Tips for TV shows & documentary for film makers and script writers


Almost everybody wishes they wrote or produced a TV show; and then elegantly appeared on TV screen presenting the show; or had their names on the crew list.

If you are one of these people, here is a question for you:
When would you stop this wish and start writing or producing your shows?

Anyway, whenever you finally get ready to start writing or producing TV shows, there are certain things you need to know. Read them below

There are many types and series of TV shows. Each is unique based on the form and method its content is shown on the TV screen.

All TV shows have characters.
The characters can be;

  • Non-living (furniture, clothing, electronics, buildings, cars, phones, e.t.c.)
  • Living (Non Human - all forms of trees and animals)
  • Living (Human beings)

All TV shows have themes, issues, concepts or the topics being talked about.
This corresponds with the type of characters that will be in the show, in the sense that a topic or an issue thus; ''latest cars and their makes'' should have cars as the characters. Here different types of those latest cars will be shown on the TV screen.
If you have another topic; ''sounds produced by different people whenever they laugh'', you should have human beings as the characters.
Another topic; ''deadliest fishes'' should have fishes as the characters.
Again, a topic chosen can result to having two types of characters in the show at the same time. A topic thus; ''Chicago rich men and their million dollars mansions'' should have two types of characters - human beings and buildings.
So, the themes, issues and topics you choose will depend on the characters that will be in the show, and vice versa.

But not all the TV shows have a presenter, an anchor or a narrator.
Some of them do use voice over (V.O) for the presenter, anchor, or the narrator.
Some of them can also use an interviewer in place of the presenter, the anchor, or the narrator.
Those that do not have an interviewer, a presenter or the rest just show the pictures or videos of whatever topics and characters contained in them.

So, from all the above, one can easily state that three components make up a TV show;
(1) The characters
(2) The topics
(3) The presenters
The different varieties of these three result in the different types of TV shows that we have.

Some of the TV shows we have include


  • TV documentary:
This is a TV show that throws more light on an issue or a topic, thus letting the audience know more about it.
Nobody can claim to know it all because many things in life existed even before they were born. They need to read up certain things in order to understand them. Apart from reading those things up, they can watch them on TV through TV documentaries.
A TV documentary is a script produced into film. The script serves as a document about the topic which is being treated. It contains everything one needs to know about that topic. Once the film is made, one can now watch it on TV instead of reading it.

To the TV documentary producer or writer, you need to take note of some steps to get your work done.
(1) Get the full knowledge about whatever topic, issue or concept you want to treat on your documentary.

(2) Write a good script. Even if you are the one who will narrate the script or produce the film yourself, you still need to write a standard script.
Everything about the topic which the script will contain is all the things the narrator will say. The narrator's speeches will precede all the videos about that topic.

(3) Draft questions, analysis and comments from the script.

(4) Hand over the script to your already selected narrator. The narrator will now go and study it.

(5) With your video camera and other recording systems, record everything about the topic.
For those questions, analysis and comments you have drafted, deal with them by asking some questions to people and also getting their comments and analysis as you do your recordings.
After a successful recording, you need to edit the film to make it match the number of minutes relative to the time you want your show to run.

(6) Go back to your selected narrator; video and record him/her as they recite the script they had studied.
After a successful recording, you need to again edit the film to make it match the number of minutes relative to the time you want your show to run.

(7) Now you get to production; and with the two films recorded, you produce your show.

  • Reality TV shows:
This is a show that reflects one's real life. All their past real life activities and experiences are gathered, written as a screenplay and acted. They are the main characters, and all the other characters act as the people these main characters ever associated with in real life. Sometimes these other characters are the real people the main characters associated with.
These main characters are usually real life celebrities, and popular icons.
After the screenplay has been produced into film, these main characters still narrate the story in the film.

  • TV Drama:
It is a TV show that is broken down into an hour per TV show time.
It is just like a feature film but each episode lasts for one hour.
There is usually no presenter or narrator. It is just the characters and the theme they explore.

  • TV Sitcom (situation comedy):
It contains comic short stories.
It is structured in a way to produce intermediate comedic moments which make the audience laugh.

Other TV shows include;
Talk shows
Comedy shows
Interview sections
Music shows

Written by: Winston 'Winny Greazy' Oge

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