If I ever find myself in L.A., I’ve got two script ideas I would pitch. They would sell immediately and I would make millions of dollars because that’s how it works… right?
Until then, I’m not going to pretend I know how to make TV. I will, however, openly admit that I watch an obsessive amount of it and I have done so for most of my 30-ish years. Therefor, I’ve learned some dos and don’ts which most normal humans who watch normal amounts of television (creatives included) have not seemed to learn. With that in mind, I offer everyone on the creative side of television some crucial advice. I present: The Rules Everyone Must Follow If You Want Your Viewers to Not Hate Your Shit (in No Particular Order).
- If you’re going to write pregnancy into a storyline, be prepared to write a baby into it as well. As much as I liked Connor, that bitch was a baby for all of 7 episodes before he was 16 years old. Adalind‘s baby had to peace out with the Grimm’s mom ’cause… safety? And then that fucking vampire/witch/werewolf/or-whatever-the-hell-it-is baby needed to disappear for half a season because her mom was gonna eat it or some shit? There are so many more examples, I could go on and on. Just cut it out, y’all. It’s a mess.
- No more text message bubbles on screen. It’s lazy and obnoxious. If you’re going to have someone read the messages aloud, voice-over style, I suppose that is the most mildly acceptable thing possible in terms of these damn bubbles, but otherwise… they’re more annoying than anything. And think about how much directors will hate everything about you because they have to find an interesting way to keep a static camera on a dumbass staring and making faces at their phone. If you can’t find a better way to insert dialogue, don’t fucking insert it.
- No blurry filter over a woman’s face. It is painfully insulting. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with letting them look their age. Stop it. I could not handle Calista Flockblur for more than 3 episodes on Supergirl before I gave that mess up (one of many reasons, by the way) and Blurrin’ Stone was really pushing it on Agent X.
- You can never, ever write “I don’t even know who you are anymore,” or any iteration of it in any way, shape, or form, in any script you ever write ever in life ever. Full stop. (Note: The only possible exception is something ridiculously millennial such as, “I mean… what even is your face right now?”)
- If your story takes place in the future, there is no need to make cute jokes about how things were “back in the day.” It ain’t classy. Have faith in your audience’s intelligence. We can pick up on context clues like flying cars and dehydrated pizza. We don’t need you talking about how weird it was when Tinder used to be a thing back when meat came from cows. “That wacky past, amiright?”
- Also, in the same “future” vein, putting as much transparent bullshit as you possibly can on a screen does not make it feel more like you’re looking through some future hi-tech phone lens you had surgically implanted into your eyeball so that you could watch porn by blinking. It’s honestly more likely to cause seizures than to awe someone with the tech-ey beauty of it.
- Know your ending. Mystery is fine, but no one needs Lost season 6B. If you don’t have an end game, don’t bother. Making it up as you go will more often than not result in big bags of bullshit.
- It’s really not difficult to keep your name off of the sex offender registry. If you’re on it, it’s because you’re a gross person in one way or another. So, dear writers: quit writing storylines that are supposed to make your audience feel sympathy for a fucking sex offender character you, for whatever reason, thought would be a good addition to your show.
And that’s about it. I’ll add more to the list if necessary, but this really is all you need to do in order to not make eyes roll. If you’re attempting to write a new script, keep these few things in mind and peace be with you and your creative juices. Write long and prosper. (Also, comment below if there are any other rules you think I should add. Or if you have a funny way to insult me. But it better be funny as fuck. Otherwise, you’ve got no business talking about my creativity, you lazy, bitter, gorgeous commenter you.)