As one of the multitude of screenwriters working on establishing a career doing exactly that, I’m always exploring different potential avenues to get that first break.
In recent years, the website Scriptshadow (and its moderator Carson Reeves) has offered writers the chance to submit their script for review and feedback. While most are sent back to their keyboards with suggestions of potential fixes for the next draft, once in a while a script garners approval, hopefully leading to continuing success for the writer.
Today’s spotlight is an interview with two of four writers who fall into the latter category: Joe Marino and Alex Carl, whose scripts were voted 1st and 3rd, respectively, in the site’s recent Top 10 Amateur Scripts EVER.
Part 2 will post tomorrow.
1. What’s the title and logline of your script?
Joe Marino (JM): A Rose in the Darkness – A secluded boy’s way of life is threatened when he befriends Rose – the girl who his parents have imprisoned in the family attic.
Alex Carl (AC): Fascination 127 – A group of men are hired by a mysterious client to remove Jim Morrison’s casket, give it to him for 24 hours and then return the casket into the ground before it is publicly exhumed to be moved to the United States.
2. What did Carson think of it?
JM: Thankfully, Carson loved it. I got the email from him the week of 2012’s Thanksgiving (a few days before the review came out), where he told me he was ecstatic about it. I ended up getting an “Impressive” rating (a score that, at the time, was only shared with “The Disciple Program” in non-pro scripts). It was surreal, to say the least. All writers dream of the day where their work is publicly appreciated – and I never thought I’d be among the lucky ones to have it happen to me.
AC: Carson’s reaction was great. I believe he tweeted out late at night after he’d finished it, saying some very encouraging things. I wasn’t on Twitter at the time and so didn’t see anything until his posted review in the morning with a grade of [XX] Worth the Read.
3. How about the reader comments? Did you find any of them useful?
JM: The SS comment board was extremely helpful in making suggestions to better develop the draft. They’re a smart and observant crew, and it was an honor to have them focus that attention on my work. “A Rose in the Darkness” definitely came out of that experience a better script.
AC: The readers were fantastic with input and constructive critiques. I used many of the notes in the comments section during rewrites.
4. What’s happened with the script since it appeared on Scriptshadow?
JM: The script had a healthy thrum of interest. In the end, though, interested parties either went with other projects they liked more or decided to wait until further notice.
AC: Since the review, the script’s been optioned, placed in the top 25 of The Tracking Board 2013 LaunchPad contest and placed in the top 15% in the 2013 Nicholl. It got close to a sale twice when it was under option and received several reads based off SS, but ultimately I believe the story may be “a little too out there” to ever get made. It’s “too big a budget to take a chance on” is what I’ve been told repeatedly.
5. What’s going on with your writing career now?
JM: I’ve been focusing a lot on TV pilots this past year. Been trying to remain as prolific as possible.
AC: I’ve written two other specs currently under option, and am co-writing a pilot.
6. How can somebody get in touch with you to inquire about this or other scripts of yours?
JM: Manager Brooklyn Weaver brought me in as an Energy Entertainment client, which has been a huge boon in helping me find a voice and develop scripts that have the best chance of getting sold.
AC: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Is submitting a script to Scriptshadow something you would recommend?
JM: Absolutely. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in or have the opportunities I have without Carson. If you believe in your script with unbiased eyes, I’d highly recommend it. My biggest suggestion: don’t submit your script unless you’re 100% certain it fully conveys your vision. Don’t send if there’s even a moment in your script where you just went “it’s good enough.” Being satisfied with “good enough” will kill this wonderful opportunity for you. Reach for the stars and don’t allow yourself to be satisfied with inferiority.
AC: Most definitely. Some incredibly talented writers on there who will give insanely constructive notes, not to mention Carson’s insightful review.
8. Readers of this blog are more than familiar with my love/appreciation of pie. What’s your favorite kind?
JM: It’s a tie between peanut butter chocolate and strawberry rhubarb (particularly Amish-made).
AC: Oh, that’s easy. Key Lime. I lived in the FL Keys for a bit, and Key Westers are as protective of their claim to the best Key Lime Pie on the planet the same way Buffalonians will defend their crown of ‘best chicken wings’.