Friday, November 25, 2005

Feedback bucket

Here is a summary of feedback I gave recently on a first time screenwriter's first draft. By the way, in these feedback posts I've edited the parts where I actually praised the writing since that wasn't really relevant here. The upshot of that is this feedback sounds a bit harsh. Just remember it is out of context!

The writer was complaining that she couldn't get read. She lives in LA and has some contacts in the industry but hasn't been able to get anyone to read it. This wasn't the problem. The problem was that the script wasn't ready for the marketplace.

Basically since the film is not very high concept the best thing to do with it is turn it into a good writing sample. It's not there yet.

Your problem is not getting this script read but getting the script in better shape. Did you say you hadn't read any screenwriting books? Well, it shows. I suggest you read about 10 of them. Go to screenwriting seminars. Join a writers group. Try a script consultant. Turn this script into a page turner.

Do you know where Turning Point 1 is because I didn't. Do you know where the Mid Point is? I didn't see any clearly definable peaks and troughs which you need for a Hollywood screenplay. These are all 'the rules' of screenwriting. Protagonist goal, scene dynamic, conflict, plot points, character arc. You have the potential to turn this into a good writing sample that could get you in the door but it has to be very tight and it needs a lot more work.

Don't worry about your contacts getting this script out there because they wouldn't be able to sell it in it's present form anyway. Get it to the point where it is a 'can't put it down page turner' and you will definitely get noticed even if you can't sell it. Some scenes which contain conflict and tension are very good - (examples given) - you need that standard of conflict and tension throughout the script and you need to have definable plot points that jettison the narrative into the next level. Screenwriting is structure!

Try and get Bill Martell's book on Action Screenwriting. Go to the writer's store and buy a whole bunch of books - you live in LA! Go to Robert Mckee's seminars etc. but whatever you do go back to basics and re-structure the piece so it is a tight piece of writing that makes you turn the page.