Monday, July 2, 2007

Spec-ulation

Aren't I clever? Don't answer.

With applying to Disney out of the way, the time has come to get back to my real job: figuring out what to write next.

Since Battlestar is ending after next season, my writing partner and I are just writing off the weeks we spent planning and outlining our spec and moving on to something else. Unfortunately, we're not quite sure what yet. These are the problems that arise when several of your favorite shows end or get cancelled.

But...moving on, currently we're looking at three possibilities: Dexter, Heroes or Ugly Betty. All three have their positives and negatives, both for us personally and in the wide world, so today I'm going to entertain myself by looking at each show and making a list of pros and cons. Don't I sound like just the dork you'd like to get to know? Right.

Dexter

Pros:
We love it. Critics love it. The writing is dark, quirky and smart. It works as both an amazingly compelling character-based show and an inventive procedural. We have what I think is a very good idea for a spec Dexter.

Cons:
We don't have (or no how to attain) any Dexter scripts; moreover, we don't have ANY commercial-free cable scripts at all, so the format and structure is a bit of a mystery to us. It's a show with a very small audience, which MAY be potentially limiting in terms of getting people to read it.

Heroes

Pros:
We've seen every episode and managed through super-secret methods to attain scripts of the first 11 episodes. It's a pretty good show that has received a decent amount of critical acclaim and has the widest audience of our three selections. It's sci-fi/fantasy, and though it may be foolish, we've been looking to write a script in this genre to complement the procedural and comedic-drama specs we already have.

Cons:
Heroes is a tough nut to crack. We've tossed around a few ideas, but nothing has really stuck. With apologies, because there are lots of things I like about it, the scripts that I have read aren't exactly inspiring in their execution, which makes me feel like we might be writing down to the show a bit.

Ugly Betty

Pros:
Popular. Critically acclaimed. We really enjoyed the three episodes we watched on the screener disc and it seems like something we could write and have fun with. Right now we don't have any Betty scripts, but I can easily get a few via the glory that is The Scriptwriter's Network.

Cons:
We really enjoyed the three episodes we watched on the screener disc. Yup, that's right, kids, those three episodes are all we've seen. And while it's not very difficult to get the rest of the season (thank you iTunes), it would mean more of a time investment than the other two shows. Despite the fact that I THINK it wouldn't be hard to come up with a viable Betty, it's not like I have an idea plotted out or anything.

Hmmm...the life or death decisions of a hopeful TV writer.

6 comments:

m said...

Dexter's got enough heat without being as over done as Ugly Betty. If I were a reader, I'd be burnt out on Betty and start leaving those for later.

They've got the Dexter pilot at the WGA library if you ever get a chance to get there.

Matt said...

Hey, thanks for the comments. And nice blog, by the way.

I'd offer my two cents, but I could never get into Ugly Betty (doesn't seem like a show I'd like), or Heroes (which, oddly enough, DOES seem like a show I'd like). I've never had a chance to see Dexter, but to me, that seems like your best bet. It's on the top 10 emmy list this year.

And as far as finding scripts, question: is there any reliable way that an out-of-towner like me could get a hold of them? I find stuff online here and there, but nothing concrete. I tried to get scripts for Galactica previously, but couldn't find any. I just had to grit my teeth and write without them.

And one final fun fact: My Uncle is the production sound mixer on Ugly Betty. How's that for industry connections?

Josh said...

m -

I think we are going with Dexter. It's good to know that the WGA has the pilot, but it also looks like a friend of ours might have scripts from a few episodes, so we're trying that route first.

matt -

Funny thing about Battlestar--not even the WGA script library had any copies of scripts when I went about a month ago. They told me that their first script ever from Battlestar would be available in a few weeks.

As for getting copies of scripts in general, how about your uncle? You may not want Ugly Betty scripts, but he probably knows people on other shows. I mostly get my scripts through Scriptwriter's Network, but I doubt the print shop they use would send you copies in the mail.

John Reha said...

Hm. I think, honestly, your best bet would be Ugly Betty. I know you're going with Dexter, but this is my reasoning: Ugly Betty is network show, and will have more recognition for contests and agents than Dexter, which is brilliant, but the audiende is admittedly smaller.

But really, what's going to be a script you can write better? if it's Dexter, go with that.

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