Next week, I’m starting my television writing course at UCLA, one of a few courses in the medium I’ve got planned ahead. Eventually, there’s a course I’d like to take called Anatomy of the Pilot.
I have the syllabus for the pilot course printed out, and one of the assignments looks to be coming up with at least two series ideas to pitch. I figured, What the hell? Why not do some brainstorming for it now? That’s more sluggish my brain gets, you know? If I think something’s coming down the road, I want to get a jump on it as soon as possible.
I’ve got one idea that’s sort of an apocalyptic version of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, but another idea I got is a blend of War of the Worlds with the format of American Horror Story, which is to keep things unpredictable by having different stories in a shared universe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shared universe featured in a TV series before, so it feels like an interesting little experiment.
But, as if the case with each alien invasion attempt I’ve tried in the past, I’m already feeling overwhelmed by the research for it. Because it’s not like writing a single piece of fiction where you can revise the whole thing for continuity. For example, if you have the invaders presented in a certain way in one set of episodes, you can’t come up with random and disjointed ideas later on because you can’t go back and revise those shows that have made it to the air. I’m thinking of the best case scenario, of course, imagining what would happen if – God help me – I make a pitch and it gets the green light. It’s a concern that I feel valid enough to roll over.
So yeah, I’ve got a big ol’ list of research materials that I could review to come up with some ideas, but I still feel like I’m about to bite off more than I can chew. The one thing I keep telling myself is to keep things simple. Take it slowly and don’t go off in a mad rush, because that’s how you get lost in the woods.
God, I hope I know what I’m doing…