Filmmaking / Directing : Doing an anthology TV show by Tony Byrd

Tony Byrd

Doing an anthology TV show

I'm thinking about doing an sci-fi anthology TV block. It's called Nightmare Festival. It's my idea that stuck in my mind. What should I do?

Lindbergh E Hollingsworth

Go research anthologies, write your episodes, rewrite them until their at their highest potential and then go make it. You mention sci-fi, and then call it Nightmare Festival. So is it sci-fi or horror? Or are you mixing genres?

Matthew Parvin

Always follow your nose. If you have an idea that just won't go away, explore. Make an outline, work on a series Bible if you have enough material. It may not go anywhere, but if you don't pursue it you'll wonder what might have been.

Julia Petrisor

I don't understand the question! Just write it! Anthology to me makes me think Black MIrror/ Electric Dreams/ Twilight Zone so just write each episode and tie them together in your one world. Or go AHS style and have a whole season of one story that's in your world then a new story for the second season... etc. Just get started!

Neal Howard

Selling/Producing a TV series without connections or experience is a Herculean effort. You will need allies and names on your side to get it done/noticed. Are you a sci-fi screenwriter of any note? Do you know any sci-fi screenwriters of note? Assuming the answer is no, I would suggest you find the source material for your anthology in already published works. There's a lot of good sci-fi short story writers out there. Easier to find competent screenwriters to adapt that material, but at least you will be starting from some position of strength. Check into getting the rights to reliably good stories from authors who might already have an established reputation in that niche. That's something tangible potential producers/investors/buyers can get intrigued by.

Neal Howard

Comic books, graphic novels, animators, game developers also good places to look/go for more established source material.

Tony Byrd

It's both sci-fi and horror.

Nick Assunto - Stage32 Script Services Coordinator

You'll have to write your pilot and a series bible.

Tony Byrd

I want it to have both short films and feature films.

Chris Jones

Right off the bat I'm reminded of Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs in that both were 30 minute show that featured either 2-3 segments or a longer feature separated into act breaks. I think it would be very interesting to see that format brought to a longer block with more mature content.

Tony Byrd

What do you mean?

Chris Jones

You mentioned it being an anthology block as well as having short films and feature films. If this is network TV, you need a scheduled block for a certain amount of time. It can't be one hour one week and 30 minutes the next week. Therefore, you'd need something to fill in the rest of the block for those times when it's only a 30 minute episode vs. a longer feature. This is what led me to my comment on Tiny Toon Adventures. It was always a thirty minute block, but it wasn't always the same format. One episode could be two stories. Another episode could be three stories. And then there were times when an episode was a thirty minute long story.

Tony Byrd

What do you mean by "network TV"?

Michael Joseph Kospiah

Do you have any experience in film or TV? Because it doesn't sound like you're taking the right steps. You have an idea and that's about it and it kind of feels like you're playing pretend rather truly taking proper initiative. I see you have an ad up under the job listings for this time warp project you're talking about. I also see that it's one of two credits you have listed under your profile -- and it's marked 2023. And, going by your responses to the great advice you've received, it doesn't sound like you have any idea how any of this works or any idea for a plan. And I also see that I've been hired as a writer for this time warp gig even though you never reached out to me nor elaborated on what exactly your project is in more detail than what you've described in one sentence. On top of that, I never agreed to take on the job, I wanted to know more about it. But you were unable to explain to me what this project even is. I get it, it's good to dream -- that's the first step in pursuing a career in film and TV. And I see you have an idea of the concept and layout (albeit extremely vague). But do you have a budget you're working with? How do you plan on paying all these people you plan on hiring for this project (it looks like you're searching for various positions in within this project)? What EXACTLY do you want to do with this? Not sure if you really know. So, I'd appreciate if you unmarked me as "hired" for that gig. I don't mean to insult you in any way if that's how it comes across. It just seems off to me, like you're in "Franchise Mode" on Madden or something.

Michael Joseph Kospiah

I'd suggest doing a little more research, reading articles, maybe check out some blogs. All my experience is in film and theater, so I can't really tell you how to put together something like this.

Tony Byrd

What kind of research?

Julia Petrisor

Tony Byrd some ideas for research: watching other anthology series and reading the screenplays, reading the trades (Variety, etc) to see what the market is buying/ who's buying what when it comes to anthology series, researching the producers contact info (although I'd sit on that until I have something written, personally, but go ahead, research away). But more than all of this, just get writing the g--damned thing!!! I agree with much of what Michael says above. Sit down, open the blank doc, and start. Period. You won't have anything if you don't have it written down - nobody wants to be pitched an idea from a non-established writer or an idea with nothing written to support it.

Shadow Dragu-Mihai

Tony Byrd You should develop it and find funding,

Tony Byrd

Ok. How do I get funding?

Willem Lodewijk Elzenga

You need to find investors/financiers. They're in New York for sure.

Tony Byrd

What about streaming?

Doug Nelson

Tony Byrd, 'How do I get funding?' You got a day job and a credit card? - You got all the funding you need.

Clint Hill

Directors make decisions. The decision is yours to make.

Michael Joseph Kospiah

Geez, Tony, you really seem lost in the woods on this one, in pretty much every aspect. I would recommend writing something yourself rather than posting "writers wanted" ads and saying that the job is paid when, in reality, there is no project, thus there is no pay. Also, I'd recommend taking some film/TV production classes or at least checking out a shitload of seminars so you won't seem as lost as you do. Rather than asking everybody to hold your hand through every small detail needed to make a project like this happen, these are all questions that can be answered just by Googling it. You're not going to get funding if nobody sees anything to invest in. Nobody is going to give you money for a project that doesn't exist, especially if you have absolutely no clue what you're doing. Google is your friend, use it.

Steven Hopstaken

Put together a pitch and try to sell it to the Shudder channel.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Write it down. LOL! Ooo, Chris Jones - great note! How did I forget Animaniacs?! Now that song is in my head... HA!

Tony Byrd

I'll try though. I still have writer's block.

Matthew Parvin

Always put something down. Never let an idea wither on the vine. You never know what might blossom into something.

JC Young

Thanks to stream services, the anthology is definitely getting some new life. Do you have a pilot already done and looking to shop it?

Tony Byrd

I'm writing it. I'm pitching it either Amazon or Hulu. I can't ever stop having writer's block.

Erick Freitas

DO IT.

Tony Byrd

Why is that not all anthologies have a theme?

Mel Nieves

Write it!

Mel Nieves

It's a choice. There are no set rules except to make the themes compelling and thought provoking.

Julia Petrisor

I have not yet heard of an anthology that is not thematically linked. Examples?

Tony Byrd

The Wonderful World of Disney

Mel Nieves

Well there have been, but the most famous and ground breaking of those was Playhouse 90 from the early days of television which helped introduce the writings of Rod Serling, Paddy Chayefsky, Horton Foote, Frank Gilroy to a larger audience.

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