We've all had it. The meeting with the prodco who say ''The networks are looking for Cops, or Docs, or Legal or - I believe the new buzz word is ''Shouty''.
It's understandable why prodcos hang on to the networks' every word on what they are looking for. But should a writer, especially a newer one pay too much attention and chase the trend? I don't think they should, for a couple of reasons.
Number one, get on the end of a very long queue of already established writers who have a fistfull of relevent specs. The TV business being what it is, the networks are always far more likely to go with an established writer. It's got a lot more to do with arse covering than the merits of the individual projects.
Number two, if you are a newer writer, you want to stand out from the crowd, not join the herd. You'll do that by showing originality.
Number Two and a half, now I think about it - true story. I was in a pitch meeting with a big prodco a few months back. I had about 4 projects to pitch, two of them procedural. Before I could even open my mouth the producer said '' We're not interested in procedurals, the networks don't want them''
You've probably guessed the rest. A couple of months later I got a call from the same producer. 'You got any procedurals, the networks are looking for them?'
I don't actually think the networks know what they want until they see it. Sure, they can say they want loud, in your face, contempory drama til they're blue in the face. But does anyone know what that is? Not until you see it.
When I write a spec my only concern is 'Would I want to see this'' Narcisstic perhaps, but a writer has to be. If you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one. In my view the best TV has always been that which bucked the trend not chased it.
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4 years ago