Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Spec episode or spec pilot?

There's been some debate this week about the viability of specs, thanks to a blog post from Jane Espenson unofficially declaring the spec episode of an existing show dead.

Fortunately for us, BooM started asking questions. Her answers are a bit of a relief.

Let's hope the spec episode isn't completely dead. Either way, start writing some pilots people.


The Bunny said...

So would you say you only need ONE great spec and ONE great pilot. Or is it still a good idea to have more than 1 spec of a show just in case someone doesn't like the show you wrote.

Or someone is old school and just wants to see 2 specs, not a pilot as some claim.

BooM said...

I'd say:

It depends on what your goal is. If you're looking for an agent I'd try to envision the potential phone call:

THEM: I loved your script, I'd just like to see another sample to pass around the office, so I can get everyone on board.

YOU: YES! Ahem. Of course.

THEM: What have you got?

And, it's your answer to that question that answers your original question. How many would you like to be able to tell the potential agent you have? How diverse do you want to seem? How hardworking do you want to seem?

Personally, I like being able to give them a choice.

If you're looking to get on staff...

AGENT: I sent your pilot over to Ugly Betty, they loved it, the studio just wants to see one of your specs of an existing show. What do you want to send?

YOU: YES! Ahem. Well...

So, you think about what you have. You only have a Shield spec... OR, you have a Shield spec and a House and a... so, you get to pick which one's most appropriate. Either way, you're probably good. It's just that I'm neurotic and like to be be prepared for any eventuality...

Also, I like ellipses.

Shawn said...

You can probably get away with having one great pilot, but you'll need to keep churning out specs in order to stay current. Shows change or get canceled or people stop reading certain specs because they're no longer relevant. And Boom's right about the diversity factor: you want to have a wide array of voices available for people to read. My current rule of thumb is two specs, then an original.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

That's what I've been working on, the pilot thang.

If it all works out, Shawna, I'll be calling your ass to join the staff!