Saturday, September 17, 2005

D2DVD Film School pt. 4

This is a simple one pulpsters. So simple that it escapes everyone's notice:

If you want to be a better writer, then be a better reader.

This is your homework assignment for the rest of the year. Read one screenplay every two weeks. That's seven screenplays. They can be anything you want, but they have to have been produced.

But Bill, I don't have the time to read a screenplay!
Gee, then I guess a development executive doesn't either...

Screenwriting is one of those jobs where you always have homework. Always. It means reading and watching and absorbing, all on top of the writing you're already doing.

But I'm stuck here in the middle of (insert name of bumfuck town here). I can't get hold of scripts to read.
I guess you don't want to make a living writing screenplays. I was "stuck" in the small town of Aiken, SC (and this was before the age of the internet) and I managed to do it. You've got all sorts of resources on the web to download and read scripts. Take advantage of it. If you don't, the other guy will. (That would be the guy who's going to sell that script and/or make that film)

Think of all this as career development, the stuff you would be doing anyway if you worked on the line at the local plant. It's required for you to progress to the next pay grade in your job.

Now get back to work.


Violet Strange said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

It always amazed me theat people would attempt to write screenplays without ever having read one. But it happens all the time.

I think the other important thing is to read a script and then go see the movie. It really helps in learning what words are needed to evoke an image.

It also helps with pegging how good your script is. The best test for screenplay quality is the one Ted and Terry came up with over at Wordplay. Take a script of the same general sort as yours that was known as a good script and made into a good movie. Put it next to yours, opening both to page 1. Is your dialog as good as the pro script? Are the descriptions as pithy and do they work to create the mood of the story? Does approximately the same amount of stuff happen?

What people miss from not reading scripts is how GOOD they are. All of the problems that people see in movies are generally at the scene level, not the word and sentance level. But if your script is not excellent at that level, you generally won't even get the chance for your story level errors to ever become an issue.


Curt said...

Amen, Bill! I don't understand why anyone who wanted to be at the top of their creative game wouldn't constantly be educating themselves, in whatever most relevant form that would take.

John Donald Carlucci said...


You continue to educate and leave out the bullshit. The comments above echo what I was going to say, so ditto.