This week's Answer:
Delron, I appreciate you contacting me during
this holiday point in time (“holiday time” is apparently no longer
politically correct. And
Santa is no longer fat, but, rather, he’s “bowl not full of
jelly”-challenged, in case you were wondering, which you were
My first piece of advice is that you’re already
on the right track. It’s
wise to not be considering writing a Christmas special for this
year. This will give you much more time to write it, sell it, and
allow it to be produced in time for it to be aired before Christmas
– which it already is (or was).
That’s a sound strategy.
For a screenplay about Christmas to make it
through the studio gauntlet, where studio execs dressed in dark, elf
costumes that have writer’s-death-knoll bells on them, which jingle
merrily as Christmas special script after script dashes past them in a
one-horse open hearse (not to paint a bleak picture or anything like
that), it must have certain elements.
Elements a Christmas Special Script Must Have To Make It To The Tube
poor, pitiable, pitiful, innocent, brave child, who isn’t having all
that much fun especially days before Christmas
benefactor, someone who could help the poor, pitiable, pitiful
innocent, brave child, who isn’t having all that much fun especially
only days before Christmas – but doesn’t until the end (Sorry.
I didn’t mean to give it away.)
who is the leading part who is less pitiful than the poor, pitiable,
pitiful, innocent, brave child who isn’t having all that much fun
especially days before Christmas, but who also isn’t having a
great time especially only days before Christmas.
And when the two meet or the lead sees from a distance this
poor, pitiable, pitiful innocent, brave child, who isn’t having all
that much fun especially only days before Christmas, his or her heart
(the heart of the lead, not the heart of the poor pitiable, pitiful.
innocent brave child who isn't having all that much fun especially
only days before Christmas -- and a partridge and a pear tree) is
moved (and so is ours. This
moment is the first “Reach For Tissue” plot point).
who scowls a lot and doesn’t believe in Christmas and likes to cause
trouble for people who do – and probably had a rough childhood when
he or she didn’t have very nice Christmas experiences.
Sometimes this Christmas Villain has a meaningful experience
where he/she faces his own meanness and buried sadness and often
transforms into the Benefactor (which producers like because they have
one less actor they have to pay).
This is often the last plot point of “He Really Was A Nice
Guy All Along And He Really Does Care And He’s Going To Help The
Child,” which necessitates extra boxes of tissues to be quickly
that are so saccharine and schmaltzy in the story that you normally
would not swallow (or even watch), but, because it’s Christmas, you
are truly “touched” by them.
star somewhere in the sky that the director likes to shoot a lot.
or fake snow or something that looks like snow.
music or music that sounds like it could be Christmas music in the beginning and at the end
and usually throughout the
matter how ridiculous and unbelievable the plot is, it always ends on
a positive note, uplifting us all and giving us hope that one day,
possibly far in the future, but one day, nonetheless, our world will
have become so elevated and transformed by these wonderful, magical
... we won’t need any more Christmas specials.