Go Into The Story Resource: Everything You Wanted to Know About Specs

A 20 part series, essential reading for anyone who is writing and hoping to sell a spec script.

On May 16, 2019, Go Into The Story turns 11 years old — you can read the very first blog post here. I led with this paragraph:

Welcome to Go Into The Story! Right now, it’s nothing but a humble, threadbare blog, but I hope it will evolve into an active resource for aspiring screenwriters, as well as a community for anyone interested in storytelling and the creative life.

And evolve it did! To the point where it was recently named “Best of the Best” Scriptwriting Website in the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Best Websites for Writers list.

To celebrate 11 years of blogging about screenwriting, writing, Hollywood, movies, TV, and the creative life, each day in May, I’m going to feature a piece of Go Into The Story trivia, plus a writing resource you can find in the site’s archives. This is not an exercise in self-congratulations so much as I figured readers could use some tips about how to best use the site. With — to date — 26,310 articles and over 100 archive topics, there is a LOT of content here. Hopefully, these posts for the next 31 days will clue in more recent followers and remind long-time readers about resources you can use to facilitate deepening your understanding of the writing craft.

Today’s trivia: Did you know in the Fall 2016 issue of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Go Into The Story was cited in an article titled “THE [UNTOLD] BUSINESS OF SHOW BUSINESS: HOW HOLLYWOOD’S INDUSTRY CUSTOM AND THE LAW POST-COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1976 AFFECTS ENTERTAINMENT ATTORNEYS’ PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES”. The GITS article cited in the journal was Sweepstakes Pitching, Prewrites and One-Step Deals.

Today’s Go Into The Story resource: Everything You Wanted to Know About Specs.

Seeing as I broke into the business by selling a spec script and have tracked the spec script market since about that time, I think it’s safe to say I know a fair amount about it. So in June 2013, I ran a 20 part series featuring interviews with some of my pro screenwriting friends and some top managers covering the ins and outs of the spec script market.

In Part 1, we look at the genesis of the spec script in Hollywood from 1900–1942.

In Part 2, we cover the emergence of the spec script market from 1942–1990.

In Part 3, we analyze the boom, bust, and back again of 1990–2012.

In Part 4, we survey the buyers, both major studios and financiers.

In Part 5, we examine the screenwriter-rep relationship in terms of developing a spec script.

In Part 6, we explore rolling out a new writer’s spec script.

In Part 7, we delve into the subject of attaching producers.

In Part 8, we consider the value of attaching talent.

In Part 9, we learn about reps wanting to “own all the tickets”.

In Part 10, we dig into how reps generate buzz for a spec script.

In Part 11, we scrutinize the practice of slipping a script to someone.

In Part 12, we acknowledge the role that serendipity can play in the process.

In Part 13, we discuss the strategy of targeting specific buyers.

In Part 14, we drill down into the strategy of going wide.

In Part 15, we indulge in the ultimate fantasy of a bidding war.

In Part 16, we get a first-hand account of a preemptive purchase.

In Part 17, we think about one creative choice to write what they’re buying.

In Part 18, we ponder another choice to sell them your dream.

In Part 19, we reflect on the value of a spec script even if it does not sell.

In Part 20, we muse about what is means to the writer if a spec script does sell.

You can also download the series as a free 50 page eBook.

Each day this month, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for supporting Go Into The Story. I’d love to hear from you in RESPONSES. When did you start following the blog? What are your favorite features? And as always, if you have any suggestions, feel free to suggest away.



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