Who Invented Final Draft?
Okay, here goes:
The short version:
I didn't know I *could* write for TV. Final Draft was invented. And 60 pages is a lot shorter than 120.
I wrote my first spec when I was nine. But I didn't know I was writing a spec. And I didn't actually write it. I just figured out what my "fantasy" would be if FANTASY ISLAND was real. I wanted to meet my sister who died before I was born. And then, because she died at age four, and I had lived twice as long, I was going to offer to be dead in her place. But, because I knew Mr. Roarke was a good guy, I knew he'd let both of us live happily ever after.
I went to college in Minnesota to be an actress. I was in a few plays (even was recognized in a ladies' bathroom!). On one opening night, my boyfriend at the time gave me a dozen roses and a book on how to become a stage manager. Which, you know, made me cry.
The point is, that I was able to quit acting proves to me that it wasn't who I was. So, I decided I should be behind the camera (getting that book really stung). Director? Perhaps an editor? So, I switched to Filmmaking. In this program, we were required to write a script. This was pre-Final Draft. So, it was all about 120 pages full of strange margins and shit, and it just didn't feel organic to me. So, I swore I'd never be a screenwriter. Heh.
When I arrived in L.A. I fell into a PA position, and worked my way up to Line Producer of some small Indie films. I didn’t love it, though. So, I got a job as a Producer’s assistant, thinking I wanted to be a producer. That didn’t seem to be it either. Basically, I knew that I’d wanted to work in the industry, but I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do.
A few years ago I was living in England and was starved for U.S. television. I was searching around the internet to see if I could find any information about what was happening in U.S. shows as England was about a year behind. In my search, I stumbled on a website frequented by the writers of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Apparently this day was some sort of anniversary of the site. And loads of folks were posting about how this board had changed their lives. I didn’t really understand how an online site could change lives until I read a serendipitous post written by Mere Smith.
She recounted how she got her start as a television writer. She wrote about something called a “spec script.” At that moment, everything changed. My heart was racing. I knew this was it. Even though I had no idea what she was talking about. So, I began researching how one went about writing a spec script, and within twelve hours I began outlining my first spec script.
A BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER script, of course.
I think the reality is: I started this meme because I don't know why it's TV for me, other than the glib "it's 60 pages" answer. I've tried features, I've written short stories, I've tried novels. This is just the only thing that makes me excited. I thought maybe if I read other folks' answers, I'd understand why I only respond to writing for TV?