The new year might seem like old news now, but there’s still a whole load of brand new writing opportunities for us to check out … Whether you’re planning on submitting your spec to an agent, or entering a few competitions –buckle up, read on and make some notes!
Today, we’re lucky enough to have screenwriter and showrrunner Debbie Moon share her top 4 tips on how YOU can create a spec script that will stand out in any submission pile.
Debbie is a television writer AND author, but she is also known as the creator and show-runner of the hit CBBC series Wolfblood. Wolfblood started life as the spec script that Debbie submitted to the BBC Writers Room and from there, was optioned as a series – proof that those long hours spent perfecting one solid spec script can be well worth it!
Start STRONG and finish with a HOOK!
Don’t forget, the ending is just as important as the first 10 pages.
- Start STRONG & HOOK the audience at the end – Create a hook strong enough to keep them engaged until the bitter end, and if you’re writing for TV- to the next episode!
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ACTION – Keep the audience ENGAGED – DO rather than show. Is there an action the character needs to do or anticipate? A situation to happen or resolve? Think of your episode as a ticking clock counting down. Your job is to get the character and the story moving!
- A RELATABLE CONCEPT – Take time on your concept, a great concept is usually very simple and gives direction to build the rest of your story.
Set a Plan In ACTION
Research your idea as much as you can before you start so you won’t be tempted to give up at the first bump in the road!
- THE IDEA –An inspiration file can help, so start collecting things such as newspaper articles, postcards etc, then use it to assemble the pieces and frame your idea. You don’t have to use it all but it’s a starting off point. More writing prompts for you.
Make ‘Same-old’ count as PRE-SOLD
Debbie adapted werewolf lore and made it a marketable concept for children and issues they face.
- CLICHÉ IDEAS? NO PROBLEM –Take an idea, theme or character trope and adapt it to become a marketable concept.
- BE AWARE OF THEME – A theme can be a helpful tool to connect the characters? With Wolfblood, Debbie made children’s experiences and reality reflected in a fantastical world.
Know you have to BE IN IT to WIN IT
A marketable script AND a writer who’s willing to compromise when needed WILL set you ahead in the long run!
- BE PREPARED – Find a way to tell the story YOU want to tell but listen to what’s being asked of you by a company/competition. Compromise can often mean a better script!
- BE REALISTIC – The idea is to write a script that sells, so do your research! Think about how your script would sell in the current market. Compare it to recent releases and note the strong and weak points of these films against your script.
- KNOW YOUR GENRE – Watch your genre, know it inside out and most of all LOVE what you’re writing. If you don’t love it, it shows in your writing and if you don’t know the genre that will show in any future meetings.
- Your ENDING is as important as your BEGINNING.
- Keep your concept concise and SIMPLE!
- Create an Inspiration file – use this to FRAME your idea/project and build upon.
- Is your concept MARKETABLE? Do your research!
- COMPROMISE when necessary – this industry is collaborative and working towards the same end goal – to make your script the best it can be!
- Know what you’re writing – Watch other films in the genre/similar theme and take note.
BIO: Hi there! My name is Olivia Brennan, a 27 year old Freelance Writer, Blogger & Assistant Script Editor. I’m launching my new blog shortly, but in the meantime you can either find more of my articles here at Bang2Write or you can follow me on twitter as @LivSFB Please feel free to come and say hi!