Marc Scott Zicree

Spec Scripts

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In film and TV, you get the job by doing the job, and so for writers it’s a good idea to have several different kind of spec scripts written – an original pilot, an original feature and a sample of an existing show.  The existing show must be currently on the air and a show that network and studio execs and producers on TV shows like and watch (right now, those might be MAD MEN, DEXTER, FRINGE, and a few others).

Homicide_life_on_the_Street

Homicide: Life on the Street

Several years ago, when HOMICIDE was on the air, I spent several months researching and writing a spec episode of that series.  I hung out with homicide cops, even dressed like them in suit and tie — to the degree that a uniform cop asked me what I wanted done with the crime scene!  In the end, I got the script to Tom Fontana, who was running HOMICIDE at the time and just creating OZ.  David Simon, one of the producers on the show (later to create THE WIRE) read it and really liked it.  This led to Tom Fontana partnering with Elaine and me on THORNFIELD, a pilot presentation we shot starring Armin Shimerman. Thought you might enjoy reading that HOMICIDE script, so here it is:

Zicree’s Spec Script for Homicide

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Additionally, the adage “shorter is better” really applies in TV.  If you think you can’t cover the basics in only ten pages think again.  As an example I wrote the following script “Handle With Care” for a short-lived WB show called THE WATCHER.  I present it here as a lesson in brevity.

Zicree’s Spec Script for The Watcher

Remember – when an executive is looking at a stack of scripts he has to read, he’ll often choose the shortest…

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