…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?
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.