overview human purpose that guides the episode. Like a parable,
the emotions, value systems, failures and successes of human nature
are the tools. Greed is always rewarded with a downfall, the smallest
person can have the most courage, a bigot can be taught to see the
other man's point of view.
story should put that main figure through a change...The purpose of
each story, no matter how great its fantasy premise, is to show us
how human beings react! And to thereby, hopefully, give out viewer
a bit of insight into themselves. If the central character is unchanged
by their experience inthe show, we have failed.
plot must be clear and simple to follow. The
horror elements of each show should be imaginative, extraordinary,
even bizarre and fantastic, but they need to be grounded on some level
of reality. Ultimately, there needs to be a reason, explanation, or
theory which the audience can accept behind the phenomena. The fantasy
that we create must feel real.
characters will resist the fantastic. They
will not just go "Oh yes, that's a Ghost." Part of their
denial and search for rational explanations to a phenomena becomes
oru audience's way of buying into the fantasy.
our characters should be relate-able, people who could be our neighbors.
energy should continue through the hour, with regular, energy jolts
every couple of pages. These jolts can be laughs, scares, plot twists,
high emotions in the characters, even fake energy bursts that are
there to keep the audience's attention....Even in a plain dialogue
scene, we must seek ways to move the characters through dynamics.
People should argue ideas, not agree, there should always be a sense
of tension or momentum.
ending of each episode should be the most powerful moment in the show.
We must have plot twists that surprise and complete the story.
Legacy Writing Tenets
Legacy members should be in direct jeopardy - Because many of
our stories originate outside The Legacy, with characters who have
no initial connection to the group, care must be taken to construct
a story in which our members are intricately involved. They must never
seem peripheral. They are integral in discovering and resolving the
problems at hand, and should be put in direct jeopardy themselves.
Legacy members have an emotional involvement - As an adjunct to
the above, the phenomena that our group deals with should have an
emotional resonance with at least one of our members. Again, the more
we can connect our supernatural stories to The Legacy members, the
The Legacy doesn't know it all - Though they've existed as an
organization for thousands of years, and have an extensive archive
of information and artifacts, our group is not omniscient. They don't
have all of the answers for the phenomena they encounter. While they
can certainly bring past experience to bear in solving problems, each
case they encounter will have it's own unique characteristics and
elements that the group has never dealt with before.
Use the Legacy history - As noted above, this is an old organization.
Our stories should incorporate this extensive anecdotal history. Part
of the fun should be in suggesting that actual historical figures
and events were involved with The Legacy. For example, in researching
a case, one of the members might pull out a journal hand-written by
Edgar Allen Poe - a Legacy member ("You though his stories were
The Legacy should make mistakes - In command and extremely competent,
the group is always cautious in their approach to new phenomena. But
despite that expertise, the group is destined to make mistakes. As
mentioned above, they don't have all the answers. They need to be
presented with reversals and conflict. And we should see the emotional
aftermath of those conflicts.
Supernatural "jolts" are a necessity - Though we always
want a strong emotional "thoughline" to our stories, this
should not preclude scary, gothic jolts. If possible, there should
be at least one in each act. Similarly, each act (there are five,
plus the teaser) should end with either a supernatural scare, or an
informational or emotional revelation.
Teasers should be short and sweet - No more than five pages please
(preferably three.) The teaser should take place in the course of
one scene at one location and end with a scary supernatural jolt or
powerful character revelation.
Not all members have to be in the show - We are structuring shows
around one or two of our Legacy members, provided that the remaining
members are serviced in brief but significant beats throughout the
B-plots involving our members' lives are encouraged - Information
involving our Legacy members and their lives, as well as information
regarding past history of The Legacy or its current operation, is
encouraged. There is an emotional and historical fabric to our group
which should be woven through the different stories we wish to tell.
Use the Legacy mansion - Our members work out of an elaborate
and luxurious mansion which we would like to use in our episodes if
possible. You have the following standing sets at your disposal:
foyer with a large working fireplace and double staircases leading
to a second floor
A parlor directly
off the foyer with another fireplace and a large bay window with
views of San Francisco
library with a large central table (used for Legacy meetings), an
alcove with working fireplace and a spiral staircase leading up
to a book-lined mezzanine balcony
A secret suite
of rooms containing a control room with screens and monitors, Derek's
mahogany-paneled office and a white-tiled lab. All three secret
rooms are accessed through a painting in the library which looks
real, but is actually a hologram.
are studying the supernatural, but always with a rational support.
and Sermons. Hopefully our stories will be entertaining and will honor
our creativity, but we will never moralize at the audience. Nor, will
we laugh at them. The reality of our characters and the moral should
be deftly woven into the story.
should always expose our supernatural characters to the audience in
a way to get the most value to the story. Although cutting edge CGI
and special effects will be utilized, still, "less is more."
Let's tease an audience with obscured shots of shadowy images, extreme
close-ups, etc. before revealing our whole ghost.
writer must consider the production realities and turn them to an
advantage. At our budget level and schedule our stories have to be
contained. Lots of powerful dialogue and a limited number of sets
and locations. We must push hard for credible performances highlighted
by magical lighting, wonderful close-ups of eyes and words. We can
realistically build only one big prop, effect or creature per show...
it's up to our own creativity how we use it. Therefore we can do a
story like "Carrie", "Amityville Horror", "The
Shining", or "The Exorcist"... but not "Alien"
since this is airing on cable, we are not limited by normal Standards
and Practices. We are free to use profanity, nudity, and violence
within the limits of our own, and our audience's, sense of good taste.
However, though we should use this "freedom" to augment
and support the feeling of realism of the show, it should never be
gratuitously exploited. Especially considering that there is a life
for our episodes beyond cable TV, which will force us to eventually
cut our episodes to conform to network standards.