Monday, May 18, 2009

Spec stuff

Amy writes: Did it seem like specs written for a timeline that accounts for the developments of the most recent season but maybe not the season finale would have a fair chance? Or would they totally be discounted?

Other people have asked similar questions. And I think the answer is: think about the BIG picture. Think about writing a solid spec that shows your ability to mimic character voices and tone while also showing off your own unique talents. Be interesting. Be smart. Explore a theme. Beef up your act-outs. Write subtext. Weave your subplots into your main plot. Polish your dialogue.

It is always a good idea to have a spec that's up-to-date in terms of plot and storyline, but remember that most producers, execs, agents and readers will not have seen every single episode of the show. They won't be totally up-to-date. They might not have seen ANY episodes. They also don't expect that you have a brand new spec every single week. So, no - a spec that did not take the most recent season finale in account would probably not be discounted. Because there's a good chance your reader did not see that season finale. Someone asked if an OFFICE spec in which Pam is a receptionist and not a salesperson would be ready for the recycle bin. I say no - because many readers probably still think Pam is the receptionist. But in a few months, it won't be so viable. (And also - would it really be that hard to take a pass at the script and make her a salesperson?)

Anyway, please don't worry about this stuff so much. Worry about writing a really great script.

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Kristan said...

Dude, haha, I had no idea Pam wasn't the receptionist anymore!

Little Lyme to Big Apple said...

Same. Didn't know Pam wasn't a receptionist either. oh well.

I think another important thing to note is that sometimes, it's a good idea to wait things out and see how long "big changes" last.
My friend wrote an office spec the same time I did. Her spec prominently featured holly and had pam in nyc. Mine didn't and everyone kept telling me to update my spec and add in holly.

Luckily, I just waited and then holly disappeared and it didn't matter anymore.

Sarah said...

The ABC fellowship staff had the following advice: if your spec is 6 months out of date, that's fine. They understand how long it takes to write/polish your spec. But if it's 2-3 seasons out of date? Not good. They were talking about submissions to their program but I think that's a fairly widespread attitude.

BTW, best advice I heard at their info seminar: you don't have to spec an ABC/Disney show for their program but they are looking for a good fit. So my Flight of the Conchords spec last year wouldn't have helped at all as they don't have anything similar on their roster. Heh - no-one does.

Basic but important stuff!

Amy R. Butler said...

Thanks so much for the info, all!

Mark Thomas said...

I take it this advice would also apply to writing a season opener that plays differently from the opener that eventually aired?...