Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Spec Etiquette

I’ve had several people ask me what NOT to do when trying to get someone to read their spec. It’s a case by case basis of course but I’ll just share some of my own personal experiences or things I have witnessed.

I’ve had people give me spec scripts at high school reunions. Not a good idea unless it’s from the person you always had a crush on and they haven’t gained 300 pounds.

A well known comedy director was in temple during High Holiday services one year when a fellow congregant reached inside his tallis and pulled out a spec script. Not kosher.

When I was announcing for the Orioles I once got thrown out of Bobby Valentine’s office for asking tough questions. He was then the manager of the Texas Rangers. Fifteen minutes later I was summoned back, obviously to receive an apology. No. He had heard I was a writer and pitched me a movie. Try not to be an asshole first.

And then there was the time I was in a funeral home with my father making final arrangements for my grandmother who had just passed away. At one point the mortician asked what I did. When my father said I was a writer the ghoul launched into a twenty minute movie pitch. If my dad wasn’t there no one would believe that story. But it’s true. Pick your spots.

What you need to do is first introduce yourself and try to establish a relationship. How intimate is up to you. But here’s my favorite story. Years ago I and another writer, Larry, were asked to speak at a UCLA extension class. I was a story editor on MASH at the time and he was story editor of RHODA. As we stood in front of the class lecturing, a friend overhead one young woman saying to another: “I think I’ll fuck Larry. I’d rather do a RHODA”.


Bruce Findleton said...

See? There actually was a good reason to do RHODA.

Anonymous said...


Did she fuck him?


Christina said...

How about the person who agrees to link to you if you'll read their spec? Ha Ha! How about THAT person?

MaryAn Batchellor said...

So, the screenplays I leave in the men's room stalls at various studios are a bad idea? Well, you never know when they'll need the extra paper.

Anonymous said...

I've had the opposite experience. Everyone I've met in Hollywod who finds out I'm an aspiring TV writer immediately launches into a speech about what kind of favors they can do for me. They must think I'll fuck them for a job on The War at Home.

I'm only giving sex for Veronica Mars, though. Maybe Battlestar Gallactica. Anything less is strictly platonic.

By Ken Levine said...

It does my heart good to see there are still some people in Hollywood who have standards.

Cunningham said...

I suppose a ritual sacrifice of some sort is out of the question...

Just asking.


Pay no attention to the roadkill on your doorstep.


Grubber said...

“I think I’ll fuck Larry. I’d rather do a RHODA”.

I must admit, I thought I was slightly experienced, but I have never heard of THAT position before?