“Yes, we know that writer, we’ve read their scripts, we like them, but what next?”
You’re likely to hear this kind of response or comment as you make your way in your scriptwriting adventures. Essentially, it’s the execs/editors/readers of the world acknowledging that you exist, and that they like you/your writing, but aren’t completely sure about what to do or if they should hire you.
This might seem frustrating. After all, you’ve written that knock-out spec (or two) that got you on their radar in the first place. And you may have got a couple of commissions that have made broadcast, which does no harm for your CV.
So, why the stall on your status? Well, you got to stay relevant. But what does this mean exactly?
You’ve got to keep going, you’ve got to hustle up more work. It’s not about hustling commissions, although that’s part of it, but more to do with hustling up more SPEC scripts (your own original material). This is what execs/editors/readers want to see. Something new. Something that shows them how your writing is progressing, something that shows off your distinctive voice. Something that will give them confidence to say ‘yes, we want that writer for our show’ (or whatever the gig might be).
I’ve heard execs complain that some writers peddle out the same spec script over a number of years. It’s not telling them anything new, and it indicates a certain laziness from the writer.
Why haven’t you written a new spec script? Been busy with broadcast work? Other work flowing in? GREAT! But never forget the power of the spec, and how that can invigorate your profile, and get you the work that you REALLY want. It did Chris Chibnall no harm did it? He wrote Broadchurch as a spec…
It’s a challenge to us, but it’s important: stay relevant by writing new original material.