Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When are you a writer...

I have a friend who lives across the street and who is totally sure that he will win with his latest screenplay at some screenwriting contest. Actually two contests. He's sure because he's a writer.

I told him to not waste his money.

But he tells me that his scripts are really different. He's a lot smarter than the average writer and his scripts would show it. After all, he's a writer.

I hate to tell him, but his title is more like aspiring writer. You don't get to be a screenwriter until you get a film made, or at least optioned. Bummer.

And as I said, most of my writer and director friends agree that most of those screenwriter festivals are scams in a way -- a chance to get aspiring writers to spend their $50 or more to be discovered as the genius they are.

I always measure aspiring writers by two different takes;
The first one is the person who doesn't really need to ask a pro writer questions. 
The second is the one who asks the pro.

A few days ago I met two writers; one I knew and who has written one screenplay and now another. He's the one who knows it all -- and his work is poorly written as he copied a real script from a real movie. But he knows it all.

The second aspiring writer across the table was more humble, he still hasn't made a sale but he keeps trying. Then he mentioned that he taught some classes in screenwriting. Which leads me to my book.

Yeah, yeah, my book on screenwriting. The template of the book was that it was based on one of the screenplays that was made for Hallmark. 

I know. Hallmark?

Well, women love those movies and I even got a few letters from them. And Hallmark pays. 

The book also has a lot of real-life episodes, how to handle producers and actors and directors as well as a multitude of good real-life anecdotes from the battlefield. 

Which makes me wonder how deep the above screenwriter could go without actual battle scars. 

A week ago I had a nice email about my book in that an online screenwriting group was using my book in some of their classes. That always makes me feel good as I think that online screenwriting classes are better than on-site classes.

But getting back to the beginning.

You are a writer when you have made a sale, or even an option as I mentioned before. And I still feel that most of those screenplay contests are just a way to get some money from aspiring writers.

So what do you do?

I always recommend The Black List, which I mentioned before this blog. I don't own any stock in it, it's just that they are real. No contests, just readers from studios who will tell you if your screenplay is good or bad.

Here's an example of what a reader said about my screenplay --

“The premise of a presidential heart transplant is strong and commercial. It takes a personal need with a ticking clock and transforms into a global crisis with a journey at it’s center. It’s a smart base for an affordable political thriller which still has world-wide stakes. Making the protagonist a doctor was an intelligent decision and introduces a fish out of water element that always plays well in a thriller. The setting – a chase from Paris to Luxembourg – is perfectly commercial.”  Black List Reader.

But it wasn't all good... stay tuned.

1 comment:

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