LB: Here’s What’s Happening with the 2014 Spec Scriptacular

TVWriterLogoBlockTM2014 SPEC SCRIPTACULAR COMPETITION

Time now to bring everybody up to date on the status of this year’s Spec Scriptacular, the 20th running of my co-favorite contest.Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com (My other favorite being the People’s Pilot. Big surprise, right?) For me, the Spec Scriptacular definitely has helped this year come in roaring. Sit back and relax cuz here come the facts:

  • Last year’s Spec Scriptacular had the largest number of entries in its history. This year’s was down just a bit, almost 15%, which I for no reason at all other than my usual magical thinking, attribute to the facts that this is the first time the contest has been held at a different time from the People’s Pilot and that time turned out to be December, AKA Christmas, when everyone had a lot of other things to spend time, money, and love on. That 15% downturn, however, puts the 2014 contest right on par the 2012 running, so I’m disappointed but not destroyed.
  • During a season notable for its lack of sitcoms, both numerically and in terms of quality shows, fully 50% of the entries were in the sitcom category. And, yes, most of your episodes which I’ve read so far were funnier than the shows they were written for. For which I think everyone who entered a sitcom script should take a bow.
  • 24% of the entries were in the Action/Drama/Dramedy category, which is a little lower than usual – all those sitcoms got in the way, I suppose.  I haven’t read enough to comment on their quality, but I enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. They were right on the money for their shows.
  • 26% of the entries were in the TV Movie/Screenplay/Special category, with almost half of them being “specials,” and 3/4s of those being pilots. Well, hey, if pilots ain’t special, then what is? I’m fine with that, but still surprised – as I’ve been in most recent years, with the comparative lack of screenplays that were entered. Now, more than ever, any screenplay can be a TV movie, so why aren’t you screenplay writers looking into that market? (Or maybe you’re all busy writing superhero specs and don’t think they’ll fly on TV?)
  • THE SIMPSONS, NEW GIRL, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE and 2 BROKE GIRLS tied for most-written sitcom spec. The first three I understand, but 2 BROKE GIRLS? Please, if you’re in love with that show, write in and tell me why, why, why…?
  • Other Sitcom entries included (in descending order of popularity):
    GIRLS
    CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM
    BOB’S BURGERS
    THE BIG BANG THEORY
    MODERN FAMILY
    RICK AND MORTY
    PARKS AND RECREATION
    ARCHER
    HANNAH AND HER SISTERS
    NURSE JACKIE
    ARCHER
    BROAD CITY
    THE JETSONS
  • The most popular show for spec Action/Drama/Dramedy scripts was HAWAII FIVE-0. But only if you count the dear, departed, original ’70s version, which one writer gave us in fine style.
  • Other Action/Drama/Dramedy entries included (in the proverbial descending order):
    ARROW
    SCANDAL
    SUPERNATURAL
    ONCE UPON A TIME
    THE WALKING DEAD
    HANNIBAL
    LAW AND ORDER: SVU
    THE BLACK LIST
    DOCTOR WHO
    MAGNUM P.I.

Filled as I am with guilt over taking so long to make this preliminary report, I’m going to do my best by cracking the whip on the judges so that we can get results ASAP. As in a Semi-Finalist announcement by the end of this month, and Finalists and Winners before the end of February. This isn’t a promise, just an intention. But I’ll do my best to bring the Unknown Arbiters to heel and quickly.

“What?” You ask. “Why are they Unknown? Why can’t we have the names of the judges?” That’s not merely a legitimate question, it’s a good one. So, I think, are my answers. The judges of TVWriter™’s contests stay anonymous because they don’t want to have to deal with any pressure regarding their decisions, either before or after the results are announced. Every judge is a working TV writer. Most are or have been showrunners. None of them needs the headaches of having to deal with “Thanks for loving me, now why don’t you hire me?” or “You bastard! You hated my work?! I’m having my whole family boycott your show.”

In other words, the judges won’t take this gig unless it’s anonymous. And even if you don’t get it now, you will when you’re in their shoes.

Which, I’m sure, you will be. It’s just a matter of time.

More to come in a few weeks!

Happy New Year from the TVWriter™ minions and – moi!

 

About LB

Larry Brody has been profiled in such national magazines and websites as Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, Starlog, People, Electronic Media, IndieSlate, TechTV, io9, and of course TV Guide.

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world, with a career going back to the late ’60s, Brody has written and produced literally thousands of hours of network and syndicated television.

Brody has also been active in the TV animation world, writing, creating, consulting, and/or supervising the cult favorite STAR TREK animated TV series, the SILVER SURFER, SPAWN, SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN, and SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED animated series, and was showrunner of the French animated series, DIABOLIK, as well as part of the team that developed and wrote the live-action/cgi animation sci-fi series Ace Lightning for the BBC.

Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including – yes, it’s true – Emmys.