2015 Spec Scriptacular Report

by Larry Brody

Welcome to the post where I bring everybody up to date on what’s happening with this year’s Spec Scriptacular. The Spec Scriptacular is one of my two favorite writing contests, the other one being – not surprisingly – TVWriter™’s People’s Pilot.

Here’s where things stand re the 21st running of the SS:

  • This year’s contest took a slight dip in the number of entries, going down by about 8% from last year. I was pretty surprised by that, because the 2015 People’s Pilot had the most entries in its 24 runnings, but upon reflection I think the downturn is based on the fact that although just a couple of years ago spec episodes were absolutely essential for new TV writers to show potential agents and the usual range of execs, these days showrunners prefer to read original pilots.
  • Another way that the original pilot trend figured into 2015’s Spec Scriptacular entries is demonstrated in the popularity of the TV Movie/Screenplay/Special category.  An incredible 43% of all our entries are in that category, with 53% of those being “specials” and all of those specials actually pilots. The rest of the entries in the category are screenplays either for TV or the medium formerly known as “the big screen.”
  • Although the number of sitcoms on broadcast TV continues to go down, the genre continues to be popular with cable channels and various online media delivery sites, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. This is reflected in the fact that 36% of the entries are sitcoms, leaving the Action/Drama/Dramedy category with only 21% of the total entries.
  • BROOKLYN NINE-NINE was the most-written sitcom, just barely edging out 2 BROKE GIRLS, MODERN FAMILY, and FAMILY GUY. Also popular this time around were FRESH OFF THE BOAT, BLACKISH, and TRANSPARENT.
  • The most popular show for spec Action/Drama/Dramedy scripts was SUPERNATURAL. Its closest rivals were THE LEFTOVERS and THE AFFAIR. Most Unexpected Action/Drama/Dramedy script – BBC’s INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY. (I’m looking forward to reading that one.)

I understand how hard it is to have to wait and wait to find out how you placed in any contest, and I recognize that if I were an entrant I wouldn’t like it either. So my plan now is to bludgeon the judges into working their Christmas Vacation Be Damned butts off so that we can announce the Semi-Finalists the first or second week in January and have everything wrapped up by the first week in February.

More to come as soon as there’s, well, more to come!

Thanks so much for all your hard work. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the TVWriter™ minions and me!