Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why Not Send A PDF Of Your Script First?

You know that this blog focuses on writing craftsmanship-- but keep in mind that this isn't the "old fashioned" or "trad publisher" type of writing.

The world is changing as much as it did with the deployment of the moveable type printing press.  The writer's business model has collapsed, and is being rebuilt along new lines.

The search for a new publishing model is thrashing through new territory.  Everyone who's ever considering going into "business" is searching for "talent" to "exploit".

You hear it on blogs everywhere -- "content" we need "content" -- what is that?  WRITING TO BE EXPLOITED.

Writers need to "search" for material as frantically as business folk are searching for a biz model.

BREAKING DAWN and HARRY POTTER films -- the new Spielberg WARHORSE -- they're hitting huge markets with common-denominator material, "Primal" material such as Blake Snyder teaches you to exploit in SAVE THE CAT!  Each of those films is a "Save The Cat!" example.

I found an interesting post on a new Facebook Group I joined (which I found via another blog which I found on the right margin of a LinkedIn page which I was on because of a comment that a LinkedIn writer had made on an update to my LinkedIn status ... whew!  The comment was from a screenwriter, and the blog on LinkedIn was about screenwriting, which cited this facebook screenwriting group on LinkedIn .... that's why it's called social networking!)

This is by a script "reader" (who makes a first judgement about projects) who is objecting to the amateurish over-eagerness of some writers attaching pdf files of an entire script to a mere first-query letter.

As you know, I watch the "Indie" markets -- film and publishing -- for what is being done with the new tools of this new world.  I'm aware of how much overflowing eagerness is driving young writers with a vision of what they could accomplish -- especially when these blockbuster films dangle vast sums of money before their eyes.

"I can do that, but I can do it "better"" they feel in every cell of their body.  Many, maybe most, are correct about that.  Nothing is being done to the fullest extent of the tools available (yet).

But when you have written the final scene of a story, you always feel it's the best thing that has been written ever -- (or sometimes the worst -- emotional "blow-off" is the state after finishing a draft).

The focus then shifts to either burying the thing in the backyard with a headstone, or trotting it out before the eyes of those who could get the film made, or the book published.

The "thebitterscriptreader" entry is about those writers who KNOW they've done something colossal, bigger than WARHORSE or POTTER, but either don't know what to do next, or don't know how to do it, or don't have the maturity to reign in their certainty and work through the next step.

What is that next step?

Well, this is depressing for some, but the next step is actually the FIRST step that should have been made on the project.  That's to articulate the CONCEPT in one line, develop it to a pitch, a paragraph, a page, 5 pages, synopsis.

If you develope a project from concept via those baby steps instead of leaping directly into writing the wondrous script, you can then tweak the statements in concept and pitch and construct your query letter/email.  And that query will indeed embody the essence of what you've written.

The reason people SEND that whole script when they should send only a query is that they don't know how to explain the driving essence, the true payload, the elegance, beauty and emotional PUNCH they have created in their script.  They can't "explain" it because it isn't clear.  It isn't clear because they wrote the project backwards, procedure wise.

How do I know this?  Been there, done that, got my head handed to me good and proper.  If you want the story, pick up a copy of UNTO ZEOR, FOREVER, or just peek "inside" on Amazon and read the introduction where I talk about how I learned.  ( find Unto on Amazon here )

Years and dozens of projects after you've learned to think "concept" first, then "market" then developing the pitch to take to market, then writing the story -- then you will be able to have an "idea" and just write it.  When you come to an "unclear" section or a wrong-step in your procedure, you'll go write up the "outline" or pitch or back cover copy, re-focus and know the next scene.

Here's one important secret.  The reason you want "thebitterscriptreader" to read your script is the reason you want to write that script -- which is the OPENING SCENE and FINAL SCENE connected by theme and illustrated by action and symbol.  In other words, it's the theme explicated into concrete images.

Everything else in your script has to be pared away -- don't weep, use it in another project, but get it out of the way of this project and focus this project on that one thing that will make this "bitter" reader grab it out of the avalanche of half-baked projects sluicing down at him seeing $$$$ all over it.

Just remember, if you have to attach the script, you've made a major error in writing it.

Here is the blog post on this blog about how to create that cover letter, the concept, and all the way up to the pitch that can sell the project, script unseen!

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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