Writing and Finishing


On 4-7-17 I called it like a surgeon with a body on the table. Avoidance, Lethargy and Lame Excuses were dead. No more missed opportunities. If there was a Diversity Initiative or mentorship program at a network I was going to apply. No more using my disinterest in writing spec scripts as an excuse. Sure, I have tons of original series pilots but I needed to write a spec script.

So, I vowed, this time I’d find something to write. Hell, there were plenty of shows I liked on TV. I’vew already binged-watched the shit out of a dozen of so Netflix and Hulu series.

I decided to outline and write a spec script for an episode of Sleepy Hollow. I put it out there on social media to make myself accountable to friends and family and industry colleagues.

I started the outline on April 7th, 2017. I finished the rough draft April 15th, 2017. Fifty-five pages for a one hour episode. WHOOHOO! I plan to take a few days away and then jump into rewrites, edits and polishing. I’m fairly confident I will make my APRIL 30TH DEADLINE.

And soon, if you tune into this blog next week, I will tell you about the cunning idea I have to garner even more attention to my spec script for an episode of Sleepy Hollow.

Back next week! ūüôā

The Surreal Writing World

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 ūüôā



The number Forty-five has incredible significance to me right now. For one, it’s the number of the presidency of the scariest¬†figurehead of the United States I’ve ever encountered in my many years as a human being.

On a more delightful note, forty-five is the number of days it took me to complete spec teleplays of two shows. I needed these spec scripts to submit to several network television diversity programs for writers. There’s more than one way to break-in, and although I have been focused on developing original concepts for series and shows, ¬†I am not adverse to writing in someone else’s voice to keep those doors open.

I set about writing an episode of Sleepy Hollow, one of my favorite shows, which has also, coincidentally, been cancelled by Fox. Upon hearing of it’s cancellation, and learning that two of the TV networks I’d be submitting to did not accept SH spec scripts as writing samples I set about learning the¬†fundamentals, character voices & tonality, story structure and pacing of another favorite show, the Netflix Original series, Jessica Jones.

I’m done. And I am very happy with both spec episodes especially since I was able to introduce characters from my original series concept in each script. ¬†Doing so created¬†a nice segue into my original sci-fi series concept pilot script.

Now, we wait.