Q. The material I like to write is mainly sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I've written one screenplay about vampires, and I'm working on two others - one set in space and one based around magic. If I'm thinking about getting an agent, should I be writing various things, apart from my preferred (and my strength) sci-fi? Should I write a very down-to-earth drama to display what else I can do? (Although as of yet, I have no idea whether I can do that sort of thing.)
In features, spec what you love. That's what you'll do the best job on. When someone is writing something they don't love, the script always seems half-hearted.
After you've written a handful of speculative fiction stuff, then consider stretching out into new territory. Identify your weaknesses. Are your plots flimsy? Write a tightly plotted thriller. Characters weak? Write a straight drama. Scripts too talky? Write an action movie with great action.
But always find a story in those genres that you can love.
Personally, I find I can fall in love with a lot of different sorts of stories. I'm a speculative fiction fan, and I consider myself blessed that the series I have in development is spec fiction. But the show I co-created (NAKED JOSH) was a comic drama, and I'm known best for my work on a buddy cop comedy feature, BON COP BAD COP.
You may find after you've written a few speculative fiction feature specs that you have a hankering to write something new. Follow that hankering. Your speculative fiction scripts will presumably have elements of drama in them; if you can write drama in space, there's no reason you can't write drama here on Earth.
Labels: spec features