I just finished writing the pilot episode of this web series and I know already that I’m going to have to edit the crap out of it. It’s so much harder to write for today’s internet users who have the attention spans of ten year-olds.
Especially when you have to set up a whole world and keep your audience engaged and wanting more in just under eight minutes. AND it’s a general rule that each page of a script is a minute of screen time so that’s setting up all the important points in just eight pages or less.
But that’s what the audience wants.
I understand completely. I won’t watch anything on the internet that runs longer than twenty-five minutes. Though, I don’t usually watch anything longer than ten minutes unless I’m fully entertained.
I am an internet user of today, after all.
While surfing the web for some input on how to write my web series, I realized just how much information is out there.
When writing for a smaller format, like the pilot of a web series, Nick Lawrence of Snobby Robot Transmedia Magazine (see the full article here) likes the PCR (Problem, Complication, Resolution) Method. It’s basically the three act structure (which I’ll write about more in depth later) but eased down for a much simpler format.
Quick example of the PCR method:
Problem: Main Character (MC) needs to go to the store to get some milk for dinner.
Complication: All the stores are closed.
Resolution: MC manages to get milk from someone next door. Or MC makes something else.
It goes like this: the episode starts out with a Problem that needs to be solved. Obviously it’s possible to skip right to the Resolution but it doesn’t make for very interesting storytelling. Thus, the Complication which makes the Problem harder to be resolved. Then it all has to be resolved via Resolution, somehow. Thinking this way makes the writing process a lot less complicated.
The example above is super simple (and actually not all that exciting, sorry) but the format is there and a whole story has been told.
Obviously there are no rules for writing so you can take this and tweak to your liking but I found it very helpful for my own writing process.
This is the basic format I used for my episode:
Problem: MC hates his life.
Complication: Life gets worse.
Resolution: There is a silver lining.
I’m sure this method could be applied to other forms of writing as well but I’ve only used it for my web series writing. Got one episode written, anyway!
What are your thoughts on this method? Does it sound helpful? Know of any other writing methods that might be better? Feel free to comment!