I’ve turned in another good read with Inside the Room with Below the Fold. I did a fairly substantial rewrite based on the readings at Rewrites, but the result was not quite as enthusiastic as the Rewrites readings or last weeks reading of the teaser at last Saturday’s meeting of Inside the Room. Still, the comments were all very positive. The biggest note or concern was with the pacing.
The general consensus was the script was perhaps too fast. It felt more plot oriented and less character focus. Series that revolve around news organizations tend to be dialogue driven and have a slower more deliberate pace. Below the Fold, at least for the pilot, is rocketing along as the team tries to find a second source to confirm the suicide of a US senator.
I think once the news team makes their deadline and breaks the story, they can slow down a bit. For the pilot, however, I don’t mind them moving a bit faster. The story should slow down a bit in the second half. The irony, however, is that I felt the story had slowed down too much with the rewrite. It felt incredibly draggy to me. The resulting comments that the pace was too quick came as a surprise. The slowness for me probably resulted from hearing the faster version at Rewrites. Adam Rejwan, the founder of REJ Entertainment, thought the pace was fast for a typical newsroom series, but also stated that if I was going for a “24 for journalists,” it felt about right. The problem with that is I will need a lot of story to carry the series each week. It was summed up as a season of plot for each episode. That’s a lot of writing and something to think about.
The good thing about this particular reading was I was allowed to read the entirety of the first act. Everybody else just got to read their teasers. So, while most folks only heard a couple of pages of their script, I heard about 17 pages in all. My pitch also went very well this week. Short, sweet and to the point. No flubs. I have definitely made progress on that front.
The sad point to this session was that Brandon did not come back. I did reach out to him during the week and encouraged him to stick with it, particularly this late in the session. He’s paid the money; he should see it through to the end. I even offered to meet with him prior to the session to go over his teaser and pitch with him, but he did not respond.
It takes a thick skin to work in this business. If you can’t take a few comments in a supportive setting, you’re doomed before you even get started. Perhaps it was for the best.
Next week, those of us still around will present our last pitch. We will have 10 minutes to give a general outline for the series and then a more detailed description of the pilot beat by beat.
Time to start preparing.