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Monday, September 21, 2009

Writing and reading screenplays

I love this post by Jane Kosek. I also read "I will not read your fucking script" a few days ago, and figured someone would write that eventually! ;) What started out as a post to Jane's response turned in to a looooooong paragraph, so I decided to just elaborate on the subject here. Screenplays are a labor of love on both ends (writer/reader). If writers are REALLY passionate & serious about their craft, then they should find someone (i.e. script consultant, person in writers group, peer feedback) to get thoughtful feedback from, rather than beg or just wait for someone they know in the biz to read it - especially if they're looking for honesty. Even though it's not rocket science, it's really hard for friends to read a script if they're not familiar with the format, and especially if they're not interested in reading it to begin with! Think about how long it took you to learn HOW to effectively write one! And if they do read it, it's hard for them to give you honest feedback if they don't like it, unless they're a professional screenwriter too, in which case, hopefully there's a mutually mature respect there that can be used to its advantage. So, why beg or just wait around on someone to read your work? Begging doesn't equate to a go-getter, so don't confuse the aggression. Being thoughtful and savvy, however, will lead you to finding the right person/people who can help guide you in the right direction. So what if you have a friend of a friend in an agency? Is that different? Well, kinda. Mostly because they're probably not going to even read it - but their intern might. So sure, be more aggressive. Scream the loudest. If you've worked your ass off on it for months/years, crossed every T, done all necessary homework on the subject, researched the agency, and have a connection - then make that call. But I would encourage you to send your BEST work, because like they say, you won't have a second chance to make that first impression. Friend or no friend, it's still a business, and time is money. Furthermore, if you're not able to accept constructive criticism and work your BUTT off until you almost no longer have one, then I feel compelled to say - this business ain't for you. I've often wondered if it's right for me - but my next immediate thought is that there's NOTHING else in the world I'd want to be doing, and there it is - in bright red letters screaming - my answer. Just like any relationship, there's someone out there FOR YOU. Someone that will help you, guide you, with a tender loving touch (well, not physically I hope) and they'll enjoy every step of the way. Someone that will respect you, and believe in you. They know that you have what it takes at times you don't. In this roller coaster of a ride, who do you want by your side? Someone that will scream? Or someone that will smile and say, "breathe.. it's OK." Just keep working, keep perfecting your craft, and find people that WANT to be part of it. Remember, just like your motivation to write it, they have to have a motivation to read it!

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