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June 02 2003

Angel script is fake. "The script...was in fact a writing sample created by O'Sullivan and not an episode of the Joss Whedon show."

Spoiled Rotten had this to say:

"Update: the person who emailed this script to Spoiled Rotten, AICN and Spoiler Slayer has revealed that the script is as part of a spec script. It's not an actual Angel script, it's only a script written by someone trying to get a job at ME. For future reference, we suggest script submissions be handled by agents rather than internet spoiler sites."

Well there you then, this matter closed I guess.

Yep, I knew it was fake.

I don't work for Joss or ME but I have a feeling that Richard really bungled his chances by pulling this stunt.

I'm not a scriptwriter but I live in LA and have heard that usually when you submit writing samples, you should submit not only a script for the franchise you're writing for but also two other franchises (i.e. The Simpsons, Friends, or The West Wing) so you can show that you're versatile in writing comedy and drama, and not just fanfic material. You also need to have an agent to submit scripts for most TV series. The only exception I can think of is 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' 'Deep Space Nine,' and 'Voyager,' which have solicited spec. scripts from fans in the past (and in fact that's how many of the writers there got their start), but they stopped that for 'Enterprise'.

I also don't think Richard should've written his spec. script based on the Angel season finale because it opens up a whole legal can of worms. What if Joss and ME have already come up with this scenario? Would Richard then sue them claiming that he thought it up first? By putting his fanfic on the Internet before submitting it through the proper channels, it could legally mean that it's no longer his material. He should've instead written a spec. script for Buffy or Angel based on existing canon from past seasons.

Plus, you don't try and pull a stunt like duping the Internet. That's just dumb. Not to mention foolish, and it opens Joss and ME up for criticism as well because the fans who were duped would criticise them for it when they weren't even involved to begin with.

(Edit: Sorry, can't sleep and I had a few more thoughts on the subject.)

[ edited by Oddjob on 2003-06-02 12:41 ]
Agreed, he got some good publicity but in the long run I don't think he's done himself any favours.
If by what he's done he has limited Joss' and ME's choices in how they can bring Spike back on Angel because of fear of being sued if they sound like they have used his material this is wrong. Also, they may now have to change how they planned to reintroduce Spike, because who would want it said that they can't come up with their own ideas, this, again, is wrong. I liked the idea and hate to think because of it being introduced how it has been it almost makes it a guarentee it won't be used.
That sucks. I thought it was a really great idea for bringing him back.

Oh, well, I'm sure whatever they do come up with will be brilliant and surprising.
Thank god.
In general, submitting spec scripts to shows completely doesn't work. I have a good friend who submitted one for Smallville, and all he got for his troubles was a phone call saying they couldn't accept scripts, for exactly the legal reason Oddjob mentioned. They don't wanna get sued for stealing someone else's idea, but they can't if they actively avoid even finding out about the idea.
Of course, the fact that it's leaked out all over the internet now means that it's a completely different situation... I hope ME doesn't have to ditch any good ideas just because this script got out to the public. But if it means they can't make Spike a slayer... well, that's totally fine with me :)
Ithilien, it's not that submitting spec scripts doesn't work... it's that you can't submit them *yourself*. You have to have an agent or manager submit one on your behalf. Secondly, you never, ever, ever write and submit a spec for a show you want to work on., i.e., you never have an agent submit an "Angel" spec to the "Angel" producers for the very legal reasons already discussed. Drew Goddard got his writing gig over on "Buffy" on the strength of a particularly amazing "Six Feet Under" spec script that everyone at ME loved. Also, a current rule-of-thumb is that you should have no less than three specs, based on different series, but within the same genre (i.e., drama, comedy, sci-fi, etc.).

I work in TV development for a major studio and receive unsolicited material all the time. You are doing nothing to help yourself and are only increasing the likelihood that your work is going to end up unread and in the trash because no one wants to open themselves up to unnecessary litigation.

It's not that, as Ithilien suggested, the system doesn't work, it's that aspiring screenwriters or TV writers have to play by the rules. That means, no fanfic, and no self-representation.

[ edited by prolific on 2003-06-02 17:13 ]
Actually, didn't Steven DeKnight get hired at ME based on a Buffy spec script? Submitted by his agent, natch. He talks about that in this interview.
What a maroon. I can't imagine this stunt has made this guy many friends anywhere let alone at ME.
"Actually, didn't Steven DeKnight get hired at ME based on a Buffy spec script? Submitted by his agent, natch. He talks about that in this interview." - wren

Well, if you want to get technical, Steve was hired for the animated series, not the original, so the scripts were technically for different series. Of course, he did end up working on "Buffy," which wouldn't have happened if Joss didn't love his "Buffy" script.

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I'm glad that the script is fake, because it wasn't very good. However, he did get a lot of free publicity out of it, which is good for him; but this also says something about the reliability of the folks over at AICN.

Anyway, it would've been wiser for Richard O'Sullivan to write about a period that occurs in the past, or to not set a specific time with his script. Spec scripts should never take place of the future, because the real writers will take care of that.

But I don't think what he did was wrong, as some people here seem to think. It was, essentially, just fanfic.

One more thing:

"It's not an actual Angel script, it's only a script written by someone trying to get a job at ME." - Spoiled Rotten

No, this isn't true. He is trying to get a job, but not at ME. Of course, if ME wanted to hire him, I doubt he'd say no.
This is all explained at http://meezark.freeyellow.com/LCEhome.html, if you actually read the statement.
shadowmagik: Yeah, that was exactly what I meant, actually... I guess I was too vague. I don't think there's anything wrong with the system per se, there's just a wrong way to do things, which will seldom work. Sorry for the confusion :)
"sparked great debate"?
Bull****!
I think people are making a huge assumption based on what the spoiler sites have said. Everyone seemed to rush to judgement, saying that he wrote the script to get a job with Joss, then leaked it to the spoiler sites. He actually wrote it for a producer of an unsold pilot for Sci-Fi (not Sci-Fi itself) and says he didn't leak it himself (though he thinks he knows who did). He's already threatened legal action against Spoiler Slayer and Spoiled Rotten over their inaccurate statements (which I agree stepped right over the line of libel) and isn't overly thrilled with Kristin. Judging from his handle on the show and the characters, I don't think it was his intention to screw with Whedon (he said on his website that he's a fan) and from what I can gather, his work is good enough that a cheap gimmick like this would be more self-defeating than beneficial. There's also no record that he ever tried to get a job with Joss even though he had channels to try and do it (had Anthony Head attached to one of his scripts). I tend to side with the writer on this one.

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