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The TV Showrunner's Roadmap by Neil Landau

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17Pay Off the Setups

I’m a pilot junkie. I love reading the teleplays and later watching the premiere episodes to see how they’ve translated from page to screen. It’s like unwrapping a giftand finding either a wonderful surprise or a well-intentioned disappointment.

I’m always filled with anticipation as to how the pilot will open: will it be an origins “premise” pilot or of the drop-me-into-the-world-already-in-progress variety? How will the voluminous exposition be doled out? Where is it going to be set? Who’s in the cast? What’s the X-factor that makes it fresh and exciting? How is it structured, at what pace and style? Will there be voice-over? Flashbacks? Flash-forwards? Will it be genre bending, innovative and break the mold, or will it ...

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