i will not read your fucking script but if i read your fucking script appreciate my fucking feedback

A History of Violence screenwriter Josh Olson seems kinda pissed.

Apparently he gets asked to read a lot of scripts.

Apparently most of them are crap.

And apparently nobody really wants his honest feedback.

So he wrote a scathing essay over at The Village Voice, outlining just how much this all sucks. Continue reading i will not read your fucking script but if i read your fucking script appreciate my fucking feedback

making the short list in the john august scene writing challenge

scene_challengeA few days ago, John August announced his latest scene writing challenge. It’s kind of like one of those 24-hour filmmaking challenges, except you don’t have to actually make a movie… just write one. And not even a whole movie… just a scene or sequence. Simple, right?

John has done these a few times before. Each one garners more and more responses, from more and more good writers.

There were 145 entries for the Superheroic Scene Challenge, and some of them were looooong. Printed out, they totaled 406 pages. Going side-by-side shrunk it to a still-ridiculous 203. Continue reading making the short list in the john august scene writing challenge

Twitter introduces me and John August

John August
John August

Something cool happened on Twitter.

Yeah, I know. I didn’t see it coming either.

John August, amazingly successful and talented screenwriter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Go, The Nines, Big Fish, and others, is working on an idea for a “long short story or short novella”. He put the word out via his Twitter feed, looking for 11 people to read the first draft and offer feedback.

I didn’t see the posting in time, but he promised a call for a second round, so I kept my eyes peeled. Sho’ nuff, a couple days later he posted again, looking for another 11 people to read the second draft. As I was obsessively monitoring for said posting, I jumped on it, and got in.

John kindly provided a PDF of his small project (25 pages), a list of specific questions he’d like us to address, and was also open to any other feedback we might have.

It was cool to read something of his that was not a screenplay. It’s always a treat to have a chance to interact with professionals whom you respect, in a field you fancy yourself a part of.

I’m hopeful that my feedback was indeed valuable, and I tried not to be a fawning sycophant. I got a little obsessed with one passage that didn’t work for me, and provided lengthy notes on why I thought it needed changing. It may have read as thorough, or it may have read as a bit OCD. I’m hoping the former.

Certainly, this is something that could have happened without Twitter — he could have reached out to people on his mailing list (should he have one) or visitors to his blog. He could have posted on craigslist. Twitter didn’t make this event possible… but it did facilitate the event in this case, and I’m glad of it.

So thanks, Twitter. That was a bit of all right. You don’t suck quite as hard as I said you do.

John August is doing something cool (again)

John August is doing something cool over at his blog… short video screen captures, looking over his shoulder as he edits a screenplay segment. I’ll just offer links, rather than embed them here, as to send your traffic to his blog.

Writing better scene description.

Writing better action.

Don’t just watch the video, but read the comments too… it’s illustrative of the fact that while there are many ways to screw things up, there are also many ways to do them right… and some of John’s readers raise legitimate alternatives to his edits. Which doesn’t invalidate his changes, of course. All the alternatives are better than the bad passages he starts with.

I’m sorely tempted to try something similar. But of course, as I am not John August, nobody will care. ;P