I was talking to someone in the industry a couple of weeks ago, and was surprised by how positive this person was about the fact that I’d just written a new feature script on spec. “You would not believe,” this professional said, “how many writers simply don’t write scripts on spec.”
I confess, I was a bit confused. I thought that was, well, our job. “So what do they do all day?” I asked.
“Oh, a lot of them just write outlines. Draft after draft of outlines, while they wait for the project to sell. The fact is, if they wrote a spec, the projects probably would sell. But they don’t. And meanwhile, the people writing specs sell projects…”
I may have paraphrased a little, but the basics of the conversation are true. Scripts sell where pitches and outlines won’t, because they give people a clearer idea of what it is they’re buying – not to mention demonstrating your commitment to the project. Personally, I’ve just this year had my first ever project optioned from a pitch. Everything else, whether it got made in the end or not, has been optioned from a spec script.
So the advice is clear. Go forth and write scripts, because scripts sell.