5 Replies Latest reply: Jun 12, 2012 10:18 AM by able123 RSS

    One Hour TV Show Structure

    Cadillacula Community Member

      Trying to crack a bit of a nut that seems to be more well-guarded than the location of the Holy Grail in my rather extensive internet searches.

       

      I am trying to edit existing footage down to a precise one hour format.

       

      This is to say I am editing it into several acts (that will need precise lengths) and leaving black gaps (that will need precise lengths) for several commercial breaks.

       

      It seems like this would be a pretty imperative bit of information since an act that runs 9 minutes would have to be edited significantly (possibly detrimentally) differently than a 5 minute bit between two commercial breaks.

       

      Now I also understand that this elusive "structure" may vary a great deal from network to network – so I am simply looking for a way to ball park simulate it.

       

      Does anyone have any real world experience with having to do this – and better yet perhaps just one legit example or template that has seen actual battle?

       

      Something like (just a fictitious example):

       

      Teaser - 2:00

      Title Sequence - 1:00

      Act I - 5:00

      Commercial - 3:00

      Act II - 5:00

      Commercial - 3:00

      Act III - 10:00

      Commercial - 3:00

      Act IV - 10:00

      Commercial - 3:00

      Act V - 5:00

      Commercial - 3:00

      Act VI - 5:00

      End Credits - 2:00

       

      Thanks in advance for any experienced direction.

        • 1. Re: One Hour TV Show Structure
          jstrawn Employee Hosts

          There is not one particular formula. It depends on what sort of program you're writting and for what sort of broadcaster.

          David Trottier has written some good books on screenplay formatting (mainly for film but also som tv info) and he also does private consulting for a reasonable fee, if you're serious.

          Here is his latest book, which I've not read yet, so I'm not necessarily endorsing it:

          http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Format-Tells-David-Trottier/dp/1885655010/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=U TF8&qid=1339466313&sr=1-2

           

          As for your editing workflow, if you use nested sequences you'll be able to work with each segment seperately and then put them together at the end with gaps and content segments of appropriate length. This way, you can start editing now and worry about the excat number of seconds and frames later.

          • 2. Re: One Hour TV Show Structure
            Cadillacula Community Member

            Interestingly enough the internet is drowning in templates on this subject from the writers perspective - but not from the editors.

             

            Well aware the formula varies as I stated - so really just looking for one rough template example that has seen some real world active duty.

             

            If I need to slide Mr. Trottier a few bucks to get this - I'm OK with that.

             

            I appreciate your insight.

            • 3. Re: One Hour TV Show Structure
              Community Member

              my experience has been 22 min for half hours show ( total running length ) and 44 min for one hour show.

              each "station" or "show" ( eg. the discovery channel ) has specific guidelines and its best to go to that channel, station, show (whatever ) and get those guidelines downloaded from them and look it over. It tells you what they want , format, etc.

               

              also, they cut into it when it suits them ...you have nothing to do with it.

               

              if it's live TV ( like montel williams or whatever ) which is taped ( not live ) then you would have specific timing limits for breaks and you'd time that as you shoot for the breaks...and new intro do new segment etc... but you aint doing that probably or you'd have that info from the producer etc.

               

              any template you use is not going to be real world as you basically give up your "rights" to that sorta stuff when you sell them (broadcaster) the right to show your stuff x amount of times during x amount of months, years and so on....before the rights come back to YOU.

               

              good luck

              • 4. Re: One Hour TV Show Structure
                Cadillacula Community Member

                Hmmmm...

                 

                Definitely not "live" TV.

                 

                A few counter thoughts...

                 

                Well aware of the ballpark "content" TRT's (22 and 44) sans commercials - thats why i expressed I'm after an example of the "breakdown"

                 

                >> also, they cut into it when it suits them ...you have nothing to do with it.

                 

                This isn't true actually. I believe it may have been - or may be when old programs are purchased and rebroadcast - but original programming is built to very specific templates so that each act actually has a very deliberate cliff hanger. A station typically wouldnt cut willy nilly into a prepared program like that to destroy that careful editing/story telling.

                 

                >> any template you use is not going to be real world as you basically give up your "rights" to that sorta stuff when you sell them

                 

                I'll try to be clearer - as what I'm asking for is not copyrightable in any way (though elusive and therefore perhaps valuable) and I don't want this to derail. I am just looking for someone to provide a broad list - as I did in my OP example – that outlines any unnamed program that they edited to specific structures/time allotments for any unnamed network. Again something that shows the breakdown of ACT I is 5 minutes, Commercial Break I is 1:30, etc.

                 

                >> get those guidelines downloaded from them and look it over. It tells you what they want , format, etc.

                 

                I've never seen specific Act and Commercial length breakdowns for a one hour program like I'm asking for - availablefor  download. Please enlighten me with any links you may know of.

                 

                If no one here has direct insight to an example - I completely understand and will broaden my search.

                 

                Thanks for responding.

                • 5. Re: One Hour TV Show Structure
                  Community Member

                  glad to help... if I can...but I guess I just don't know what you mean by " a one hour program " and this template stuff you're talking about...

                   

                  here's some stuff I've worked on...not complete...but gives you general idea.

                  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0061921/

                  My experience has been that people dont write to accomodate some template like youre talking about...like, " oh oh...its like 3min and 20 seconds into our first act and we need to re-write the script now so that it fits the template !!! OMG !!!   "

                  I could see people doing that on set during shoots and freaking out because the vampire didn't bite the victim on time !!!!

                   

                  maybe if you are more clear about what kinda one hour show you're talking about and what the venue is I can do some searching around and see if I can find anything...would be happy to help... I just don't get it I guess...

                   

                  good luck !