When Writing in Other People’s Universes

Do you know what a spec script is? For those who don’t know, a spec (short for speculative script) is a non-commissioned script, written with the intent of either having it optioned by a production company or give light to an up-and-coming screenwriter and what they’re capable of. When you’re writing a spec for TV, it’s usually for a show that is currently on the air.

In the past, I’ve talked about my thoughts and aspirations to write for already established universes. Since then, I’ve actually gotten to do so in the form of specs, and I can assure you that it has been quite an education for me.

To be given permission to come and play in the world and with the characters of someone else’s creation, just to show your worth, is quite a mind trip. You find yourself viewing the show as more than an invested viewer. You dig into the characters’ minds, make sense of who they are and the world at hand, and consider what they would logically say or do in various situations, all the while giving your own creative spin. It’s quite a thrill ride, and you’re learning a lot as you do so.

The only downer is that at least in the world of TV, these scripts never advance beyond the pages. They’re never made into an episode for all to see. As I said before, they’re used as a way to measure the writer’s ability. But even though it’ll never seen read beyond high level executives and whoever you share it with in your personal life, it’s still very important to give it your all. It should also come as no surprise that it’s best to choose a show you love, so that it’s even easier for you to show what you got.

One of my goals as a writer is to become a working screenwriter. Entering in competitions and applying for writing programs where scripts are required is a good exercise of that creative muscle. If this ever does lead to something down the line, I hope it can also lead to something more. Besides, a few days ago marked the 20th anniversary of the season two finale of a particular favorite show from my childhood, and lately I’ve been thinking about the resolution it never really got.

If you are able to, I hope you can go support me in all that I do by leaving a tip over on Ko-fi. I do a lot of writing that I get paid very little for or not at all, and so this is a way of showing your support other than just reading my content. Donations of varying quantities and frequencies are greatly appreciated.


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