I just finished reading both episodes of The Circle, and I was wondering if you could answer a few questions about writing for television.
- How much time did you spend doing research for each episode?
- How long did it take you to write an episode?
- Seeing as how you created the show, but would have not written every episode during the season how are the episodes handled by other writers?
- Do you as the creator set an outline for the season as to what each episode would center around and where you wanted to show to go?
Thanks for your time, I enjoyed reading them both.
Federal Way, WA
I probably spent three weeks researching Alaska for The Circle, most of that before I started writing the pilot. By the time I started working on episode 2, there really wasn’t anything new I needed to research.
Television scripts are short, at least by feature standards. An hour-long drama will clock in below sixty pages, so it’s no big chore to write one in a week. Unfortunately, in the real world of television production, you often have to write one in a weekend, and that’s where it gets ugly.
Since The Circle never went to series, we didn’t end up hiring a writing staff, although Matt Pyken and Michael Berns did pen a follow-up episode. Had the show been picked up by ABC, we would have hired an executive producer to ultimately take the reins of the show. Although I would stay on to consult, he would have supervised the writing staff, setting the course for each episode and the series as a whole. This would include meeting with the writers (both individually and as a group); approving beat sheets, outlines and scripts; and rewriting scripts as needed.
This executive producer would be considered the showrunner, since all the creative decisions would ultimately rest with him. I knew this going in. I deliberately created a show I felt could flourish without my day-to-day involvement. Although I love TV, I prefer features. That’s where I make my living, and the time table is much more relaxed.