How do writers get jobs on TV writing staffs? Do they have to write spec scripts? And what about talk shows? (The Daily Show, Conan) Are they recruited? How does it work? Thanks.
That's my goal right now, Kenny. I worked on the upcoming season of MTV's Rob & Big, I'm in a writing program at NBC, and I'm looking to use those credits and the connections I've made to get staffed on a network television program this year. It's a big process, so I'm dividing it into two parts. This week and next week's editions of The Write Stuff will tackle the television business.
Basically, to get a job on a television writing staff, you need to have at least one piece of original material and one or more spec scripts. A spec script is a sample script for a show that is currently on the air. You're not writing it in the hopes that the program will purchase your script. They won't, and it likely won't get to the show you wrote it for anyway. You're writing your spec to show that you can capture the feel of the writing and the character voices of any show. Every program has a show runner, and every show runner will want to read something different, so it's good to give him or her a lot of choices.
How to go about choosing which show to spec?