The Enemy of My Enemy – writing in someone else’s world

Office-Cast-1024x786[1] So I applied for this.

It’s a writing fellowship program in television from ABC. Like all things requiring application, I had to punch out a few essays about me, and what I’m like, and why I’d like to write for TV, and what I bring to writing TV that’s special that no one else can.

I also had to crank out a script – an episode of a TV show that was in production in 2009. It’s an exercise in proving you can operate as a writer on a TV show, matching tone and characters in a world of someone else’s devising. The end result was quite an interesting exercise.

Of course, I knew something about what writing for TV is like, which is why I want to do it. But this is the first time anything I’ve written hasn’t been strictly original, outside of some Final Fantasy VII fan fiction I wrote when I was 12. It’s probably still out there in Internetland someplace.

Anyway, having been kind of out of TV for a few months because of my cross-country moving excursion, I went with “The Office,” seeing as I know it more or less like I invented it.

To make sure I went full nerd, I made the episode about “Battlestar Galactica” in some way as well.

“The Enemy of My Enemy,” my first-ever TV spec, can be read here. If you’re so inclined, feel free to leave comments. Don’t steal it, though – I already I have proof that I’m the author of it. Also, that’s not very nice.

Writing it was definitely an interesting experience. Working with a lot of confines makes things easier in a lot of ways: you don’t have to invent the characters, you just have to try to work with them; you already know what the structure has to be like; and so on. But it can be tough to find your own voice while speaking with someone else’s.

Using “Galactica” was the first idea I had for this script, and it was what allowed me to go off in the direction I did. It also was the first and best way to write “The Office” like me – nerd it up. Even more than usual.

After that, it became easy. Characters start plotting against one another; alliances form; craziness ensues. A lot of that craziness is bubbling viscously under the surface of “The Office” at any given time, which certainly is nice. At the same time, I think I tapped the reservoir pretty effectively.

Overall, I’m very happy with the whole thing. I put together a pretty strong application, I thought, and the script’s not bad, if the author’s opinion counts for anything.

Anyway, it made my girlfriend laugh. That’s always a win.

Published by Phil

He's like, you know, the guy.

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  1. heck yes! when you become a fancy TV writer, you better let me join you and Caitlin in your crazy Hollywood adventures!

    Hoping for the best for you guys!

    Love, the crazy family friend who can’t get up to LA from fear of the 405!

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