How to Write a Spec Script That Sells & Lands You Your Next Job

Hosted by Matt Duffett

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Matt Duffett

Webinar hosted by: Matt Duffett

Screenwriter ('Gunsmith', Sylvester Stallone 'Crash Unit', NY Times' adaptation 'The Destroyers')

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 HOT LIST for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 YOUNG & HUNGRY Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA FILM AWARDS, and two BLACK LIST Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

It’s a competitive landscape right now for film and TV writers to break in. If you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward.

Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job.

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods.

Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK.

  • Things to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Spec
    • How to harness your unique background to better write your script
    • How to zero in on your writing brand
    • Navigating the marketplace and understanding what there is and isn’t a need for before starting to write
  • How to Write an Amazing Spec Script
    • Tips to better outline and structure your script
    • How to write a perfect scene
      • What scenes always work
      • What scenes never work
    • How to write characters that actors are going to want to play
    • Getting feedback and putting on the right kind of finishing touches
  • Using Your Spec to Find Success
    • How to get an agent or manager off of your spec
      • And how to work with your reps to find your next job
    • Pitching your spec
      • The steps you should take to prepare for your pitch
      • How to best tell your story in a room
      • What you should NEVER do in a room
      • The #1 thing that sells in pitch meetings
      • What you should leave people in the room with
    • Handling notes and continuing to alter your script
  • Matt’s Case Studies
    • CRASH UNIT (Sylvester Stallone)
    • THE GUNSMITH (Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
    • THE DESTROYERS (NY Times Book of the Summer)
    • FLASHBACK
  • Q&A with Matt

Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar

 

“This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable”

-Rory D.

 

“Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say”

-Candace V.

 

“I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script”

-Jerry F.

 

“This was so helpful! Thanks!”

-Carly E.

What You'll Learn

  • Things to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Spec
    • How to harness your unique background to better write your script
    • How to zero in on your writing brand
    • Navigating the marketplace and understanding what there is and isn’t a need for before starting to write
  • How to Write an Amazing Spec Script
    • Tips to better outline and structure your script
    • How to write a perfect scene
      • What scenes always work
      • What scenes never work
    • How to write characters that actors are going to want to play
    • Getting feedback and putting on the right kind of finishing touches
  • Using Your Spec to Find Success
    • How to get an agent or manager off of your spec
      • And how to work with your reps to find your next job
    • Pitching your spec
      • The steps you should take to prepare for your pitch
      • How to best tell your story in a room
      • What you should NEVER do in a room
      • The #1 thing that sells in pitch meetings
      • What you should leave people in the room with
    • Handling notes and continuing to alter your script
  • Matt’s Case Studies
    • CRASH UNIT (Sylvester Stallone)
    • THE GUNSMITH (Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
    • THE DESTROYERS (NY Times Book of the Summer)
    • FLASHBACK
  • Q&A with Matt

About Your Instructor

Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year.

Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 HOT LIST for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 YOUNG & HUNGRY Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA FILM AWARDS, and two BLACK LIST Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion.

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