Episode & Season Structure Bible
Jason Kaleko (see Origin Story) wrote up diagrams after our writers room meetings to organize our two main episode structures and how they would support our season arcs. I thought sharing these may be helpful to those of you who are writing series of your own. I have deleted spoiler content. You’ll just have to tune for our premiere in Spring 2013 to see how it all turns out. ;-)
These diagrams helped us brainstorm how to fit all my random & varied ideas (or half ideas) of what Josie or Dale might do, into quick, solid story lines with actual emotional payoff. This structure seems very basic and repetitive, but if you build upon it creative situations, funny dialog and let truthful emotions drive the story, this structure becomes the base that keeps the whole crazy world standing.
- Dale-driven Template
Act One (1 page): Dale’s quirky personality/actions presents a problem for the conservative Josie.
Act Two (2 pages): Josie experiences the problem, tension heightens.
Act Three (2 pages): Josie tries to solve the problem, exasperates the situation. Dale ends up solve the problem as only Dale could do.
- Josie-driven Template (2nd half season)
Act One (1 page): Josie’s newfound quirks present a problem for the suddenly more stable Dale.
Act Two (2 pages): Dale experiences the problem.
Act Three (2 pages): Dale tries to solve the problem, exasperates. Josie steps in to help solve.
The main arc of Season One is Josie becoming more like Dale, and Dale becoming more like Josie as he realizes the benefits of living more responsibly. In some ways, they both change for the better. In others, they go too far in the opposite direction. In addition, a few other season arcs will be incorporated. Each must have a beginning, middle (or development), and end. Each arc should occupy only a moment in an episode, and these moments do not necessarily need to occur in sequential episodes.
- Josie becomes weird / Dale becomes normal(ish).
- Specific plot points described above.
- Josie falls for Dale (3 episodes – 3, 6, and 9)
- Beginning (ep 3): Dale demonstrates that he cares about Josie by saving her from SPOILER – CONTENT DELETED Josie has a moment of wonder and appreciation.
- Development (ep 6): – Dale and Josie find themselves in an intimate moment which they both brush off and awkwardly end.
- End (ep 9): Josie and Dale find themselves in another intimate moment, – SPOILER – CONTENT DELETED -.
- Dale / Coworker or Friend attraction (?)
Season Structure (9 Episodes)
This document should provide a template for how a full season of Josie & Dale should play out, and how each episode internally should be structured. Also, it will address how to tackle season-long arcs. It is a brainstorming tool so that as episode ideas pop up, we can see where they would fit in the span of a season, and how they must be modified to accommodate our episode structure and season arcs.Including how each relates to main switch of character between Josie and Dale.
- Sweet Treat (Dale-driven Template)
- Josie subconsciously shows desire to be more outwardly adventurous.
- The Scout Girl (Dale-driven Template)
- Josie shows off a quirk which hints at an inner oddball.
- The Solo (Dale-driven Template)
- Josie overtly tries to be adventurous due to Dale’s encouragement. Faces embarrassment, learns small lesson that it’s okay to be embarrassed, okay to be weird.
- Switcheroo (Turn)
- Dale finds a strange pleasure in the domestic/office life. Josie has to willingly (and without encouragement) unleash her inner freak to succeed in Dale’s shoes.
- Stripper Pole (Josie-driven Template)
- Josie shows her first signs of coming over to the dork side. Dale’s obsession with normalcy peaks out again.
- Never Have I Ever / Porn Rickroll (Josie-driven Template)
- Josie willingly reveals the hidden adventurous weirdo moments of her past, and ultimately outshines Dale’s weirdness (to both their surprise)
- Art Fart (Josie-driven Template)
- Transformation completes when Josie demonstrates a total change, mirroring many of the quirks that Dale exhibited in the pilot & first few episodes. Dale becomes the embarrassed/conservative one.
- Josie tries to reignite Dale’s weird side REVEAL – SPOILER -CONTENT DELETED
- Josie recognizes Dale has become too conservative. She sees in him what she once was, and tries to help him as he helped her. Dale’s resistance (and their love plot) comes to a head when he reveals SPOILER – CONTENT DELETED.