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Home » Archives » January 2007 » It Finally Sinks In
[Previous entry: "Friends, Romans, Countrymen..."] [Next entry: ""Working Under Poodleskirts""]

01/20/2007: It Finally Sinks In

As I do periodically, I recently checked in with an agent to find out which established shows were currently being recommended as specs. I expected to hear that Grey's Anatomy and House were still strong in hours, and that The Office was still the current hot half-hour. I also thought I might hear that Heroes and 20 Rock specs *might* be starting to slip onto the scene.

Other than that thing about The Office, though, which *is* still apparently *the* half-hour to have, my predictions were wrong. For the first time since I've been asking the question, I was told that the agent wasn't recommending *any* established shows at all! Spec pilots, as well as original plays and short film scripts were *all* that she recommended for young writers putting together their collection of samples.

Wow. That's kind of earth-shaking -- causing me to scatter emphasis-asterisks like snowflakes. Or maybe it's just taken me this long to listen to what agents have been edging toward over the last several years. I seriously expected to hear that, with the current healthy array of quality dramas, specs for established shows were rebounding. But apparently not.

Personally, I think this is a shame. So much stuff goes into writing a good original pilot that isn't really relevant to whether or not a writer will be good on a staff. And, conversely, original material tells a reader nothing about a writer's ability to capture an established voice. AND, spec features and plays don't even tell the reader about the writer's fluency with the limitations of television writing. So I sigh. But I pass the information along to you, gentle readers. And I will continue, as I have been, trying to post hints that will help you in the writing of these original pieces.

Lunch: corned beef hash, poached eggs, home fries


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UC Berkeley
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January 2007

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