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Friday, October 30, 2009

When you're writing a spec, you try to nail the template. You try to get the character voices right, and the pace of the show, and the sets they use. You try to internalize the do's and don't's of the series you're speccing.

What about when you know the show better than the reader? Won't that get you into trouble? Say, for example, you're doing a SPONGEBOB spec, as Lisa recently did. If you know your SPONGEBOB, you know that the adorable-yet-slightly-irritating young sponge frequently gets worked up over the crabby patties he serves, and often calls them "Patty."

If your reader has only seen a few SPONGEBOBs, that may seem weird. Or to take another example that came up in these pages, lately there have been a lot of new assistants on BONES; they don't last long. It's generally considered bad form in a spec to introduce new characters, other than the episodic characters every procedural has (the victims, the perps). But in the case of BONES, you have to.

If you're doing something that is correct for the show, but which a casual viewer of the show may not realize is correct, my advice would be to hang a lantern on it. In the case of BONES, have a character say, "Oh God, not another new assistant. What is that, three this week? One more and we've got a dining room set." (Or, the good version of that.)

In the case of SPONGEBOB, you could have a character say something on the order of, "You sure do get worked up about Patty."

Obviously don't do a lot of this, or it will get annoying. But if there's something important that you feel a casual viewer may not realize actually is the show, feel free to make sure we know how clever you are.



I would paint lab assistant logos on Bones' car like a WW II fighter pilot.

She does kill more assistants than Pappy Boyington.

By Blogger Cunningham, at 12:31 PM  

Wow! I actually got that Pappy Boyington reference.

By Blogger Tim W., at 3:32 PM  

Yer both older n dirt.

I never saw BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP so I have no idea what you're talkin about.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 3:36 PM  

Really!? It was a great show.

By Blogger deborah Nathan, at 4:21 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Gimme, at 4:18 AM  

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