I'm reading the pilot for Touchstone TV's MARLOWE, which a friend was kind enough to send. It opens like this:
The script is written in the first person.
EXT. LOS ANGELES - 101 FREEWAY - DAY
I'm driving. The sprawling smog carpet sweeps out from the horizon and swallows Hollywood in one gulp.
Thermals rise in wavy lines from the pavement appearing to shake the skyline in the distance as THE RADIO tells us all it's the 13th of 13 straight days over 100 degrees. Signs point to exits along the way: Alvarado
I used to like L.A. I don't know exactly when it changed. I guess maybe it's like any meaningful relationship. If you poke around in the dirty details of it long enough you find things you wish you hadn't.
Cahuenga. I click my turn signal. It flashes amber light in the darkness, lighting up the fool's face in the rearview mirror who looks right back at me.
Insane. And, really, kind of distracting. The baroque prose gets in your head, and you're appreciating the style, instead of seeing images in your mind's eye. And why isn't the radio dialogue written out?
But it gets your script passed around. It's a bold choice, it's so Raymond Chandler, and it conveys something that the usual action description might not. So it's artistically motivated even if, strictly, it's kind of a pain in the ass.
This wasn't a spec pilot. But it could have been. And then it would have been a stunt spec.
If you have an idea for a really great stunt spec, it might be worth going for it, especially if you've got some solid specs already. Generally the stunt isn't in the style of writing, but in the outrageous concept: Mary Richards comes out as a lesbian, House gets a ditzy new intern named Meredith Grey, etc. But a stunt could be anything that gets people to notice.
With a stunt, you might go down in flames creatively, but then you don't have to send it out. If you score, you wind up with a script that people read for the sheer joy of reading something good and new. And nothing gets you in the door faster than a script someone reads for love.
Labels: breaking in, spec pilots