Apparently every screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles must have a spec script for a popular television show in his portfolio. I have a couple of attempts, but no script. I took a crack at a Girls spec a couple of years ago.
I know it’s very popular right now to hate on Lena Dunham, but I want it to be clear that I was hating on her long before it was cool. Way back when she got a Criterion Collection release for her not bad film Tiny Furniture.
To her credit though, Girls has a very specific tone. The way the characters interact. Their language. I never felt like I got it right. The tough thing about writing a spec for a TV show? It already exists. The easy part about writing a spec for a TV show? It already exists. This means you have to do a lot less front end imagining and a lot more back end cleaning up.
Back end cleaning up is what I am NOT good at. And often my productivity slows, while my critical eye becomes stronger, making it more and more difficult to actually FINISH the fucking thing.
I took another swing at a spec a year or so later. I switched gears entirely, going from a single camera half-hour comedy set in New York City to an hour drama/mystery set in Wyoming.
I misspelled “gaze”. And I named one of the characters after me. I’m an artist.
Longmire is an entirely different beast. The pace is much slower. Characters speak little or not at all. An hour long Longmire episode can contain fewer words than a half hour Girls episode. The description becomes important.
I deserted this one too.
This morning I made some notes on a Black Mirror spec script.
They say the third time’s a charm.