Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

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  • Charli
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Good to see you back, Tao. Look forward to reading about your experiences.

    Joe - I feel your pain. Many new writers in their excitment to get things moving
    jump on that speeding train to nowhere fast. I took the slow route. I completed two
    scripts. I entered Austin, got into the second round twice with two different genres.
    I took a year off to play sports (rugby, fencing, softball, bowling). I took another year to recover from all of my sport injuries - oy vey!

    Now I'm back to writing. Two years of reading, more reading, asking questions,
    learning under my belt, finally I'm in the groove.

    What was that line in that movie with Tom Selleck? "The oxen is slow but
    the earth is patient."

    Charli

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  • Taotropics
    User

  • Taotropics
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    I think you've revealed a very rigorous system. It's close to my own and I've been been working with studios, actors and directors for seven years. The single most all-pervasive problem I see among pre-pro writers is the "jump the gun" mentality.

    more later.

    bye the way - hi everyone. I haven't posted in a long time. I will post about my experience shooting my latest in ny.

    Leave a comment:

  • wcmartell
    Member

  • wcmartell
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    I have this thing I call the "Challenge Draft".

    You might do a dozen rewrites of your script, but until someone questions the basics in your script - those things that don't work but are part of the structure or basic story or basic character material - you aren't going to do the rewrite that fixes the problems. You are just doing surface rewrites - painting a turd.
    You need to be *forced* to justify the basics - to make sure they work. Often that means throwing the whole script away and starting from scratch.

    And until you are *willing* to throw the whole script away and start from scratch, you probably aren't going to be doing the rewrite your script needs.

    - Bill

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  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    "...if the script doesn't generate some high praise right away, it may not be worth the time and money to try to fix it."

    -- This is a good point, nick. I just touched on this briefly in my post about abandoning a script that isn't working. I should have gone a little further.

    I don't suggest one needs to hear high praise "right away."

    Sometimes %50 of the story could change in many rewrite sessions and end up great, but I also like to point out if it's not commercial enough that a studio would want to make it, or it's not artistic enough (unique characters and story, possessing depth, substance and meaning) to advance in the Nicholl, then it might not be worth spending money on since opportunities to succeed with this script would be limited.

    English Dave says, "Criticism is only valid if you have enough screenwriting sense to determine if it is valid or not."

    This is so true. A writer gains a keen "screenwriting sense" as he gains experience. Until that happens, sometimes "sense" just has to be pounded into a person.

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  • English Dave
    Member

  • English Dave
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Criticism is only valid if you have enough screenwriting sense to determine if it is valid or not.

    Or there is a very large check.

    Leave a comment:


  • nickj
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    I think it's better to err on the side of too much feedback, rather than too little. OTOH, if the script doesn't generate some high praise right away, it may not be worth the time and money to try to fix it. Usually, the seeds of a good story are planted in the first draft.

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    "How much have you spent preparing your script for the market place?"

    -- $0 Peer Feedback, $500 Professional Consultant, $115 two contests that provided feedback, expecting to spend $129 coverage and $110 for three big, important contests.

    "How many agents and production companies do you intend to send it to?"

    -- Small, medium and big L.A. agencies, addressing the query to the newest agents because he or she will be most likely opened to queries since they'll need clients and material.

    If you have the past HCD books and look at the new edition, you can see who are the new junior agents, or you could call the agency to find out this info.

    Sometimes when you address a query to an agent and he's not looking for any more clients, but the concept intrigues him, he may pass the query along to the new agent at the firm, who's not even listed yet and needs clients and material. This is what happened in my case.

    For producers, I'll check the HCD book and choose production companies that work in the genre that I'm marketing. At this time, I don't know how many that'll be.

    "Is it going to be exclusive for that contact you had in the past?"

    -- No, that opportunity is dead. Remember, you get only one shot to show them you're worth their time and effort.

    "How long has it been since your first draft?"

    -- It's been a long time. This script wasn't a normal situation.

    "I would consider at least getting a professional consultant as long as it isn't too expensive."

    -- If you have a development executive lined up to look at your work, I would suggest for you to invest a little money in yourself and get a professional opinion.

    If your work is strong, but for some reason the exec doesn't want to proceed with the concept, he will still leave the door open for you to send future work.

    If your work turns out to be weak, he'll slam that door shut.

    My nose is now cockeyed from that damn agent's door.

    Leave a comment:

  • Angeloworx
    Member

  • Angeloworx
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    How much have you spent preparing your script for the market place? How many agents and production companies do you intend to send it to? It is going to be exclusive for that contact you had in the past? How long has it been since your first draft?
    If you have time to answer these questons that will be of help, to me at least. I am re-wrting my screenplay that will go to a VP in development which I kind'a sold a pitch without the script. It's been 4, almost 5 months since the last time we've spoken to each other. If your reasoning and results of your process is worth trying, well, I would consider at least getting a professional consultant as long as it isn't too expensive. I did want to get into this industry to get money NOT feed it with my money.

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Leech says, "...relies heavily on the rounds of peer and consultant reviews."

    I understand what you're saying, "appearances," but the people in the industry don't know how many rounds of feedback a writer put his script through. They just know they have something they could sell to the studios and public, theoretically.

    This thorough process that I explained above I'm doing only until I break in or give up. This is my version of checks and balances, to be patient and disciplined, to make sure I don't jump the gun and send out a script before it's ready.

    I realized the hard way that when your concept connects with an agent/producer you get only one shot to impress, so it better be your best effort.

    Lauri, after the disappointment I mentioned earlier I slowed down and haven't sent any scripts into the marketplace yet. I have sent them into competitions that included close to 3,000 of my peers and they've all advanced.

    Even the ones I eventually felt wouldn't be good enough to send out into the marketplace -- and since have cannibalized scenes for other scripts -- advanced to the top 5%.

    So, this is the type of success I've had so far by being patient and thorough. Not a bad confidence booster.

    I have a script now that's in the pro consultant stage that I feel is right for the marketplace. It's high concept, commercial and funny.

    After the development is complete, I'll market it and post a follow-up on the response.

    Leave a comment:

  • Jake Schuster
    Member

  • Jake Schuster
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Harold Pinter's first produced play, "The Room" took him four days to write. Sometimes too much editing, too many opinions, strip the life and spontaneity out of a work.

    Leave a comment:


  • LauriD
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Joe -

    Sounds like a very rigorous system. Has it led to your marketing scripts again and what's been the result?

    L.

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  • Jake Schuster
    Member

  • Jake Schuster
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    "Nobody's perfect."
    -----Billy Wilder, "Some Like it Hot"

    Leave a comment:


  • Leech
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    JoeNYC -

    I'm only happy that you want get the strongest script possible. Believe me, I will be thrilled if it makes an improvement. I want only the best for you, and all the others here.

    What throws me off was that you inted to promote yourself as a professional writer to the business, but the quality of your work relies heavily on the rounds of peer and consultant reviews. If you tell me that you won't send your work to producers and agents until you're less dependent on those reviews, then I will understand.

    I hope I didn't imply it, but I don't think the number of drafts a writer writes is indicative of the strength of the writer.

    This post is edited to add: I feel bad for bringing some issues up because it looks like I'm trying to shield the ray of light that you found. I just wanted to point out my concerns. Sorry.

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeNYC
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    Yeah, it might look excessive to some, but with something as important as this, a non-pro using his script as a calling card to break into the industry -- cold -- where it needs to be a unique and/or great concept and executed well for someone willing to take a chance on an unproven writer, I want to get objective opinions on my script's development in order to get it as strong and perfect as possible.

    Could I use just one or two professional screenwriters (Don't know any peers on the same level of education and experience as a pro consultant) instead of going through my peers to get an objective eye, sure, but I rather go through my peers first in order for the pros to see a draft closer to the finish, than beginning.

    If it takes one round of feedback and 3 drafts, then great. If it takes multiple rounds of feedback and 20 drafts to get a story strong and perfect, then okay. I'm willing to put in the time and effort to make sure my script is strong and at a professional level before I send it out into the marketplace.

    And don't get the wrong impression that if someone needs to go through 20+ drafts that it's indicative of a writer being weak in the craft. Sorkin went through 20+ drafts to get "A Few Good Men" strong and perfect. Don't know if he got feedback from his peers, producer, director, etc., but I'm thinking he must of received notes.

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  • Angeloworx
    Member

  • Angeloworx
    replied
    Re: Process for getting your script at a pro level for the marketplace?

    I found it "too much" as well. And the point of writing assignments is very well made. My spin on things or I should say my question to you is, how do you find confidednce in your writing when you depend on consultant or fresh eyes all the time?
    I do think everyone, including myself, believe that their work is a masterpiece. A draft that will sell... maybe even a 7 figure pay check with a 3 deal picture. Who doesn't? I just hope that you can find more confidence in your work at the time you actually send it out to production companies or agents or whatever, without spending 6 months of feedback. But who am I to critique your process? So, good luck. Hope you read my post and give your opinions. Actually, I'm going to post one up now.

    peace...

    Leave a comment:

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