Can I Submit A Spec Script For An Existing TV Show To Contests?

So you’re a budding screenwriter, eager to show off your talents and break into the world of television. The question on your mind is whether you can submit a spec script for an existing TV show to contests. Well, the answer is yes! Many screenwriting contests accept spec scripts as entries, providing a chance for aspiring writers like yourself to showcase their creativity and storytelling skills. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of submitting spec scripts to contests, including some tips to increase your chances of success. So grab your pen and paper, and let’s dive into the exciting world of scriptwriting competitions!

Can I Submit A Spec Script For An Existing TV Show To Contests?

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Introduction to Spec Scripts

If you’ve ever dreamed of writing for television, then you’ve likely heard of spec scripts. But what exactly are they, and how can they help you break into the industry? In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of spec scripts, including their definitions, purposes, and the benefits of submitting them to contests. We’ll also delve into the considerations you should keep in mind before submitting your spec script, and provide you with some valuable tips on writing a winning script. So grab your pen and paper, and let’s dive into the world of spec scripts!

What is a Spec Script?


A spec script, short for speculative script, is a screenplay or teleplay written specifically for an existing TV show. Unlike scripts written for original shows, which have yet to be produced, spec scripts serve as writing samples that showcase a writer’s ability to capture the essence and style of an established TV series. These scripts are not intended for production, but rather as a demonstration of a writer’s skills, creativity, and understanding of a show’s characters and world.


The main purpose of a spec script is to demonstrate your writing abilities to potential employers, such as showrunners and producers. By writing a spec script for a popular TV show, you can show that you can write in someone else’s established world while still bringing original ideas and unique perspectives to the table. A well-written spec script can serve as a calling card, opening doors to opportunities like securing an agent, landing a writing job on a TV show, or catching the attention of industry professionals through contests.

Contests for Spec Scripts

Now that we understand the essence of spec scripts, let’s explore the world of spec script contests. These contests provide aspiring television writers with a chance to showcase their work, gain recognition, and potentially secure valuable opportunities in the industry. Many reputable organizations and festivals host spec script contests, offering prizes such as cash rewards, meetings with industry professionals, and even the chance for your script to be read by influential decision-makers.

Benefits of Submitting Spec Scripts to Contests

Submitting your spec script to contests can offer numerous benefits for your writing career. Firstly, it provides exposure. Even if you don’t win, having your script read and evaluated by industry professionals can increase your visibility and potentially lead to connections and future opportunities. Additionally, winning or placing in a contest can enhance your credibility as a writer, proving to others that your work has been recognized and validated by experts in the field. This can be especially valuable when seeking representation or applying for writing positions.

Furthermore, contests often provide constructive feedback on your spec script. Receiving feedback from industry veterans can help you identify strengths to further emphasize and weaknesses to address in your writing. This feedback can serve as a valuable learning tool and allow you to improve your craft as a television writer. Lastly, winning a contest can provide a prestigious accolade to include on your writing resume, boosting your chances of being noticed and considered for future opportunities.

Can I Submit A Spec Script For An Existing TV Show To Contests?

Considerations Before Submitting

Before you rush to submit your spec script to a contest, there are a few important considerations you should keep in mind.

Rights and Permissions

Ensure that you have the legal right to submit your spec script for the chosen TV show. Some shows may have specific rules or restrictions regarding spec script submissions, including whether they are currently accepting them or if they require formal permission. Research the guidelines and copyright information for the show you’ve selected before proceeding to submit your script to avoid any legal issues or disqualifications.

Eligibility Criteria

Each contest will have its own set of eligibility criteria that you must meet to enter. Factors such as genre, length, and the stage of your career may determine whether you’re eligible to enter a particular contest. Read the contest guidelines carefully and ensure that your spec script aligns with their requirements. It would be a shame to spend time and effort on a script that doesn’t meet the contest’s criteria and thus cannot be considered.

Tips for Writing a Winning Spec Script

Writing a spec script is no small feat, but with the right approach, it can become the key to opening doors in the television industry. Here are some valuable tips to help you craft a winning spec script:

  1. Selecting the Right TV Show: Choose a show that you are genuinely passionate about and that aligns with your writing style and strengths. By selecting a show you deeply understand and love, you’ll be able to bring authenticity and enthusiasm to your spec script.

  2. Understanding the Show’s Format and Characters: Immerse yourself in the chosen TV show to understand the format, structure, and tone. Pay close attention to the characters’ voices, motivations, and dynamics within the series. This knowledge will allow you to accurately capture the essence of the show in your spec script.

  3. Researching the Show: Dive deep into the show’s universe by watching multiple episodes, reading interviews with the creators and writers, and studying fan forums or criticism. This will give you a comprehensive understanding of the show’s history, themes, and ongoing storylines, which you can then incorporate into your spec script.

  4. Submitting the Spec Script: Familiarize yourself with the submission guidelines and formatting requirements for the contest you wish to enter. Ensure your script adheres to their specific guidelines, including font, margins, and any additional instructions. Make sure your script is polished and free of typos and grammatical errors before submitting.

By following these tips, you can increase your chances of crafting a winning spec script that stands out from the competition.

In conclusion, spec scripts offer aspiring television writers a valuable pathway into the industry. By writing a spec script that authentically captures the essence of an established TV show, you can showcase your skills to potential employers and open doors to exciting opportunities. By considering rights and permissions, eligibility criteria, and following the tips outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success in spec script contests. So, pick your favorite show, let your creativity flow, and share your unique voice with the world through the power of spec scripts!

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