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Old 05-11-2019, 04:40 PM   #1
finalact4
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Default Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

this is a good quick read to be mindful of when a "pass" is received.

https://screencraft.org/2019/03/18/w...O7i04U.twitter
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Old 05-11-2019, 06:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Your script is a PASS unless it's so good it breaks through. Everyone is trying to get through some many scripts and not miss a great one... but plenty of readers have said (I was a reader at contest and companies) that their job is to make sure their company doesn't miss anything good, but also they don't want to recommend something that their boss will hate.

So that's a lot of pressure. And they aren't always giving their opinion as much as what their "mandate" is from the company.

So when a rep requests your script, you usually get that 1 opinion, not filtered through anyone else... but then you send it out into Hollywood and it's all filters and blockers and just people whose job it is to say "no" let's save the company money so we can spend it on our superhero movie. We make 2 movies a year, is your script going to break through?

So they passed on your screenplay mostly because it wasn't good and second because saying "yes" is much scarier than saying "no."
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

A pass doesn't necessarily mean that your script isn't any good; it may just not be what they want (for whatever reason).

There are multiple layers to get through: In a production company, you have to impress readers/creatives/owner, and not necessarily in that order, though the owner sure has the final say.

For one of my scripts, requested after a cold query to a company's development person (who I think in that case was also the reader), I got a pass because, as she stated to me, "so-and-so (the owner/partner)" didn't like the "subject matter". The script in question is peculiar-interesting, and perhaps for this particular owner was too peculiar-interesting, from a political standpoint.

Nevertheless, it had been requested as interesting or appealing enough, by the development person, but then was overruled by the boss. It probably also revealed a miscommunication between the owner and the development person over what to accept for reads, which I presume was rectified soon enough.

That was no concern of mine, though, because while it was definitely the end of the road for that story in that company, neither did I make a single alteration to that script.

In other words, aside from the things mentioned in the article, a pass arises for any number of reasons: Personal taste, politics, timing, budget level, genre, etc. etc.
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Old 05-13-2019, 10:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

all true:

the five points that the article makes is one we can all keep in mind...

1) it's not written well.
this is probably the most true. newer writers have the tendency to send scripts out before they are truly ready.

2) it's not for the company.
this can mean a lot of things. they don't do that genre, they have a similar project, the subject matter is saturated...

3) bad timing.
the company may simply be at a point where they cannot produce your script

4) because your script didn't "woo" them.

i don't think every writer really understands that someone MUST be passionate about your spec. why on earth would they ever invest time and money into something they felt was mediocre. and it does no one any good to say, "but terrible films get made all the time." focus on what makes your story amazing and stand out from anything they've ever seen.

5) contests, competitions and fellowships are subjective.
this is about understanding that these organizations have guidelines on what they're looking for, so the more you know about them the better your chances. it still is very subjective and just because you win a contest, you still might have to fight through on all the other four topics above.
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

As FA4 summarized, any one or more of items 1 thru 5 result in a pass.

I look at it this way -- the only item the writer has any control over is #1: the quality of writing. So I focus on this alone because I have no control over items 2 thru 5.
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Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. “Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.”

Last edited by sc111 : 05-13-2019 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Again, these are the things that you should not care about. At all. Because the answers are 1000 in number and do not help you write a better script.

Unless the reasons were make sure Page 4 had a dog in it... if there's no dog, they pass every time. But there are not specific reasons, they are general and every person/company responds uniquely to each script.

They pass because that's what they do with 99% of work.

A slightly better article would be WHY DO THEY DECIDE TO BUY? But it would just be the same things just positive.
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Old 05-14-2019, 07:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
Again, these are the things that you should not care about. At all. Because the answers are 1000 in number and do not help you write a better script.

Unless the reasons were make sure Page 4 had a dog in it... if there's no dog, they pass every time. But there are not specific reasons, they are general and every person/company responds uniquely to each script.

They pass because that's what they do with 99% of work.

A slightly better article would be WHY DO THEY DECIDE TO BUY? But it would just be the same things just positive.
i disagree.

writers should 100% care about the quality of their writing. what else is important? the point is that many writers believe they are ready and they are not.
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Old 05-14-2019, 08:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
writers should 100% care about the quality of their writing. what else is important? the point is that many writers believe they are ready and they are not.
All above is true.

But what I was saying was exact same point in my eyes. You can't control the pass reasons and thinking about them won't improve the quality of your writing.

Yes 100% care about your writing, but 0% care about the reasons they pass on your writing because you will never KNOW for sure.

Last edited by Bono : 05-15-2019 at 08:38 AM. Reason: i can't spell, i'm a writer
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
All above is true.

But what I was saying was exact same point in my eyes. You can't control the pass reasons and thinking about them won't improve the quality of your writing.

Yes 100% care about your writing, but 0% care about the reasons they pass on your writing because you will never known for sure.
This.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
finalact4
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Default Re: Why Did They Pass on Your Screenplay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bono View Post
All above is true.

But what I was saying was exact same point in my eyes. You can't control the pass reasons and thinking about them won't improve the quality of your writing.

Yes 100% care about your writing, but 0% care about the reasons they pass on your writing because you will never known for sure.
totally agree. you can't worry about what is outside your control. articles like this can give a new writer, who does obsess about the pass, the permission to let it go.

how many times have we seen writers send out queries and worry more about whether they receive a response or not to the query instead of writing that next spec.

with queries it's send it and forget it.

i knew what you meant, Bono. your post, where i bolded it, could have been misunderstood by someone.
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