View Full Version : Spec vs. Commissioned

I framed OJ
08-22-2004, 11:55 AM
Which films have received more critical acclaim? Those whose scripts were spec, or commissioned?

08-22-2004, 12:17 PM
It's an awkward question.

But logically, most projects are commissioned
by studios/producers (like adaptations), so it
would be safe to say that they have received
more critical acclaim (since there are more of

It seems certain that the majority of Oscar
winning films (for "Best Picture") have been
commissioned and not based on spec scripts.

Also, in early Hollywood history everything
was commissioned, since writers worked
under contract and not as free agents.


08-22-2004, 01:39 PM
If you're looking at critical acclaim - commissioned scripts. They are usually based on something that worked in another medium, or true life stories. So, you are basically taking the best novels and adapting them or the live of some famous dude like Gandhi and doing a script about him. Either way, you are taking material that is "serious" to begin with and turning it into a movie.

If you look at box office (the films people like enough to see more than once or recommend to their friends) you are looking at a good mix of specs and commissioned... and the list probably favors specs (or projects which originated with the writer). Stuff like the STAR WARS movies are in that gray area - they aren't exactly specs but they certainly aren't assignments.

This is an odd question for two reasons:
1) You can't control what critics think - and at the end of the day it may be unimportant what they think.
2) You can't just set out to write assignments - you get assignments by writing great spec scripts.

So, from the writer's POV - the only thing that matters is that you write some great spec scripts.

- Bill

I framed OJ
08-22-2004, 06:20 PM
Although you've both given reasonable answers, I think I now realize that the question doesn't really prove anything. And you both even acknowledge that.

It probably would have been better to ask which script received more acclaim, rather then the finished film. But even that is awkward.

I think a better question is
Which films receive more acclaim, those commissioned, or those written and directed by the same person. I know that there may be rare occasions that a commissioned script is directed by the commissioned author as well.