Opening Up The Archives

Spec Samples Images.jpg

Lots of changes to Exit.  I’ve added a new page that includes a smattering of the spec samples I’ve written over the years.  Not all are perfect (there’s a lot I would do differently, being a different writer now than I was then), but I’m proud of something in each, and hopefully, they can serve as learning tools for you.

The Ghost of Scripts-mas Past

Occasionally, I’m asked to share “spec” scripts (material designed to show my skills as a writer, but not contracted by any company or official persons).  I’ve written several.  I’ve decided to include these to give a sense of the process.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”  My first spec.  This was a terrible sample, in that it made no attempt to mimic the voice of the series. But it was a pretty good indication of what I’d do with the premise.  In that sense, and in the sense that it got me work, it has served me well.

Part of what inspired this was the obvious question of sex between Cameron and John, which the show seemed determined to slow burn, but which felt to me something that had to be dealt with from jump.  Terminator 2 always felt like a perfect metaphor for puberty.  You’re already struggling with all that anger, and then someone gives you a robot that can burn the world.  Making the robot look like Summer Glau just makes the metaphor more explicit.

Because it’s science-fiction, the issue of teen sex revolves around a time travel paradox that re-orders our understanding of cause and effect in John’s timeline, as well as posing the question of just who keeps reprogramming all these robots to begin with?

Wolverine and The X-Men: “Weapon 12” – Funny story (maybe I’ll tell it in detail another time), my first job as a writer in Los Angeles was supposed to be for Wolverine and the X-Men, on a season two that never materialized.  I found myself with a lot of free time and everyone thought I was already working on the show, so…

This is an adaptation of a few different arcs from Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men (including “Weapon 12” and “Assault on Weapon Plus”) with the aim of introducing Fantomex, in all his arrogance, improbable powers and charm, into the continuity of a show that is admittedly for children, and shouldn’t get near a character like Fantomex.

Fun fact: Fantomex was based on the Diabolik character from Italian comic strips and grind house cinema, who was himself based on the turn of the century criminal master mind and French answer to Sherlock Holmes, Fantômas.

This is a very early sample from before I knew the rules of writing for animation, but it’s still worthwhile as an artifact.

Film: “The Lucky Strike” – A script for an abandoned short adapted from the story of the same name by Kim Stanley Robinson.  What might have happened if the fateful flight over Hiroshima had gone a bit differently?  I regard this mostly as practice, though it was shot.  The film was abandoned when the production couldn’t secure the rights to the footage they had.

I like this one a lot.

Fringe, “On the Subject of Genies and Bottles” – This is pretty self-explanatory.  I had just read Great Mambo Chicken on the recommendation of Warren Ellis and my head was buzzing with nano-swarms.  Still one of my favorite books.  Script is good, too.

Doctor Who, “The Martian Invasion” – The Doctor meets young Orson Welles on the night of the War of the Worlds broadcast.  But what’s the real invasion and what’s the hoax?  Clever idea (though some people have pointed out it plays in territory similar to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, which I’ve never seen), and putting the Doctor up against someone as brash and arrogant as him was a lot of fun.  I still like this, and may do something with it one day.

More to come, particularly for those of you interested in writing.  Stay tuned.

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