Three quick questions:
(a) I was reading over a pilot example, and I saw a lot of angle descriptions, camera descriptions, etc. I thought that was a big no-no: don’t describe angles or try to “direct” via your script. Is that less a concern these days? Or less a concern when writing for TV than film?
(b) Ditto the spacing. I was under the impression that TV scripts had to be double-spaced, all dialogue in caps, etc. Is that not true for pilots?
(c) There is already a writer working on film/TV with my name (Joshua Siegal). I’m thinking of going with J. Howard Siegal. Do I need to get registered with the writer’s guild and such with that name? Is it a good/bad idea to find a unique name to write under?
(a) Some screenwriters refer to the camera a lot. It’s not wrong, but it can annoy directors. I try to avoid mentioning angles and camera movements unless it’s very important. As an alternative, I use “we” —
RISING THROUGH THE CHIMNEY, we reveal Kruchkov.
He pulls the pin on a grenade. Drops it with a smile.
— and you should know that some people hate “we.” I think it reads better, but to each his own.
(b) The only way to know how a show is formatted is to read an actual script from the series. Single-camera TV shows are generally formatted like feature films, single-space. Multi-camera shows (sitcoms) are double-space. But there are exceptions, so never assume.
(c) Screenwriter names are not regulated the way actor names are, but yes, it’s a good idea to have a unique moniker. For example, there is already another aspiring John August.