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06/25/2006: New Romantic Comedy: Yin Loves Yang
Remember when everyone was saying "my bad"? It had a brief popularity, totally blowing the equivalent form "mea culpa" right off the charts. Now I hear neither much. I suspect that self-blame is just out of fashion.
And yet I should note the fact that I let the closing date for the ABC writers' fellowship slip past us uncommented-upon. My culpa, seriously. Especially since I got a big packet of blog-letters delivered to me today, some of which are from people asking pressing questions about their fellowship submissions – how to compose the bio, and that sort of thing. Oops. The mail is collected for me and sent to me in batches, so there can be a substantial time-lag. Sorry about that. I hope you all feel happy and comfortable with what you ended up submitting. Besides, I have no inside knowledge of what the ABC people look for in a bio: diversity, I guess, so I hope everyone stressed the things that make you different, culturally and otherwise. Ever been in jail? Mention it. It's different and it'll go better than if they find out later.
I also hope everyone took the day off after dropping their scripts into the mail. Because the day after *that* should be devoted to starting the next spec script! Yay! A new show to pick, a new world to learn, new voices to master!
In fact, one of the letters asks a great question about selecting the show to spec next. Austen from New York has written a spec "The Shield". She has been told that she should have "two spec scripts that complement each other and one 'wild card' script." Good advice.
So now she wants to know how to pick a script to "complement" the Shield. It's tempting to think about a show that is "opposite" to the Shield and come up with... what? "Reba"? But the fact is that what you want is opposite, but not too opposite. She's going to want a drama.
She asks if it should it be network instead of cable? Or a show that draws more female audience members, like Grey's or Medium?
Yeah. Pretty much, Austen. There aren't a ton of specable options right now, and I think you've done a good job of pointing at two choices. Grey's Anatomy and Medium would both complement the Shield. "Veronica Mars" would provide even more contrast, but I'm being told that it's still considered a bit out of the mainstream. It could work as your "wild card" spec.
Speaking of which, that wild card could be anything from Veronica to a mainstream show like House to something SciFi like Battlestar to something bizarre like a novelty Bonanza or Columbo spec or a spec pilot or whatever.
Austen asks a further question. Given that she is a woman writer, should she be conscious of the fact that her spec is for a show as aggressive as The Shield – a show that is assumed to be very masculine? Strangely, no. For a town that is in some ways very hidebound and traditional and sexist, I have found no resistance to women writers on even the most violent and male-dominated shows. Although women are still under-represented, it looks to me like we're under-represented in a very even-handed way. This is just my Jane's-eye view. Stats could show me to be wrong. Mea Badda.
But I do know for sure that lots of women writers have spec "Shields" or "Sopranos." And lots of men wrote "Gilmore Girls" and "Buffy" specs. Which is good. Of course, that also means it doesn't really set you apart. You can't sell yourself as the girl-who-writes-tough-specs. Maybe a lot of us had the same idea.
So everyone out there, boy or girl, slip on a skirt and write some Grey's Anatomy. You're going to want something to contrast with your cop shows.
Lunch: cherry yogurt, granola and coke-with-grenadine.