Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

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  • Why One
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    My guess would be to look at professional scripts. In the article, "Mike" says that professional writers like Alvin Sergeant don't make amateur mistakes. So, in terms of formatting, present your script in a professional manner: like pro scripts do.

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  • Aspirant
    Member

  • Aspirant
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    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    The script that got me attention and jobs on the feature side was an r-rated black comedy about the film industry. So, no.
    We're talking about formatting-type stuff, not genre.

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  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    The script that got me attention and jobs on the feature side was an r-rated black comedy about the film industry. So, no.

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  • Aspirant
    Member

  • Aspirant
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    Maybe you're right. I'm going to start following the rules, see if I can't finally break in.
    I'm asking this seriously, and I'll accept as truth any response you give: Would you say that, when you WERE trying to break in, you paid no more attention to the "rules" (what I'd prefer to call "traditional screenwriting conventions") than you do now?

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  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by Aspirant View Post
    I think this should give the "no rules" faction some pause.
    Maybe you're right. I'm going to start following the rules, see if I can't finally break in.

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  • ATB
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    The article doesn't mention spaces after periods, though.

    Most of what they're talking about is commonplace. We all know readers judge the font of the title page and the script's binding and length.

    But you don't hear them talking about spaces after periods.

    Personally, I think the one-space aides in the compact style of screenwriting. You're judged on white space. Every space counts.

    I don't want my 2 line action description to run over to a third line just because I'm worried I have to include two spaces after each period.

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  • ATB
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    And photos are rare... but if it helps? Why the hell not. If memory serves, "Looper" had a picture of a gun on the cover.
    Line of Sight by F. Scott Frazier had a TON of photos too.

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  • Aspirant
    Member

  • Aspirant
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    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by emily blake View Post
    Obviously, Jeff, I completely agree with you, but I am curious about your response to a Doug Richardson article that addresses this. I posted about it here:

    http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...641#post798641

    In the interests of keeping this thread on topic, which is now something of a lost cause anyway.
    Thanks, Emily. Here's the link directly:

    http://dougrichardson.com/2012/dead-on-arrival

    I think this should give the "no rules" faction some pause. The broader point he's making goes beyond fonts and title pages.

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  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    He talks about two classes of things. The second class isn't surprising: agents who read a lot would rather read shorter scripts, and agents who read a lot would rather have their scripts bound in a way that's easier for them to handle. I mean... that's kind of human nature. (I would observe that this must be an old conversation he's remembering - it's been awhile time since brads were relevant.)

    The first class he talks about is how the title page looks. No fancy fonts for the title, no pictures. He has his agents saying things like they'd never get a script from a valued client with those sins, because "great writers don't make those kind of mistakes." Bullshit. Go through the black list. Probably 25% of the scripts on it don't have the title in Courier. (Disclaimer: I sometimes use a different font for my title. It's a chance to visually set up my world before they open the script.)

    And photos are rare... but if it helps? Why the hell not. If memory serves, "Looper" had a picture of a gun on the cover. Honestly, I think the only reason there aren't more photos is because Final Draft makes it impossible to put them in.

    Actually, there's probably something to the "title page image = worse quality screenplay," because pro screenwriting programs make it hard to do, whereas an amateur writing a script on Microsoft Word can drop one in easily.

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  • AlexNoa
    Regular

  • AlexNoa
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Interesting article, Emily. I'm curious to know Jeff's thoughts on that as well.

    I agree, Jeff, that formatting rules are given too much credence. I think a possible remedy in the contest world, anyway, could be that formatting as a judging category should be eradicated completely. There is no other reason for it to exist other than to deduct merit from a script, and as long as the category exists, the potential for variance by readers in scoring exists. Instead, formatting could informally be folded into another category such as overall reading experience.

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  • emily blake
    Member

  • emily blake
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Obviously, Jeff, I completely agree with you, but I am curious about your response to a Doug Richardson article that addresses this. I posted about it here: http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...641#post798641

    In the interests of keeping this thread on topic, which is now something of a lost cause anyway.

    Leave a comment:

  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    It's always the same thing for the 1,000 "rules" that float around. Someone who has no idea what they're doing (like a reader for a small contest) will believe that their rules matter. And to puff themselves up, they'll tell you that they're right and you're wrong. They're rent-a-cops with a really loud whistle, because no one trusts them with a gun.

    And then some writer will give some variation of this rationale: "if it might offend/bother/throw off someone, why not avoid it?" I think you can see where this is going: you're afraid to use the very thing that might help give your script a voice or flavor or your fingerprint or whatever you want to call it.

    Because it isn't just one or two spaces - it's everything that someone starts a thread about here every three days. It's using songs in your script. It's having X number of characters, or line descriptions of Y length, or camera angles or talking to the reader or or or...

    But the thing is - where's the person who matters that actually cares about this shit? Actual credible people in the industry have their own styles, but they don't penalize you for yours if it's different.

    So who are these people who are making grown men soil themselves in fear of using one space after a period? I want names! I'm not talking about an unnamed reader from a small contest that has a box for "formatting." I'm not talking about a failed writer who's selling himself as an expert. I'm not talking about a guy who pretends he owns a production company on the internet. I'm talking about names, credits, someone working in the industry right now that we can look up and go "oh, okay. That guy's legit!"

    Where are they?

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  • AlexNoa
    Regular

  • AlexNoa
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
    What contest, Alex?
    It's one of the smaller contests, not the Nicholl.

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  • JeffLowell
    Member

  • JeffLowell
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    What contest, Alex?

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  • AlexNoa
    Regular

  • AlexNoa
    replied
    Re: Nicholl Fellowship 2012 open for submissions

    Both Aspirant and Jeff have made good points. My personal experience is I had one reader for a contest deduct points of my total score because of formatting. It was similar to the one sentence after spaces in that he objected to my use of cut to's and bold when I used it. Another reader didn't deduct for this formatting choice. The point totals with other scripts were close enough that I could've advanced to the next round had it not been for these deductions. So my view of formatting is colored by this experience. Some readers will deduct, some won't. Most contests have a scoring sheet for their readers with areas for point awardage, and formatting is one of them. I think what's more important is for the contest directors to instruct their readers to score according to the intent behind the rule, as some readers will be more strict or less strict. It all depends on the reader which is why contest directors should strive to make scoring, an already subjective process, less so especially given that formatting should not be a subjective experience.

    This experience only applies to contests, however. I remember reading on a site that at agencies and production companies, the readers were instructed not to include formatting in their coverage.

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