June 23: 8:00 am.
I am finding the hardest part of writing a television series is the teaser. The teaser is that opening scene that sets the stage for what your episode is about. If it’s a good one, then your audience will stay with you after the commercial break. If it’s a bad one, then your audience will flip the channel and go watch “Game of Thrones.” The teaser must be short, at least five to seven minutes, so that’s about five to seven pages. “Burn Notice” always had great teasers. Usually the show’s teaser picked up the story arc, where it left off. Here’s how it worked. Michael Westen would have a secret meeting with some source. This source had information about who burned him. If it was dangerous, Michael would have his team tag along, out of sight. At this point, something unexpected would happen and that would set up Act One. For the opening of Act One, the team would get together and discuss what went wrong and they would put together another plan. In the midst of that plan, Michael would get his next job and it always dropped on him at the wrong time.
Over the last few days, I spent time touching up my Pilot. The teaser wasn’t working. Monday night, I identified the issue and I set about to fix it. The problem was, the teaser takes place a month after a key element has occurred. We meet Drake in the Iraq desert near Mosul outside an Isis compound on a high cliff face. His mission is to retrieve a captured Navy Seal, this was the key element I left out. I decided to take Drake out of the teaser and focus on the Navy Seal’s capture.
Tuesday night, I worked on the new teaser and found it too long. So I cut the first two pages off it. My other problem was the antagonist. He wasn’t in the teaser. I stuck him in on the back end of it. I ended it with a puzzle and a cliff hanger. My Navy Seal discovers one of his team is a mole. Both of them are captured, while the fate of the rest of the team is left hanging in the balance, although through some foreshadowing, we pretty much know what will happen to them. The result, was a pretty strong teaser that I am happy with.
Today I can begin my first act, using my brand new outline. Since, the teaser has changed, I have to tinker with Act One. Act One, we will go through Drake’s normal day. We learn his story through narrative and discover his past through flashbacks. We discover he was the rising star in the Physics world, till the sabotage of his experiment. We learn the experiment almost killed him, but through some miracle he survived and was forever changed with telepathic powers. We will meet members of his team, such as Kitty, Father Michael Barry and of course his client Senator George Peters, who brings him the case of the AWOL seal. Later in the episode we will meet Drake’s ex-wife Doctor Harriet Alfredsson, who will cause all kinds of headaches for Drake. Now it’s off to write.
June 23: 8:00 am.