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Old 08-10-2020, 02:26 PM   #421
SundownInRetreat
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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Originally Posted by JoeNYC
Members are sending me PM's pissed off that I'm attacking Jeff's work and his opinions, saying he's GREAT and I'm a nobody and I will always be
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I received a nasty PM, which the member's name I shall not mention, personally attacked me and mentioned that I posted my AMERICAN SLAVES screenplay in the ANNOUCEMENT forum to hide because I was afraid and too sensitive of public criticism.
Not afraid? Then what's with not replying to that member and posting a pseudo-reply in public in a bid to keep that member silent?

Unlike yourself, I've nothing to hide. I sent you the PM, I sent it to help you, and I'm calling you out for lying to the board about the supposed 'nasty content' in order to a) gain sympathy and b) suppress a response from the sender. And no, I don't believe you were referring to another member's PM that also happened to reference hiding out in the Announcements forum.

I read this entire thread, bemused at you arguing with others, telling a pro who knows better - and has direct personal experience to back up what he's saying - that he's wrong, whilst insisting that no one in the industry would think differently to you. I read and I was gobsmacked so I PM'ed you tough love with a reverse psychological ploy to inspire humility and change. In other words: to help you. And just for transparency, so you don't try and weasel again, here it is:

'Having read your posts over the years, I truly feel you are your own worst enemy. You stick to your own guns and opinions when you've not the skill or success to be so bold and you believe your inexperienced opinions are not only equal to, but better than, those of working pros.

That's not to say you must always back down to a pro but in many cases, most, you really should. Especially when you are not speaking from a position of authority.

You also shoot yourself in the foot by being such a delicate flower that you refuse to post your work openly, instead posting in the Announcements section and insist no one openly critiques you. You simply are not cut out to be a writer if you are so fragile.

You will not change. You have been this way for years. And that is why, in my opinion, you will fail. But I write this anyway because I hate to see someone stubbornly and without good reason, argue with pros rather than heed them and accept they're probably right and adjust their thinking accordingly so they can grow and develop. I hate to see them shoot themselves in the foot'.



See the comments in bold? They open and close my PM. To drive home the reason for my PM and to avoid any cries of 'waaah! Waaah!' My PM details exactly WHY I said what I said, so as to avoid any cries of - again - 'waaah! Waaah!' And I said you won't change and will fail in the hope that you'll pick up the gauntlet and prove me wrong, thereby helping yourself develop instead of conveniently (yet without reason) deciding you're right and no one in the industry would jump at the chance to buy and produce JTMD even though that's exactly what happened.

I wasn't pissed at you for disagreeing with Jeff, your actions have no impact on me, nor did I say he's great. Considering his dislike of me and the best I get off him is short shrift and sarcasm, I'm hardly going to be his biggest cheerleader, am I?

Not afraid? You're legendary for being so. And, I was trying to snap you out of it. Yes, you posted in the Announcements forum because you're afraid of criticism. Everyone else posts in one of the Script Pages feedback sections so the pages can be read, feedback given and read by others - which, contrary to your belief, is the actual correct process rather than asking for yet another forum that does exactly the same as what the existing three feedback forums do.

Your argument doesn't even make sense. You want to provide education for new writers by having your pages assessed? Well stop posting in the Announcements forum and pick one of the feedback forums instead. Simple. No need for a new forum and all feedback is visible instead of seen only by you. You haven't proved anything about not being scared. The only proof will be posting your pages - as the rest of us do - where any forum member can read them, critique them, and share their thoughts with the rest of the board.

If you can't take criticism - as you're famed for - then I stand by my statement that writing is not for you. And it's my belief you detailed the criticism from other readers to try and limit negative feedback. I got ripped apart by Craig Mazin and I welcomed it. I specifically sought him for his refreshing, stark honesty. It made me a better writer and my very next script did well on The Black List. Maybe I would've got there without him but I certainly doubt it.


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It'll help make your work stronger.
As would deferring to pros, gaining humility and opening yourself up to criticism that can be viewed by all. Which, funnily enough, is what my PM stated.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:32 PM   #422
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post

We're talking about scripts where the underlying concept isn't working. It's not like every idea is great if you just figure out the right way to phrase it. ... You and Cyfress seem to believe that any idea can be made into a great script with the proper execution. Experience doesn't really support that.
Where in this thread did I say "any idea can be made into a great script with the proper execution"?

There are certainly story ideas -- bad or great -- where its execution was a critical and commercial failure. Come on, again post #413 is where I'm coming from.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:34 PM   #423
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

SundownInRetreat, you're entitled to your opinion.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:42 PM   #424
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

I donít think Usual Suspects was great cause it was the police who got the criminals together. It has a great twist, gritty characters, and let a suspenseful mystery gradually unfold. Thatís my opinion. And all that is part of the execution side of things.

No one is saying mediocre ideas can be covered up by execution even though you keep trying to pin me to that POV. A simple idea that is a character study letís say can really shine if done well and it could be a long boring mess if not.

If you have a catchy idea that would be the envy of other writers then great. I would think thatís a good thing. If you have a small story that is very personal to you then thatís fine too. Write it.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:58 PM   #425
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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You seem to believe since there are examples of feedback, there's no need for a new writer to hear analysis on a completed screenplay here. I believe there would be value, but that's okay, you're entitled to your opinion.
No, I'm saying I'm not sure it's the event you think it will be. Go for it! I hope you get tons of helpful advice.

Quote:
What? A writer can't write a story idea that he's passionate about because it didn't excite the members. Yes, yes, I know, a High Concept idea is gonna excite people where their doors are gonna fly open. This is great. I agree. Write a High Concept screenplay, but I will not tell a writer don't write that particular story idea because no one will think it's GREAT. Who knows what will happen with that writer's material.
Yes, of course, they should write whatever they're passionate about! But if someone comes here looking for feedback, they should be prepared to listen to it and be open to the possibility that it's right.

Maybe "excite" isn't the exact right word. But I read some concepts here (and everywhere) that are just bad ideas. Low concept, high concept, whatever. I read loglines that are confusing or boring or have no conflict or are derivative or have no rootable protagonist.

You bring up Finding Forrester. I find that logline compelling. "A J.D. Salinger type recluse author agrees to mentor a poor but gifted writer on the condition that he never reveal their relationship." That's really interesting to me! How does the kid get through to the Salinger type? How do they strike up their relationship? Does the kid betray his word, and what are the repercussions? Do we get an insight into why the author became a recluse?" J.D. Salinger is already a captivating character in reality - people are already invested in him before they hear about this script. That's a great trick - it's basically using a concept that interests people for free and developing a script around it.

Quote:
The difference is, you got people telling a writer their idea is bad before seeing whether or not its execution, the completed screenplay, is a winner.
If you believe that it's impossible to critique an idea unless you read the script, then you should never post an idea here. Why? To you, it tells nothing about what the final product will be like.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:15 PM   #426
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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No one is saying mediocre ideas can be covered up by execution even though you keep trying to pin me to that POV.
Again, you said that you have literally never read a script that would be rejected because of its idea. Own it! Unless you've changed your mind.

I've done a couple of reviews of scripts here during challenges. (Actually, I've done a ton, but two spring to mind.) When we both reviewed Steve's, I summed up by saying "there's the bones of something that could be good here. A DJ having to shift to a podcast, and having his ex-wife be part of what makes it successful even though he doesn't want her around, feels like a show." I also reviewed a screenplay, and said "To be really blunt, I think the problems with this script are in its DNA. [...] I have a hard time imagining this core idea being made into a movie."

I may be wrong in both cases, but I stand by my belief that no amount of rewriting was going to save that screenplay - it was just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. You clearly disagree that that can ever be the case.

As a producer, I would 100% buy a script where I thought the core idea was great, even if I thought the execution was poor. I would never buy one where I didn't believe in the idea at its core.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:17 PM   #427
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Popcorn �� is in the microwave! This is about to get good.

If a script reaches an Agent or manager or producer, obviously they were intrigued enough by the idea to say they’d take a look. They dont know if the script will be any good or not by the logline though, so when they start reading it and put it down by page 20 then why do they do that Jeff? It’s never because of character and structure. It’s always because of idea? You can’t tell by a logline if the script is any good. That was my point.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:17 PM   #428
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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They dont know if the script will be any good or not by the logline though, so when they start reading it and put it down by page 20 then why do they do that Jeff? It’s never because of character and structure. It’s always because of idea? You can’t tell by a logline if the script is any good. That was my point.
The message has been stated many times but if people don't want to hear then.........
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:37 PM   #429
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

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If a script reaches an Agent or manager or producer, obviously they were intrigued enough by the idea to say theyíd take a look.
Yes! A script needs an intriguing idea to even get requested from a query! Thank you for agreeing with the point I've been making for twenty pages!

Quote:
They dont know if the script will be any good or not by the logline though, so when they start reading it and put it down by page 20 then why do they do that Jeff? Itís never because of character and structure. Itís always because of idea?
Well, in your hypothetical, they're putting it down because it's poorly executed. (Although if the idea is truly phenomenal, they might read it with a mind towards buying it to have someone else rewrite it.)

Quote:
You canít tell by a logline if the script is any good. That was my point.
You're not an agent or manager or producer. You're not reading off queries where a logline intrigued you. You read screenplays from amateurs here for money (and for free, I guess?). And in all those reads, you've never read a screenplay with an idea that's bad enough to doom it.

There are only two possibilities:

1. You don't understand the importance of concept to scripts.
2. You're such a gifted writer that you can take literally any idea and turn it into a great screenplay.

I mean, I've got my suspicions on which one it is, but maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 08-10-2020, 04:20 PM   #430
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Default Re: Picking Right Idea

Where produced screenplays are concerned, there are artistic successes and failures, and commercial successes and failures. Therein lies the rub. Every screenwriter on these boards and beyond—irrespective of being rewritten or not—wishes to pen an original screenplay that becomes an artistic and commercial success at the box office and beyond. To this day, cinephiles around the world have scholarly discussions of Casablanca (1942), both as a film and as social commentary of its times. Probably all screenwriters are happy with commercial success (who wouldn’t be?), but many also aim for artistic merit in their successes as well. For those screenwriters, the challenge to generate “a great idea” that satisfies not only commercial goals but also artistic goals is doubly increased. To hit a “bullseye” in the first target takes great skill in aim, but to hit the second target’s “bullseye” as well seemingly requires the skillsets of an Olympian.
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