Posts Tagged ‘script outlines’

What To Do With That Screenplay You Wrote – Stage 3

Friday, January 4th, 2013

At this point you should be well into a couple other pieces and the title should be about what to do with those “Screenplays” you have written. Friends have perhaps glanced through it, and one or two might even like it. This is the hard part now. Get it out there some more…. to strangers.

I don’t really foray much into forums, as they can be more chat than actual insight, but there are some with decent communities overall. I used to like http://www.zoetrope.com to some extent, but the well has really dried out there, and hardly anyone uses it anymore in comparison to 5 or so years ago.

Still, it was there that I learned a lot about screenwriting, by reading other people’s screenplays. And I read some pretty bad ones, from users complaining about the types of reviews that they got. This perhaps is not wise to do, but it works out well. For the most part the insight was appreciated, and it was there that I was able to refine my own craft and learn what not to do. At the same time, I hunted out some good ones, or promised to exchange reviews if they were serious. The reviews you get fall into three categories though – very very useful insight that you couldn’t pay for, nit picking about the littlest things, or they didn’t read it and made bad assumptions. Category 1 happens, sometimes.

Perhaps this is because it’s always easier to improve someone else’s screenplay than your own, because you have some sort of ties to your own. There are loads of other forums and networks where one can work on their craft, such as http://labs.triggerstreet.com/ – which I used a few years back, but have decided to give another go. It seems to be much more active than Zoetrope these days, so we’ll likely test the waters here again in the coming week or two with Alphabet Soup.

Subscribe to the newsletters from https://www.withoutabox.com and http://www.moviebytes.com/ – they’ll tell you what’s going on out there, and what festivals are happening, where to enter short films, screenplays, etc, and how other people felt about the contests (in MovieBytes’ case, and they’ve been around for a long time).

That’s right, Screenplay contests. There’s going to be a point in time, where you’ll have to set foot in these. But which ones are legit? Read around. Some are more obvious than others, and some cater to certain niches, so take time to do some research on each – especially when most of them are not free.

Here are some of the more well known ones (which can also mean more competitive), that will get your name out there.

Nicholl Fellowship – http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/index.html (average of 6-7,000 entries per year)
Page Awards – http://pageawards.com/
TrackingB – http://www.trackingb.com/
Final Draft – http://www.finaldraft.com/products/big-break/
Sundance – http://www.sundance.org/programs/screenwriters-lab/
Script Pipeline – http://www.scriptpipeline.com/
BlueCat – http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/
Writers on the Storm – http://writerstorm.com/
Cinestory – http://www.cinestory.org/
Zoetrope – http://www.zoetrope.com

They can also be local festivals such as:
London Independent (UK) – http://www.londonindependent.org/
Richmond Film Fest (VA/NC area) http://themixshorts.com/
Gotham (NY) – http://www.gsiff.com/

In fact its useful to find some ones near you and thus be able to attend them should you be considered. Sooooooo….. start scoping them out and see how you fare. But only do so until you’ve polished up your work and gotten free feedback from the likes of people you know and free member places like Trigger Street and Zoetrope – along with seeing what’s out there. Yep, part of getting your screenplay out there is putting in some work beyond writing up your magical idea. That’s what they kept telling us at least! And yes, we have entered some of the ones listed above.

Next part to come soon…… thanks for all the feedback so far.

Small Town Stars

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

I guess the secret is out, The Havenots is not the first screenplay any of us here have written. However, getting back into the swing of things helped me dig in the crates and skim through many screenplay’s past sitting in the hard drive (yes, as much as the image one would like to conjure as a writer is that of one surrounded by reams of paper, its also not the 1900’s anymore either). Many of these attempts to write what one random night was a great idea (while intoxicated probably), perhaps never quite made it, got abandoned 50 pages in, or never got that rewrite.

Some of them might be worth a revision now.  I dug up a screenplay I wrote not too long ago called Small Town Stars and found a past logline/synopsis and even notes from a couple of contests that were entered with it. The screenplay managed to make the quarterfinals where it was entered which was not bad for something I felt needed a bit more polishing, but wanted to get feedback on. It certainly isn’t as polished as the Havenots, but definately worth opening the file and making some edits.  And seeing it in the files sort of reminded me of The Havenots, as its a very middle of anywhere city plot where futures look far from bright.

The plot focuses on a couple of students who dream of making movies one day, but all they see are the grim stories within their own town. But they start to lose track of what’s fictional and whats real?  Surrounded by dead end life in a dead beat middle American town, two teenagers (Ferdinand and Charlie) use their love for film as a ticket for their escape.  But with scars from the past and the town they are in, sometimes it is hard to escape.  Golden opportunities in life become downward spirals, as Ferdinand’s life becomes connected to incidents that happened a generation prior.

With knowledge starting to build of what is going on in the movie scenes, Ferdinand becomes a grown man behind the lens, but also realizes he has no way out.  As a result, there’s only one way to go from here. If he can’t beat them, join them. Sort of a dark thriller/drama perhaps.

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.