, who knows whereof, here's the thinking on the hot specs:
Hot shows to spec: Entourage and Housewives,
definitely. With its plot twists and general
what-the-f***-is-going-on nature, Lost would be a pain
in the ass to spec for, and I don't think it's in as
much demand as you'd think.
With the proliferation of procedurals, any CSI-like
spec is probably the spec most likely to land you a
job. I'd say the other hot specs are the teen soaps:
The OC and One Tree Hill
Hah! See, I wouldn't have thought of One Tree Hill
BBG did the call-the-agents'-assistants thing like I asked (it's so great when people actually take your advice!), and got
Entourage, Two and 1/2 Men, and Will and Grace for sitcoms
Desperate, C.S.I., LOST, Nip/Tuck, and House for hour long.
I asked if it's a good idea to write a pilot--they said no.
Yeah, I gotta repeat this: writing a spec pilot is NOT a particularly good idea unless you are a veteran tv writer. Why? Because writing a pilot is incredibly hard. Much, much
harder than writing a spec episode. You write a spec Alias
, as I've said before, you automatically get Jennifer Garner's pouty lips and knockout body in a sparkly dress. (At least until she starts showing.) You write a spec AKA
or whatever you want to call your show, you've got to create your characters in the reader's head. You have to create the sense that your show has a template. On Naked Josh
we spent the first seven episodes wrassling with the show's template, and I wrote at least one ep that simply wasn't in the template. This is on a "go" show, right? Already cast. Granted the NJ
template was a tad ambitious, but you can really wrap yourself around a tree trying to create a template in a single episode.
If you are
a veteran writer, there are advantages to writing a pilot. You can stand out from the crowd. You can show people your originality. But they already know
you can write someone else's show. You have credits. You have a rep. And, of course, you can sell the damn thing. In my little neck of the woods, the next thing I write on spec in TV, whenever that is, will be a pilot. But I've sold a show and optioned others. If I were heading back to LA, ayn kaynhoreh, where I have no rep at all, I would be writing a spec episode of something -- my West Wing
spec has begun to grow moss, and my Buffy
specs are rotting in the ground. (Not to mention, I write better than that now.)
By the way, it was an educational experience, that ep I wrote that wasn't in our template. Once you define the show, it stops being yours, even if you're one of the creators. Once you've established a template it becomes very hard to push outside that template. And that's why, as I keep saying, television is not a medium for personal expression
. You can express yourself, yes, but it's not about you. It's about whatever parts of you will serve the show. The show is a beast that must be fed. Always best to bear that in mind when you're riding it.
Labels: spec pilots