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Saturday, September 22, 2018

We’ve got a logline – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

We have a logline.  We think.  At least a first draft of one.

Loglines are a pain in the ass to write. I’ll be the first to admit that, and some of the best writers I know stink I writing them.  Loglines require you to be concise and to basically come up with an overview to your entire movie usually in a single sentence.  But they are helpful to quickly explain to someone the essence of your movie.  If they get bored with that simple explanation, or don’t understand it, then it’s a pretty good sign you’d better go back to the drawing board.  Here’s a quick article on writing a good logline that might be worth reading: How to Write the Perfect Logline

For “Lake Regret,” we wanted to convey the sadly ironic situation that our protagonist found himself in, and create empathy for what he was going through so that you would pull for him from beginning to end.

I’m going to leave the logline here for you to read, and ask yourself whether you would want to read this script.  If so, why?  If not, what is it that doesn’t appeal to you?  This is the sixth or seventh draft of the logline, and we’re willing to write seven or eight more, but your feedback can help us refine it further.

LOGLINE – LAKE REGRET
A high school senior who accidentally caused the death of a popular student tries to deal with the emotional fall out at a lake house graduation party, and at the same time cut ties with the small town he desperately wants to leave behind.

In our next post, we’ll start pulling back some more of the curtain about developing the storyline, and how a couple of guys who collaborate so well still can get into disagreements over the tone and direction of the script.

Bookmark this site and keep reading!  Hope to hear from you!

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The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Concept Starts to Take Shape – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

In the last post, we talked about how Rick and I started out in planning our script.  and how it was going to be set around a lake house.  I asked, what’s so interesting about that?

Here’s Rick: “I’ve always been inspired by ‘little movies.’ Tales of the everyman. Things we’ve all been through and can relate to. One of my earliest ‘all-time favorite’ movies was “Diner” by Barry Levinson. I didn’t grow up in the 50’s and I’m not from Baltimore but those characters — the nuances of a tight group of friends from high school and college resonated with me. I saw glimpses of each part of my own group in each of them. I tried to replicate those types of friends in my holiday short, “Branches.” It’s that kind of connection to the everyman that drew me to this particular project. Our lives are filled with friends and influences and there’s life-lessons in the everyday events of our lives that shape our connections to friends. I wanted to create something that was completely relatable on a human scale. Not with special effects or wild action stunts but with scenes where people could equate an experience from their own lives and feel empathy for the way it changes the course of fate.”

Rick nails it.  I too wanted to tell a story that resonated, that made you feel something.  So in this case, we came up with a story of a high school senior that has done something he feels has made him a pariah in the small town in which he grew up, and desperately wants to escape, forever.  But there are forces at work that may keep him tied to this place, and such a thought is unbearable to him.  This irony is what we hope will make the story compelling to those who read the script and (hopefully!) watch it unfold on the screen.  In the next few posts, we’ll share the logline and how we’re proceeding through the outlining process, and how we’ve already had to compromise on a couple of areas of disagreement with the storyline.

We hope you’re enjoying this blog, and please feel free to share with your friends and fellow writers!

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The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Original Script Sunday - post author Don

Over on the Original Scripts page are sixteen original scripts for your reading pleasure.

and

Submit to The Lab at the Athena Film Festival

The Athena IRIS Screenwriting Lab is designed for female writers who have not yet had a feature-length fictional script produced. The lab is a two day intensive devoted to script development.

Screenplays must include one or more strong female characters in a leadership role at the center of the story and must be feature-length narratives.

Submissions are open September 6-November 7th, after which eight to ten finalists will be chosen by a committee. Four winners will be notified in January 2019.

Visit: Film Freeway to submit.

Any current (as of 9/7/2018 ) member of the discussion board who meets the criteria and submits to this will be reimbursed the cost of the submission ($65) by SimplyScripts. Just forward the submission confirmation email to webmaster @ simplyscripts.com.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

It starts with a concept – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

Every movie script ever written started with an idea or a concept.  They’re not the same thing, by the way.  An idea is just a short fragment of the larger picture.  “Guys capture ghosts” is an idea for “Ghostbusters”, but beyond that, it doesn’t tell you what the story is about. “A girl gets transported by a tornado to a magical land, but the only way to return home is to kill a wicked witch” is more of a concept (and turned out to be a great movie!).  This article, if you’re interested in the differences, gives you more details about what constitutes an idea and what makes up a concept: The Ten Greatest Movie Concepts of All Time.

In this case, Rick Hansberry and I shared ideas and concepts, and in some cases, full outlines, to try and land on a story that we would both buy into.  After some back and forth, we settled on what we have started calling “Lake Regret.”

“Lake Regret” started as an idea I had a few months back.  It was a crazy idea, one that would probably be laughed out of any pitch session.  Basically, I wondered if you could create a movie that could be filmed entirely in one day.  Craziness, I know, but it arose from a second viewing of “Birdman”, the Michael Keaton film. The original thought was, could you come up with a script that could be filmed in one continuous shot in one location, almost like you were watching a play.  The trick would be in making it interesting enough that it would hold your attention, as well as not be entirely dialogue driven.  Some other factors playing into my idea were doing something on a shoestring budget — i.e., it I had to film it myself, could I make it happen easily and quickly (I can hear you all vigorously shaking your head “NO, YOU CAN’T”).

With that as my guideline, I started generating places where this could happen.  I had some general locales I played with — a courtroom, a radio station, a bowling alley, and then I settled on a house, looking out over a this beautiful lake.  Nice, peaceful and picture perfect, located in a small town where parents would love to raise their kids.

Hold on, you say, what’s so interesting about that?  Well, that’s a post for another day. Read the link above, and in the next post, we’ll talk about how Rick and I are going to try and find something compelling in this little part of the world.

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The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Original Script Sunday has come… - post author Don

… on a Sunday!

Over on the Original Scripts page are twenty five original scripts for your reading pleasure.

If you have a chance and are interested in the screenwriting and marketing process, take a look at LakeRegretMovie.com wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry’s screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script.

– Don

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Journey Begins – Lake Regret - post author Gary Howell

Well, this is going to be interesting.  And exasperating.  And educational.

Rick Hansberry and I have spent time writing screenplays together, and we’ve had success in getting both our joint and individual screenplay projects optioned.  So we know a little bit about writing for the screen, and the business of what it takes to get the film pitched, marketed, optioned, and (fingers crossed) produced.

We recently decided we wanted to write another script together, and we begin discussing how in this brave new social media world, you need to do more than just write the script.  You have to be adept at marketing, not just in making a pitch to producers, but also in using Instagram and Twitter and other platforms (like this blog) to start generating buzz about (and interest in) the script.

We thought it would be interesting for those of you out there who are interested in the entire process to see how we tackle it, from concept, to the writing, to how we handle disagreements, to marketing the script.

The idea is to provide encouragement and education to those of you out there who haven’t been through this process before:  Maybe you’ve written a screenplay, but you’re not sure what to do with it, maybe you’ve never written before and you’re curious how it all works.

Let’s take this journey together.

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The further adventures of the screenwriting and marketing process of Lake Regret wherein Gary Howell documents his and Rick Hansberry's screenwriting adventures from concept, to the writing, to how they handle disagreements, to marketing the script. Reproduced with permission

Friday, May 4, 2018

Interviews: Mark Renshaw - post author Anthony Cawood

An Interview with Mark Renshaw

This interview original appeared on Anthony Cawood’s ScreenWritingOpportunities blog.

Q: Could you give me a little bit of background on how you got into screenwriting?
I used to write short spoof stories starring people I worked with. They became quite popular in the office. A guy called Al Lougher read one of them and approached me to see if I was interested in writing some screenplays for him to shoot. I said yes for a laugh and found a love for the craft of writing scripts.

Q: And how long have been writing screenplays, and you write fiction too – which came first?
Fiction first. Can you believe I switched from prose to scripts because I thought screenplays would be easier? HAHAHAH! What a loon!
Anyway, I dabbled around for a while just writing spoofs and really bad scripts and didn’t really take it seriously until 2013. That is when I threw away everything I thought I knew, bought a load of screenplay writing books and started from scratch. That’s also when I joined [the] Simply Scripts [Discussion Board].

Q: You have taken direct action with some of your work and helped get them made, what made you take this approach?
I quickly realised that I had a lot of competition. There are thousands of scripts online from writers who are literally begging to get them produced. Most seem willing to offer their scripts for free just to get their first sniff. There are also thousands of entries from annoyingly talented writers in every major screenwriting competition out there.
At first I just believed folks would read my brilliant scripts and be queuing up to produce them. That bubble quickly burst. I decided to take action to get one produced myself. I saved up for a year, wrote the cheapest script I could come up with, snagged a director (having the funds REALLY helps with this) and got it made.
The idea was to showcase what one of my scripts looked like on screen, made with just the money from my own pocket, and hopefully give others the confidence in my work. I hoped this would help me stand out.
That didn’t actually happen the way I imagined. It took over three years, producing three of my scripts at my own expense, taking the films around the festival circuit and spending ages promoting them before I started to get the types of queries I’d been hoping for on day one.

Q: You made a great short (and starred in it!), I Am Peter Cushing, back in 2002, was that your first foray into movie making?
It was the first short film I made and it was great fun. I made that with Al Lougher and we filmed it guerrilla style. I wrote and starred in it as the main character and used my family and friends as extras. Al borrowed a camera and we just went out, found locations, set up, took some shots and ran as we didn’t have permission to shoot anywhere.
Prior to Peter Cushing we shot a trailer for a feature film that doesn’t exist called, “Winston: The Last Known Jamaican Witch Hunter.” Can you believe we got Danny John Jules from Red Dwarf interest in making a film based on that? It all fell apart when he found out we didn’t have a clue what we were doing lol but Al kept the voice mail with him agreeing to it for ages. He may still have it!

Q: What did you learn from that experience and your subsequent shorts?
Being involved in the script to screen process is one of the most valuable lessons a screenwriter can experience. Collaborating with a director on the script is an education. It’s an amazing but sometimes challenging process. The script will change, a lot! Some is unavoidable due to budget, location etc. some simply because the other person wants to pour some of their creativity into the story. The screenwriter must learn to be open to collaboration, to weave in the changes without breaking the spine of the story. You must also learn when to stand up and challenge changes.
Also, hearing your dialogue spoken by an actor is incredible. You instantly know what works and what doesn’t and the actor helps you figure it out.

Q: Any advice to writer’s considering a similar approach?
DO IT! Even If you need to use you own phone, family and friends. Making I Am Peter Cushing and that spoof trailer was one of the most fun, educating experiences I’ve ever had.

Q: You have a number of projects, including features, in development – what’s the situation with them?
I have a TV series I’ve developed called The Nearscape. It took me a year to write the pilot script, TV bible and supporting materials. I also made a proof of concept short film called The Survivor: A Tale From The Nearscape. I have the pilot script in all the major TV writing competitions, the film in film festivals and pitching the idea to however I can. I realise I’ve got zero chance of getting a big budget sci-fi TV series sold as I’m an unknown, but I’m passionate about the Nearscape and thought, why not try.
Saying that, it’s scoring well so far and reaching the final stages in some of them. I got an email from the BBC today as I was writing these answers telling me it reached the final 4% of the Drama Writer’s Room group. It also got to the final of the Inshore Fellowship.
Apart from that I’m writing a feature length version of Cyborn. My writing time is extremely limited, so those two are my main focus for now, although I’ve loads of ideas I dabble with.

Q: You’ve written a ton short scripts, why do you think they are useful?
They are the backbone of my writing. Due to work and family commitments, writing is a hobby. I may get 3 hours a week to write something, sometimes no time at all, so a short script or story is very much more achievable for me.

Q: Did you start with short scripts and then move to features?
I concentrated solely on shorts for the first few years, then half hour TV pilots. Last year was the first time I attempted a one hour TV pilot. I have tried writing features before but they’ve been disasters.

Q: When it comes to feature scripts, how do you approach structure in your scripts? Do you follow any particular method?
My previous two features were horrendous. Due to the time constraints mentioned, I avoided features for ages. Then I suddenly attempted to write some with no preparation or structure. The results where vomit drafts that were beyond hope. I wrote myself into corners I couldn’t get out of without scrapping the whole thing and starting again.
With Cyborn, I’m trying to do it properly. Due to my time limits I needed help, so I’ve been following the guidelines in the book, The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time by Pilar Alessandra. I was luckily enough to attend some of her classes at the London Screenwriting Festival last year and she signed a copy for me. The book breaks down the planning, structure and writing of a feature into easy to follow ten minute segments.
So far I’m loving it. I’ve written the whole outline including character bios, broke it down into acts, sequences and scenes yet I’ve not written a single page of the script yet! I’m finally ready to begin this weekend. The plan is to treat each sequence as a short script, but one that is already planned as a connection to the next. I’ll spend the week planning the ‘short’ in my head just like I do for the Simply Scripts one week challenges, and then write it in a day. Rinse and repeat the following weeks until the first draft is done.
That’s the plan anyway!

Q: What was the first feature you wrote and how did you get it out there? Did you query Producers, enter competitions, use Inktip, etc?
The first feature I wrote was called Impulse. I paid £100 to have it professionally reviewed and it got such a bad report, I never showed it to anyone else and binned it.
The second was called The Twelve Step Killers. This was another vomit draft. I put it on Inktip to test the waters, got around 5 requests to read the script but no follow ups. I’m not surprised though, it was terrible.

Q: Your work has done well in a variety of competitions (congrats!), have you received interest from agents/producers afterwards?
Rarely. I got asked for some horror features after I reached the finals of Shriekfest in 2017 but I didn’t have anything suitable. Apart from that, nothing. I promote my wins as much as I can on social media but the queries I’ve had so far are a result of listings on Inktip, Simply Scripts, Script Revolution etc.

Q: What are your thoughts on screenwriting competitions in general?
In my opinion and experience, a lot of these competitions (and film festivals) are cash cows that take advantage of writer’s and independent filmmaker’s hopes and dreams. They are like a lottery in many ways. When I was at the London Screenwriting Festival I also attended a few sessions held by agents and producers. They said the only competition they take notice of is the Nicholl Fellowship.
So unless you are taking part in the top screenplay competitions in the world (there’s only about 10 which the industry recognise and thousands enter these) the rest are just digital laurels you can put on your writer’s CV that may help build your portfolio, but they won’t impress the big boys.

Q: Your feature script, Cyborn, recently won the Inroads Fellowship Awards, what’s the prize and what next for Cyborn?
The prize was supposed to be a trip to LA to attend the Robert McKee Story seminar. Unfortunately, the seminar changed dates late on and it was over before Inroads finished. So, they’ve given me a cash alternative of $1,200 (£814) and I’m going to the London seminar in May instead. It’s not LA but I’m still excited about it.
I also get Inktip listing and some copyright vault freebies. The main prize is they are going to promote me and my work for the next 12 months. I’ve no idea what this entails, they are getting a press release ready now. Whatever happens, I’ll try to take advantage of it.
As for Cyborn, I’m desperately trying to turn a three-page short into a feature as quick as I can in case someone asks for it!

Q: You’ve managed to go a step further than many with some of your work gaining distribution in a variety of places, how’d you go about that?
I got a bit lucky there. The distributors saw my film online and approached me with a distribution deal. This is a first for me, it is a 3-year deal, so I’ll see how it goes.

Q: And where can people see these released works?
I Am Peter Cushing, Surrender and The Survivor: A Tale From The Nearscape are all on Vimeo and YouTube. The links are on my website at www.Mark-Renshaw.com. No More Tomorrows and the So Dark episodes are on Amazon Prime.

Q: There are a ton of people out there who offer coverage services, position themselves as gurus etc, what’s your view on such services?
I’ve used such services for spelling an grammar. But if I want an opinion on the script as to the story, characters etc. I’m not willing to trust some anonymous person’s opinion who I have no idea how much experience they have. I like to get feedback on trusted beta readers, fellow writers at Simply Scripts and other writing groups I’m a part of. Some of these people’s work I’ve seen and really admire. I tend to reach out to those for feedback.

Q: What are your thoughts on the business side of screenwriting, getting your scripts ‘out there’ and networking to make connections?
I love writing. Producing, promoting, networking; I pretty much hate all that. I wish I had a producer to do such things but I don’t, so it’s down to me for now. It’s a necessary evil, so I put on a mask and do it.

Q: You are fairly active online, SimplyScripts, Facebook groups and the like, why do you think these are important?
I think staying in touch with other writers is very important. We are like a clan, we support each other, which I do like. Sometimes it’s a very naughty distraction though. I end up checking Facebook when I should be writing sometimes.

Q: If you’ve used services/sites like Inktip, SimplyScripts, The Blacklist, what’s your view on this type of model for screenwriters to get their scripts seen, and hopefully picked up?
Anyway to get your script out there is gotta be good right? I just don’t like paying a lot for these things, so I’ve used Blacklist but didn’t really like it. Similarly, I use the free Inktip short listings but the paid for section is used sparingly.

Q: What other projects are you working on now and when can we next expect to see your name on the credits?
Due to time constraints I can only focus on one thing at a time. For now it’s writing Cyborn while promoting Nearscape and some shorts. I do collaborate with Al Lougher a lot and I’m always working on something with him. The latest was a brilliant short film called The Dollmaker, written by our old Simply Scripts pal Matias Caruso. I helped out with the producing on that, don’t think I got a credit (yet), but I honestly don’t mind as I just love collaborating with another creative like Al. The Dollmaker is killing it at the horror festivals at the moment.

Q: What’s the best and worse screenwriting advice you’ve been given?
Some feedback notes I’ve received from film festivals have been horrendous. The last bunch of notes I got for Nearscape was basically a list of TV shows they recommended I watch…and I’ve seen them all lol. The best, was to get honest feedback from people who don’t know me and therefore have no vested interest. Family & friends are nice, but they won’t tell you the truth.

Now for a few ‘getting to know Mark’ questions

Q: What’s your favourite film? And favourite script, if they’re different.
Predator. Cheesy I know but I think that film is pretty much perfect. My current favourite script is The Expanse TV pilot.

Q: Favourite author and book?
Legend by David Gemmell.

Q: Beer or Wine (or something else)? And which variety?
I quit alcohol a little over 4 years ago. Now my guilty pleasures are coffee and chocolate.

Q: Favourite food?
See above!

Q: Any other interests and passions?
Just the usual boring stuff, reading, music, training vampire dragons etc.

Q: Any final thoughts for the screenwriters of SimplyScripts?
You guys are amazing. You are creators. Most people on this planet, they destroy stuff. You are the creators of stories; there are not many greater callings in my opinion. The feedback and support I’ve received on Simply Scripts have been priceless. The One Week Challenges, I’ve enjoyed them more than any film festival. Keep up the great work!

Thanks to Mark for taking time out for the informative interview and check out his site for links to some great material!

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Interview – Joey Tuccio from Roadmap Writers - post author Anthony Cawood

 

Road Map WritersI recently caught up with Joey and asked him a ton of questions about Roadmap Writers – he was good enough to take some time and provide answers and some great insights.

Thanks, Joey!

 

Q: First up, how about a little bit of background on the man behind Roadmap Writers, how did you get into the industry?
A: I used to be an assistant at a company called Bold Films (that did movies like Drive, Whiplash and Nightcrawler) and part of my job was to turn away unsolicited writers/submissions. It was clear from most of the writers’ approaches that many had zero idea on how the industry works and how to put their best foot forward. So me and my team wanted to create something that helped writers get the lay of the land by working with execs in the industry that develop and sell material for a living.

Q: How would you describe Roadmap Writers to a new writer or producer?
A: Roadmap is an educational hub for writers to connect with and learn from hundreds of executives on our roster. Our monthly programs serve as stepping stones to help writers create the strongest portfolio and pitching materials possible. Our programs are feedback-driven and put the writer in immersive and interactive learning environments with the goal of making them competitive in the marketplace.

Q: You have helped over 40 writers get signed up to agencies, do you see this as a key success criteria?
A: Absolutely. For us, our goal is to equip writers with the experience and knowledge needed to get the attention of entertainment industry professionals. Working with writers is our passion, so when we’re able to help a writer get signed, it’s the ultimate reward for us. It’s such a great feeling and why we’re so fired up to do what we do.

Q: You’ve also a few writers optioned too, any close to going into production that we should be watching out for?
A: Yes. Roadmap has worked with production company Route One Entertainment twice on an annual contest where the winning script will be produced by them. Keep watching the trades for those announcements!

Q: And what was it like with the first few? Validation?
A: It’s not really validation for us because we know that we know what we’re doing. It’s more validation for our community to know that the industry is not a cold and distant place sitting on top of a mountain. It’s accessible if done right.

Q: Of these successes which are your proudest of, or most pleased with?
A: I always love to see success stories for the underdogs (i.e. diverse writers, writers that don’t live in LA, etc). I especially like to see writers of an older age getting traction because it’s proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

Q: There are many other players in the training market these days, what do you think differentiates RW?
A: We really pride ourselves in working with what we call career writers and not hobbyist writers. We take the time to understand the writer as an individual and strategize to put them in front of the executives and literary reps that speak to their writing goals and style. We want to work with writers who are willing to put in the time and effort to master their craft and take advantage of every opportunity we have. We consistently encourage writers in our programs to audit other pitch and feedback sessions so that they can still learn from the exchanges and conversations between other writers and executives. We also don’t want to work with EVERY single writer trying to break in. That’s impossible to manage and prevents Roadmap from being a cold, assembly-line machine like so many other places. We have turned a number of writers away from using our programs. We only want to work with writers that want to do this as a career. Not writers that want to be famous in 24 hours. We only want to work with writers that we would feel comfortable putting in front of execs.

Q: You describe yourself as a training service, but you also offer pitch service, mentoring etc, can you give us a brief run down of the paid services?
A: We give writers a number of different resources to grow in their craft. Our pitch classes give writers an opportunity to practice pitching industry professionals at top management and production companies. The feedback they receive allows them to make changes to strengthen their pitch and identify ways to maximize effectiveness. For writers looking for more hands-on work to elevate their script we offer month long mentorships with executives who will help to develop and provide detailed feedback to the writer on their material.

Q: And what about the RW Network, how does that work?
A: The Roadmap Writer Network is our monthly program designed to give writers a comprehensive overview of a variety of Roadmaps education offerings. The RW Network includes one Open Pitch Session – Verbal or Written to an industry executive. Writers also participate in a 5-Minute Elevator Pitch to 3 execs in an online roundtable setting. Some of our past elevator pitch sessions included execs from Dark Trick Films, Original Film, Rumble Films and Lawrence Bender Productions. Writers also receive 4 Educational/Interactive Webinars covering a wide range of screenwriting & industry topics. All webinars are recorded so if you can’t attend live, you still get the recording. Writers also get a private logline review with Roadmap’s Director of Writer Outreach and a group pitch prep webinar with literary manager Chris Deckard of Fictional Entity.

Q: And any free content or tasters available for people to experience RW?
A: Definitely. We host free webinars sessions typically once a month on a variety of different topics. For example, we recently had a free webinar on Exploring TV Diversity Initiatives: Why We Need Them that was hosted by an exec from AMC Networks.

Q: There are a lot of people competing for aspiring screenwriter’s limited money, from guru’s, through coverage services, and a plethora of competitions. What makes RW a good investment?
A: We differentiate ourselves by bringing literary reps and executives into the educational process. Writers are learning directly from those working in the industry. We also know that transparency is paramount and while others services/competitions talk in vague circles we pride ourselves in being direct and candid with our writers. Our reputation with industry professionals is what makes us an invaluable resource. So maintaining the highest level of openness with our writers is extremely important to us. Lastly, our main goal is to try to get writers out of our programs (by providing them with enough tools and executive allies that they are ready to conquer the world without us!) and not feel like they have to stay in programs forever. We tell writers in our Top Tier programs that the main mandate is that we want writers out of the programs as fast as possible.

Q: And what are your thoughts on the plethora of competitions out there for screenwriters, RW run a few too… are any actually useful in careers terms?
A: I think competitions can be very helpful for a writer to get more industry exposure for themselves and their material. I think there are a handful of competitions that are doing things at a very high level. My advice to writers is to always look at the success stories of the competition they are looking to enter. What have they done to help further the career of its past entrants? Who are their judges? Identifying those things can help you determine the quality of the competition and make an informed decision.

Q: And what changes have you seen in the industry since you started?
A: The desire to find diverse voices is very real and has increasingly become part of the conversation when speaking with execs and literary reps.

Q: What future developments are in the pipeline for RW?
A: We’ve got some great new executives and companies that we’re bringing into the fold which will help increase the reach and access for our writers. We’re also looking to do an overhaul of our current writing competitions with the goal of generating even more opportunities for writers. And of course, we are always refining our programs based on writer feedback to make sure our offerings are the best they can be.

Q: Any advice in general for the aspiring screenwriters on Simply Scripts in terms of writing more saleable scripts and breaking in?
A: Never chase the trend. Write a story that speaks to something you are passionate about. Don’t forget that your characters are everything. Let us inhabit your story and your world through them and experience the fears and vulnerabilities that we has people are afraid to face or acknowledge. Also, I always tell writers who are newer to writing to look on scripts on SimplyScripts.com. I often host free opening page analysis training programs to writers and if it’s clear they don’t know how to format, I direct them to Simply Scripts so they can learn from scripts that have actually been produced. Also, when pitching or networking remember that you are human first and a writer second. Execs don’t want robots. They want human beings they can relate to and work with for years and years.

Okay, now for some getting to know Joey questions…

Q: Fave movie?
A: Jurassic Park

Q: Fave script?
A: The Spectacular Now

Q: Best and worst screenwriting advice you’ve had/heard.
A: Best Advice: “Have 10 different friends read your script and ask them to describe it back to you to make sure the movie in your head is the movie on the page.”
Worst Advice: “It’s okay if it’s not on the page. We’ll fix it on set.” Needless to say that is a recipe for disaster.

Q: Fave food?
A: Grilled cheese sandwich with chicken.

Q: Fave drink?
A: Vanilla Latte

Q: Fave thing to do outside of RW and screenwriting related stuff?
A: I’m obsessed with dogs. I’m the dog father to two gorgeous pit bulls, Piper and Gilly. I work a lot with a few local LA dog recuse shelters as well as being on the board of one, and am always happy to help a dog find a loving home. Anthony, do you want to adopt a pit bull?

Q: Any final words of advice to the aspiring writers out there?
A: Trust your gut. Know that this business is built on relationships so doing everything you can to build them.

Once again, thanks to Joey for taking time out of his busy schedule for the interview.

 

About the reviewer: Anthony Cawood is an award winning screenwriter from the UK with 4 short films produced and another 10 or so scripts optioned and/or purchased. Links to his films and details of his scripts can be found at www.anthonycawood.co.uk.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Shore Scripts Definitive Screenwriting Course – Use discount code SIMPLYSCRIPTS to get 30% off - post author Don

Shore Scripts Definitive Online Screenwriting has launched! Sign-up using discount code SIMPLYSCRIPTS to receive a 30% Discount. This also enters you in a chance to win one of 6 Free IMDB Pro memberships that Shore Scripts are giving away. Visit courses.shorescripts.com.

The course is Led by Richard Walter, UCLA’s premier screenwriting educator; learn to write, pitch, and sell your screenplay in just 30 days. With 2½ hours of video lectures, 150+ page of industry guides, real-life writing exercises, plus lots more, this is your opportunity to learn from the pros.


Note: I have not taken the course and as such can not vouch for the efficacy of the course. As such whatever compensation I would have gotten I’m passing on to the writer in the form of a higher discount off the price of the course.

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