Q. I'm applying to a TV fellowship. I specced a and just received a request for a spec pilot.
I have a traditional sitcom in the same tone. Or I could spend the weekend writing up an edgy family drama idea I have, similar in tone to the ? Is the genre too different than what they might be expecting?
You really have two questions. One, should I go with the polished script, or the unpolished script I suspect will be better.
The other is, should I go edgy or trad?
For a fellowship, edgy. They want to find a diamond in the rough, not a really nice polished piece of coal. Showing that you can take risks and execute on them is more important than showing you can nail down every last joke.
If you were applying for a job on a trad sitcom, they might be more concerned about whether you can nail down jokes.
For the "how do I spend my weekend?" question, it's easy: spend the weekend writing up the new idea. Then see if it seems better than what you've got polished. Sometimes you can bang something out fast that's better than something you took more time on, just because it's a better idea. Of course, most of the time, it won't be.
Always send you your most impressive, freshest writing. Most people reading you have read a lot of polished stuff. Send something that can stand out -- but stand out for fulfilling its promise. A half-executed good idea is no better than a well-executed weak idea.