RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,412
Posts: 5,360,060
Members: 24,631
Currently online: 420
Newest member: vicky013


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 19 2013, 04:33 PM   #316
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Sounds like a pitch isn't much different than a sound byte or even a film teaser. And, because of the lack of detail, the idea you're trying to put across might be totally different from the idea the one hearing the pitch is getting.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991, 2013-?
Warped9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19 2013, 05:18 PM   #317
trevanian
Rear Admiral
 
trevanian's Avatar
 
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Thanks, MAURICE, that post covers the most important pitch of the lot.

Like CHRISTOPHER, I had very detailed pitches for most of my ideas. Only a couple existed as less-than-a-page premises; most were also in story form at 3 to 6 pages, with three in various stages of completion as teleplays (those in addition to the three specs I submitted, one of which was just not good, one of which was pretty damn great and the one that got me into pitch, which read as VERY cheap on paper and indulged my 'trek needs to be darker' proclivities.)

Based on the interest levels, I'd say having the one-liner that really elicits interest is absolutely the way to go. If you have to set it up to any degree, that's taking time away from your other pitches and probably causing attention to wander. Also, the one-liner approach lets you see if they 'get' it. I had a shortie premise about a planet where it is like what Earth may soon be like, with a barrier of crap in orbit that is too dangerous to traverse. Right off, the reply was, great, but how is that a people story? Well, that was a good critique, because SPACE GARBAGE was absolutely just a premise, one that didn't have a personal angle like the one Piller would've demanded. (I figured having gimmicks that could sell was as good as the ones that I could do as full teleplays, which sounds good on paper, but didn't work for me.)

I had a comedy-adventure one that would have cost a fortune, DILITHIUM FEVER, where for some reason they couldn't regenerate the crystals and had to go down and actually MINE for them and get into trouble with humanoid locals (Riker tries to pass for law enforcement from another provence and is asked for his identification and gets into a 'we don't have to show you our badges' thing, but more importantly, Worf, who hates water, overcomes his issues and ends the episode heartily embracing white-water rafting. That was another which was barely thought out past a couple of hooks.

THE HOLLOW MEN was one I really liked. They were in one of these 'man this sucks' situations where the ship is orbiting a world on the verge of self-annihilation, like the nukes are going to fly any moment now, and they are forbidden to interfere. They have one of the holodeck inventors aboard, who is interested in how they seem to get more out of the holodeck than seems possible, given Moriarty and such, but we see this person has an agenda, and uses the 'holo matter can get off the holodeck and move around' thing to loose a group of holo-men Data created as a 'happy birthday' program for Picard to take action to prevent the armageddon on the planet. I'd have to take the outline out to remember how it all works, but I do remember it ends with a group of these EasterIslandStatue-looking holo-men singing happy birthday to Picard (this was the one aspect of all these pitches Taylor liked, the b-day part, but she wasn't going to buy it without having something else to go with it.)

Yeah, maybe I will write this out at length. My wife has been bugging me to do a visual effects and cinematography and writing and trek related blog for a long while now, so maybe this is a way to kickstart that whole process. If I do, I'll post a script except from CROSSES TO BEAR, because the Picard/Guinan scene (if it lives up to 23 year-old memories) is pretty damn THERE.
trevanian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 19 2013, 09:34 PM   #318
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I submitted some spec scripts to TNG, but I didn't go through the open submissions policy. I got an agent (actually, she had been Ronald D. Moore's first agent) and submitted that way. I did three spec scripts, one of which I really really liked titled "None So Noble", which I thought had it all: at the core it was about Worf coming to terms with the fact that his idealized version of Klingon honor had little in common with what Klingons actually practiced, and eventually coming to realize that just because other people don't live up to their ideals doesn't make the ideals bad. So I had the "how does it affect the characters" thing down. The plot involved Klingon subject planets deciding they'd had enough of living under the thumb of the Empire and threatening to stop building ships, producing food, etc., and asking for Federation help. I can't know why it didn't get me a pitch session (maybe the first reader just didn't like it), but I do know my timing sucked, because it was submitted around the time "Sins of the Father" was in the pipeline and they went a very different direction with the Klingons. Oh well.

On the other hand, my agent asked me to submit some story concepts and she took those to the show. I got a memo back from Eric Stillwell with some feedback on which ideas they might find interesting (I'll dig it out of my files and scan it), but what I remember most about the memo was that one of the story ideas featured an Andorian guest character and Eric wrote that, "one of our producers doesn't like aliens with antennae" or words to that effect.

I met with my agent in L.A. in 1990 (the same week I interviewed Ronald D. Moore for the TNG magazine) and did a few verbal pitches to her for stories I might submit. One was for a show called "Skin Deep", which was a Riker-Troi episode with a really cool twist, and she said "That one", but I never wrote it because real life interfered. Oh well.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 19 2013, 11:59 PM   #319
Sir Rhosis
Commodore
 
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

My pitch experiences (well, the first one) mirrors Christopher's almost exactly. I came in (telephonically) with 7-10 page outlines, the first couple of which took me about five or six minutes each to pitch. Echevarria, very kindly, asked me to "cut to the chase" and in fact, he pitched one of my ideas back at me to show the succinctness he wished. I had maybe three full outlines (one of which involved Kira and a fellow member of her cell that was shot down because it was sorta like one in the works already). Another involved a faction of the prophets who splintered and (for lack of a better word) worshipped Jake as the true prophet. "No Jesus stories," I was told.

I honestly can't remember too many of them, and since I worked on a Brother word processor in those days and the machine is long dead, I have disks which I cannot access, so who knows what all I pitched.

As I never cared much for VOYAGER, I never attempted to pitch to that program.

Sir Rhosis

EDIT TO ADD: I wasn't really insecure or nervous pitching. Nine years in the Marines probably toughened me to that degree. After Boot Camp, I could stand up to anyone, so to speak.
__________________
Read my Star Trek script reviews at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/unseen.htm


Read "Origins" at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/origins.htm
Sir Rhosis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:06 AM   #320
plynch
Commodore
 
plynch's Avatar
 
Location: Outer Graceland
View plynch's Twitter Profile
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Thanks. Very interesting.

If anybody meets the guardian of forever and goes back in time and restarts this forum, I for one vote for using real names. Many of you are very interesting people and it is kinda weird to have this veil of pseudonyms here. Be well!
__________________
Author of Live Like Louis! Inspirational Stories from the Life of Louis Armstrong, http://livelikelouis.com
plynch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:07 AM   #321
Sir Rhosis
Commodore
 
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

^^^No veil. My name is Dave -- I just like the old Warner Bros cartoons.

Sir Dave
__________________
Read my Star Trek script reviews at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/unseen.htm


Read "Origins" at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/origins.htm
Sir Rhosis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:24 AM   #322
plynch
Commodore
 
plynch's Avatar
 
Location: Outer Graceland
View plynch's Twitter Profile
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I am Phil Lynch, of no renown whatsoever; you can tell what a neophyte I was to web 2.0 or whatever this is, since I just shortened my name and didn't think up a cool handle. And I also sure didn't mean to imply anyone is hiding or creeping, just how the web initially went, with handles.
__________________
Author of Live Like Louis! Inspirational Stories from the Life of Louis Armstrong, http://livelikelouis.com
plynch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:26 AM   #323
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
My pitch experiences (well, the first one) mirrors Christopher's almost exactly. I came in (telephonically) with 7-10 page outlines, the first couple of which took me about five or six minutes each to pitch.
Wow, I think I only had 1-2 pages each. It still took me a few minutes each.

Echevarria, very kindly, asked me to "cut to the chase" and in fact, he pitched one of my ideas back at me to show the succinctness he wished.
Ooh, that would've been helpful.


I had maybe three full outlines (one of which involved Kira and a fellow member of her cell that was shot down because it was sorta like one in the works already).
Yup, that's the most common reason pitches get rejected. Laypeople tend to assume that any similarity between two episodes or series or movies is proof of a "ripoff," but the fact is that it's very hard to avoid doing something similar to an existing idea, which is why creators try so hard not to. Too much similarity to a recent or current work is a surefire way to get a story rejected, assuming the parties involved realize the similarity. Far from being proof of deliberate imitation, similarity between two works is most likely proof that they had no awareness of each other until it was too late to change things.

Literally just ten days after I mailed in my TNG spec script, they aired "Quality of Life," which had a very similar plot about Data realizing an AI was sentient, complete with an almost identical beat where an offhand quip by Geordi was what got Data wondering about sentience in the first place. And "Empok Nor" was rather similar to one of my pitches to RHW, although I made the opposite assumption about Cardassian nomenclature and called it "Terok Hel." Although I bet a lot of people pitched stories about something happening on a duplicate station, since it's a good way to save money on sets.

My spec script that got me the pitch invitation to DS9 was also a money-saver, a bottle show in which a technobabble phenomenon left a few characters alone on an empty DS9 for most of the episode. I'd noted how the shows sometimes did really economical bottle shows by focusing on character stories with minimal FX and action (e.g. "The Drumhead" and "Duet"), and I wanted to come up with a similarly inexpensive bottle show that was more science fictional, while still focused on character interplay. I suspect the economy of my script was probably a factor in getting my pitch invitation.

I actually recycled the same premise for one of my Voyager pitches to Joe Menosky, and after I pitched it and he rejected it, he asked where I'd gotten the idea, since it was (here we go again) similar to a spec movie script he'd been pitching.

I'd say one of the best things to come out of my pitching experience was that I got to thank Joe Menosky for "Darmok."

Oh, one more thing: People complain about how Seven of Nine dominated VGR and often assume it was because of the actress's sex appeal. But when I did my second VGR pitch, for season 5, I tried very hard to avoid pitches about Seven or the Doctor, since I expected everyone else to be pitching for them and I wanted to offer something different. Yet nonetheless, most of the ideas I came up with were about Seven or the Doctor, because they were simply the most interesting and complex characters, the ones with the most potential for growth, change, and conflict. Everyone else in the cast had pretty much resolved their issues and settled into steady roles (aside from the Tom-B'Elanna romance), and thus there wasn't as much to say about them. I assume that's why both Seven and the Doctor were so heavily featured in the show. (Although I once estimated the figures for a Star Trek Magazine article fact-checking that belief about Seven, and I determined that Janeway remained the most prominently featured character throughout the series, with Seven second during her four seasons and the Doctor third -- except in season 7 where the Doctor took second place. And I'm getting recursive here, since I included this very anecdote in that article.)
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog

Last edited by Christopher; December 20 2013 at 12:37 AM.
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:31 AM   #324
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
I honestly can't remember too many of them, and since I worked on a Brother word processor in those days and the machine is long dead, I have disks which I cannot access, so who knows what all I pitched.
You might try a service like this one.


plynch wrote: View Post
Thanks. Very interesting.

If anybody meets the guardian of forever and goes back in time and restarts this forum, I for one vote for using real names. Many of you are very interesting people and it is kinda weird to have this veil of pseudonyms here. Be well!
It's actually possible to change your name on here if you nicely ask one of the mods. They do it for holidays, after all. I was DS9Sega when I started on here before I decided to just "come out" as me.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:33 AM   #325
BillJ
Admiral
 
BillJ's Avatar
 
Location: Covington, Ky.
View BillJ's Twitter Profile
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I sent a spec script to Voyager about an exiled war criminal trying to return home, never heard back. At that point, I figured my career as a Hollywood screenwriter was over.

plynch wrote: View Post
Thanks. Very interesting.

If anybody meets the guardian of forever and goes back in time and restarts this forum, I for one vote for using real names. Many of you are very interesting people and it is kinda weird to have this veil of pseudonyms here. Be well!
Bill Jasper here.
__________________
"I had no idea you were so... formidable. " - Anan 7 to James T. Kirk, A Taste of Armageddon
BillJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:42 AM   #326
Sir Rhosis
Commodore
 
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Re similarity. My spec which got me an invitation to pitch was entitled "Strange Bedfellows" (from Shakespeare, a very common title) and I believe DS9 later did an ep with title, which bore no resemblance to my story other than people having to work together who were not on, shall we say, the best of terms. Did they rip me off? Of course not!

I also had a very broad, obvious joke (which was far from original with me) in which Gul Dukat, being escorted about the station, says something to Sisko like "Must I be escorted EVERYWHERE?" -- obviously the guards are going in the john with him. IIRC, Dukat does this exact line in a later show.

Did they rip me off? Of course not! As I said, it was an old, hoary joke to begin with.

So I agin echo Christopher. As they say, there are only (how many, again?) so many basic plots in literature, and by extension, television.

Though I do love Malcolm Hulke's advice to a young Terrance Dicks (when the latter first started writing for DOCTOR WHO). Something like "All you need to write for television is a great idea (pause)... It doesn't have to be your great idea..."

Sir Rhosis
__________________
Read my Star Trek script reviews at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/unseen.htm


Read "Origins" at http://www.orionpressfanzines.com/articles/origins.htm
Sir Rhosis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 12:47 AM   #327
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

I still have my TNG spec scripts and pitches. The "None So Noble" one is what convinced the Johnson brothers to let me rewrite their planned 3rd episode of Starship Exeter. As I recall, Jimm Johnson really liked my throwaway solution to the whole "why do Klingons look different?" question.
__________________
* * *
"If you wanted to get a good meeting... just go in and
say 'darker, grittier, sexier' and whatever."
—Glen Larson, 2010
Maurice is online now   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 01:15 AM   #328
diankra
Commodore
 
Location: UK
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

As Christopher and the others have said, it's very easy to duplicate someone else's idea: I lost my chance to write a Who novel because the McGuffin that initially got the Doctor involved overlapped with a book already in the works. By the time I'd rethought it, they'd halved the number of books to one a month, so the year's worth that had been commissioned had become two years' worth. By the time the next commissioning round started, the series was coming back and only established authors could be used...
__________________
"Some days are better than others. They say that where I come from."
"Loudly, I imagine, on the day you left."
(Blake's 7 - Rumours of Death)
diankra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 01:16 AM   #329
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Sir Rhosis wrote: View Post
Re similarity. My spec which got me an invitation to pitch was entitled "Strange Bedfellows" (from Shakespeare, a very common title) and I believe DS9 later did an ep with title, which bore no resemblance to my story other than people having to work together who were not on, shall we say, the best of terms. Did they rip me off? Of course not!
I doubt anybody would cry ripoff for the reuse of just a title, especially one that's a common phrase like that. There are several duplicate or near-duplicate titles in the screen franchise -- the TNG episode "First Contact" and the movie First Contact, TNG's "The Emissary" and DS9's "Emissary," TAS's "The Eye of the Beholder" and TNG's "Eye of the Beholder," TAS's "The Survivor" and TNG's "The Survivors," etc. Not to mention all the book titles later used as episode titles -- there's a TNG novel called Eyes of the Beholders and one called Survivors. And quite a few exact duplications between books and episodes -- "Reunion," "Requiem," "The Siege," "Sanctuary," "Evolution," "Resistance," "Sarek," etc. Plus a couple of cases of novels having very similar titles to other novels: TOS: The Kobayashi Maru and ENT: Kobayashi Maru, TNG: To Storm Heaven and Vanguard: Storming Heaven, maybe others. And that's not even getting into comic-book titles.

And of course there are countless titles that get used over and over by different shows or films. Sometimes even titles you'd expect to be unique get reused. Both TOS and Space: 1999 have episodes named "The Immunity Syndrome"; once in the '70s my local station ran them both consecutively on the same night!
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20 2013, 01:18 AM   #330
diankra
Commodore
 
Location: UK
Re: Fact-Checking Inside Star Trek: The Real Story

Christopher wrote: View Post
And of course there are countless titles that get used over and over by different shows or films. Sometimes even titles you'd expect to be unique get reused. Both TOS and Space: 1999 have episodes named "The Immunity Syndrome"; once in the '70s my local station ran them both consecutively on the same night!
There is though the amusing time when Terry Nation reused one of his old Saint scripts for The Baron, and then they got run back to back in the States. Oddly, many viewers guessed the twist in the plot of the second episode run...
__________________
"Some days are better than others. They say that where I come from."
"Loudly, I imagine, on the day you left."
(Blake's 7 - Rumours of Death)
diankra is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 08:03 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.