Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Regarding Script Coverage...

I've recently been in a back and forth with a fellow screenwriter who's relatively new to the game, and had a few questions regarding screenwriting. I'm always happy (not to mention honored and flattered - it's not like I've sold anything. Yet.) to help out where I can. My friend's last set of questions had to do with script coverage (I had mentioned that I received a "Consider" ranking on a screenplay I had sent in) and after answering the questions, I thought I'd share both queries and responses here, for anyone who may benefit.

HOW DID YOU RECEIVE A "CONSIDER?"

I received a "consider" simply by submitting a well-written script. Well, I say simple, but we both know that's easier said than done. The draft I submitted was competently written, nothing flashy or overly stylish. It's nowhere near the level I can do now, but it was solid. I had taken my time to write, get opinions and rewrite. I had basic formatting down from a book I'd had since college, so that helped.

WAS IT HARD TO DO AND WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR IN A SCRIPT?

As for what they're looking for: a well-written script. That's all. It doesn't even matter what genre, because they're not there to judge. Some companies do add in a category addressing the marketability of a script, but that has nothing to do with the QUALITY of it. As long as you present well-rounded characters, a protagonist, antagonist, increasing complications, a well laid-out plot and a theme weaved into the main and/or subplot(s), you should be good. Well, and, make it interesting.

WHEN I'M WRITING A SCRIPT, HOW CAN I TARGET A "CONSIDER" FROM THE COMPANIES THAT GIVE IT COVERAGE?

There's no way to target a "consider." Just write the best script that you can. And learn how to take criticism (It took me a while to master that - at least without getting angry if the person had actual criticisms - ultimately, the anger/embarrassment was really at myself. Long story). Solicit at least three opinions from folks, writers or not, that you know will give you honest feedback. I say "writers or not" because while another writer can give you valuable insight on format, description, enhancing theme, action or dialogue, the average person will tell you if they like your story or not, which is important. After all, they're the ones who will make your movie a success or failure when (cross your fingers) it gets produced and projected at the multiplexes. Therefore, it never hurts to know that Joe and Jane Q. Public are on your side going in.

Lupus Moon Update #18

Finished the action pass on the script last night and will start the dialogue pass later today.

The current page count is 109, with is one page shy of the page limit I originally set. I don't expect the script to get longer at this point; if anything, it'll get shorter as I polish the dialogue. This pass shouldn't take nearly as long and in a perfect world, I'd love to have it done by Friday. But if it bleeds into the weekend, I won't mind. I'm looking forward to sending this off and jumping into Hardwired, though.

STAY TUNED...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lupus Moon Update #17

Still slogging through the action phase of rewrites. On page 97 of the screenplay. Good thing is I've whittled the total pages from 116 to 110, which was the "if I had my way" goal when I started the script. I might be able to get it to 109 before I'm done, which would be icing on the cake.

There's a lot of action in this script - perhaps more than I've ever written - so I'm trying to make sure it's as smooth and quick a read as possible - and it still might be too much. I've mentioned the screenplay for Batman Begins before and, thinking back to it, I'm amazed at how much action Goyer and Nolan packed into such short action bits. You see the action onscreen and it's all there in the script; it just doesn't take as much room in their script as it does in mine. Still, they used some techniques and styles with their work that I don't feel natural using, and at the end of the day, I gotta be me. I know I should have read more action scripts before I got into this to see how others have handled it, but I was just too eager to get at it.

Either way, I can't wait to see what the coverage company will have to say about it. Hopefully this is much ado about nothing. I certainly hope so.

STAY TUNED...