Posts Tagged ‘screenplay ideas’

What To Do With That Screenplay You Wrote – Stage 2

Monday, December 10th, 2012

So you’ve got a great screenplay, its well written (or so you tell yourself), you know about formatting and not driving the script on loads of dialogue that go on for pages and yet nothing happens in the background (always visualize!) – and using the right words to explain scenes thus flowing the story on at a good pace.

You’ve even made sure you covered your own back and sent yourself a copy, registered it with the WGA West or East, copyrighted it or some equivalent. You perhaps even read this piece we did last week.

What next then? Well, get it out there… but in most cases you will probably want to tread lightly and have mentioned it to friends, colleagues and/or family. And they’ll be happy for you and perhaps even want a copy of it, which you are happy to send them. Go ahead. And here’s what you should expect from this. NOTHING. Unless all your friends are screenwriters too.

So yes, expect nothing. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, take whatever you get as a bonus. This is not a knock or assumption on your friends, family, etc, this is just the truth. Why?

– They are likely not all screenwriters (which is probably a good thing).

– As much as they’d love to read your idea, the screenplay will require them to devote a fair bit of time that they likely do not have. So even if they have some screenwriting knowledge, you’d also better make sure that they have time too.

– They are biased (because they care) and likely not to give you the critique you want to get. And if they have critique they may be reluctant to give it you. The exceptions are if that “someone you know” is (A) in the industry, (B) aspiring to do similar things and is on your level, or probably a bit of (C) an asshole.

– (B) is a bit of work because often, what you write is very close and personal to you. I used to review work for other people back in the days. They were strangers, but often you had to really explain things in detail to combat their initial feeling of being offended (I’ll get to the reviewing thing in Chapter 3). Long story short, you have to let it get out there and people are going to have their opinions.

– If not A or B: the critique may be of no use and have nothing to do with the story, because they are not screenwriters, and likely have no idea how things like formatting and plot lines are supposed to work.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t send it to people you know? No. Send it, definitely. Just don’t expect this to be the magical trick to get your idea sold. You have a long way to go.

I sent it to some friends, a couple of them have connections or are in the industry. Perhaps they’ll pass it on. If they do, awesome, if not, you can’t really push them on it (other than a casual couple reminders perhaps). A couple of them are those who’s opinions I value greatly and I know that they have some knowledge about how things work with scripts and movies, etc. Are they professionals, no… but they are amateurs like us at this point, who have done a bit of work before, even if at a hobbyist level.

And so this is stage two. Just get it out there to people you know and trust first. If something comes out of it, consider yourself lucky. At the least maybe you can start a chain or two and get a contact or two. And this leads onto the next part, meeting strangers and putting out for strangers (the script that is…). Which is a lot easier now, than say 15 years ago.

What To Do With That Screenplay You Wrote – Stage 1

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Sure, it’s not the first screenplay we’ve written, but at the same time, we’re not experts. We haven’t quit our jobs and do this for a living…..yet. So why should we tell you how to get a screenplay out there? Well, someone has to. And trust me, some of the advice will be good, because we’re testing it out for you.

Here we tell you what we did. What we did right, and what we did wrong. What feedback we accumulated, what we learned and then denied admitting we learned.

Lets assume you wrote a screenplay first though. Because putting one together is a different matter, and that’s not what this post (or series of posts) is about. There’s plenty of material out there about how to convert that great story idea you had while intoxicated at 3am one night to a properly formatted piece that isn’t just a shit load of dialogue you thought sounded cool or carried a message you needed to say. . . . . . . . >>>>>>> Fast forward a bit. It’s done, great job.

Store Screenplays at The National Archives, or wherever no one is looking.

Register it. Do you need to? Maybe not, after all, it might just sit in the storage box or hard drive for years to come. Someone might find it decades from now and think its a rare screenplay that would make a great idea because by then movies are a dead art. Or who knows, things might work out sooner than that. You never know. But why not? It’s cheap and easy to register your script with the WGA, and it gives you some proof. Plus contests and companies often require you to list the registration number when submitting to them anyway.

And while you’re at it, email yourself a copy of it, and snail mail a copy of it via registered mail / certified mail, whatever gives exact proof of when you did it (though this is not going to win you a case by itself, it will help you prove your authorship). And you’re convinced its a good story, right? So then do all of the above. If not, you might as well throw it out and start again anyway.

So for the WGA part, go to: http://www.wgawregistry.org/webrss/ or if on the east coast – https://www.wgaeast.org/

What does it get you. Peace of mind perhaps. If you want to feel safer, visit http://www.copyright.gov or your local equivalent. Here’s a place that talks about the pros/cons of each – http://www.writersstore.com/wgaw-registration-vs-copyright-registration/

Does this matter. Only a little. Chances are it won’t happen, and if it does, you’ll need to be ready to do a lot of work, get a lawyer, etc. But the more you do, the more evidence you have. So get on with it. And now that’s done, we can start to dive in. Next chapter coming soon.

The Spotlight – Script In Progress October 2012

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Story about a man who is diagnosed with a rare illness yet recovers. He feels its a miracle and has beaten all odds just from belief. But it turns out that he was actually just misdiagnosed by the hospital. And that his pain previously was psychological due to the bad news in his life – thus reversed by the good news.

He finds this out but doesn’t believe it, saying that it was his belief that cured him.  And with this, he starts to feel worse, genuinely getting worse, but in tandem with his denial. With his belief he gets sicker and sicker, more disillusioned, irrational, and enters a new type of illness of the mind and body. And what he believes gets more and more warped beyond any rationale.  Very main character based and a borderline horror / drama screenplay.