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11/19/2006: Taking a Header
Such a delightful letter just arrived from Alex in Texas! He tells me he watched my "Band Candy" episode of Buffy when he was eleven. Surely a typo. Eleven?! Is that even possible? I'll just be shuffling off to my hip replacement surgery now.
Anyway, Alex (who writes his letter in script format, hilariously), asks a number of good questions. I'm going to address one of them here. He has clearly followed my advice and procured himself a number of actual produced scripts, which has him wondering if his spec script should include the Cast List and Set List pages that you find in produced scripts. Nope. It should not. Just a title page and then into the script, please. If you're writing a spec pilot you will occasionally find someone who includes a page with an evocative quote to introduce the series, as you might include at the beginning of a novel, but I would tend to discourage this too. It smells pretentious to me.
The only thing non-standard that I might actually encourage is to include your last name as part of the header that runs across the top of every page. So it would look something like this:
Fabulous Girls - "Pilot" - Espenson [page #]
I suggest this just because you're writing specs to get your name out there, so why not give everyone the maximal chance to see your name?
Thanks for the letter, Alex! It made me laugh! Great work! I wish I had advice about agents, contests, etc, but all I can do is suggest persistence and research and wish you good luck! There must be someone out there with a lovely and complete list of spec script contests, but I'm afraid it isn't me. And the agent sitch -- well, I can only say I hope it opens up again soon, because getting agents to read new writers right now is difficult. And yet... every year I go to a new job, and there is usually a writer there who is reporting to their very first job. So it happens. It can happen for you.
Lunch: Vietnamese food -- rice noodles with pork and shrimp and that devastating sweet sauce. Fizzy lemonade.