On one of the many screenwriting forums I frequent, a screenwriter posed the question “Did this producer steal my screenplay?”
Good question. Here’s the story.
Making the sale
It seems the writer was approached by a producer who was interested in one of her screenplays. They swapped a series of emails, exchanged several versions of a sales contract, and arrived at a purchase agreement. Yay for her.
The screenwright delivered her screenplay via email, the producer delivered the agreed upon sum. Again, Yay for her.
But the final contract didn’t arrive with the payment. In fact, neither the screenwriter or the producer signed a hard copy.
Time passed. Continue reading
Why too much detail destroys screenplay description – and pisses readers off
I just finished slogging my way through another script as a judge for a screenplay competition.
Yes, slogging. It was painful. It was boring. Frankly, I couldn’t finish it. I gave it a “pass”.
Because the writer gave me too much description.
Exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop
The screenwriter told us just how many steps a character took to cross a room (11), whether the couch was on the right or the left of the doorway (left), how many seconds a dog barked (5), and precisely how much space is between the lights in an alleyway (30 meters). I learned that the kitchen table is rectangular, and how big it is (approximately 33 inches by 60 inches).
I wanted to shoot myself in the head. For the record, this is not how you want to make your reader feel. Continue reading
Or “Why Social Media is like a bad tattoo”.
Okay, that’s hyperbole. But I relearned a lesson recently.
If you’re a budding screenwriter, an indie filmmaker, an aspiring or established anything, social media should oughtta be part of your life. It’s where we make professional connections, build our brand, spread the word and mebbe, just mebbe, start careers.
Are you doing it right?
First, a related story.
Last month, we were interviewing for someone to manage our online marketing. We had one excellent prospect, who interviewed well. He had worked in online marketing for a large name corporation, but had spent the past 18 months doing other things. Understandable. The past 18 months have been tough on everyone. But he was ready to get back into the game.
After the interview, and while contemplating the next round, we did a little Googling. Of course we found his Facebook page, a Twitter feed, and a blog. In the bio section of the blog was this: Continue reading
Finding your descriptive voice in screenwriting
Screenplays aren’t Literature.
If there’s one core screenwriting truth you’re supposed to learn as soon as possible, that’s it. All the stuff that made your fiction writing awesome, all the flowery language, the detailed descriptions, and lengthy internal dialogues are anathema to the script. That two page treatise on your protagonists 1970’s wardrobe and its roots in a painful high school career fraught with bullying and inattentive parents? Fuggedaboudit. What got you gold stars in creative writing will get you tossed at page one by an intern at insertprodcohere.
In screenwriting, the industry tells us, your descriptive passages must remain simple, clear, minimalist. Describe ONLY what the viewer might see (with a few exceptions) and eschew Literary flourish (as well as directorial specifics – but that’s another discussion).
Play a little telephone
I often tell people: Imagine you’re watching an awesome movie (your movie is awesome, right?), and you’re on the phone with a friend. You’re describing to them what’s happening, while it happens. In fact, try it. Turn on the TV, call a friend, and see how it feels to really try to keep the story moving real time… 1 minute per page, 90 pages for 90 minutes.
Here’s what happens when you insist on being Literary on the phone: Continue reading
Slowly publishing the Faeries feature horror script a section at a time online.
FAERIES – the full release
Become a fan on FACEBOOK
Faeries was an experiment in process, a personal challenge to complete a feature script from concept to completion in 12 weeks, and prove that we deserved the opportunity to deliver on a writing assignment. Did we make it? Read the writing blog – each day of the writing process was meticulously recorded. (Remember that the blog posts sort in reverse – so start at the bottom and work your way through ’em)
We finished the play, submitted it to 2009 Shriekfest, and were chosen as Finalists.
We’ve since had a half-dozen production companies request it… but we’ve also got a number of writer friends who wanted a peek. So we decided to release it a section at a time right here. Continue reading