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Pretend you’re a freelance TV writer working in the 1960s. Your agent scored you a pitch meeting with the story editor of Star Trek. You’ve been sent and have already read the writer’s guide. (We’ve been assigned to read the “series bible” for original Star Trek Links to an external site.).
Based upon the rules of the Star Trek world as lined out in the series bible, come up with a short pitch for a Star Trek episode. Imagine a good science fiction premise that would be interesting to watch and that would make sense within the established world of the series.
This is not a screenwriting class, so I’m not concerned with format. Just answer the following questions:
What’s the title of your episode?
What happens to the Enterprise crew at the beginning of the episode? What’s the problem (crisis) that tells us what will drive the plot of this episode?
What main guest character (if any) does the crew meet? What’s their name? Are they friendly or not? How do they affect the story?
What plan does the Enterprise crew (or a subset of the crew) make to solve the problem? What goes wrong, or what obstacles arise that put the plan at risk?
How is the problem resolved?
What’s the science fiction element (or “hook”) that makes the story interesting? What’s the personal element that makes us empathize with one or more of the series regulars as they grapple with the problem?
What is the theme or themes of the episode? What questions about the human condition does it ask (or answer)?
While you may create characters and situations for the Enterprise crew to encounter and interact with, you MAY NOT cross over the Enterprise crew with another set of characters from an existing fictional universe. (We’ll talk about crossovers and mash-ups later in the course.) Remember that you’re a 60s freelance writer who wants a job writing for this show. Crossing over with another show is not on the table, nor is it a good showcase of your imagination and writing talents. Follow the rules as set forth in the writer’s guide.
THIS IS A PITCH. Tell us just enough to get us interested in hiring you to write the scriipt. DON’T write the scriipt. I strongly recommend you draft it, set it aside for a couple of hours, then look it over and polish it into a second draft, eliminating unnecessary details and writerly flourishes, while at the same time make sure it’s written in clear and direct language that your reader will easily understand.
TIP: This is a class on World Building, so do some world building. Poorly done or boring pitches talk about the Enterprise crew meeting generic “aliens” with no further descriiption or no named characters. What do your aliens look like? What is their morphology? How is their society structured differently from our own? How is their planet or climate different from Earth? What are the names of the individuals our crew encounters? What interesting technology do they possess?

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