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By Lee Hamilton
The spec script aka the screenplay you don’t get paid to write. It’s a calling card, it’s how you learn the craft, but more importantly, it’s what you’re going to sell and it’s going to kick off your Hollywood screenwriting career. But just how realistic is this notion?
Information on spec sales can be found freely on the Internet and according to the expertly collated Scoggins Report, there were only 93 spec sales in 2015. When you consider that there’s somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 screenplays being registered with the WGA alone, 93 really doesn’t sound like a lot, does it. The Unknown Screenwriter gives an interesting analysis on the odds of selling a spec script, albeit from 2011, claiming that statistically, you’re more likely to die slipping in the bath or shower than you are of selling a spec script. So, at this point, in amongst wondering if it’s even worth writing a spec script anymore, what positive steps can a writer be taking to try and beat the odds?
Remember that while your spec might not sell, it still has the potential to launch your writing career regardless. A well-written script can still land you a writing assignment for another project as well as help you network and become known to professionals. Plus it gives you the opportunity to hone your craft, to iron out any creases, to flex your imagination and creativity without limits. A spec that doesn’t sell still has plenty of worth.