BE PREPARED. An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.
That’s what I always say. Or at least I am saying it now that I’ve finished my first spec episode of a TV series in over five years in an attempt to be better prepared.
I finished a spec episode for one of my favorite shows, Sleepy Hollow. It was fun to write and a nice challenge for me since the last time I wrote a spec episode was when Breakout Kings was still on the air. The show was abruptly cancelled soon after — but I digress.
After I’d written my spec for Sleepy Hollow with the specific intention of submitting it to the CBS Writers Mentoring Program I realized I hadn’t opened just one door, I’d opened several. Or so I thought.
Every major network has some sort of diversity initiative designed to give “other” folks a shot at writing for the network. One caveat however is that a writer must have at least one spec script. I didn’t. I tend to write original series concepts, after all I want to be the next K/O Paper Products, Carlton Cuse, Shonda Rhimes, JJ Abrams, etc. I want to do my own thang.
But I got with the program, revisited my fav series, binge-watched and wrote a spec episode. Then, I thought, “Wait a minute, I now have a freaking spec to send to other network diversity programs too!”
Or so I thought.
Turns out, two networks of the big 5 have very specific requirements for their program and a very specific list of shows they will accept a spec script from. Wouldn’t you guess it, Sleepy Hollow isn’t on their lists! So, I went back to the drawing board to decide for what show to write a spec.
However, my list of shows was short. I could write for Supernatural (Fox), Elementary (CBS) or Jessica Jones (Netflix). Since my original series is sci-fi/contemporary fantasy with a horror edge I ruled out Elementary despite the fact that I know that series inside-out. I ruled out Supernatural because of the time investment required in getting up-to-speed. I haven’t watched the series in years (I dropped out after the second season). I’d have t watch an entire season and episodes from the other 11 seasons. Ugh.
That left Jessica Jones. A gritty, dark, anti-hero series where the line between heroism and vigilantism is blurred and smeared with blood. Lots of people get dead. Lots. Perfect for my gritty sci-fi fantasy.
One more spec script for a TV series coming up. My deadline is May 20th, in the can.
ps. my new website www.angelojbell.com is coming soon. This blog will be moving there 🙂