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Story Requirements

An 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.

Each 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.

The 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.

Our 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.

Similarly, our characters should be relate-able, people who could be our neighbors.

This 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.

The ending of each episode should be the most powerful moment in the show. We must have plot twists that surprise and complete the story.

The Legacy Writing Tenets

1. 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.

2. 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 better.

3. 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.

4. 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 fiction?").

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 episode.

9. 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.

10. 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:

An expansive 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

Two bedrooms

A two-story 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.

The Taboos

We are studying the supernatural, but always with a rational support.

Satires 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.

Ghosts and Demons

We 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.

The Production Realities

The 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" or "Jaws."

Standards and Practices

Technically, 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.

A Format for the Series and Glossary © 1995, 1996 Trilogy Entertainment Group.
This annotated (by Clair) version of the series bible is not for publishing elsewhere.