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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Succeed at Failing the Quik n Easy Way!

So at The Script Department, we're still judging scripts for the Silver Screenwriting Competition. Also for the Nevada Film Commission - betcha didn't they had one of those, didja? Well, we are. Several of us are reading. For a few weeks now. And it will continue. It has been an interesting experience; I want every writer to advance in this competition. But alas, not all can. With one keystroke, I can put the writer one step closer to success - or one step backward toward frustration. Heavy weighs the crown. I am the decider.

But to be perfectly frank, as I lie on my couch with my laptop on my lap judging scripts on this lazy Sunday afternoon, I'm thinking two things: 1) I'd rather be doing something else and 2) I'm getting sleepy. But some writers, bless their hearts, are making it really easy and fast to judge their scripts. It's as if they know I'd rather be doing something else. It's as if they are literally greasing the tracks for me.

Here are some track-greasing tips for a DO NOT ADVANCE checked box:

1. Have a really weird, elliptical title that makes no sense
2. Write really dense, detailed action lines and include some typos.
3. Describe your characters in way too much detail, including personality traits.
4. Do not use sluglines
5. Make sure your script has no point in the first ten pages.
6. Make sure the tone and genre are impossible to key in on in the first ten pages.
7. Include a lot of typos and malaprops.
8. Use a weird font and format that make your pages hard to read.
9. Take your sweet time with set up; say it don't show it!
10. Describe your characters in like one or two words. Tell me what they are thinking,
don't show me through their actions.

It's so easy to hit "do not advance". It only takes a page or three before I do it. And when you do that a lot, you whiz through scripts. It's the good scripts that give me pause. I want to just go, go, go but I can't - these pages - they are fascinating! What voice! What imagery! What a delightful, playful, engaging read! What an interesting concept! Man, you guys are slowing me WAY down. Didn't you read the list, above? Harumph.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

I have read for major contests. Yes it takes 1 to 3 pages to eliminate a script. But most of these scripts are from first timers.

They are learning how to write a script. Give them a break.

So maybe you should judge them on whether they have the potential to become good writer one day.

Some writers should quit right now while others should continue and they will make it.

It's like "amateur sports", some will make it into the big league while others will pack up and go home.

Do I have a point?

Forget about finding the next Tarantino or August or Steven Zaillian for now.

If that writer shows some strong potential, he or she should advance.

Bluecat advanced scripts that were flawed by brimming with potential.