Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Getting your spec read

Now that you’ve finished your bulletproof spec, how do you get someone to read it? Not easy. But here are some suggestions (while you’re also writing your next spec which will be even more bulletproof):

Be resourceful not obnoxious.

The WGA has a list of agencies. Some will read new material. Get this list and send your script to EVERY agency that remotely is willing to read it.

Managers are “in” these days too. Not sure if there’s a list of reputable ones but contact any manager that will read your script without asking you to take off your clothes.

Beyond that, it’s luck and networking. If you have a friend of a friend whose second cousin is a proctologist who once removed a story editor’s hemorrhoid, contact him and send him a pillow.

Learn who the story editors, staff writers, and producers are of each show. Write letters to a few, schmoozing. Look up their credits on imdb. Ignore if it says they were Location Manager on DANTE’S PEAK. Lower level writers tend not to receive many fan letters. Establish relationships.

Utilize college connections. Make up college connections. The same applies for summer camp, fraternities, sororities, military service, prison terms.

I wish I had the time to read your scripts myself but unfortunately I don’t. Sorry about that.

It helps if you’re in LA. Get tickets to see filmings of multi-camera shows. The writing staff is always on the floor and always introduced. Go to the rail and introduce yourself. Again, it helps to do your homework on just who these writers are. And don’t bother them when Debra Messing is having a meltdown.

Be persistent not an noodge.

If you can become a P.A. for a show, that’s great. A writers assistant – even better. Anything to get your foot in the door.

Take UCLA or USC extension classes. The teachers are all pros. One of them might be your way in. Working writers guest lecture. Find out who and when and where and be there.

Be dogged not insufferable.

Go to Westside gyms. Agents are low hanging fruit in those places.

Always keep a copy of your script in your car. You never know when you’re going to meet somebody who can help you.

And finally, there’s the obvious but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s like the old joke: Did you hear about the Polish actress who tried to get ahead by fucking writers?

Here’s how David and I were discovered. My mother played golf one day with a story editor of the JEFFERSONS. She told him her son was a writer and he graciously said have him contact me and send a script. I did, he responded to it, invited us in to pitch, we sold a story, and the rest, as they say, is profit.

No two writers I know broke in the same way, but they all wrote specs and they all somehow got them read. Best of luck to you...and your mom.


Whaledawg said...

Very useful information. I was actualy planning to kidnap Gred Daniels and making him read my spec. This might work better.

Can you return a tazer?

Anonymous said...

always be persistent...Ken, read my script now...I said right now (ha)

Anonymous said...

Now, exactly how "stalky" can one get? One of the writers of Six Feet Under does frequent shows in LA. Won't it be obvious if I introduce myself that I'm just a sycophantic writer desperately clawing at any opportunity to get ahead? Or will I just blend in?

Unknown said...

How 'bout working in a studio mailroom to make contacts? Although if anyone does that I suggest not starting right in the middle of the's insanely busy and just might kill you.

rogercarroll said...

Ken, nice Jewish boys are not DJ's they are writers, doctors lawyers denists, writers. roger carroll

rogercarroll said...

Ken, Good Jewish boys are not DJ's. They are writers, doctors, tv writers lawyers, dentists, writers, have long legged blonde blue eyed girls gentile girlfriends. rc

Anonymous said...

Hm, I don't feel comfortable imposing
on the few people I know who are connected in this way. Maybe that means I'm doomed. Or maybe I'm just doomed because I like my day job too much...

By Ken Levine said...

Stalking won't work. Establishing relationships to where the story editors want to read your script is the way to go. Kidnapping is not a great idea matter how good your script.