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Old 03-17-2016, 06:40 PM   #1
wsaunders
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Default Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

I was thinking of submitting to WB Writer's Workshop. I had an idea for an episode of New Girl that I'd been bouncing around for awhile, but it takes place in an earlier season. Does a spec need to be 100% current, like my spec could potentially fall after the last episode aired?
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:40 PM   #2
JoeBanks
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

in theory, no. in practice . . . i'd make mine as current as i could

if the reader isn't super familiar with the show you're speccing, they probably won't know the difference. on the other hand, if you get Super "New Girl" Fan as your reader, do you want to risk losing them? i don't know if there have been any drastic story changes on that show, e.g., a main character being written out of the series completely, but going backward risks highlighting how your spec is different from the way a given show exists right now

all things being equal, a GREAT story that is slightly out of date will probably trump an average but more-current story. that said, i would shoot for great and up to date
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:10 PM   #3
wsaunders
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

True enough. Two of the main characters were in a relationship, but now they are not, my idea had them still in a relationship. It's not a big deal I can take that aspect out, but I was just curious.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wsaunders View Post
I was thinking of submitting to WB Writer's Workshop. I had an idea for an episode of New Girl that I'd been bouncing around for awhile, but it takes place in an earlier season. Does a spec need to be 100% current, like my spec could potentially fall after the last episode aired?
I believe the WB program specifically asks for a "Previous On" page so you can just give a summary of where you are in what season and what leads into your script.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:25 AM   #5
wsaunders
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

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Originally Posted by ducky1288 View Post
I believe the WB program specifically asks for a "Previous On" page so you can just give a summary of where you are in what season and what leads into your script.
They do, but use it in the context of serialized shows, so I wasn't sure if I could use it for an episodic, but I did consider doing it anyway.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

I think if you can pull it out, pull it out. I wouldn't make it so up to date that it's got Megan Fox instead of the original new girl, but I would try to keep it to within the relationships of the last season.
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Old 03-18-2016, 07:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

My understanding of the fellowships is that at least the first round readers are massively anal about what you choose to write. They want something new, but not too new. Going by that criteria, NEW GIRL may already be past the prime fellowship window. If not, it's right on that bubble, with season five being done by the time anyone reads your spec, it'll be going into season six. That's probably considered stale.

I don't know for sure, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if writing an episode which could never possibly be made and air due to it taking place in a past season is a bad idea. It might also look like something you wrote a few years back, which I think would definitely lack the freshness they're looking for.
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Old 03-18-2016, 10:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

I think the popular notion of one show being any more or less "spec-able" than another show is highly overrated.

The fellowships don't generally release the shows that their winners specced, but there are two notable contests for TV specs-- Austin Film Festival and Final Draft Big Break-- that release info on finalists and semifinalists.

First here's Austin (http://austinfilmfestival.com/news/2...nd-rounders/):

TELEPLAY – ONE-HOUR SPEC

(FINALISTS)

The Americans: Custody written by Larry Caldwell (*WINNER*)
The Good Wife: Those Who Can’t, Reform written by Caitlin McCarthy
Scandal: Sins of Our Fathers written by Laura Bensick

(SEMIFINALISTS)

Orange is the New Black: Just Some Clean Fun written by John Lemelman
Ray Donovan: Pics written by John Covarrubias
Shameless: Now You See Me written by Lyndsey Kempf


TELEPLAY – SITCOM SPEC

Archer: Registered Sexy Offender written by Matt Kenny
The Mindy Project: Royals written by Margaret Kaminski
Workaholics: Bring Your Kid To Work Day written by Greg Brainos (*WINNER*)

(SEMIFINALISTS)

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: The Gang Goes To Hell written by Dylan Dimaggio
Silicon Valley: Market Penetration written by Thomas Reyes
Veep: HO-tus written by Jay Biederman

The Good Wife, Scandal, Shameless, Archer, The Mindy Project, and It's Always Sunny... are hardly what I would call fresh cutting edge shows.

And these were the finalists for Big Break (http://store.finaldraft.com/big-break-contest.html):

HALF HOUR SPECS

Brooklyn Nine–Nine “Only the Good Die Hard” by Andrew Lee (*WINNER*)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine "The Subway Sniffer" by Michael Salomon
Parks & Recreation "Health Fair" by Kris Wellman
The Mindy Project "Richie Castellano is My Gay Boyfriend" by Paul Ditty

HOUR SPECS

Arrow “Follow the Leader” by Meghan Fitzmartin (*WINNER*)
House of Cards "Bye Bye Birdie" by Leah Benavides
Orange Is The New Black "Lazarus, Bitch" by Jamie Mayer
The Blacklist "William Henry Booker (No. 58)" by Christopher Iannacone

I mean, if you can make the finals with a Parks and Rec (!) script, I feel like any show no matter how old is still speccable.

I think the two most important issues when speccing a show are whether you're passionate about the show, and whether you think that show will be renewed for another season (because ideally you'll be able to use your spec for at least two years).

Last edited by Zodraz : 03-19-2016 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
juunit
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Default Re: Does a tv spec of an existing show have to be up to date?

Fellowships and competitions are different animals.

Here's an interview with a fellowship reader which actually addresses this specific question: https://kiyong.wordpress.com/2015/08...iting-program/
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