Q. When a producer asks you a writing sample, what does this mean? I never gave a good thought about it and usually I send "something" that I think it's good. But the question I always have is: how many pages?
I always send a complete script. How can someone judge your writing without seeing a whole story told on screen? If it's for a TV drama, I send a TV drama script. If it's for an SF feature, I send an SF feature sample.
Q. I don't think you need to send writing samples today, but when you did, how big were your "writing samples"?
I send writing samples all the time. I sent a couple of scripts to a guy yesterday.
Even if my two produced features weren't co-writes, odds are your favorite scripts -- or your best samples for a given job -- aren't the ones that got made. We can't all be John August and get almost everything produced.
Just because someone's a bigshot (and I'm not one by any stretch) doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for a sample of their writing. When I was a development guy, we made a deal with some very fancy Big-Agency-Represented writers to develop a project. Foolishly we didn't ask for a writing sample; we relied on the word of their agents. Ack. We wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars and the better part of the year with those jokers because we didn't ask for samples.