JEREMY DAVIES, TERRY O'QUINN, MICHAEL EMERSON, MATTHEW FOX, ELIZABETH MITCHELL, JOSH HOLLOWAY, YUNJIN KIM, EVANGELINE LILLY, JORGE GARCIA, REBECCA MADER, HENRY IAN CUSICK, NAVEEN ANDREWS, KEN LEUNG

House Styles

Back in April, John August wrote a wonderful post about House Styles for TV scripts:

Over time, many shows develop a house style. The scripts for Lost, for example, rely heavily on the f-word. “Two for the Road,” an episode written by Elizabeth Sarnoff & Christina Kim, uses “fuck” 96 times.

Should you copy house styles in your spec?

NO.

Here’s why:

There’s a very, very good chance that the people reading your spec have never actually read a production draft of the show. If you’re lucky, they’ve watched the show. If you spec a “hot” show like Modern Family, chances are they’ve read a million specs but have never seen a “real” script.

When you write a spec, your job is to prove that you can capture the voice of the characters, not the writers. People are going to think you’re crazy if you say the f-word 96 times.

Same goes for formatting. Your script needs to be written in Final Draft or Movie Magic, but it doesn’t need to be formatted exactly like a production draft. (I.e. Some one-hours underline scene headings; Some don’t. No one will judge you if you get it wrong. No one will even know.)

One more thing — don’t include jokes that reference a previous episode in order to prove to that you watch the show. If you spec-ed the show, people assume you watch it.

Any other questions on spec-ing a show? Send them over.

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