The latest in a series of interviews with script readers and consultants who would be worth your while to work with if you want to get your script in shape. Today’s spotlight is on Joey Tuccio of Roadmap Writers.
1. What’s the last thing you read/watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?
I was going to try to be fancy and say NIGHTCRAWLER or GONE GIRL but I really, really like the series BROAD CITY. Though I’m sure some of it is improvised, I get really inspired by writers that create their own content, which is exactly what these two girls did. And now they have their own show.
2. How’d you get your start reading scripts?
I used to read for a ton of production companies to get my foot in the door. Suggestion to all aspiring writers: INTERN!
3. Is recognizing good writing something you think can be taught or learned?
You can be taught for sure.
4. What are the components of a good script?
Good question. There are so many variables, but it really comes down to characterization. Without that, the script has no heart and no connecting tissue. It all comes back to the character, which doesn’t necessarily mean the protagonist has to be the most complex character in the world. It just means the protagonist should be relatable, even if it connects with us in a dark way.
5. What are some of the most common mistakes you see?
Writers who think they’re ready before they are and jump in way too early. I’m an Italian New Yorker so I understand impatience, but you’ll spend more time trying to get traction if you rush. Take the craft seriously. An executive once said to me that most writers write as a hobby whether they know it or not. Don’t be that writer. An executive can smell it a mile away.
6. What story tropes are you just tired of seeing?
Female characters that are just used as visual trophies. When a dad character calls his son “son”. When a writer clearly gets bored halfway through their script and starts to incorporate bizarre twists to make it seem more engaging.
7. What are the 3 most important rules every writer should know?
-Keep it simple. Have a throughline and stay on that track.
-Make sure you relate to the characters. Don’t write something just because you think an audience will love it. YOU have to love it.
-Make sure you proofread your work and have other people do so before you show anybody. Executives will pass if there are too many typos.
8. Have you ever read a script that was an absolute, without-a-doubt “recommend”? If so, could you give the logline?
Yes, but it’s a client’s, so I can’t say what it is, but I can say it was a low budget psychological contained horror that got him signed almost instantly.
9. How do you feel about screenwriting contests? Worth it or not?
There are 2 billion screenwriting contests out there. See what the prizes are and who the judges are. See who’s willing to attach their name to a contest before submitting. Too many times writers submit to contests just for the ego boost of placing, and nearly all the time it doesn’t mean anything besides just that. If you’re a writer, then you’re a business owner in your own right. Be a businessperson and be smart with the steps you take.
10. How can people get in touch with you to find out more about the services you provide?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?
Pecan pie with vanilla ice cream!