THE SPEC THAT GOT YOU STAFFED - Complications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog




Baby Name Voyager graphs baby name frequency by decade.

Social Security Administration: Most popular names by year.

Name Trends: Uniquely popular names by year.

Reverse Dictionary Search: "What's that word that means....?"

Facebook Name Trees Match first names with last names.


American Amazon:

Canadian Amazon:

Archives

April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Q. The one thing I would love to see more than anything is a first time staff writer's spec/specs that got them staffed. I know personality and all is a big part too...but always curious how good/original their spec's actually are in order for them to rise above all the rest.
That's a challenging idea. What immediately comes to mind is "no way I'm letting anyone see how bad a writer I was five years ago!" Another issue is that television has changed and grown, and whatever Ken Levine's specs were when he was first staffed, for example, might seem hackneyed simply because television was hackneyed. If you read a Gilligan's Island now, whether spec or produced, you'd see the flip cut coming a mile off --

          GILLIGAN
There's no way I'm putting on a red dress
and dancing the samba!

CUT TO:

GILLIGAN

in a red dress, dancing the samba.


But then, another name for the flip cut is "the Gilligan."

It's that old remark about Shakespeare: he's that guy who writes in clichés!

Television has changed. You could look at a perfect Miami Vice spec, for example, and fall asleep at the pace the plot develops. But the same is true for the produced scripts from the show. One plotline? One plotline???

Another problem is that until you're good enough to get staffed, you may not realize just why Ken Levine's spec was so brilliant at the time. You just wouldn't see it. Part of learning your craft is seeing other people's craft. The more I know about writing, the more I can appreciate other people's writing.

And then, of course, there's personality. You do get staffed for personality. You get staffed for quick wit and likability and being easy to be around.

I guess my question is: what would you get out of reading Josh Schwartz's no-doubt-kickass Original Spec? Would you feel daunted, and quit? Or figure you just have a lot to learn? What would you get out of reading my not-so-kickass ancient Buffy spec? Would you figure "Heh. If Epstein could get staffed with this junk, I'm not so far off"? Or would you figure that no one in show business can appreciate a good script and it's all a crap shoot?

I feel that if you need to be a TV writer, you probably will. And if you don't need to be, you probably won't. Like any other endeavor, the laurels go to the ones who devote themselves to their calling. I find that tracking other people's genius is too wearing. There are people whose scripts I think suck who luck into stuff. There are people like Denis McGrath who I hope will throw me some scripts when they get their own shows. I just try to worry about making my own scripts as good as they can be while still finishing them, and praying now and then that I continue to be able to support myself in this crazy business.
Technorati tags: ; ;

Labels:

2 Comments:

I don't know if I would learn much from reading it...I think it is more for curiosity's sake. I've met a lot of working writers and have often asked to read the script that landed them an agent or first writing job etc. In part just to see how much better of a writer they are I guess...but often I was a bit shocked to see how bad/unoriginal that initial script actually was.

This isn't to say I view myself as the overlooked brilliant writer...because that ain't the case. My stuff is not primetime material...and I have no illusions otherwise.

In part this notion is from reading a interview with Joss Whedon, or maybe it was David Fury, where he talked about how both the Buffy team and the Angel team were fighting over who got to staff Drew Goddard based in part on an amazing Six Feet Under spec he wrote. I was always curious to read a spec that was so good that two great shows were fighting over who gets to staff you. Was it just really well written with the characters nailed perfectly...or did it do something completly original that blew everyone's mind?

How good honestly are first time writer who get staffed? How often do first time staffers survive past their rookie season or get sent back to the minors? Is there a overall general view of first time staffers by showrunners or seasoned vets?

I read a lot of my assistant friend's TV specs and in general I know that their specs are well written but they would never land someone a meeting/staff job. But I wonder if maybe I'm wrong (after all what the hell do I know about what Rob Thomas or Damon Lindehof looks for in rookie staffer)...the scripts are well written and stay true to the characters...but they aren't really all that original or "fresh" storylines. Then again not all the episodes of given TV show during a season are that either.

Anyways,
it was a totally random question/thought...I don't know if I was looking for an answer or just thinking out loud.

Though I would still like to read that Six Feet Under...

By Blogger CharlieDontSurf, at 5:48 PM  

testing the comments function...

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 6:30 PM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.



This page is powered by Blogger.