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  • #16

    Perhaps they sold a screenplay, in spite of their bad spelling , and that's why they aren't around anymore? It could happen!
    Why would one assume that if a writer sold or optioned a script they would withdraw from this forum?:lol

    There may well be a number of both published novelists and produced screenwriters who visit this board while employing a pseudonym( and I'm not talking about their screen names but the names and e-mail addresses they used to register) for various and sundry reasons!

    The fact that one would really believe that a successful writer would not utilize this board, from which both old and new writers can glean new techniques and perspectives seems to me to be the hight of misplaced arrogance!:smokin

    It's as though the mindset is that if you sell or option a project you have progressed on to some place beyond that of other contributers?

    Experienced screenwriters might well frequent this board for multiple reasons, one's that would probably make no sense at all to those that aspire for the lifestyle they "THINK" all screenwriters enjoy... I think many working screenwriters would respond with "It ain't all it's cracked up to be kiddo"!:eek Perhaps some would say, "hey... after a bit it simply becomes a job... like all other jobs"!

    As far as rules go, I wouldn't refer to them as rules but rather accepted methods of craft that have evolved over time to serve the process and craft so as to "uncomplicate" and "simplify" things for the initial reader that new writers must get beyond.

    If you write a screenplay that tallies a good buck at the box office no one will give a damn if you use "WE SEE" or not and if you don't spell something correctly they will correct it and probably not even tell you!

    On the other hand, if you are an unknown entity they will view the overall quality of your work as being indicative as to the time and effort you expended on getting something absolutely correct as possible... a good thing!:smokin


    • #17
      Re: WHY ASSUME!

      I don't get why a writer would knowingly break a format "guideline" if there is even the slightest possibility it will take a reader out of the story.

      Let's say we could make a pact to no longer comment on format and only comment on story. Of course that would mean we would be discussing story "guidelines".

      If you posted pages and the story comments/suggestions were: no flashbacks, no narration, in late out early, lack of objective, too many characters, etc., would you:

      - look for the same instances in pro scripts
      - make excuses, or
      - realize maybe, just maybe, there may be room for improvement?


      • #18

        I'd hoped that some industry professionals hung out here, if only for the anonymous companionship.

        When I posted pages from "Hairline Fractured," I did get some story-oriented feedback. I think part of it is because I'm an experienced writer (not a screenwriter), so I didn't have a lot of the problems I've seen with spelling, capitalization, etc. I considered the feedback and used what I deemed was good advice, as any writer should do when posting pages. Some of the advice I've seen posted in script pages as well as other parts of the forum is simply not good advice, and some if it is pretty disrespectful of the writer and the process. But that's something I recognize about posting my work and thoughts in front of a group of strangers. Anyone can log on and try to seem like an expert. I believe some folks here offer pretty sound advice, but it takes awhile to sort out posters. Just as with any situation, you have to figure out who you can trust and believe.

        For my part, I try to note as often as is reasonable that I'm not a professional screenwriter. Really, until I've proven myself as capable of making it, I don't feel qualified as any kind of an expert. Even getting an agent or selling one screenplay wouldn't make me any kind of an expert, just someone who has accomplished something some others haven't accomplished. I can offer my opinions or experiences and hope that they're helpful, as you never know when something will spark a realization.

        I don't spend as much time in script pages as I probably should. I think it's good to participate, but I find it a very discouraging place to visit. Feedback is part of it, as I cringe at times because of what I read there. Writers offer up their labors to be pummeled or poorly shunted, and I don't understand the meanspiritedness. An unskilled writer could be an incredible visionary and create a fantastic script with the right guidance. At the very least, an actual living, breathing human being is attached to the work that some people so freely dice. I remember what it was like to not be confident of my writing abilities and how much self-doubt harsh criticism prompted. Granted, some people may set themselves up for negative feedback more than others, but I think it's wiser to choose carefully how you spend your time and energy. Potshots are unworthy of snipers.

        I do believe it's important to know "the rules." It's important to understand why they exist. If a writer is going to break a rule, I think the writer better have justification for doing so, whether or not that is shared with readers here, and I think it is important to readers to point out that something varies from standard accepted style. I don't have to justify my choices when I seek feedback, at least I don't think that's the point of posting pages. When you're sounding the waters, you don't argue when you bump into a potential mine. You examine it. I do think, though, that some people almost gleefully point out problems and approach rules like laws with mandatory sentencing, and that can hurt their credibility because of examples like "Moonstruck." If someone says to never do something, and a writer comes across examples of it being done, then the writer is more likely to disregard other advice, even if it is good. I don't see the value in ripping apart someone's work in public instead of saying something like, "Generally, spec scripts don't include camera directions because (insert explanation here -- if you don't know why, then you should, or maybe you should think twice about telling people not to do it). Such-and-such a book is good at explaining the basics of style, and I'd recommend it to you." If the writer wants to read that book and make adjustments, then that's the writer's choice. The problem has been pointed out, and it's up to the writer to do the research and writing. If the writer chooses to disregard sound advice and can't sell the script, it's the writer's own fault. Writers need to take responsibility for their own work, for the decisions they make regarding it. And those who give feedback need to let them.

        The quality of the writing is another reason I don't respond to the script pages forum more often. I'm astonished sometimes by the lack of basic English skills displayed by people who apparently hope that someone will pay them lots of money for writing. Sometimes I've read things that are the equivalent of a would-be carpenter who doesn't know how to use a hammer. It's important that the writer be told about that, in a gentle way, but I don't want the role of providing that kind of feedback again and again. This person may be spending a lot of money and time writing, may be neglecting other interests or relationships to pursue screenwriting, and this may be one of the few places to person has to get that kind of information while remaining anonymous.

        Poor writing skills hurts credibility, at least it does for me. Even when I read posts here, if someone consistently has problems with standard English, I have trouble lending credence to the content of the post. Maybe it's my own touch of arrogance coming out, but this is supposed to be a writer's board. If we were discussing something other than writing, it wouldn't bother me so much. I just feel that here, of all places, posters should take the time and effort to create correct writing.

        Another reason that it is good to point out problems is that every writer makes errors that they read past while they're editing their own stuff. That's why we need editors. Personally, I have to pause and ponder its and it's every time. I remember reading somewhere around here a debate about whether it was "principal photography" or "principle photography." That's the sort of mistake I would make, and I would want it pointed out to me. I'd feel foolish to find out I'd just sent an e-mail to a professional and chose the wrong word. (For those who don't know: "The Complete Film Dictionary" descibes principal photography as the main photography for a film that includes the performers, as distinguished from photography by the second unit, which normally concentrates on setting and background work. Principle photography is not in the dictionary.)

        That's a lot to say when I'm supposed to be screenwriting. :\ But I think it's an important topic. How we critique can be as important as what we say, since a reckless and arrogant approach can cause a writer to feel defensive and miss important points. At the same time, writers need to choose how they want to handle feedback and weigh its validity.


        • #19

          Produced films often read well because you can see the movie playing out in your head. Even if you haven't seen the film, you know whose in it, who directed, and you can picture the movie in your mind as you read the words out aloud no matter how badly it is written on a prose level.

          If you have a great story, then you have to get out of your own way and write tight desscriptions, avoid excessive 'we sees' & camera directions, and write with active verb choices.


          • #20
            Re: RE:


            I don't think spelling and grammar errors should be ignored but when that's the only feedback, especially on pages that have merit, it's a let down for all of us who can learn something from the feedback on anyone's pages.


            When I read Vig's pages, I comment on charcater, plot, dialogue (dialogue being his biggest strength) and then add:
            "Vig, you have some spelling errors, remember: spellcheck is your friend."

            Frankly, it's a bore reading feedback where each and every spelling error is pointed out and little is said about the actual story. But that's just me. Maybe spelling and grammar excites others more.

            I also think the best critiques point out what WORKS as well as what doesn't work. Sometimes writers don't even know when they hit the mark. A good critique points out successes as well as failures.

            The best advice I got, way back on my very first script was, coincidentally, given to me by Vig's brother, Rand, who read the entire script.

            He went scene by scene telling me what didn't work, but then he hit a scene he felt really worked, and said something like, "If you can get all your scenes to read like this one, the script will be better. "

            That was incredibly helpful to me. I now had my own benchmark, I now understood where I was "mentally" when I write the "good scene" and now understood why other scenes failed miserably by conparison.

            Since then, when I critique others' pages, I use Rand's technique. "Hey, fellow writer, the dialogue on page 22 rocked now get all your other dialogue up to the same standard."

            Or, "Hey, character X jumps off the page, excellent. How come the rest of your characters sound like cardboard cut-outs? Look at why Character X jumps off the page, and use the same technique with the others."


            PS. I was joking about sold writers jumping the DD ship, even though many have in the past.


            • #21
              Anyone who makes claims to know and observe rules of this craft has immediately limited themselves.

              There are, no doubt, age old principles that can apply to stories universally whether stage, screen, or novel. But screenwriting has no rules to it, you can say whatever you want, however you want, no rules.

              And in the end, IMO, when any of our scripts are sitting on whoevers desk for evaluation, the deciding factor will never be format. Story is King.


              • #22

                Come on, Cy: "format"?

                You know this isn't about format. It's about editing and rewriting in order to shape the prose into a clear, concise and strong read.

                Yes, I know STORY IS KING.

                I only mentioned it a million times for the benifit of members like you who get upset when someone takes a moment to give advice on minor editing that'll help improve the read and not talking about character development, scene construction, etc. at that time.

                You know new writers overwrite and their prose is sloppy and sometimes boring. And yes, they need to improve on character development, etc., but this doesn't mean they can't fit some time in on their learning arc to gain some knowledge on some minor editing advice.

                You fly the "STORY IS KING" banner like why bother gaining knowledge on minor details. That won't get your script rejected.

                This may be true what you say, but still, if one can learn how to make the read clear, concise and strong as possible, I say it'll help your chances of breaking in more than it would hurt.

                When it comes to creativity, yes, there are no absolute rules where you MUST do this or that, but there are principles and guidelines that proved in the past to work if one desires to craft an entertaining and compelling story.

                A writer needs to learn these rules, principles, guidelines before he decides to break them.

                EDITED TO ADD:

                sc, I understand what you're saying with vig's example and I agree. Also, it was the same case with WritePro. Members told him he needs to work on spelling and grammar, but at the same time gave him feedback on his story.

                It was just with the example I gave the writer's spelling was so bad that it looked like he didn't even make an effort at all and DD members took offense and asked him to clean it up before they gave their feedback.


                • #23
                  Re: re

                  Why does this topic always seem to coincide with a critique given to a professional's work posted in script pages? I mean, Jeeze Louise, if you're willing to post your pages and you are a professional... Who cares? Do you think that negative opinion is going to have that much of an impact on that someone posting additional pages? Is the ego that fragile at this stage in the game? Yes?
                  So what.

                  I can't tell you how many times that I've read pseudo-called professionals, list pages that were horrible. Are we to just say, "Ah, what the hell, just look at all of the awards or success the person says that they've had... I'll just ignore this or that, 'cause hey, they must know what they're doing". And then someone else comes along with a newbie handle, with better pages, and is given an in depth bashing, because again, hey, they're new and it shows, right? Wrong. You know what, I've read pages that were just as bad, and good, from both -- Usually better from former.

                  The thing that irks me the most is when someone lists all of their awards and we're supposed to overlook obvious errors, not excluding story, and placate a bruised ego... From a critique? Come on. I mean, I've read pages from some (not Bligh or Ham) that (at least they sd. they were pros or repped) with so many spelling, grammatical, structural problems/errors it was hodge podge to say the least. Some can't even get the slugs right. So, at what point do you overlook the 'minor things' for... you know.



                  • #24
                    Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)

                    i was attacked by a bare just the other day.



                    • #25
                      Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)

                      Okay- I admit I just came in here to add some levity and zing Vig for his Bare/bear typo in the initial post...
                      I think that spelling and grammatical errors are the least of your problems, Buzz:

                      INT. NYC MANHATTAN CITY STREETS

                      This would be a better place to start.


                      Edited to add: Happy now bottom? : ).


                      • #26
                        Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)

                        Okay- I admit I just came in here to add some levity and zing Vig for his Bare/bear typo in the initial post...

                        Then I got to the last post.

                        "pseudo-called professionals" ?

                        "hodge podge to say the least" ?

                        Abbreviating the word "said" ?

                        Who died and left KW as the grammar cop in this town?


                        • #27
                          Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)

                          spelling and grammatical errors is the least of your problems
                          ...are the least of your problems.



                          • #28
                            Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)



                            • #29
                              Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)

                              I was going to post some wiseass comment in response to Hamboog's last sentence, but after reading this thread, I'm all outta wise.

                              (And why do I get the sinking feeling that Scott Frank, Cameron Crowe and Robert Towne would, in some DDers' eyes, fall into the category of "mediocre pros(e)"?)


                              • #30
                                Re: Bare with Bear. (WARNING: LEVITY)