The end result is we wrote Hawkeye a big speech. We didn’t know whether the producers even wanted a monologue. It wasn’t in the outline. But we felt (a) it was a good character moment, and (b) showed initiative on our part.
We turned in the script. Gene Reynolds, the showrunner, loved it – especially the speech. From then on he kept giving us assignments and that first script, as our new writing sample when our agent submitted us for things, was our golden ticket.
I do believe that speech was the turning point in our career. Please consider that when you’re writing your spec. Not saying you need to include a poignant monologue (especially if you’re writing a WHITNEY), but you do need to put in the effort, time, and diligence necessary to make your script just that much better than whatever else is out there. Wait. Let me amend that. Do everything necessary except blindfolding yourself and walking up Beverly Glenn. You’re not going to get a lot of job offers if you’re dead. Even Chayesfksy's phone no longer rings.
Here is that “speech”. It’s from the episode “Out of Sight/Out of Mind”, season five. Hawkeye has been rather manic and BJ tries to get him to settle down.
BJ: Listen. Why don’t you just settle down for five minutes? I know what you’re trying to do, and I know how you feel.
HAWKEYE: I don’t think so.
BJ: You don’t want to think about what might happen to you. So you keep running…
HAWKEYE: That’s not it. Look, when Dr. Overman walks in tomorrow and unwraps my pacage, I hope to God I’ll have my sight back. But in the meantime, something fascinating has happened to me.
BJ: How’s that, Hawk?
HAWKEYE: One part of the world closed down for me, but another part opened up. Sure, I’ve been seeing myself sitting on a corner with a tin cup selling thermometers. But, I’m going through something here I didn’t expect. This morning I spent two incredible hours listening to a rainstorm. I didn’t just hear it, I was part of it. I’ll bet you never realized that rain hitting the ground makes the same noise as steaks when they barbecue, or that thunder seems to echo forever. And you can’t believe how funny it is to hear someone slip and fall in the mud. Had to be Burns. Beej, it’s full of trapdoors, but I think there may almost be some advantage to this. I’ve never spent a more conscious day in my life.