Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Writing: NYTVF's Comedy Script Contest...

As I previously reported on my Examiner page, today kicks off the NYTVF (in conjunction with Fox)'s third annual Comedy Script Contest. Accepting entries from writers all over the world today through June 15th-- or fifteen hundred entries, whichever comes first, aspiring television scribes can submit original pilots for the chance to win $25,000 and a development deal with Fox. Naturally I planned to submit more than one (hey, with a free submission rate, why not??), and I even scrambled last night to whittle an hour-long script of mine down to standard half-hour format to give myself another shot. I could use the cash, sure, but I really just want a chance for important decision-makers to read my work. Because even if I don't come away with the top prize, maybe they will be intrigued by something I wrote and give me some sort of shot.

For my entries, I chose Mile High, an alternative comedy in the vein of Party Down but set thousands of miles in the sky. The characters of Mile High are the flight attendants, pilots, and passengers of a slightly unorthodox airline. Weekly they will have to juggle their own interpersonal relationship drama with that of the passengers they encounter. In the pilot, though, I've kept things kind of simple: the gang finds a dead guy on their flight and works to disguise the evidence (i.e. the body) before other people take notice and panic. The flight attendant "regulars" are just as quirky as their revolving passengers: one cruises each flight, looking for a new woman with whom he can hook up so he never has to get a hotel room in a strange city; one sneaks her dog onto every flight and refuses to go to work without him; one-- err, make that two-- are having an affair with a pilot (the same pilot), though the others only know about one of them.

I also adapted A Lavender Lifestyle to the half-hour format. The humor in this one is drier and comes more out of the snarkiness of the characters than set-ups or jokes. In some ways, it's even funny because it's a bit tragic. The show centers on a young woman who has great intentions but is pretty lost and ends up screwing up just about everything she attempts. She is living and working in Hollywood, surrounded by people who just want to be famous-- or at least fame-adjacent, and all she wants to do is burrow away and alone so she can find her one true passion in life. Naturally she ends up falling into a job with one of the hottest television-turned-film actors, posing as his girlfriend. See, he's gay and maybe just as lost as she is in a lot of respects: he knows exactly what he wants to do for the rest of his life, but he is allowing his "team" of old-fashioned agents and managers dictate an image in the press just so he can get ahead. The pilot very simply shows them each individually and then together to explain why they're a great fit, even if their situation is somewhat absurd. Should it go anywhere, the intention is to showcase how these two people will love, respect, and help each other be the best people they can be. It may make you think twice about the definition of a "real" relationship.

All scripts, treatments, and story pitches have been copywritten (c) and registered with the WGAw. Don't even think about stealing them! And think good thoughts! This blogger needs a new laptop!!

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