FEATURE SPEC: FOR LOVE OR MONEY?
I WANT TO WRITE A SPEC AND SELL IT FOR LOTS OF MONEY.
Legitimate goal. And people do it. And here at WS we are all about Ladies getting a piece of the Capitalist Pie. But a word of advice. When you’re starting out trying to break into this business, you need to write work that serves as a calling card. That epitomizes who you are as a writer.
WRITE WHAT ONLY YOU CAN WRITE. WRITE PERSONAL.
More important than your feature spec being commercial is that your sample tells the marketplace WHO YOU ARE. The spec I wrote when I was a 24 year old assistant was so personal, so vulnerable and raunchy that for several months I didn’t show anyone because I was embarrassed. I thought I should’ve written a raucous rom-com Spring Break or something. But nope. That spec has done more for my 13-year career than anything else, because it was 92 pages of exactly me — an accurate reflection of the sensibility hirers were bringing to their projects when they hired me. Also, being personal means that your sample will pop. The walls of agencies and production offices are covered in scripts — you want yours to be memorable.
Maybe your personal script will also be commercial. That would be awesome. Look at WomenScribe heroine Diablo Cody’s Juno. That script hit both spots at once - calling card and make-able film. But that was lightning striking. And we want you to have a long, vital career built on realistic goals in the right order.
Our advice: write your calling card first. Once you have that down, write your spec. Sell it. Make a coat of money like the elegant woman above.