November 1983. How could it have been so long ago…and yet feel like it was yesterday?
I was alone in my leased condo, petrified. Jean had slipped a sample script for the series I was to write for under my door and I was going through it, shocked that it ran just twenty-eight pages. I was supposed to tell a story in just twenty-eight pages?! And, to boot, my teleplay would have to contain a main story and a sub-plot?!
My latest published novel – a historical saga entitled The Young Dragons (Signet) -- ran 486 pages; that’s about 650 typewritten pages. Now I was supposed to tell a whole story in twenty-eight pages?! And they were script pages – sometimes a word or two of dialog on a line!
Fortunately, I had a distraction – the sample script for the ABC television series, The Littles. The story centered around a family of tiny creatures living in the walls of the Biggs’ family’s home. Grandpa, Lucy, Tom and Dinky Little were adorable characters who go on adventures, all the time trying to avoid being captured by evil Dr. Hunter and his ferret.
How do ya not fall in love with that? I did. But what I didn’t appreciate was how rare it was for a writer who’d never written for network television to be writing for an ABC series straight out of the starting blocks.
Jean Chalopin wanted writers who could tell a great story and deliver scripts fast. He was about to get more than he’d ever bargained for…