The advice to writers — Be Great! — may seem it comes from the Obvious Agency, but it’s worth remembering. A bit more insight from this Variety article:
The glory days of the spec script selling for millions are long gone, according to Julian Rosenberg, Circle of Confusion literary manager and producer. “There’s less development money out there and studios are looking to tighten their belts,” he says. “They aren’t looking to go out and acquire seven specs a month and see what works. They’re looking for movies.”
They’re looking for movies. I have a writer friend who says that. “Don’t write a script. Write a movie.” What’s the distinction? In the context of the comment above, give the buyers something they can see as a movie. Not developed for two or three years, but ready to go. Tall order, yes. But with “less development money” around, it’s becoming an increasing reality.
Verve agent Tanya Cohen, who specializes in burgeoning writing careers, says the spec now escorts the author down a different path.
“Once in a blue moon, you’ll find that script that sells for a million dollars: the one with the great hook, or the four-quadrant tentpole movie,” Cohen says. “But to be honest, really breaking these young voices, we’re having a lot of success with stuff that’s a little ‘left-of-center.’” A lusty Catherine the Great epic, for instance, or a Carl Sagan biopic.
In both cases, she says, “the execution of the writing, a writer with a really unique, fresh voice, is what seems to be getting everyone excited.” The Catherine scribe was offered a job adapting a young adult novel for Warner within a matter of weeks, while the team on the Sagan biopic sold a tentpole pitch to Fox. Their original works may never get made, but opened doors for them.
…the execution of the writing, a writer with a really unique, fresh voice, is what seems to be getting everyone excited. This combined with a “little ‘left-of-center'” suggests there’s an interest in writers who are more different than similar.
Also note that the two writers discussed above did not sell their calling card scripts, but used them as writing samples to get into the room and pitch themselves. Worked in both cases. This speaks to the value of a spec script, not only as something that can sell, but also sell the writer.
Bottom line: Each of us has to aim to write a great script.
For the rest of the of the article, go here.