Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

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  • #16
    Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

    Originally posted by DavidK View Post
    It's impossible for someone else to recommend which of your scripts is the best for you to work on now, but I adhere the above comments about passion. I think it makes sense to work on the story you are most excited about or motivated by and focus on that first. Your enthusiasm will show in the writing. That won't stop you doing what a lot of writers also do, which is make notes about other things when you need/want to. Like NMS I don't get the long/short term value/appeal thing.
    I agree with passion. Last year I had two ideas to chose from and my friends told me to write one idea so I started and my passion was in it at the time. But then the other idea started pulling hard at me, where I couldn't really focus on the current idea and next thing you know I dropped my project I was writing and started the other one. Now I just finished rewriting it and plan to put it on the BL and i'm happy with my decision.

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    • #17
      Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

      I agree, it does depend on the "feeling it" and passion. I was interested in hearing thoughts about how folks select their next project. And I don't expect DDP-ers to select my next project.

      My concern was that I have had some preoccupation with a script that may be more of a distraction than other script projects in my queue. My current preoccupation is a comedy. It's of short term value in that it's a respite from the other genres. It's long term value as far as my genre-writing is limited. It's definitely out of my usual fare. Only I can talk myself out if it, that I know.

      But I do think there's a mixture of feeling it and is this the right script to pursue at this time. For instance, I've had two contained thrillers get some traction out there. I have two Sci-Fi action scripts that are getting read. The other scripts in the queue are more in line with those genres, and make more sense to write, in the long run.

      Ultimately I'd love to write in any genre, but that doesn't happen so much. You find your genre(s) and or it finds you. Sure there's a little cross-over. If you write a hysterically funny heist movie, you could get assigned to polish up a comedy that has a robbery as its central story.

      But a manager/agent then sees you in that genre. You can either you hit with a spec sale and or writing sample that leads to assignment work, but it's within that genre. Your genre is how you as a writer get pitched. There are exceptions, but I don't think Jon Spaihts will be writing any rom-coms anytime soon. S. Craig Zahler won't be writing a Will Ferrell comedy, etc.

      Please let me know if this POV/recap is way off base, or if I'm talking out of my ass.

      I've got a number of scripts under my belt, and other scripts ahead of me, so yeah I am glad to have options for my next script. Which one will choose me and or vice versa, is in the process.

      For instance yesterday before I posted this thread, I opened three of the four scripts in FD. And I ended up working on the comedy.

      And NMS I will take a further look at the story development process and if some of the ideas need further gestation etc.

      And I'll stay away from analogies involving and the Vatican in the future, and posting while under the influence of ambien.

      Thanks for the feedback.
      Last edited by Ire; 07-03-2013, 03:52 PM.
      #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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      • #18
        Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

        Originally posted by Ire View Post
        I need to think out loud since the various voices inside my head have been quiet since I started my meds.

        I've got four script ideas to choose from. Let's say "I believe" they're each possibly of equal value to my "career." One has more appeal to my immediate quality of life, but might have less value in the long term. The second one has a longer term value, but lesser immediate appeal. The last two are of a longer term value to my writing life, and I'm not feeling the momentum with them. I know "write what makes you happy", but I feel like my immediate happiness could be in conflict with my longer term happiness...

        If, for example a miracle occurred, signed off by the Vatican, and I had four women to choose from... One woman appealed to me because she was the casual sleepover with less long term possibility, but the other 3 were longer term possibilities and had their strengths/weaknesses, but each required longer term commitment and work. I could see wanting to have fun with the woman with benefits as what makes me "happy" in the meantime. Yes, that would conflict with the folks at the Vatican anyhoo...

        3 are outlined in various stages, and 1 is to be outlined, but I think I can beat it out fairly easily...

        Aside from reps/managers input, if any, I was wondering how you make your decisions about choosing your next spec script?

        Your thoughts...?

        I would create 1 paragraph summarizing each one, that gives you a good idea of what each is about. Show them to friends, test the waters with strangers, see what the most compelling premise is. I have the same problem.

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        • #19
          Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

          Originally posted by VincentHannah View Post
          I would create 1 paragraph summarizing each one, that gives you a good idea of what each is about. Show them to friends, test the waters with strangers, see what the most compelling premise is. I have the same problem.
          Thanks, I am trying something like this. And for one of the scripts, the decision has already been made for me.
          #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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          • #20
            Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

            Like a Super Ball made of synthetic Zextron rubber (invented by chemist Norman Stingley), sometimes a screenwriter just has to bounce from one project to another if only for the fun of it. If the enthusiasm isn't there, then the ball won't bounce very high. Switch off to the one you care about most on the day you set about putting the figurative pen to virtual paper.

            By the way, I 'got' the allusion/symbolic reference of the four women corresponding to the four screenplays (just what does that say about me, I wonder?).
            "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

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            • #21
              Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

              Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
              Like a Super Ball made of synthetic Zextron rubber (invented by chemist Norman Stingley), sometimes a screenwriter just has to bounce from one project to another if only for the fun of it. If the enthusiasm isn't there, then the ball won't bounce very high. Switch off to the one you care about most on the day you set about putting the figurative pen to virtual paper.

              By the way, I 'got' the allusion/symbolic reference of the four women corresponding to the four screenplays (just what does that say about me, I wonder?).
              I'd say be concerned, but if you start to hear voices pitching you screenplay ideas, when you're alone, be very concerned, be very, very concerned. Just take their pitch and ask for a treatment.
              #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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              • #22
                Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

                Originally posted by nmstevens View Post
                To be brutally honest -- the whole long-term, short term relationship Vatican metaphor thing? It's going completely over my head. I don't get it at all.

                I'm afraid I've just never had that kind of relationship with any script of mine. Considering that I've written around a hundred at this stage of my career (sold and unsold), I guess I'd have to be Joseph Smith to even keep track of them.

                Part of what I use to decide what to write (apart from strictly practical questions of what I think is likely to sell) has to do with when an idea is "ripe."

                That's sort of difficult to quantify but I think most writers sort of get what I mean. I've had some ideas hit me right out of the blue and I can see immediately how the whole thing lays out. It's all just there, good to go.

                And I've written scripts like that -- where I've gotten the idea and sat down and written the whole thing within a couple weeks.

                And there ideas I've had -- ideas that I really like, but they just never quite come together. Or else it takes a long time for me to crack them.

                And those ideas, if you try to force them -- to write them before they've ripened, I've found that it's really just a waste of time. I've wasted a lot of time trying to write those movies before they're ready. And sometimes they never get written or else I waste a lot of time and effort on false starts and half-completed drafts that get thrown away before I finally manage to figure out how to crack the story -- where I should have just waited a bit and let the thing cook until it was ready to go.

                And I still have ideas that I think are good and for some reason, they've never quite clicked. Still don't know why. Still waiting for it to happen. And maybe it never will.

                I think a story, on some level, has to tell you when it's ready for you to write it.

                NMS
                Yes! Its always been my experience that if I try and write a script before it is ready to be written (spec scripts here), it won't work as well as if I just waited until it was ready to be born. May do research, make notes, scribble scene skeletons down, but ... I can tell when a script is ready to be born. If I rush it, it is stillborn, never to recover.

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                • #23
                  How Do You Choose...?

                  Originally posted by Ire View Post
                  Your thoughts...?
                  Only four women?


                  Those inner voices sometimes need to be heard.

                  Don't restrict yourself to the most immediate nor convenient choices.

                  Writing is an occupation that is frequently done alone and in the dark, without witnesses to the processes employed.

                  It may be better just to lock yourself away in a room, start on a fresh project, explore new ideas, and to get the work done, quickly.

                  Keep those writing skills sharp and handy.

                  Don't worry about the Vatican, the agents, the managers, the Freemasons nor the Juwes.

                  Just write!
                  Last edited by Fortean; 07-24-2013, 08:51 AM.
                  JEKYLL & CANADA (free .mp4 download @ Vimeo.com)

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                  • #24
                    Re: How Do You Choose...?

                    I need to research to make sure it hasn't been done before...
                    ... then I bounce it off people to get their reactions.
                    ... then make sure it's a concept/idea that will be a movie and have reps and execs excited about it.
                    ... Then passion. I ask myself if I can "kill it" and is it totally in my self inflicted brand/wheelhouse.

                    EJ

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                    • #25
                      Re: How Do You Choose...?

                      Originally posted by Fortean View Post
                      Only four women?


                      Those inner voices sometimes need to be heard.

                      Don't restrict yourself to the most immediate nor convenient choices.

                      Writing is an occupation that is frequently done alone and in the dark, without witnesses to the processes employed.

                      It may be better just to lock yourself away in a room, start on a fresh project, explore new ideas, and to get the work done, quickly.

                      Keep those writing skills sharp and handy.

                      Don't worry about the Vatican, the agents, the managers, the Freemasons nor the Juwes.

                      Just write!
                      Thanks for the feedback, folks! I think there are some great ideas in this thread for writers who are choosing their next project.

                      Fortean, I especially worry about Freemasons, in my wordpress blog "I Especially Worry About the Freemasons" I explain it all, but somehow that blog went missing. I'm not saying there's a conspiracy, but I'm just saying'...
                      #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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                      • #26
                        Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

                        Total newbie here... all your posts have helped me feel a bit more on track so my thanks to you as well!

                        I am following the passion on more than one at a time as well ... I was planning on sending queries out now that I have a completed Treatment for a TV drama (USA copyright and registered with the WGAW) and another Treatment soon ready for the same (Movie -Rom Com) as well as about 7 more waiting for me to start. Is it ok to do this (send out the queries) before I have a script for the first show (pilot) written up? I have started the screenplay for the movie but wanted to finish up Project #1 (TV show).

                        I am new to this site as well so I apologize if I have posted in the wrong spot and if I have hi-jacked the from the OP here!

                        Thanks!

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                        • #27
                          Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

                          Originally posted by MsBif View Post
                          Total newbie here... all your posts have helped me feel a bit more on track so my thanks to you as well!

                          I am following the passion on more than one at a time as well ... I was planning on sending queries out now that I have a completed Treatment for a TV drama (USA copyright and registered with the WGAW) and another Treatment soon ready for the same (Movie -Rom Com) as well as about 7 more waiting for me to start. Is it ok to do this (send out the queries) before I have a script for the first show (pilot) written up? I have started the screenplay for the movie but wanted to finish up Project #1 (TV show).

                          I am new to this site as well so I apologize if I have posted in the wrong spot and if I have hi-jacked the from the OP here!

                          Thanks!
                          Nobody is likely to request a treatment for a script (AFAIK). If they are intrigued by the premise, they will also want to see how you execute that premise as a writer in script form.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Spec Writers, How Do You Choose Which Script To Write?

                            With great difficulty. But choose we must.

                            And, as someone else pointed out, there's no law against developing more than one at a time. Some feel it's healthier to focus solely on one and write it without the distraction of others. Other writers feel the opposite, that it's good to have secondary ones to fall back on and work on when feeling overwhelmed by the primary one (I tend to agree with this latter camp).

                            Maybe it's some form of insecurity, but I like the feeling of having several concepts on deck and feeling almost forced to have to focus on one. If I had only one and nothing else cooking, I think I'd be worried about that (the dearth of other projects waiting).

                            But beware that juggling can also be a form of procrastination as well.

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