WRITING A DOCUDRAMA FOR TELEVISION

July 3, 2009

WRITING A DOCUDRAMA FOR TELEVISION

1. Docudramas are a staple of television movies
2. A docudrama is a dramatization based or inspired by a true-life story
3. When a project is submitted to a network, it will first go to the programming departement
4. If a TV docudrama claims to be the true story or based on a true story, it’s important that it really be true to the facts
5. Audiences like true story
6. If chronology doesn’t influence cause and effect, you can make some changes in the way you tell your story
7. When people in broadcast standards look at a docudrama, they add up the number of total ingredients
8. Under certain circumstances you can also make changes in scenes
9. The broadcast standards departement also approves composite characters-combining two or more characters into one
10. When doing a composite character it is not acceptable to obtain a release from only one of the subjects-it must be all or none
11. A network’s broadcast standards and practices department prints guidelines that are issued to producers
12. When you write these scene, you are creating building blocks of proven information
13. You are trying to balance the number of elements in the scene that you can document with elements you create
14. Use time compression to tighten
15. Generally, major characters whose story lines constitute a recurring element in the script must not be composite characters
16. Events may be telescoped, but events that never occurred cannot be invented, telescoped events must be chronologically accurate
17. If a narrator is used, his or her statements must be objective without providing commentary or editorialization
18. Need to researrch which television producers have done films such as yours
19. Dates and passages of time must be clearly indicated in the script, either in dialogue, by supers, dissolves, or other visual techniques
20. During a war, the networks might be looking for more entertaining stories

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