Posts Tagged ‘script’

I occasionally read a friend’s work, a logline, a treatment, or a script and give feedback. I follow some simple rules when I do.

  • Don’t be personal: You don’t want to alienate your friend. Never use the word “you”, focus on the story, use it as a chance to learn about what works and doesn’t work.
  • Review all aspects of the story: Pay attention to formatting (scripts), structure, characters and mood. Is anything missing from the story?
  • Ask questions: Does something not make sense? Ask questions.
  • Give ideas/suggestions: Suggest ways that you might add to the story. The writer may use your idea, or it may be the spark for another idea.

The most important aspect of reviewing writing is trust. Are you trusted to give honest advice without being personal?

Here is one of my responses from a recent treatment for the pilot of a series I read:

 

I think it’s missing a punch, but I don’t have an answer for what that punch would/should be…AAGGH!!! 

Sorry I can’t give you more if I figure it out I’ll send it your way.

 

For me, the treatment was missing a gut punch at the end, the hook that makes people want to watch the next show.  Two days later I figured it out and suggested a change that was part of the story, but not obvious in the treatment. I suggested he highlight that bit of information to give the audience an additional reason to tune in again.

My suggestions may be ignored or used, it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that I gave them what they wanted, honest feedback.

If you are in a writers group, or helping out a friend, remember, give them what you would want, a straight forward honest reading of their work, with suggestions.

 

NOTE: I am still consider myself a neophyte when if comes to storytelling. I am always honored when my dear friends ask me to look at their writing. Their writing is far above anything I have written. They can easily produce 120 or more great pages for a script, I struggle to get to page 90.

So gather a circle of friends, or find yourself a writer’s group and get to work. Write. Review. Grow.

 

Did I miss anything? Don’t agree with me? Let me know, leave a comment.

 

Copyright © 2014 J. Power

All rights reserved.

 

 

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It’s true.

I don’t know a damn thing. I’ve taken writing courses, and each one makes me realize I still have too much to learn. It’s overwhelming, my lack of knowledge. How the hell did I get this far in life being so damned stupid???

I once wrote a paper in 10th grade that was supposed to use adverbs, adjectives, prepubescent pronouns (that’s not a thing, is it?), and a bunch of other things. Somehow all that shit got into my paper, I still don’t know how that happened. I got a perfect A++. I was the MAN! I knew it all. At some point between 10th grade and today, I lost it.

Keyboard and Little, Brown Handbook

I blame screenwriting. Screenwriting is complicated, it’s structured, it must conform to a particular format, it’s hard to get correct. Lot’s of people are trying it, they are all over LA and on twitter, I’m one of them (on twitter). The question is how many of us are doing it correctly?  Who has enough knowledge of story, theme, character, dramatic need,  conflict and whatever else I missed? Not me.

I suck at this, but I still try, maybe one day I will understand, and the light will shine down on my keyboard and I won’t be able to stop writing.  I’ll finish the perfect A++ screenplay, someone will buy and produce it, I’ll win an Oscar, though it will have been nice just to be nominated (what a load of crap, I want to win).  I’ll be the writer du jour!

Even after all of that, there will still be people out there who know more than I do, and  who write better than I do. Hopefully they will teach me something, because I don’t know crap about writing. 

Some places you can take screenwriting classes:

Screenwriting Master Class

Screenwriters University

ScreenwritingU