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Old 11-09-2015, 06:46 AM   #71
madworld
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Yaso View Post
Production companies want to know if there's a story in your script before reading it. That doesn't have anything to do with Blake Snyder.

Otherwise, without a story, they will end up with something similar as SPECTRE. You can read the E-Mails between writers and execs online ... they are going round and round in circles and the questions they are asking aren't even remotely answered in the movie.
Who said no story? I feel like some of you might be skimming the posts. No formula does not mean no story.
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Old 11-09-2015, 06:55 AM   #72
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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What mass hysteria lol? Just a discussion. I hope you don't feel I'm coming down on you, it's just a different point of view. I apologize if I've offended you too, not my intent at all.
I think the collective overreaction to my post from the soapbox crew can easily be described as "mass hysteria"
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:19 AM   #73
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

So someone apologizes if he offended you and you call him part of a "soapbox crew?"

No idea why people disagreeing with you is setting you off so much. I'm with madworld - I'm not seeing any mass hysteric reaction to your post.

I join in in these discussions once in awhile because I think they're interesting to have - there definitely are principles of drama that are helpful to study. But when do those principles cross over into an unhelpful prescription?

OP has been here for three years and has five hundred plus posts. I see someone like that, I feel like it's okay to maybe not just hand him the bike with training wheels. YMMV.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:29 AM   #74
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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So someone apologizes if he offended you and you call him part of a "soapbox crew?"
I'm not sure why madworld apologized. I've never once called him out specifically, and my last post didn't either.

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No idea why people disagreeing with you is setting you off so much. I'm with madworld - I'm not seeing any mass hysteric reaction to your post.

I join in in these discussions once in awhile because I think they're interesting to have - there definitely are principles of drama that are helpful to study. But when do those principles cross over into an unhelpful prescription?
When I say mass hysteria, I'm not referring to anger or even disagreement. I'm referring to a lot of people (thus "mass") overreacting (thus "hysteria") to a post I made. Hope that's clear.

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OP has been here for three years and has five hundred plus posts. I see someone like that, I feel like it's okay to maybe not just hand him the bike with training wheels. YMMV.
Right. So I guess my three + years and over 900 posts on DDP must make me a pro. Like I said, he asked for "specific techniques", so I assumed he was looking for specific tools that other DDPers have found useful. I offered a suggestion that was "useful" for me; trying to equate that to some kind of rule I was putting forth is either disingenuous or "overreacting".
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:30 AM   #75
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Who said no story? I feel like some of you might be skimming the posts. No formula does not mean no story.
A beat sheet is not a formula.

It tells you the essentials of what happens in the story.

I'm sorry, but if you can't give me your story beats on one page, you can't tell a story.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:39 AM   #76
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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A beat sheet is not a formula.

It tells you the essentials of what happens in the story.

I'm sorry, but if you can't give me your story beats on one page, you can't tell a story.
Thanks. I'm trying to figure out the point that structure became such a dirty word in screenwriting. There's nothing wrong with internalizing it, but first you have to know it exists. We aren't writing novels.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:46 AM   #77
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Originally Posted by Yaso View Post
A beat sheet is not a formula.

It tells you the essentials of what happens in the story.

I'm sorry, but if you can't give me your story beats on one page, you can't tell a story.
Who said no beat sheet?
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:49 AM   #78
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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I think the collective overreaction to my post from the soapbox crew can easily be described as "mass hysteria"
No big deal. I don't think there has been an overreaction but ok.
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:51 AM   #79
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Well, I largely agree with what you say. Structure is emphasized because of how teachable it is - not because it's the most important thing. .
Exactly. It is the easiest thing to talk about. Not the most important. It's harder to talk about the things that make a screenplay great. The things that make a film memorable ... iconic.

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And I don't know what the solution is. Even if schools like USC try to have tough standards (although the production program, when I attended, largely didn't look at portfolios when it came to admission. They did care a lot about GRE scores; the writing program may have been better) there are schools like NYFA which literally take anyone who can pay.
Yes, that's happening a lot these days: student as customer.

Of course, I graduated many years before this trend and in my creative writing program you were first required to submit writing samples to be approved for the program (by a panel of profs who were published writers) then you were assessed each semester for improvement. If they didn't think you were growing as a writer, you were bounced out. We were encouraged to have a Plan B if the writing thing didn't work out so I took a second major in English Lit with a minor in Education.

Each semester, people were shown the door. Some close friends. And when I asked one prof in a private meeting about the guidelines they used he explained that the Creative Writing department's goal was to determine if each student in the program could make a living as a writer. Employment should be the criteria but too often it's not.

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Screenwriting books sell enough that companies keep pumping them out (although it doesn't seem like their writers make much money).

It's also tough position. If you read something in the script pages forum, it feels really inappropriate to say "You might not want to think about this professionally" to any but the weakest possible pages. Even saying stuff that might be euphemistically read that way ("you really need to work a lot harder at this," or "maybe put these pages down for a while and work on something else") are pretty awkward. And who really wants to take on the mantle of telling somebody they shouldn't do this for a living - anybody who did so would invariably be wrong on occasion, and would come off like a huge a-hole.

I don't know any sort of real solution, unfortunately, as to how to fix that problem.
Of course, on a board like this one it's not our job to review script pages and decide if someone can go the distance. I agree with you there.

However, in discussions like these we are free to share out point of view. Mine is that the popularity of STC -- even with some reps -- has created a situation where structure is given more weight that it should get.

Story, plot, theme, character development, dialogue -- these are the mountains we need to climb on our journey to writing a great script. But these components of a script are rarely discussed because they don't easily lend themselves to rules of thumb.
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Old 11-09-2015, 08:37 AM   #80
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Default Re: How can screenwriters control pace? Any thoughts on unintentional slowness?

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Unfortunately, until they develop a blood test to identify screenwriting talent, we have to go through the traditional grind to find out if we have it or not
I don't think anyone needs a blood test. As many managers and pro readers have said, you can tell by the first couple of pages after Fade In if someone has that spark of talent required. It's really not that hard to see the difference between good and bad writing. The challenge is for the writer to be objective about the quality of his/her own writing.

My opinion -- if someone had no interest in writing fictional stories, in any medium, in high school or college, or if they had no interest in reading fictional stories (novels, classics, etc) in Lit classes, I would say they're starting at a disadvantage when they try their hand at screenwriting. Their learning curve will be far more arduous than the person who had an interest in writing early on.

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Screenwriting is only about a hundred years old, so it's hard to argue that it's in the genes or whatever.
Screenwriting doesn't exist in a vacuum. Screenwriting is storytelling. Storytelling dates back to cave drawings ... to the oral tradition of sitting around the campfire and telling the tales and fables of their ancestors ... to the epic tale of Beowulf first circulated in written form around 1000 AD.

When someone reads your script they're sitting at your campfire waiting to hear your tale.
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