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Monday, July 28, 2008

Script Sources

The Wave-inatrix has been exhorting screenwriters to read good scripts so that the difference between good pages and double-plus ungood pages (that's from 1984, for you Philistines who are confused by that uncharacteristically weird word usage from the W).

But where to find scripts to keep you busy reading 2 or 3 a week? Well, naturally, like others who work here in LA, I am spoiled; I get my hands on produced scripts and scripts about to get shopped all the time. I have a definite inside track.

I don't want to start an avalanche that I can't keep up with but Wavers interested in obtaining a few great scripts to read can contact me and I'll send you a few. But ongoing, try Drew's Script-o-Rama or Simply Scripts.

Also, on the Done Deal Message Board there is a thriving script exchange community and you can see what you can drum up there.

And to the snarky would-be-Waver (there's always one in every bunch) who questioned my statement that every Silver Screenwriting entrant has a lot riding on their submission, pointing out that the cash prizes are not as big as some competitions, etc., a) no cupcake for you. ever. and b) is that all it's about for you? The cash prize? How about the meetings? How about the pitching session with Stephanie Palmer? How cool would it be to have a drink with Blake Snyder and enjoy his company and pick his brain?

When I say that every entrant has a lot riding on their submission, I mean that each writer has put weeks, months and sometimes years of their life into their script. They have poured their passion, dedication and time into it and I take that very seriously. Will winning the SSC change your life as a writer? Yeah, it actually could. And even if you just place, sometimes, after all that blood, sweat and tears, simply getting some validation that your work was pretty good is what a writer needs to keep on going.

Years ago, I entered many scripts in what today I consider relatively inconsequential script competitions - small prizes, no big connections - but I tell you what - when I did place, it meant the world to me. It was just enough validation to keep me believing that I could write. Which I did. And my writing continued to improve.

But back to my statement about entrants having a lot riding on his or her script. If you think you know one thing about the Wave-inatrix, know this: I respect the hell out of anyone who attempts to do this crazy thing, year in and year out. That's a lot of late nights and ignoring the laundry and being on the receiving end of raised eyebrows and nagging from friends and family who don't get it. We are a tribe, we writers, and it weighs heavily on me to have to pass on a script for this competition, knowing what the writer had to give up to write that script. Even if the result was not so good. This time. If I had the time I would send every single entrant a hand-written note thanking them for trying and encouraging them to continue developing their skill set and to hold on to their dreams. Alas, carpal tunnel would set in very quickly and this is not possible. But you read it here.

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Anonymous said...


What's your opinion of screenplay contests who promise to make the winning script with a budget of 2 million?

There's one in LA and one in UK?

Should I apply?

Julie Gray said...

You know, I do not have experience with either one of those competitions but it sounds pretty good to me. I would call the competitions and dig around a little more; have there been previous winners and produced films you can have a look at? If your script wins and is produced, how do you get paid? Can they help you get representation? Who actually produces the material and what is their experience? Lastly, don't forget, if your script is an action-thriller with a budget of $20M - skip it :)

Mike Scherer said...


What I would like to read are spec scripts that sold -- got the writer representation -- etc. I don't find shooting scripts all the helpful. I want to see the quality of those specs -- before the notes -- before the rewrites.

Keep Writing!