Saturday, May 18, 2019

Lost Weekend


(Spec Script)

Written by 

Gillian Horvath

A little bit of backstory: I'd been an intern at Universal TV, and was working as an assistant on a show on the Universal Lot, so I knew a few executives who were willing to read my material.  This script impressed them enough to recommend me to the QL producers. The QL folks were reluctant to read a QL script for the usual legal reasons, so I hurriedly finished a draft of a Northern Exposure spec I was working on at the time, and the combination of those two scripts got me a pitch meeting at QL.

Spec scripts walk that fine line between fanfic and producible episode.  They need to feel filmable, but in my opinion they need a hook that goes a step past what an average episode would do.  I had a note to myself stuck to my working notebook at the time, with a quote from JD Salinger: "Write the book you would want to read next."  And under, I'd added "Write the episode you would want to see."

I still want to see "Lost Weekend."

(more about my QL pitch meeting after the jump.)

I went into my pitch meeting at QL with 5 ideas that were ready to go -- like, I could have written the beat sheet before I even went to the meeting! -- 5 that were less fully formed, and 5 that were mere notions. The first few ideas I pitched were similar to things they were already working on, which was good for the ego but doesn't close the deal.  Fortunately they kept saying "what else you got?" until we hit upon my "Sam Leaps into Dog Day Afternoon" idea, which they went for despite the fact that the show bible specifically said that Sam would never rob a bank.  But we had an emotional reason why Sam would go along with the bank robbery, and that's what made it work.That script became the episode "Promised Land," my first script sale.

I found an interview with the QL fanzine where we talk about that first meeting and first sale, you can read it here

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