It's a Tuesday morning, I have my coffee and exactly 17 minutes and I'm going to milk you for answers. Here are five questions I have while preparing to write a spec (or two?) of an existing television show:
1. How old is too old? I realize the show needs to be on the air, but is there a limit to what season it should be in? If its running into a fifth or sixth is it nearing an expiry date?
2. How do you avoid bad buzz? Every source I've pestered for answers so far has used the word "buzz" in relation to a successful spec. "The show you choose needs to have the right kind of buzz." The problem is that the geek world in which I so lovingly exist buzzes about a lot of things that the mainstream world doesn't. How can I be sure I'm following the correct stream?
3. Where should my story fall? Is it imperative that my spec fall chronologically in time with the show's most recent episodes? Are there any downsides to writing an episode that fits into, say, the second season instead of the fourth? How do you choose the acceptable time to insert your spec?
4. How much leeway do I have? I've been told that creating a new character is a no-go unless they are restricted to the one episode. How much leeway do I have with other creative devices? Ex: Using a narrative VO when the show doesn't usually have one?
5. How important is genre? Drama is my passion, and therefore I am choosing to spec a dramatic series. Is it arrogant to also write a comedy spec as a fallback? Some forums say choose a lane, others say try everything. Am I shooting myself in the foot by appearing undecided with a mix of genres?
So help a newbie out. Dish out the dirt. Everything you know about writing a spec of an existing show. I'll bake you cookies!