates pitch documents for comic book series. Those docs are sent to people who already have full plates as they manage the series already in production under their guidance. I read the book because I want to make my work better.Deconstructing shows like The X-Files, Veronica Mars, The Rockford Files, and Lost among others, Rabkin breaks down the elements that make a good ongoing premise, a sustainable story that will carry a franchise.The information clearly laid out in this book made me reconsider some of the aspects of the pitch I'm currently working on, and the work is better for it.

  • Anya Meksin
    2019-04-23 02:19

    Riddled with typos and cliches, this book (more like a pamphlet that was probably dashed off by the author in a single weekend) could only be useful to the most inexperienced writers, who have never before considered the basic principles of storytelling, like conflict and character. The ideas here are simplistic, the tone is irritating, and the take-aways are muddled. Particularly useless is the fact that the main case study the author uses is for a pilot he himself wrote that was 1) never produced, and thus not exactly worth imitating and 2) adapted from an existing book series, and thus not even concerned with coming up with original material. If you've been handed an entire book series, your concerns as a writer are probably very different from someone trying to realize an original idea of their own.

  • Maria
    2019-04-30 20:28

    4.5/5StarsI've been wanting to read this for a while. Really quick read. I enjoyed reading it and learning about the entertainment industry. It also makes me want to watch all of those tv shows that I never watched to begin with.(Ha - I made a list :) )I liked rabkin's humor, honesty and ease of his writing. 4.5 as its still a nonfiction and that's always hard to get into despite how interesting the subject (I think). You still need to put it down from time to time - or maybe thats just me -- or maybe it's maybelline.

  • Robin
    2019-05-08 00:14

    A quickly, easy read that provides a solid overview for tackling the television pilot. This book concentrates on everything that needs to happen before you tackle page one of the script itself and is a valuable read for anyone writing on spec. The book's major weakness lies in how fast the television landscape is changing. Writing an original pilot is no longer groundbreaking, and filming your pilot and releasing it on the Internet has been done so many times that it is no longer a guaranteed way of finding an audience.

  • Patrice Maltais
    2019-05-13 00:23

    This book is a very quick read, but it does hold some very important information into properly formulating a premise for a TV series that will carry it for several seasons. It assumes you know screenwriting already, so that is not a basic book to learn the craft. It is to apply it properly in the context of creating a series so you can write a pilot that has legs. That book is there to show you the common pitfalls so you can save a lot of time and work by sidestepping them instead of working your way out of holes sometimes so deep there is no reemerging from. Recommended.

  • Debbi Mack
    2019-04-22 01:22

    An excellent short guide to the elements of a good TV pilot. What it's not is a step-by-step guide for beginning screenwriters. It is, for the moderately experienced screenwriter, a great overview of what a pilot episode should be, along with what works and what doesn't in creating a good pilot. It even concludes with the potential for writers to use modern technology to produce their own pilots and create whole shows.I highly recommend it.

  • Shonell Bacon
    2019-04-22 19:19

    Great little book. Rabkin, in a conversational tone, moves you through understanding what a pilot is (and what it isn't). I was particularly a fan of the discussion on franchise, the elements of franchise (characters, setting, types of stories told, style of dialogue, way(s) people interact, and storytelling style), and the importance of understanding the two types of conflict and theme in relationship to the show's franchise and the characters.

  • Susan K
    2019-05-01 02:42

    it could be a series of articlesThere is some useful information and important guidelines, but the book rambles and, ironically, isn't all that well written. screenwriting books in general aren't written well, yet books on other genres are. why is that? Get your library to purchase this or buy the paperback so you can resell it.

  • Adam
    2019-05-17 23:13

    Definitely a good read with regards to crafting the characters of the series, but leave you wanting with regards to structuring the pilot. Overall the book focuses on crafting the series, and from there hints towards what makes an effective pilot. I liked it and drew some insight from it, although the insight I was looking for(re: pilots) was lacking.

  • Luke Zwanziger
    2019-05-12 20:25

    A nice quick read to keep one's head in the game. Provides a good lens for looking at how other pilots were built and the elements that go into them. Nothing world shattering unfortunately. Even so, it helped me clarify some of the problems I've been having with my pilot. Glad it was free through the Kindle Lending Library.

  • Courtney
    2019-05-17 21:22

    Not even remotely academic, making it a very quick read. Rabkin relies on examples from his past and draws from other successful shows (this is why ____ was successful/unsuccessful). Interesting but only mildy useful to me in terms of researching methods of character development on television.

  • Brandi Payne
    2019-05-01 01:20

    Very easy read. Definitely had a few good points where I learned something new but most of it was advice I've heard time and again from writing blogs, podcasts, etc. Worth the affordable Kindle price however.

  • Talal
    2019-04-29 21:18

    An entertaining and informative read, short, sweet and to the point. I enjoyed it.