For readers unfamiliar with how TV staffing works, here’s the rundown.
Writers hoping to get staffed on a given show (or frankly, any show — it’s a tough business), write sample scripts of shows currently on the air. So, if you’re looking to get a job writing on a show like CSI, you’d write a sample (spec) episode of a one-hour crime drama. You wouldn’t necessarily write a CSI, but rather a newer show that people like. Maybe Numbers. Or Numb3rs.
God, I hate what Se7en hath wrought.
The goal is to write an episode of a show that most everyone likes, but isn’t sick of yet. Ken suggests “My Name is Earl.” For me, the choice would have to be “The Office.” My assistant Chad and his writing partner, who hope to staff on a sitcom this year, wrote a terrific Office spec that should serve them well.
Sadly, I’ve read two or three spec episodes of “D.C.,” the failed drama I created at WB. For a brief time, it was considered a good spec because of the challenging structure (five main characters, at work and at home) and opportunity for comedy.
Trust me: write a show that lasts more than seven episodes.