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Old 03-30-2011, 11:02 PM   #1
JoeKavalier
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Default How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

So much of the threads on the forums address how to query with a feature script but with all my search prowess I've been unable to find anything that addresses spec scripts for existing shows.

Do you still use a logline? Is there a shortlist out there of managers/agents that read existing show spec's? Is this the path only for repped writers to get on shows?

It seems this is the calling card for getting staff positions, but I don't know what the process is of sending them out. Any and all help is appreciated.

I bow to the great knowledge of the donedeal boards.

P.S. I'd like to point out that I've been on these boards for a long time despite this coming up as my first post. I've posted many times, but it's been a while. I guess I was trolling too long and it reset.
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:00 AM   #2
JoeBanks
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

i haven't queried for TV representation (yet) but my impression of the market is that agents/managers are looking to sign unrepped writers based on original spec pilots, not so much specs of existing shows. capably writing for other writers' voices is sort of assumed at that point. what reps and showrunners want to see is a client's own unique voice or POV, as expressed in their own work.

i guess if you have an exceptional, grand-slam spec that will blow away anyone who reads it, go for it. but mostly i use mine for contest purposes, although even those are opening up to original pilots now (trackingb, Austin FF this year)
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:07 AM   #3
jcgary
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

Get a job -- any job -- on a tv show. PA is entry level, or maybe somehow finagle an assistant job, to a director or writer or actor or whomever. Just get your foot in the door.

The tv agents and managers I know don't read TV spec queries, pilot or otherwise. Either query with a feature spec and get signed off that, or get yourself in front of people already working in television (friends, coworkers) whom you can coerce into reading your stuff. Television writers are always always always willing to help newer writers by reading their stuff and suggesting next steps.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:17 PM   #4
qualitycontrol
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeKavalier View Post
So much of the threads on the forums address how to query with a feature script but with all my search prowess I've been unable to find anything that addresses spec scripts for existing shows.

Do you still use a logline? Is there a shortlist out there of managers/agents that read existing show spec's? Is this the path only for repped writers to get on shows?

It seems this is the calling card for getting staff positions, but I don't know what the process is of sending them out. Any and all help is appreciated.

I bow to the great knowledge of the donedeal boards.

P.S. I'd like to point out that I've been on these boards for a long time despite this coming up as my first post. I've posted many times, but it's been a while. I guess I was trolling too long and it reset.
Query with a pilot that has a logline/premise. I've gotten plenty of read requests based off my pilot query, towards the bottom I've mentioned how another pilot was a Finalist in Slamdance, my one 1/2 spec was a Semi-Finalist at Scriptapalooza, etc. Sometimes they request the other pilot and the current, they usually only ask for the spec if they've read both pilots and liked them. And yet, still no representation. Haha.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:19 PM   #5
qualitycontrol
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

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Originally Posted by jcgary View Post
Get a job -- any job -- on a tv show. PA is entry level, or maybe somehow finagle an assistant job, to a director or writer or actor or whomever. Just get your foot in the door.
Worked in TV 2004-2011, no "open door" around. This includes creative places like late night talk shows and producing national television. Maybe that works in LA, sometimes, but in general I'd say it doesn't matter.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

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Originally Posted by qualitycontrol View Post
Worked in TV 2004-2011, no "open door" around. This includes creative places like late night talk shows and producing national television. Maybe that works in LA, sometimes, but in general I'd say it doesn't matter.
I don't think he's saying it matters to have a job in order to get read, he's saying that if you have a job you can meet people who might be willing to read your script.

What was your TV experience? I'm surprised that in seven years you didn't find any doors opening... there must have been one that opened to let you in to get a job.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

I was told a couple of times, that generally a spec pilot won't work because new writers generally wouldn't get their own show? This was relayed to me by a manager I met. I have a an idea for a series (at least I think it works better as a series) that I was recommended to write as a feature.

Also, where would you look for jobs on tv shows. I work in film now (finishing FX on Green Lantern, yikes!), but was thinking of switching things up to go more towards my goals. We're usually so far removed from the process in fx, it's like a different world altogether.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
JeffLowell
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

Reps will want a spec of a current show and something original. There are plenty of tv reps. Imdb pro will get you a list of reps for writers on shows now.

Start querying, and good luck.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:39 PM   #9
killertv
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

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Originally Posted by dax3d View Post
I was told a couple of times, that generally a spec pilot won't work because new writers generally wouldn't get their own show? This was relayed to me by a manager I met. I have a an idea for a series (at least I think it works better as a series) that I was recommended to write as a feature.
Just like in features, though, the idea isn't to write a pilot to sell so much as to sell you as a writer. If you can write a good pilot, you'll impress people. While new writers don't get shows, if the script is really, really good and the concept really pops, they may try to match you with a showrunner-level writer.

However, the advice I got from a head of comedy was to not write a spec pilot because it's such a hard type of script to write - it's got to do everything a feature does in one-half to one-third the space. He suggested that as a new writer I would have a better chance writing the idea as a feature so I had more space to develop the character, story and world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dax3d View Post
Also, where would you look for jobs on tv shows. I work in film now (finishing FX on Green Lantern, yikes!), but was thinking of switching things up to go more towards my goals. We're usually so far removed from the process in fx, it's like a different world altogether.
Greg Berlanti wrote and produced Green Lantern and comes from television. You may not be able to become his next assistant, but there are ways to network so that you might be in a position to join a show he's affiliated with as a PA.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to Query with a Spec for an Existing 1/2 hour Comedy

Oh I see, well that makes sense. The only reason why I keep thinking of a particular idea as a tv show, is I just seem to have a bunch of stories in mind that seem to lend themselves to an episodic format. I'll try writing the feature first.

I'm not sure if I explained correctly, but I don't think Greg Berlanti comes to Sony Imageworks, but if he does it's in a whole other section for clients. I've never run into writers, directors (maybe once in a while when they come here to review work onsite), or any of the creative types. For example, working on Tron Legacy we were working offsite in a warehouse, so we're just removed from that part of the process, which is the part I'd like to get more exposure to.
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