The Two POVs of screenwriting

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  • The Two POVs of screenwriting

    As someone who has read well over 50 amateur scripts, you know what lets call them 'unproduced' scripts cause I know lots of people hate the word 'amateur'. I can tell the up and coming writers here that you probably do not have a grasp on the two POVs of screenwriting. I'm not saying this to be snobby or a know it all. This is being said out of pure observation. You are not looking at your stories from both POVs. You need both a bird's eye POV and a nose to nose POV of the material. You need a view that allows you to see the story in one snapshot, like you are looking at it from Google maps. You need to see the progressions and complications to your plot as one complete picture. This is the development side of the process. That's when you build this point of view. Then you also need to get nose to nose, face to face with the material to add the detail. That's the sitting in the chair, writing part. In every unproduced script I've read, it was clear that the writer did not have a good bird's eye view of the story. Plots went on tangents, lingered, circled back around, and very quickly become stale.

    A lot of times people get on my case here because they feel I have no right to generalize amateur screenwriting. My answer is to them is they haven't read enough amateur screenwriting yet. If you can't write a general coverage that probably could fit any of the tens of thousands of amateur scripts registered each year with the WGA then you have not read enough.

    If you turned a door knob 49 times and every time you did you received a shock, what would you expect on the 50th something different? If you think I can't generalize the majority of amateur scripts then you haven't read enough or you don't know any better yet.

    Most people suck at constructing the bird's eye view, but they don't mind sitting in the chair writing the pages. I'm the opposite. I have a real knack for the bird's eye POV and I can't get my butt in the chair for nothing. I can blame it on a whole host of things but at the end of the day it's about will power, desire, and work ethic. I'm not giving up on the dream of writing the great script inside of me like any one of you out there with the same dream. I know that I do not have the desire to do so right now, nor the time.

    With the few clients I picked up from DDP into my new development service, I am teaching them things, and I don't say teaching to be braggadocious, I say teaching because I've had all of them say things to me like, "oh, I see what you are saying now" or "That plot twist is intriguing'. As we talk daily by email about their stories. I send them some plot examples that sends their train of thinking to a much deeper level then it was when they wrote what they sent me. I'm provoking them to think a certain way and about certain particular things and how these things will be answered in their script. What sucks for me is they won't need me probably for, not the next but the next script after that. Once they develop two scripts with me, they will be able to do the third on their own.

    The plotting of the story happens in the bird's eye view, you make it come alive with the details during the writing. But if you are working from an incomplete or an obstructed view, the details will not only not matter but they will be so laborious to get through that whoever is reading the script will either start skimming or just put it down.

  • #2
    Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

    I'd like to think most people here know the value of seeing the whole story/structure in front of them and trying to identify where it is being let down.

    I was providing coverage for a two bit production company for a while and in that time I got to read a variety of amateur screenplays. The vast majority were awful with the odd glimmer of talent but for most of them structure or anything like that was never the issue. For the most part the beats all happened as you would expect which I suppose is part of the issue.

    Dialogue was always a big issue. Just the hokiest crap you could imagine. Character motivations never really made sense. Betrayals happened for the sake of it. Always derivative, never a fresh concept or a decent take on an old concept. Comedy scripts written by people who aren't funny which happens far too often. With that all tied together I guess they lack that true sense of identity or voice. Which is what I think those two POVs can be boiled down to, Voice and Craft. Both are essential and you really need to spend a lot of time to develop both.

    The issue is that people can give you some really helpful advice with Craft but when it comes to voice you're all alone.

    Like you I struggle to actually sit down and do the writing. And when I do I keep intentionally working on stuff that I know will be an absolute structural nightmare. I start the simple ones and get sidetracked because I know the complicated ones will turn out brilliant or awful.

    I agree with you that good feedback is essential when you're starting out. There was a user here who read my first script and sold his script around the same time and with some brief notes he really taught me a lot going forward. Others were less helpful but I don't see them around here anyway.

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    • #3
      Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

      Voice is either going to be there or it isn't. Any writer sitting down trying to be conscious of their voice, I wish them well. Voice has lots of factors. Genre. Concept. Structure. Themes, to name a few. Writing style is another. Either you form a voice or you don't. Doesn't matter how hard you try.

      You know why dialogue is bad? And by bad I mean not on topic, not poignant, not revealing. Because the writer is trying to use this story function, dialogue, without having the proper story elements cemented in place: motives, goals, obstacles, themes. How could you properly use a function of story without having the proper elements in your story? It's like driving a car with no gas. Which means you're pushing it, and that's just as painful as reading bad dialogue.

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      • #4
        Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

        Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
        As someone who has read well over 50 amateur scripts, you know what lets call them 'unproduced' scripts cause I know lots of people hate the word 'amateur'. I can tell the up and coming writers here that you probably do not have a grasp on the two POVs of screenwriting. I'm not saying this to be snobby or a know it all. This is being said out of pure observation.
        Most people suck at constructing the bird's eye view, but they don't mind sitting in the chair writing the pages. I'm the opposite. I have a real knack for the bird's eye POV and I can't get my butt in the chair for nothing. I can blame it on a whole host of things but at the end of the day it's about will power, desire, and work ethic. I'm not giving up on the dream of writing the great script inside of me like any one of you out there with the same dream. I know that I do not have the desire to do so right now, nor the time.

        With the few clients I picked up from DDP into my new development service, I am teaching them things, and I don't say teaching to be braggadocious, I say teaching because I've had all of them say things to me like, "oh, I see what you are saying now" or "That plot twist is intriguing'. .
        Wow. I'm not usually someone to troll people on the Internet, but you've read "over 50" unproduced screenplays and those writers don't have what it takes. You have it, but you don't have the desire or time to write. So you start up a development service?

        Really?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

          No, it's ok. Troll away.

          Why don't we do this, since I grew up in the sh!t talking capital of the world and by this time in my life I have no tolerance for it anymore.

          Why don't TitansCreed, Scriptgal, EXTHollywood, and any other person in the business of giving writers notes as their business take on a script totally free of charge. I will too. Let's let that writer rank the coverage given.

          If I'm not #1 or #2 I'll stop the development business. You organize that cvolante and get back to me. Other than that don't be talkin' sh!t to me.

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          • #6
            Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

            Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
            No, it's ok. Troll away.

            Why don't we do this, since I grew up in the sh!t talking capital of the world and by this time in my life I have no tolerance for it anymore.

            Why don't TitansCreed, Scriptgal, EXTHollywood, and any other person in the business of giving writers notes as their business take on a script totally free of charge. I will too. Let's let that writer rank the coverage given.

            If I'm not #1 or #2 I'll stop the development business. You organize that cvolante and get back to me. Other than that don't be talkin' sh!t to me.
            Laughing my ass off at the thought of a bunch of teens throwing shade on each others script critiques.

            In all seriousness though what's in it for them?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

              For me, the problem is that I often have a bird's vision of the story… I know where things came from and where they are going. But when I sit in the chair and attempt to convert this into scenes, endless possibilities open in my mind. Should I show this person, or those talking about him, first? I know the heroine will be taken away by the villain, but should it happen stealthily or violently? Those choices bug me all the time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                What's in it for them? A lot. We get everyone here in the story advice business and let them get ranked. What if they are ranked #1 on Done Deal? That wouldn't improve their businesses?

                I'll give you a little hint. I've seen some of the coverage given by some of the people I mentioned. I feel very confident in my chances to be #1.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                  Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
                  What's in it for them? A lot. We get everyone here in the story advice business and let them get ranked. What if they are ranked #1 on Done Deal? That wouldn't improve their businesses?

                  I'll give you a little hint. I've seen some of the coverage given by some of the people I mentioned. I feel very confident in my chances to be #1.
                  You're complaining about trash talking and you're throwing it at people who haven't said anything to you.

                  They stand to gain nothing. They prove nothing off of the rankings of one person. They're already making money providing coverage. Rather than trash talking them you should grow up and seek their advice.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                    We could have a few scripts read, I don't care. I'm not throwing thing at you Connor. Someone is talking smack to me and you jumped in. Now you are projecting my rant to be about you, it's not.

                    Figment, I remember your story vaguely. What I'm doing for people now is a far cry from what I was doing two years ago on a friendly read offer.

                    I'll gladly participate in any such event. Cause that's the only way to find out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                      Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
                      What's in it for them? A lot. We get everyone here in the story advice business and let them get ranked. What if they are ranked #1 on Done Deal? That wouldn't improve their businesses?
                      Not sure if ranking people is a good idea -- writers want different things from coverage, because Writers are different.

                      Notes I don't consider to be brutal would crush someone else. Other people want chatty notes, and to be told what to do, how to write, the kind of notes that drive me crazy. You'd have to take both style and content into consideration. It really can't be done.

                      Though we can all agree that BL "notes" are the suckiest, I think.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                        Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
                        We could have a few scripts read, I don't care. I'm not throwing thing at you Connor. Someone is talking smack to me and you jumped in. Now you are projecting my rant to be about you, it's not.

                        Figment, I remember your story vaguely. What I'm doing for people now is a far cry from what I was doing two years ago on a friendly read offer.

                        I'll gladly participate in any such event. Cause that's the only way to find out.
                        ...No I was on about you hurling crap in the direction of TitanCreed et al. They haven't done anything to you except make money at something you want to make money at.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                          Originally posted by figment View Post
                          Though we can all agree that BL "notes" are the suckiest, I think.
                          I really should have asked for my money back.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                            Originally posted by TheConnorNoden View Post
                            You're complaining about trash talking and you're throwing it at people who haven't said anything to you.

                            They stand to gain nothing. They prove nothing off of the rankings of one person. They're already making money providing coverage. Rather than trash talking them you should grow up and seek their advice.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The Two POVs of screenwriting

                              Originally posted by Cyfress View Post
                              Figment, I remember your story vaguely. What I'm doing for people now is a far cry from what I was doing two years ago on a friendly read offer.
                              Yeah, I agree that it probably is very different than what you are doing now.

                              Comment

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