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Posts Tagged ‘TV spec’
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Posted on October 5, 2008 - by writerman
Hello Pushing Daisies. Goodbye Pushing Daisies.
Any other Pushing Daisies fans out there?
I finally wrapped up a spec for this fun, inventive new show just in time for ABC to cancel it. Bummer, dude. You were totally right, Bill. I should have listened when you warned me that the future of the show was uncertain. Oh well – at least it was fun to write while it lasted. Goodbye Chuck & Ned!
On the positive tip, now I can share some of my other episode ideas for Daisies, since there’s no need to worry about someone stealing them and getting a glamorous and exciting career as a TV writer using the fruits of my labors. Enjoy:
A Renaissance Affair
When Sir Percival the Merciful (a Renaissance Faire performer) turns up dead, Ned and Emerson take the case. During his 60 seconds, the recently-deceased Knight tells them he was murdered by none other than the Black Knight. Unfortunately for our investigators, there is no Black Knight at the Faire, only a whole court full of suspects, many of whom seem to have lost track of the line between their job as Lords, Ladies and Knights and the real world the rest of us live in.
As they dig deeper, a second body is found and Emerson and the Pie-Maker must hurry to unravel the truth behind the dark secret of the Red Knight, an ill-fated love affair, a recently spray-painted suit of armor and a plot to overthrow the King.
A legendary tap dancer (and childhood hero of Olive’s) is murdered. The dead body thinks it was a member of the chorus line, which leaves Ned & Emerson with a pretty long list of suspects.
The only clue left behind is a single tap shoe. And so, in the strangest adaptation of Cinderella ever filmed, our heroes must find the one foot that fits into the fateful tap shoe. As they get closer to finding the truth, conflict arises between Ned (who thinks the shoe will reveal the killer) and Chuck (who believes the shoe belongs to the dead tap dancer’s one true love).
The Big Pie-Off
Behind Ned’s back, Olive and Chuck enter Ned and the Pie-Hole in the Big Pie-Off – the most prestigious pie-baking contest in the world. Ned is reluctant to participate, but when one of the judges turns up dead (face-down in a strawberry-rhubarb), he enters the competition as a way to go “undercover” and figure out who the killer is.
The only problem is that the dead pie-judge didn’t see who killed her, so the guys will have to use more conventional methods to solve the crime. Actually, there’s another problem: the remarkable freshness and longevity of Ned’s pies raises the suspicions of the organizers of the Pie-Off. This, of course, leads to a third problem when they hire a PPI (Private Pie Investigator), who trails Ned, finds evidence linking Ned to the murder of the judge and gets dangerously close to uncovering Ned’s real secret (the whole – touching dead people and bringing them back to life thing).
Posted on March 20, 2008 - by writerman
Are you there God? It’s me, Randy.
Today, special for you, an excerpt from my My Name is Earl spec!
The episode is called “Gambled at Sunday School.” Earl returns to his former Sunday School to give back some ill-gotten money. Technically, he won it fair and square. You know, if you call convincing a group of 10-year-olds to wager their collection plate money on a game of cards, and then cheating, “fair and square.”
In this short scene, Earl and Randy arrive at the church to try and do the right thing.
EXT. CHURCH - DAY A crowd slowly files in to church. Randy and Earl climb out of the El Camino dressed in their Sunday best. Earl holds up a ziploc bag filled with change and starts to walk towards the church. RANDY (O.C.) Help, Earl, it's got me! Earl turns to see that Randy has caught his tie in the car door. Earl opens the door to set him free. RANDY (CONT'D) Thanks. These things are dangerous. EARL I know, Randy, but as soon as we go inside and give back this money, we'll go straight home and change. RANDY I don't want to go to church, Earl. God is watching, like those cameras at the Quick Stop. He knows if we've been naughty or nice. EARL That's Santa, Randy.
I love writing jokes for Randy. Awesome character. And Ethan Suplee is definitely some kind of mad genius. On a related note – a friend told me “Seriously, dude, you can’t be posting jokes from your scripts on the Internet! What if someone steals them?”
Seriously, dude: chill. I’m pretty sure Greg Garcia is too busy to be trolling the internet looking for jokes to steal for his show. Still, just to be safe…
This one’s on me.
ps. I like your show.
Posted on September 18, 2007 - by writerman
The Rebirth of the Sitcom
You should totally take a writing class at UCLA. It was one of the first things I did after moving myself to the Promised Land. Sure, it costs a couple of bucks, but think of what you get in exchange…
- Notes on your work from someone you aren’t related to or sleeping with
- The chance to meet some other writers. Handy if, say, you wanted to start a secret society or stop drinking alone.
I just took a sitcom writing class. Now you might be wondering if that’s such a good idea, since you heard the Sitcom is Dead. Not to worry though, if sitcoms are dead this year, it can only be a matter of time before they’re the Next Big Thing all over again.
My class was taught by David & Julie Chambers – UCLA’s only husband-and-wife teaching and comedy team. Lovely folks. And funny. David keeps the train on the tracks and provides all the wry one-liners, while Julie is like an idea factory fueled by sugar and enthusiasm. Plus, they gave me tons of great notes on my My Name is Earl spec about child-rearing, roller derby and gambling in Sunday School. Did i mention that they’re working with Mel Brooks?
One of the tricky things about penning a TV spec is that you have to write like someone else. There are lots of ways to learn to do this, like marathon DVD-watching sessions of past episodes or downloading copies of old scripts, but David & Julie had a really good litmus test to determine if you know a show.
Pick a character from a sitcom you want to spec and describe their birthday party.
If it sounds like an episode of the show, then you’re ready to start writing. Here’s what I came up with:
Randy Hickey – My Name is Earl
A Smokey and the Bandit-themed affair at the Crab Shack, with all of his closest friends. And this time, Randy is the Bandit. Following the pony rides, tricycle races and the busting of the piñata, things are going great until, emboldened by his 10-gallon hat, Burt Reynolds mustache and 16 beers, he confesses his undying love to Catalina. I think that was right before Catalina punched Joy in the face. Or, maybe after. It’s all a bit of a blur…
J.D. from Scrubs
The Lovin’, Touchin’ Feelin’s (J.D.’s fav Journey tribute band) play a surprise gig on J.D.’s porch. Thanks, Turk. Don’t stop believing.
Michael from The Office
The whole gang is invited to a wild-and-crazy-no-holds-barred night of birthday mayhem at Michael’s new condo. Oh man, it’s gonna be the party of the century. I’m talking “strippers-jumping-out-of-cakes-and-pin-the-tail-on-the-playboy-bunny” crazy.
No one comes.
Except for Dwight.