Friday, July 29, 2011
Lately I've been reading loads of spec scripts by other aspiring writers. To be completely honest, it has been an eye-opening experience for me. Or should I say that it has confirmed what I already suspected or thought about the quality of their writing.
Going through all those spec scripts also helped me to understand why shows like Community and Parks and Recreation are so popular among spec writers. I mean, these two apparently are the hot shows to spec.
Now you might think that I read spec scripts for these two shows. Well, coincidentally I didn't. Instead, I read maybe like a dozen Modern Family spec scripts first. After doing that, to figure out what's going on, I got curious and read like five or six _actual_, produced Community and Parks and Recreation scripts.
(I initially read Modern Family because I have specced the show and wanted to check the competition)
So, my experience was that none of the Modern Family spec scripts that I read were good. Unfortunately, all of them were bad. At the same time, I have to say that none of the actual produced scripts for Community or Parks and Recreation were any good either. Every script sucked.
All of them were horrible.
Now, to give some perspective, actual produced scripts for Modern Family on the other hand are, if not great, at least most of the time relatively well written by relatively competent writers. So there's a huge difference between a random Modern Family spec script and an actual produced Modern Family script.
On the other hand, even though I read Modern Family specs and not Community or Parks specs specifically, I think it can be safely said that there cannot possibly be much of a difference between a mere spec for Community and an actual produced Community script.
That is because all the scripts that I read, no matter spec or produced, had the same problems: endless tangents, terrible exposition, purposeless name dropping, no flow, no recognizable characters, no story development or complications, no nothing. The exact same problems.
Both sucked on so many same levels that it just boggled the mind. Kinda sad and pathetic to be honest.
In the end what I'm saying here is that no matter how outrageously bad the script is qualitywise, as long as it's a Community or Parks and Recreation spec, nobody can tell that you're any worse than the staff writer who got his or her episode eventually produced.
In all likelihood, this is the reason why film school students (and critics too) love these two shows. Watching and writing about these shows makes you feel like you're part of the gang and way better than you really are.