Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spec-Tacular


After much deliberation, I have finally been able to come up with a premise that I believe is solid enough to warrant development of my spec script of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.  Anyone who knows me knows that I believe this show is the best comedy on television, hence why I chose it as my spec.

Sidebar:  For those who don't know, a "Spec Script"(short for "Speculative") is a script that is written for a show that already exists to show off your prowess as a writer. It is not designed to be sold, shot, or aired, but simply as a writing sample for prospective agents/managers to display that you understand how to capture a given show's tone, style, characters, etc. to prove that you not only are worthy of representation, but that you'd be a valuable asset inside a writer's room for a television series.  It is the very first step in becoming a writer for television.  Lately, "Original Specs" have become all the rage.  That would be where The Hudson Avenue Chronicles comes in.

Sure, the "rules" say that I should choose a series on a Big Four Network (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC) which reaches a wider audience, and my series should be a hit that is only a couple seasons into its run, but I was born to break the rules (AKA be a stubborn idiot).

Sunny is a series that began as a cult hit on FX which soon transformed into a legitimate hit for the network around its third and fourth seasons, whom many believe to be the show's creative peak. However, anyone who reads my reviews (which I WILL be finishing), will know that I believe that Season Eight has been of the same quality as those most revered, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that assessment.

Though the show did just round out it's Eighth Season, it's important to take into account that these are technically "Half Seasons" (12/13 Episodes vs. 22/24 per year), which is standard for any cable network incapable of accessing the capital of a major network (it's also the reason such series tend to be of higher quality, they aren't spread as creatively thin), so when you really look at the episode count, Sunny isn't nearly as far along as it's chronology would have you believe.  Sure, 94 episodes is up there, but that took eight years, whereas a network hit like Blue Bloods, considered to be in its prime, will hit 100 episodes by the end of its fifth.

The "rules" also state that I shouldn't be choosing cancelled series' or series' bound for cancellation. Like I said, Sunny has become a bona fide hit for FX.  That isn't to say it averages a shit-ton of viewers (it doesn't, perplexingly), but the extremely low cost of production has always ensured that the show's profit margins always land squarely in the black, and renewal of the series has always been an easy choice throughout its run.  Not to mention the fact that the heads of the network absolutely adore the series, facilitating the Cinderella story of its inception and standing bravely by it during its early season growing pains.  Post Season Seven, the show was renewed through Season Nine, so it's guaranteed to air at least another year, and I'm wholly confident that a Tenth Season will be ordered, if not more, so I don't believe I have anything to worry about in that regard.

Also take into account that half-hour comedies tend to have a longer shelf life than hour-long dramas, and that the series creators themselves believe they're just hitting their creative stride now, and you have all the reasons why I believe it's the best course for me to take.  This is one of the few shows whose characters and backstory I already know backwards and forwards just from being a fan, so writing for it should come pretty easy, and the series is widely respected in the industry, so I think if I pen a script that screams loud enough, it will be heard.

What's it about, you ask?  Well, you'll find that out soon enough.

What I will say now, is that upon thinking of the premise, I immediately came up with roughly half the story.  The neural network started immediately branching out in a sea of activity.  It's like a return on a thought investment.  You think of an idea, and sometimes it creates a domino effect, and you're able to run with it relatively effortlessly quite far until you hit any kind of wall.  

You ever see a superhero movie where a character jumps from a high point and slams onto the ground with righteous indignation (preferably with staff in hand) and the ground cracks and splinters in the surrounding radius?  Well, him hitting the ground is like the initial thought, and the cracking and splintering is the amount of supplementary material that comes immediately afterward.  The only question is, how big will the radius be?

It was pretty big with this one, and when the return is that high, you know you've hit the jackpot.

Given that this is a show I know well with set premise & characters, and that its a half hour show rather than the hours Ive been writing for, this may not take very long at all.


-VMA

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