Q. I read in Crafty Screenwriting that trying to sell a screenplay for an existing film series is essentially a waste of time for a novice screenwriter because production companies already have writers to provide them with material.
Does the same idea apply for a title which is currently stuck in development hell? Logic seems to tell me that if a project has been halted, those involved might be more willing to explore new material, but I also have gathered that logic doesn't always have anything to do with what goes on in the film industry.
What I wrote in 2002 about spec pilots is a bit out of date now. These days, with the profusion of serial dramas, which are hard to spec, a lot of beginning writers are writing spec pilots. They are unlikely to actually sell them as pilots, but they are the writing samples people are reading these days.
However, it is almost always a waste of time to work on anything stuck in development hell. A project may be dead for any number of reasons. It may be burdened with all sorts of names the studio no longer likes -- producers, stars, directors, or writers they have contractual obligations to but now hate, etc. They may just think the concept is a dumb one now. There may be conflicting projects. If a project is dead in the water at a studio, there is rarely anything to do about it even if it's your show; a fortiori
if it's not and they don't know you.
Labels: spec pilots