Screenwriting : Movie or Mini-Series? by Charles Jewell

Charles Jewell

Movie or Mini-Series?

How would one know if a project is better as a movie or as a mini-series like Band of Brothers or The Pacific? I am working on something and am flip-flopping back and forth as the best way to write the screenplay. I also don't really know the "rules" for writing a mini-series screenplay and can not find any where on the web for the best places to show me or any scripts for produced mini-series. Any and all help would be appreciated.

Charles Jewell

Then why even reply? What I meant about mini-series is proper format on how they are written because I know that there are different format rules for TV, Theater.......etc... I don't need a needless, non-helpful reply like yours.

Charles Jewell

Thanks Jane, telling someone to figure it out on their own is to me, ignorant and that person comes off as a pompous D. (I say what is on my mind and I am not PC). The main reason why I asked Movie or Mini-series is due to all the good information and incidents that happened in the idea that I am throwing together. I did not think about a two or three part TV movie until it woke me up this morning. I am working on 3 screenplays at a time, but luckily I HEAVILY believe in Outlining to keep everything straight between the three. I should be ready to start Pitching in April. But the military gets in the way of a lot. I also am not worried as to what is bought on Spec. Barriers are always meant to come down and I have some people who have worked on series like Band of Brothers helping me out. I don't even know why I asked this question on here, I guess I was just testing the waters as to what type of community Stage32 is.

Patrick Freeman

With any production cost is a huge consideration. A single feature can be produced for much less than a miniseries. With that in mind, it might prove to be easier to sell a feature than a miniseries. If you can tell the whole story in one feature then I would go that way. It's OK if, in doing so, you leave threads unexplored - such as would lend themselves to sequels. But if you can't tell the whole story in less than, say 6 hours, I think you have to go with a miniseries.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Charles, please spend more time both engaging our community and contributing to it before forming an opinion. I see you have not been on Stage 32 very long. Perhaps test the waters a little more. There are a lot of generous people on this site. Oh, and welcome! :) With that said, the first thing to consider is whether or not your idea would best be served in a long format -- a miniseries these days can mean anything from 3 to 8, to upwards of 15 episodes. Would your story be best told over that kind of length? Does it have the legs? The depth? If so, then go for it. Develop a great pilot script; perhaps a few more episodes; a full treatment of the series; perhaps even a "bible" of all the characters before pitching. It sounds like you already have some sort of "contact." Perhaps those people can give you some specific guidance to what would be expected for the specific group you would be pitching to. As far as "war" storylines appealing only to a "certain age"...Sorry, but people from different age groups find the subject matter very interesting. Anyway, if it is helpful to you, there have been a couple of webinars regarding TV pitches and writing pilots available on-demand on Stage 32; "How to Write a TV Series Bible" and "How to Pitch Your TV Pilot to Cable Networks." Check them out:

Charles Jewell

I am not going anywhere Beth, trust me. The little time I have been here I can see how much good this site can offer myself and others. I can get my one story that I am talking about here down to 2 hour feature or less. But the type of story it is, I feel that I am not doing the Heroes that took part in this true story any justice for having to cut a lot of amazing things out. That is why I am thinking heavily between the two or three mediums that would best work. My problem is one that I deal with a lot with decision making and since I am too close to this it is kind of hard. That is why I was looking for some feedback from this community. Thank you for your post Patrick, short and quick to the point and good feedback.

William G Chandler Jr

These days it seems like anything could fit in both areas. You see The Wire, possibly Daredevil, and other strong series. If they could be one sit down film, they could work. It goes the same for series too, I believe.

Charles Jewell

That is a very good idea Alle. You are the first one to ever tell me to try it that way. Just thinking about this story that I am working on makes me excited. I don't have any writing credits, being military and taking care of my wife has made my process of becoming a screenwriter go very slow, but I am not worried about it. I just keep writing no matter where I am or what I am doing.

Mark Ratering

I have gotten big name scripts from the internet "The Sting" many many. Just keep putting in searches you will find trust me.

Charles Jewell

I do search and i fall into the "internet hole" and then I just say fuck it and power on. I do use ScriptFly a lot.

Billy Dominick

I have to agree with Alle. Write the script and see how many pages it turns out. The 2nd Underworld movie came about because the script for the first one was too massive for one movie so they chopped the end of it off and used it for the start of the 2nd one.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In