Notes For The Writer Who…

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 20132013-04-16T15:37:39Zl, F jS, Y at 8:37 am2013-04-16T15:37:39Zg:i a

This is the 2nd in an occasional series of notes sent directly to a client with a specific problem. In this case…

Notes For The Writer Who… Worked Hard and Still Got A “meh” Coverage

Bottom line for the project: Is this a project (even with the rewrite pass I recommend) a HOT project that you can query and get a sale from? It falls under the “small” “indy” category – a slice of life – so that’s not usually a big seller. But we don’t know for sure that a producer might not go crazy for it. So – what do you do? Well you sure aren’t going to toss your work out, tell you that much. You spent a lot of time developing it. Did you grow as a screenwriter as you did that? Yes.

I say enter the script into a couple of competitions and see how it fares in the larger world. Then you hang onto it as a writing sample. And you keep writing.

Every screenwriter has this trajectory: scripts that they labored over for months and then get to this point with: what to do with it? Usually, writers write a few scripts like this – they work and work but the magic isn’t there for the script for some reason – whether that means their own personal feelings and connection to the story or the characters, or whether that is a reflection of the evolution of your writing talent and experience – the script just isn’t received all that well.

Writers have a choice at that point. Keep trying or give up. What do you do? How do you know? You can probably intuit what you want to do – do you still feel that itch to create another script? Do you need to take a break? Do you need to try another medium? If you still have that itch, then there’s only one solution.

You keep writing. You keep improving your skills and you keep searching for that one script, that topic that light you up like a Christmas tree. This is the process. And it can be a long and infuriating one. If you have the bug, you have the bug. Many will tell you that if you buy THIS book or THAT cd or go to THAT seminar, you will have some kind of golden ticket or fast track. This is not true. The only way is the way you are currently on – if you have the bug, if story ideas keep coming to you – then you give each script your ALL and if, when that script is done, it’s still maddeningly not that great – you do it again. And again. This is the dreamer’s disease. This is the way it goes. If anybody tells you there is a method (or a product, or a book) that can speed up or avoid this they are lying to you. The only way through it – is to keep on doing it.

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3 Comments

  • Al budde says:

    Just happened to me! I spent over a year researching a great historical script which I figured couldn’t lose because its a true story but it did because it was too much on history. Ok. Got it. Still a great story though, so round two will focus less on history and more on character. I’m not going down without a fight!

  • JulieGray says:

    That sounds about right, Al – you did one whole draft that was focused on the research and chances are, you may have forgotten the other bits – the character work and all that. But that’s okay, now you know and now you can go forward and really focus this next draft not only on character but on developing theme and on writing really great, cinematic, pithy, evocative pages! Sounds easy, huh? ;)

  • kirk says:

    My question is simple. Where would you suggest we find scripts that are NOT shooting scripts. Can you suggest any well written screenplays that describe brilliantly camera movements, without giving camera movements? I know about script-o-rama and simply scripts, and other websites.

    I’m so sick of reading ANGLE ON…and THE CAMERA PANS…I wish it was so simple. Maybe a write up of this would be cool too. :)

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