Saturday, January 27, 2007


I have been thinking a lot about pilots. In the last year I've been hired to story edit a few series in development and have watched the writers struggle to get their pilots working. I always advise people not to write a "first" episode. Don't set up the series. Write a typical episode. Then the producer and broadcaster know what they're getting into and you know how your concept works. But of course, working on my own pilot, I am writing a set up episode. Hopefully, it has all the other elements in place, but it is my protagonist's first day on the job. So much for following my own advice.

As I write, I am also studying other people's pilots. I have watched the first eps of Veronica Mars, The Shield, CSI, Friday Night Lights and the Wire a bunch of times. And I've started breaking them down and analyzing them from a structural point of view. Those analyses are what I'm going to share with you for these first few posts.

I'm going to start with The Wire. Masterpiece that it is. You might want to watch it again before you read what I have to say. If you have to buy season 1, it's money well spent.

I sometimes watch The Wire with the subtitles on so I can follow the dialogue.