My first screenplay...



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  • My first screenplay...

    Just thought I'd say hi, since I've been lurking the past few weeks. I am a relatively new writer. I am unrepped and don't have any "in." I've got a career doing something completely different, but I wouldn't mind a change if I find out I've got the talent to get paid to write.

    I wrote my first screenplay a little over two years ago. After 5 months at the coffee shop with Pandora's classical music playing in my headphones, the script was completed. 1.5 years of doing nothing and revisions and I finally decided I was sick enough of it to try to get it out there.

    Here's what I've done so far:

    - Submitted to BlueCat and Script Pipeline in the last year and didn't place in either.

    - Went to a small pitch festival earlier this summer, which was interesting. Submitted my script to one manager, gave a few one sheets to some others. I've probably sent out a little over 20 cold queries, and I've gotten a read request from one.

    - Submitted to Blcklst a couple of weeks ago for a paid review this month. Received an overall score of 6 today. It was a little disappointing, but I know I would've gotten at least a 9 or 10 if there was a spelling category.
    The paid reader wrote a log line that did not match what happens in the plot, but there was some constructive criticism in the evaluation that I will look at in depth.

    The reason I'm posting this is because I've been looking through the old threads here for the past few weeks and I've become encouraged and inspired by some of the success stories. I want to be one of those success stories.

    So here we go.

  • #2
    Re: My first screenplay...

    Ted, you certainly dived right into the deep end of the pool.

    I don't think you mentioned any free feedback from fellow writers. Most people write a script or two or three and get some feedback from boards like this one as a way to start out. Posting some pages here will help you know whether your script is working.

    My own view (just an opinion) is that competitions are pretty much worthless. Some paid consultants are excellent, but it does not hurt to get some free opinions first before you invest money in a consultant.

    "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.


    • #3
      Re: My first screenplay...

      Before I start off with my answer I want to state that I am no way trying to say "look how much more I have done, you can't possibly be ready". I in no way think that and each one of us takes our own path towards our career. I just want to give a little background of how I have gotten to where I am.

      My writing partner and I started writing together 5 years ago. We finished our first script and we knew it was an awesome story. We just knew it. Then we sent it in for evaluations and sat back and waited for the accolades to roll in. They didn't. We were told it was a great idea for a story but a terrible script. Sucked at the time, hindsight tells me that they were right.

      Then we wrote another and another and another. Each one getting slightly better but no interest. Contests didn't even bother contacting us ever again, we did so poorly. Then... we made the second round of a contest. There was our name for the world to see. We were there... then we got knocked out in the next round.

      This kept going, we kept making baby steps, until we entered The Randall Wallace Round of The Industry Insider Contest.... and we won. We're actually off to see Mr. Wallace next week. From that win, people started taking our calls and returning our emails right away. But that doesn't mean they were foaming at the mouth to rep us. We kept meeting and talking to people. We went to Screenwriter's World Conference last year and made some good contacts, but they went dry. Then we went to Great American Pitchfest and made more contacts and started getting a lot of interest. One of the Producers we met has been talking to us all the time and reading more and more of those scripts we wrote, each time calling us back a little quicker. Finally he sent us an email two weeks ago with a sale sheet for a potential franchise. He wanted to know if it resonated with us as writers and wants to talk about it next week when we're in town.

      Long story longer? Don't focus on the end result and the payday. Focus on the steps you're making. To quote "What About Bob?" baby steps. Focus on the baby steps and always moving forward. Keep writing and improving in order to show them you are a viable investment. A 6 for a first and only script isn't bad at all. My first one probably wouldn't have gotten that. But the funny thing about our first script? It was the basis for the world we built our winning entry for the Industry Insider Contest. Now we have two scripts in the same world, and upon the advice of some Execs, have built a vertically intigrated World Bible of all the different stories available. So don't ever think you're first script is a throw away.

      Baby Steps.


      • #4
        Re: My first screenplay...

        Thanks for the replies!

        ComicBent: I noticed there are areas where we can get help with story development and script pages. I will definitely be using those. I'm currently analyzing the feedback so I can fully understand where the weaknesses are. The biggest critique had to do with the "looseness of the narrative structure."

        Dave22: Your story is exactly what I'm talking about. Hearing about you not giving up and now seeing the results of it is awesome. I look forward to being able to tell a story like that even if it's years down the line. Baby steps it is...


        • #5
          Re: My first screenplay...

          Great post. Made me really think about things differently. Thanks for that.