Here’s one especially for my working colleagues in reality.
As you know, the most important task in piecing together a reality show is compressing time into engaging scenes and sequences of events, sometimes jostling the real chronological order a bit in order to clarify or heighten action.
When arranging scenes into a series of five or six act docuseries episodes, it’s not uncommon to, along the way, wind up with a few scenes in the bank that you can hang on to until you really need them. They can play anywhere in the timeline (hence the term “evergreen”) and don’t really tie in to other stories (making them “orphans”). While it’s possible to transform and repurpose some of these into story-related scenes through interview content — putting away clothes becomes a scene about wanting to take some “me-time” to plot revenge, that sort of thing –you sometimes have a golf outing or shopping trip or zoo visit with the kids that plays cute just as it is.
But where do you organize it into your timeline/outline if it doesn’t relate to your A, B or C storyline for the episode?
Here comes the tip. You ready? It sounds stupid and simple, but…
…top of act two.
Seriously. Best place for it in a one-hour show. And here’s why…
You need your first act to reset the stage, introduce your A-story, and end on something engaging.
The end of the second act has to be a real grabber, as this is usually closest to the half hour, and if there’s one thing you can’t mess with, it’s ending act two with a bang.
By act three, you’re in full swing, trucking through your A-story conflict on the way to acts four, five, and six, building all the way. Hardly the time for distraction.
Maybe, MAYBE that scene will work at the top of act three. But try act two first — you’ll be glad you did.