Below is a TV show template I created based off of Three Act Structure, Michael Hauge’s Five Key Turning Points , The Eight Sequence Structure, the Hero’s Journey and the Heroine’s Journey. Incorporating Teaser, Cliffhanger and or Denouement specifically for Television purposes. Best way to start writing your pilot!
TIP: Use this structure as a worksheet, fill in each line with brainstorming ideas and use it as a cheat sheet for your pilot episode!
TEASER [~3-6 pages]
ACT I [~13ish pages]
The Setup, The Status Quo
Heroine’s Journey: Illusion of the perfect world
Hero’s Journey: Ordinary world, Call to Action/Adventure
THE OPPORTUNITY [Turning Point #1] ~10-13%
Heroine’s Journey: Shattering of Illusion, Realization or Betrayal
Hero’s Journey: Refusal of the Call, Meeting the Mentor
CHANGE OF PLANS [Turning Point #2] ~%25
ACT II [~24 pages]
1st obstacle/Rising Stakes
Heroine’s Journey: Awakening & Preparing for Journey
Hero’s Journey: Crossing the Threshold
Heroine’s Journey: Descent
Hero’s Journey: Tests, Allies, & Enemies
POINT OF NO RETURN [Turning Point #3] ~50%
Heroine’s Journey: Eye of the storm
Hero’s Journey: Approach
Heroine’s Journey: Death- All is lost
Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death & Resurrection
MAJOR SETBACK [Turning Point #4] ~75%
ACT III [~13 pages]
New Tension and or Twist (Monkey Wrench)
Heroine’s Journey: Support & Rebirth
Hero’s Journey: Reward, Seizing the Sword
CLIMAX [Turning Point #5] ~? 85-99%
Heroine’s Journey: Rebirth & Return to Perfect World
Hero’s Journey: The Road Back; Resurrection; Return w/ the Elixir
Standard operating procedure 1 PAGE = Aprox 1 MINUTE filming ( this isn’t strictly true, but its a good frame of reference. Some genres, like Sci-Fi, have more description in the script that doesn’t add to film time, but in general these large descriptions should be avoided).
1 Hour serialized drama averages about 58 mins. With commercial breaks averages around 45 mins.
Nothing is set in stone of course, but it’s a good place to start!