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Old 07-14-2015, 01:21 PM   #171
juunit
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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Originally Posted by JeffLowell View Post
If that's your attitude, why are you here giving advice?
A number of different reasons.

First off, I had no idea what to expect in response when I first decided to post this. And everyone really comes to Hollywood with naivete. I wish there were things other people had told me before I got here. Maybe I can help other people get the jumpstart I didn't get.

It probably won't ever come full circle, but if by some miracle somebody can see all this and write a script that's actually fun to read which then lands in front of me, even if it's only one script, then at least I get to read that one good script. Even if I don't ever read it, if it can help someone launch their career, then that's great.

Some of the people on here actually are capable of acting like adults and having civil conversations, so I'm happy to supply any help to them that I might be able to. Or at least just be a fellow sounding board for the frustration of the whole thing.

It's July and Comic-Con. There's very little going on at work. So I've got time to kill.

And really, as a writer, any new experience is a good one.
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Old 07-14-2015, 01:58 PM   #172
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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Originally Posted by Joaneasley View Post
I think that's true now. A few of the women in my condo complex, including me, feed the stray cats. A couple of weeks ago, one of my neighbors pushed the rest of us into trapping some of them to have them spayed and neutered and get some of the kittens adopted. It was traumatic. We lost some sickly kittens after struggling to save their lives, and we've been bonding with each other over it. I really didn't know much about what some of the women did for a living, but I mentioned I had to go in and finish editing a screenplay for someone. Someone asked if I'm a writer or an editor, and I said both. And then she mentioned her company was looking for a screenplay for a certain A- list actor whose name I won't mention. I thought of a script my partner and I had that he'd be right for, and I gave it to her without even telling her what it's about. She passed it along, and now, if his finance guy can make it work, they're going to be making it. Of course, after years of having projects almost get made and fall through, I can't allow myself to totally believe it until I'm on set (maybe, she says, as a creative consultant!) Some people had already praised this script, but most of the time, because of the subject matter, I can't even get strangers to request it. But this A-list actor read it because of who gave it to him, and he loved it. So there you go. Stay tuned. If it really happens, I'll tell you.
Fingers crossed for you, Joan! And mega brownie points for helping the kitties.
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Old 07-14-2015, 03:12 PM   #173
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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this A-list actor read it because of who gave it to him, and he loved it. So there you go. Stay tuned. If it really happens, I'll tell you.
I love stories like this one. I hope this works out for you.

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I thought of a script my partner and I had that he'd be right for...
Which brings this back to why screenwriters need to write great spec scripts. Sadly, I've read of similar scenarios, where the writer had nothing ready when opportunity came knocking.
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:07 PM   #174
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

Thanks for the wishes and funny comments, folks.
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:48 PM   #175
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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Just to add another layer to the navel-gazing -- most people can't write at a level that deserves monetary compensation. That's simply the reality of the situation. But too many people refuse to accept this reality..
I think you're right, but in a way, the flip side is also true. There are many capable writers who, whatever, don't have the right idea at the right time in the right genre at the right blablabla. As someone up-thread posted, these forums are filled with scribes who did well in a contest, got repped, and then nothing ever happened for them.

As screenwriters wanting to get a film made, we are basically asking people to invest MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in our product. A lot of stars have to line up for that to happen, no matter how good you are.

That's not just Hollywood, that's any business of any sort---try opening a restaurant. You might be the best chef in the world, but still, magic needs to happen, in an industry where 50% of the businesses go out of business. Location, menu, timing, novelty, decor, P.R. clout, etc., all of that matters.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:16 PM   #176
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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What I want is an example of a great spec that DIDN'T get a writer noticed. I don't think you'll find one. There isn't some writer out there who wrote a "Source Code" who's scratching his head wondering why in hell everyone keeps tossing his great story into the trash bin.
By definition, things that fall between the cracks do so without attracting notice. A script that is widely considered "great" is, also by definition, one that got noticed. It's a bit like arguing that the nonexistence of flaming ice is proof that ice doesn't exist.

The guy who wrote Hoosiers buried the script in the back of his closet for years because an executive told him it was terrible. It came very, very close to never getting noticed at all.

Little Miss Sunshine got knocked out in the first round of the Nicholl Fellowship contest.

As previously noted, Quentin Tarantino received some pretty harsh rejections in the early years.

Christopher Lockhart has argued that writing the "right" script will do more for a writer's career than a "great" script. Hollywood doesn't run on great scripts, which are in chronically short supply. There are many working screenwriters who have never approached greatness, and they're doing just fine anyway.

Last edited by MrZero : 07-14-2015 at 10:21 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:29 PM   #177
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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The guy who wrote Hoosiers buried the script in the back of his closet for years because an executive told him it was terrible. It came very, very close to never getting noticed at all.

Little Miss Sunshine got knocked out in the first round of the Nicholl Fellowship contest.
I argued that EVERYONE ignoring a great script would never happen. Sure there will be some who might pass on it. But the notion that a great script would keep being shunned in perpetuity, robbing the writer of notoriety is far fetched.

But I agree with you 100% about Lockhart's comment of writing the right script vs. the great script. The script I'm shopping now isn't "great" -- I'm not an idiot. But it's got a killer premise and enormous creativity and imagination. That's what I hope will attract attention to it.
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Old 07-15-2015, 01:08 AM   #178
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

^ Thanks for wasting the readers' time with your non-great script.

Also, it would behoove you to look up the definition of "notoriety."
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Old 07-15-2015, 01:24 AM   #179
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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^ Thanks for wasting the readers' time with your non-great script.

Also, it would behoove you to look up the definition of "notoriety."
The vast majority of scripts that go into production aren't "great." It being great or not is actually pointless. The masses go and see whatever the hell Hollywood makes. And I meant to write "notice."
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:17 AM   #180
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Default Re: A good script vs. a sellable script

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I've read quite a few scripts from new/amateur/whatever writers, some via this site. And the one area where they consistently underperform is entertainment. They are often smart, technically correct, formatted, clear structure... but god they feel like a ballache to get from page to page. Then you read a pro script - most of them, at least - and it's a joy. It's fun. Whatever the genre, you genuinely love turning the pages.
I agree, but I think you've omitted an important variable. The pro scripts that most of us have access to are highly refined and polished products of masters - pieces of art that have benefitted from thousands of eye hours and multiple revisions. I've listened to and read interviews from several pros who readily admit that their early drafts are "crap." Now, I'll stipulate that a pro's early draft is likely to be much better crap than an amateur's. But still, NASA didn't build the space shuttle based solely on the early concept drawings by some of the world's brightest engineers.

Likewise, when I grade student lab reports, I use a rubric that's grade-level appropriate; not dumbing things down, but realizing growth, improvement and encouragement doesn't have to be "Whiplash" style. Same goes for coaching a little league team. Therefore, I think it's wrong to evaluate amateur drafts presented here (or elsewhere) strictly against the works of those who've mastered their craft. However, if you're an amateur sending scripts to producers for professional consideration, then the kid gloves are off.

Last edited by bioprofessor : 07-15-2015 at 06:34 AM.
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