Over the past year, I took a TV writing course as a part of my MFA in Creative Writing through the University of British Columbia. During that course, we studied the art of writing teleplays, and during the course we produced a spec script, and an original pilot spec. A spec script is a TV writer's calling card, as it is what shows the agents and TV execs that you can actually write, and write well. A spec is a script is also based on an existing television show, and the reason for this is that if you can show that you have captured the tone and feel of a show that is not yours, then you can theoretically write for any show.
I don't believe I'll ever be a TV writer, as much as I'd like to be, because family commitments prevent me from trying to climb that ladder. But still, I found I enjoyed writing this form.
What follows is not fan fiction, I want to be clear about that, but is my own original spec script for the show Monk.
EXT. SAN FRANCISCO - UNKNOWN STREET - NIGHT
Natalie is driving along a city street, looking for Monk.
Mr. Monk? Mr. Monk?
She calls out his name continuously as she drives.
INT. POLICE STATION - MOMENTS LATER
Captain Stottlemeyer is briefing a group of police officers. Randy is with him.
Now we all what Monk looks like, and how he his. Keep an eye out for odd behavior. Canvass people in your areas and see what you can turn up.
The officer start to move off, when Stottlemeyer stops them.
And remember! We believe he may be disturbed, and not himself, so be careful!
Captain, what should we do?
Well Randy, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
INT. SUNNYLAND PATIENT'S ROOM - MORNING
A light turns on and Monk's eyes open. The light is too bright, so he shades his eyes as he sits up in his bed.
NURSE AKIKO (O.S.)
Rise and shine Mr. Johnson.
The Japanese Nurse walks into view, in front of Monk. Monk isn't looking up at her yet. He's holding his head in his hands.
Mr. Johnson? Why do you all keep calling me that? My name is...
Monk looks up and recognizes the nurse.
Because that's your name, Mr. Johnson. That's why you're here. So we can help you.
Monk looks panicked.
You're not trying to help me! You're in on this!
Monk starts to stand up, but the nurse pushes him back on the bed.
Help! Help! Somebody!
Monk starts to get up again, and the nurse pushes him back, but he struggles with her.
Help me hold him down!
An orderly runs into the room and grabs Monk, pinning his arms behind his back. The nurse pulls a needle out of her pocket and jabs it into Monk.
No! Don't! Not that...
Monk looks woozy, but doesn't fall unconscious.
This is not the same thing that you...
Have you seen Natalie? My sandwich has a vacuum cleaner.
Monk slumps down on his bed. Not unconscious, but not in control. He has been drugged.
INT. SUNNYLAND DOCTOR RANDALL'S OFFICE - MOMENTS LATER
Doctor Randall is sitting at his desk, working on some paper work. Nurse Akiko walks into the room, angry.
We have to do something about him. We can't keep him forever.
Doctor Randall looks up at her, and takes his reading glass off.
Well we can't kill him.
Are you kidding? He's too recognizable!
How? I've never heard of him.
Maybe you haven't but half the city has. If he turned up dead somewhere, we'd have the cops at our door before we could blink. As it is, we're under too much scrutiny now. We can't take chances.
If he's as famous as you say, then somebody inside is going to recognize him sooner or later. What do you want me to do?
Well...I don't know. We don't really have the facilities to keep him isolated. We can only seal off the one wing. Maybe...maybe we could distract him? I was doing a little research, and he's a complete basket case. He's afraid of everything.
Maybe we could play that up.
Nurse Akiko smiles, understanding.
Make him crazy for real. So the others will want to stay away from him.
Then when people have forgotten about him, he'll just disappear.
EXT. CITY PARK
Monk's face, close up. He's smiling dreamily. The camera shifts back away from Monk, and he is flying, or floating prone in the air. His arms are out to the side. He seems happy, then he looks down. He screams.
The Monk is standing on the ground. He is patting himself, checking what happened, looking over himself for signs of dirt. Monk looks up and sees a Merry-Go-Round, it is slowly spinning.
A merry go round.
Monk walks up and touches his finger to each pole as it slowly passes. Then the merry go round speeds up. Monk touches the poles faster and faster as they pass him. Soon the merry go round is spinning so fast that Monk can't keep up, and he's panicking.
Then TRUDY calls out to him
Monk turns his head and sees Trudy. His hands are still trying touch the poles.
You have to get on Adrian.
Get on? How? It's going too fast!
You have to see from the inside out.
Inside out? What does that even mean?
Adrian. Please. Get on.
Monk is at a loss for words. He looks at the rapidly spinning merry go round. He looks back at Trudy.
Then, Monk is on. He is surprised. He had not moved. But he is now on the merry go round. The camera is close up on his face. The world behind him is spinning rapidly. The camera moves away. Monk is holding on for dear life.
Okay! What do I do now?
Monk looks around. He doesn't see Trudy.
Where are you?
I'm right here!
Monk looks around. He is still on the merry go round. It is still spinning.
Where? I can't see you!
Open your eyes!
They are open! Where are you?
Open your eyes!
INT. SUNNYLAND PATIENT'S ROOM
Nurse Rashid is kneeling over Monk. He is on the floor. She holds his head up. Monk opens his eyes.
Mr. Johnson. Are you all right?
Monk is baffled. His head jerks. He looks all around.
Nurse Rashid picks up his chart. She looks confused.
There must have been a mix up in your meds. I don't see...
Monk shakes his head. He waves his arm back and forth.
Needle!...there was a needle!...I don't even know if it was clean! Do you have a wipe? I need a wipe. Or some soap. Or a knife. Maybe I can cut the flesh around it, and you can cauterize it. Do you have a lighter, or a blowtorch? A blowtorch would work. That's probably the best thing.
Nurse Rashid looks at him strangely.
Did you say needle?
Monk nods his head.
Yes. The nurse. Other...other nurse. The, um...
Monk waves his hand in front of his face in a circle. Nurse Rashid copies this motion.
The mystery nurse?
Monk shakes his head and circles his hand in front of his face some more.
NURSE RASHID (CONT'D)
Wax on, wax off?
Monk looks confused.
Different one? You mean Nurse Akiko? The word is "Japanese" Mr. Johnson.
And I have to tell you, that's a pretty rude thing to say. We don't accept racism here at Sunnyland.
Monk looks mortified.
What!? No! I, I meant...
Nurse Rashid smiles, and laughs.
Don't worry. I'm just pushing your buttons. Still, I think there was a mix up. I'll look into it.
Nurse Rashid gets up to leave.
Wait? Where are you going?
Don't worry Mr. Johnson. You'll be fine. Just go and get some lunch.
Lunch? What time is it?