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The Painful Production of Pilot Episodes

A pilot episode is the tip of the spear of an up-and-coming TV series. Every new TV program needs a good pilot episode to succeed. Before a new series airs on television, a pilot is first created to gauge whether a particular concept for a series will be successful.

The initial step for one to get an approval for a pilot is pitching his or idea to a studio or TV network executives. Once the idea is approved, the pilot script has to be created. This stage is crucial because it can lead to what is called the “development hell” in the entertainment industry where a concept remains in development without progressing to production. To avoid this, a lot of work is put starting from the conception of an idea to the production of a pilot.

Executives have several points to consider for the approval such as the relevance of the script with the pitch that they bought, the orientation of the script with respect to the image of the network or studio, the budget for the script, and many more. The job of scriptwriters gets more difficult when they have to bear in mind and strike a balance between two things at the same time: the points of considerations that executives have and the creative integrity of the idea.

Upon approval of the script, one must move on to putting together the creative elements of the pilot. He or she needs to pick the people for the team. During this time, choosing the actors, actresses, and the directors is a race. Once the cast is approved by the network, shooting begins, and it can take days to weeks depending on the show and the number of cameras used.

During the shoot, networks can interfere with the production of the pilot to reduce the financial risks. This way, networks get a glimpse of how the concept will turn out without investing too much on the project. After shooting, the pilot undergoes editing before being released to the network for the final verdict.

A pilot episode is like a test episode that is used to sell a show or a series to a television network. Once a pilot episode is deemed compelling, it usually serves as the first episode of the series. Pilot episodes that fail to convince television networks are usually never screened publicly. They are called “dead pilots.” However, even though pilot episodes may be successful initially, a series can get cancelled if their ratings suffer.

질문&어휘 문법TIPs 해석
questions

1. What is a pilot episode?

2. What is the importance of pilot episodes?

3. What are the usual steps that one needs to take to get a concept approved for production?

vocabularies

spear 창/ 

gauge 측정하다, 추산하다/ 

executive 간부/ 

conception 구상/ 

integrity 무결성, 완전한 상태/ 

shooting 촬영/ 

glimpse 흘끗 보기/ 

compelling 강력한, 주목하게 만드는/

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