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Adapting a personal story to a TV Series  


New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 2
09/06/2020 11:28 pm  

Hey all,

I'm super new to this industry and have totally found my niche. So, with that in mind, I have a personal story that a cross between dudette with a problem and a love story. it involves suicide, terror attacks, love, loss, guilt, bad decisions and soooo much more. 

I'd love to hear how if anyone has any great tips for this kind of adaptation. I have written a best seller but the TV series can be more creative of course..... Like a 'based on a true story' script series.

I'm about to go into a pitching course and would really value any thoughts on how to do the adaptation in order to really nail the pitch fest at the end of the course!!

Thanks a bunch!

Cory Milles
Member Moderator
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 5
26/06/2020 7:17 pm  

Hi, @carrens! Your story sounds interesting, and it can always be tricky to adapt personal stories to the screen (or in novel form), as we always try to maintain the truth behind it all. The best way to go about it, in my opinion, is to look at the 10 Story Genres and the elements they each have. For example, Dude(tte) with a problem would have an innocent hero, a sudden event, and life or death stakes. A Buddy Love story would mainly focus on having an incomplete hero, a counterpart (which is usually the opposite of the hero), and a complication. Of course, your story might fit in one of these, or a subgenre of these (which you can read in Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies or Save the Cat! Goes to the Indies to see a plethora of examples). It could be a Rites of Passage, especially if it's dealing with a true life story. I found that what works best for me is to figure out where the story best fits by looking at the genre "pieces". A lot of times, this can be discovered most clearly during the Dark Night of the Soul beat. Many times, writers might be inclined to think their story is a Buddy Love because there is romance in it; however, unless the focus is on the relationship and the complication of getting together, it might be something else. Without knowing much more about your particular story and the specifics of your hero, it's tough to tell. Look at the Theme Stated beat and see what the hero learns; many times, this will clue you in to the genre. When I do a script consultation with a writer, this often helps me zero in on the genre.

As for a pitch, one thing that helped me was to use the expanded logline format in Save the Cat! Strikes Back. Once, I went to a pitch session, done Shark Tank style, and we had 90 seconds to pitch to a bunch of agents. Other writers had taken longer, and they said I needed to keep it to the 90 second limit. I told them I can do it in less than 60 seconds... I used the expanded logline to help me pitch it, and got a lot of interest in my project.

Good luck!

Carrens liked
New Member
Joined: 1 month ago
Posts: 2
30/06/2020 7:21 pm  

Thanks so much Cory, this is invaluable information. I will definitely take your advice and look forward to seeing how it pans out!!

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