Building the Perfect “Puzzle Box”

Television isn’t what it used to be, and that’s the great thing about it. What we consider to be “in” is constantly evolving.

Years ago The Sopranos,  Mad Men, and Breaking Bad were breaking the mold of what we considered a new style of writing. But today? Not so much.

Today, shows like Westworld, The Good Place, and The OA are the ones that every writer is trying to duplicate. But it’s not just gritty content that will be influencing new series for the next few years – it’s a new, bold, complex storytelling paradigm that is already taking over.

There’s a new writing style in town, and you have to keep up. The “puzzle box” show – a story that appears to be one thing until you reach the key that unlocks the mystery, and then it turns out to be something entirely different – are immensely popular.

This webinar will explore the structure of Westworld and other puzzle box hits to determine what makes one of these shows work, what elements are necessary for success, and how to avoid the traps this new paradigm offers.

You can find out more information about the webinar here.

Writing the Sitcom Pilot – Great Video Series

My book Writing the Pilot (now available for the Nook!)tells you everything you need to know to write a drama pilot. But when it comes to sitcoms, there’s a whole different set of questions — and since I have no idea what the right answers are, I don’t even try. (I’m old fashioned that way…) Fortunately Ken Levine, whose decades of great work includes M*A*S*H and Cheers, as well as one of the best blogs around, now has a video series cleverly titled “How To Write a TV Sitom.” This is the first installment:

You can check out the rest of the series here.