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What you don’t know about TV Script Writing

We love watching dramas and discussing them it is one of our favourite past times here in Pakistan.While discussing a drama,writer comes under severe scrutiny of the reviewers/general audiences.However,not much is known about the actual script writing process and its translation to on-screen images.Being a small time writer myself let me apprise you about how it goes in the land of TV Script Writing.

Generally what happens is that once a writer comes up with a concept or one-liner as it is called in the TV World,he/she has the option of either pitching it directly to channels or production houses.Even if a writer pitches it to a production house it will ultimately go to a channel’s script department who has the power of accepting or rejecting any one-liner or asking for modifications in the one-liner.Many times first two sample episodes would be required along with the one-liner in order for it to be approved by the channel script department.Once a one-liner is approved the writer would be asked to start penning the episodes.The episodes would again be sent to channel’s script department who would keep on asking the writer to make changes in it.

Once this entire process of scripting,drafting and re-drafting is complete,a director is chosen to head the project.the director would now ask the writer to make changes in the script once again as per his/her vision or requirement.After the director is satisfied,now actors would be cast and shooting would begun but once again the actors/actresses would refuse to do certain scenes/speak certain lines as per their whims and wishes so here again the script changes not to forget that on-shoot the director is on liberty to change any scene as per his wish or not shoot a particular scene while scenes linked to this scene not being shot remains resulting in continuity gap in finished product.

So in essence what you finally see you screen is not essentially what the script writer wrote or wanted but the audiences and reviewers end up cursing and blaming the poor writer that what mess he/she has created while it could be the fault of channel script department/director/actors/editor.I myself once wrote a play where the heroine leaves her husband at the end as she had compatibility issues with him but in the final version I saw the heroine joyously leaving on her husband’s bike and i was left scratching my head.

Off course established writers have more control over their content and channel script department/directors/actors remain wary of messing with their content else a backlash starts remember the closeness scene between Saba & Adnan in Maat or the infamous dialogue haya aur behayee dekhnay walay kee ankh mein hotee hai from Shehr-e-Zaat.But established or not established,all writers have to go through this drafting and re-drafting process.

Channels buy completely shot and finished dramas from production houses as well but these are rare cases.Hope you understand the process now and think before you put the entire blame on the writer the next time round.

Haseeb Ahmed