Spec pilots have for some reason been the hot thing in the industry lately. Yet, nobody really seems to have answered the question why they're actually in.
In order to illustrate the problem and to show why having a spec pilot might not necessarily be in your best interest, let me pose some common sense questions to an imaginary showrunner:
-Mr. Showrunner, before I let you read my pilot, I'd like to ask you; Are you happy with your current show? After all, you want to read my spec pilot. I can't help but to think that you're unhappy with your own show and that perhaps you'd like to move on to another project.
-Mr. Showrunner, even when it comes to those spec pilots that will eventually be produced, forty-nine out of every fifty projects will be absolute horse crap. So why would you take a chance with my spec, that is, after all, written by a total amateur?
-Mr. Showrunner, it may well be that the pilot is good enough, so that you'd hire me to write for you. But if it's good enough for you, it's probably good enough to be produced too, right? If I move on to that project, you can't really hire me.
-Mr Showrunner, finally, you're interested in knowing what my voice is. How wonderful, you're a much better human being than I am. Because in all honesty, if the tables were turned, I would hope that you would be interested in knowing what my voice is as a showrunner.
-Mr. Showrunner, you want to read my spec pilot. But before I let you read it, let me ask you, do you think that the fact that I wrote a spec pilot shows that I 'm a team-player and that I'm willing to adapt, or might it perhaps indicate that I'm more interested in my own ideas?
-Mr. Showrunner, shouldn't you be reading specs for shows that already exist? I've got plenty of those available, and I think you can easily judge whether I managed to make those shows better or worse than they currently are. Isn't that what counts?
-Mr. Showrunner, I know it's been pretty hard for you lately. But please don't tell me that the reason you wanted to read my pilot is because you wanted to read a spec that is so bad that it would make even you look better.
So anyway, why are pilot spec scripts in at the moment? I'm not sure what the answer to that question is.