Life in Lohr

The third Writers Room seminar has ended and, at least from my point of view, was a great success. The writer/producers I worked with here not only enthusiastically embraced the four act structure, but were eager to put it to use in their current series and pilots. Coincidentally, one of the major German newspapers reported yesterday that, with the exception of Action Concept’s ALARM FOR COBRA 11, home-grown German shows are bombing.  American shows are thriving here — the highest rated programs on German TV are HOUSE, CSI MIAMI, MONK and CRIMINAL MINDS.  The networks believe one reason for the failure of German drama programming is that their series aren’t structured and run the way American shows are. As a result, Pro7/Sat1, one of the biggest networks here, announced yesterday that they would no longer buy any series that isn’t run using the American "showrunner/writer’s room" system.  That’s a seismic shift for the German TV industry…and I think my friends at Action Concept can take a lot of credit for that, thanks to their very aggressive efforts over the last six months to convince all the networks here that the "showrunner/writer’s room" approach is the only way to go.

Tomorrow I am off for six days in the UK…where I may or may not have Internet access…and then on to Sweden for another session of "The Writers Room" seminar next Saturday.

I may also have some very good news (for me!) to share with you by then…

3 thoughts on “Life in Lohr”

  1. So… does “showrunner/writer’s room” mean necessarily 4-act-structure? I ask for several reasons.
    First, German ad breaks are different than US ones. Was this addressed during your lectures? In the US, each act break is an ad break, whereas in Germany, our ad breaks sometimes, but not always coincide with act breaks (most often after acts 1 and 3).
    Also, shows like Deadwood don’t use the traditional 4-act-structure, and I’d like to see this show in Germany some day…

  2. You wrote: “In the US, each act break is an ad break”
    Actually, that isn’t true. The four act structure doesn’t rely on ad breaks…though that’s certainly how it was born. You can have 10 commercial breaks and still structure your story in four acts. Most of the pay cable shows are written in a four-act structure despite having no commerical breaks. It’s true that DEADWOOD doesn’t necessarily use a traditional four-act structure…but there is virtually NOTHING traditional about that show. It’s an exception, not the rule, and sadly appeals to a very narrow audience (of which I am a member!). I have been working closely with executives from Pro7 and RTL and I can tell you they are ready to embrace the four-act story-telling structure as well, regardless of where the commercial breaks fall in the hour.


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