• Joseph Morganti

Writing for TV: Lost Pilot

Lost is one of the most popular television series, especially compared to other drama shows aired on major networks. The show spanned six seasons, containing components of supernatural and sci-fi, following the survivors of a plane crash someplace in the South Pacific Ocean.


Fan of Lost or not, no one can deny how Lost changed television forever. With this in mind, below will discuss writing for TV and the Lost Pilot. We’ll cover the ability to cause the audience to want more, ask questions, set up for the future, big stakes, and mor. Let’s take a look!

Still from 'Lost'. Photo credit: Lostpedia


How Lost Changed TV


From the absolute first edges, Lost taught writers a lot, with some not realizing it at first. There are more chances than ever before to be a TV writer with how Hollywood is going. Getting that chance can free you up to selling a TV show, staffing, or securing your opportunity as a collaborator.


The primary way how Lost changed television comes down to the internet. Previously, audience members didn’t have the web to the degree they did in 2004 to interact, comment, or discuss their favorite show. Furthermore, Lost demonstrated how excellent and appealing genre TV is.


It helped push the floodgates open for people to respect TV more. Though there were much excellent television series before Lost, no one can deny how great prevalent shows are today compared to the past. It showed television is worthy of more and could interact with an audience unlike anything people had experienced before.


Causing the Audience to Want More


Most writers understand that pilots need to end in a way that causes the audience to want more. You need to ensure you wrap up little storylines while leaving enormous ones open. Lost kept us as eager and anxious as can be. We continued to ask questions throughout the pilot, and it left us wondering more.


For example, we’re curious whether the flirtation between Jack and Kate will go anyplace. We need to know what the sign is that Sayid found. Not to mention the curiosity about whether the U.S. Marshall will die. Lastly, we need to know why these individuals were on the plane in the first place.


Lost does a great job captivating the audience right away and causing us to want more. Other notable shows like Twin Peaks and Breaking Bad have a similar effect. If your pilot doesn’t end with us wondering what’s to come, it most likely won’t be picked up.


Asking Questions


Every Lost fan is aware of the common meme of Lost and asking questions. Joking aside, the audience had inquiries regarding crucial characters on the show. We needed to know most about Claire and her child in the pilot explicitly. How far along was she, and what will happen?


The other significant inquiry brought up in the pilot is how these individuals will survive. The thing here is to cause the crowd to evaluate how they would feel in this circumstance themselves. Presenting conflict, characters, and settings that lead to wonder is critical.


Setting Up For the Future


As soon as the characters landed in Lost, everyone knew how truly endless this show could go. What do they do to survive? What’s on the island? What happens if there’s a conflict between the characters? The possibilities were set up early on, allowing us to wonder what’s to come in the show's future.


The very idea of Lost was strong enough that ABC knew they could create a slew of seasons. Unless you’re crafting a miniseries or a film, setting up for the future is extremely important. Studios and networks want to know the complete plan of your script and future. So, be prepared for what that means for your script.


Big Stakes


A crew of plane crashed survivors is enough to raise the stakes. Lost dials it up to max capacity by introducing us to a setting with little food, wild animals, a pregnant woman, a dying man, and a mysterious monster. Those stakes are primarily why people were captivated by the show so quickly.


These stakes are not just estimated as far as life and death, but the heaviness of surviving. All the overall vibes that go with being a leader, the weight of not being trusted, and the expectation that they'll be saved. The stakes matter in Lost in more ways than expected with this show.


Introducing Characters


Lost figured out how to give everybody a unique introduction. The characters were, in a real sense battling for their lives. For example, when we meet Jack, he's running into conflict; Hurley is attempting to help other people; Sawyer is savaging for himself.


We see the characters into action right away, instead of a slow burn of an introduction. Though some choose to go the slow-burn route, a show like Lost benefits from the fast-paced approach.