Reading: good and good for you

Wrapped up reading for a contest earlier this week. Happy to have helped, but it was exhausting.

And a good percentage of the writers could really benefit from this recent post.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can return to devoting more time on a few of my own projects, as well as start getting to the scripts in my “to read” queue.

I’m really looking forward to both, and especially the latter.

Some were sent with a request for notes, others were “thought you might enjoy this”, and the rest were ones that got my attention with the logline or the concept.

I’m extremely fortunate to have a professional relationship with a lot of these writers, and many of them are great writers to begin with, so it’s a pretty sure bet their scripts will also be of exceptional quality. And those are always great to read.

It can’t be stressed enough that reading scripts helps a writer become a better writer. So take it upon yourself to start making that a regular practice.

You’ll be glad you did.

And speaking of reading, my new book GO AHEAD AND ASK! INTERVIEWS ABOUT SCREENWRITING (AND PIE) VOLUME 2 is now available in paperback and ebook here and here. It makes a great companion piece to Volume 1, and Volume 3 will roll out a little later this year.

Clock’s ticking…

Just a few days left to submit your script – either film or TV – for the Maximum Z Script Showcase coming up on Friday 4 June.

The deadline is Wed 2 June. Anything that comes in after that WILL NOT BE INCLUDED.

There are over 100 listings so far, with plenty of room still available to add yours.

Send the following info here with the subject Maximum Z Script Showcase:

Title

Author

Film or TV

Genre

Logline

Awards (if any)

Your email (in case somebody wants to read your script)

Only 1 script per person. (No problem if you’ve sent it to previous Showcases. It’s totally up to you.)

DO NOT SEND THE SCRIPT!

I’ve been thrilled with the responses, along with the wide variety of material that’s been sent in.

So don’t put off what will take you all of a minute or two to put together and send.

You’ll be glad you did.

A little logline help

lumberjacks
In retrospect, we should have clarified to the art department what a logline actually is

As part of my latest effort to get organized regarding self-marketing, I went through my loglines and tweaked them accordingly. Compared to their predecessors, they now seem to pack a bit more of a punch, which was my intent.

You never know the difference it makes when you add a word, take one out, or switch it out with a word you didn’t realize was stronger until after the actual switching.

The logline is what makes the first true impression on a reader. Does yours do the job you need it to?

Does the logline for your comedy offer up a funny premise?

Got a thriller or horror? Then that logline should jumpstart the goosebumps.

Do we eagerly anticipiate the pending rollercoaster ride for your action-adventure?

To utilize a somewhat clunky food metaphor, the logline gives us a sample taste for the exquisite meal we expect from the script.

That’s if the logline works. But what if you think it’s lacking the necessary ‘oomph’ it needs?

Worry no more. Friend-of-the-blog Angela Bourassa of LA Screenwriter has written 10 Steps to a Compelling Logline, which offers up some exceptionally helpful advice and guidelines. And if you’re still feeling stuck, here’s a link to her high-quality logline service.

It’s that time again!

New York Author Honored at Cocktail Party
Sparkling wit, bon mots & smart turns of phrase are right at home here

Another three months has passed, making it a more than fitting opportunity to check in with all of you hard-working writers to find out exactly how that writing is going.

That’s right, gang. Put on your public-speaking pants (online edition) and step up to take part in the world-renowned Project Status Update Time!

(insert triumphant fanfare here)

It’s a fairly simple process. In the comments section below, feel free to share with the rest of us what’s new with you and your writing.

Page count. Logline development. Contact with a prodco or rep. Pre-production on a short. Any and all updates are welcome.

As is the tradition, I’ll start things off:

I’ll still give it one more read-through, but I wrapped up the rewrite/polish on the comedy spec. It’s more of a dramedy now, but still quite a charming little story.

I’m also in the process of giving notes on some friends’ scripts, and once all of those are done, it’s onto a pair of new projects. Exciting times, indeed.

How about you?

Pedal to the metal

It may be kmph, but it's still fast
It may be kmph, but it’s still fast

Nice to be back. Didja miss me?

Y’know, visiting three major metropolitan areas in a week (four if you count the one where I started and ended AKA home) can really tire a guy out.

So while I work on readjusting to my native time zone, I’m also working on getting some writing-related affairs in order.

-Due to a last-minute family medical emergency, my manager had to cancel our face-to-face meeting. Bummer. And his assistant was up to his eyeballs in reducing his steadily-growing workload, so he couldn’t meet either. Double bummer.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining: I got emails from both the next day about the rewrite. Overall: great job, nice scene changes and choices, very solid structure.

Up next – a “high-octane” logline and synopsis. Although I’ve always had problems with the latter, I really like the sound of that particular adjective.

“High-octane.”  Sounds fast, powerful and strong.

This is a fast-moving script with lots of swashbuckling action, so that’s the mood my 1-2 sentence description and 1-pager should convey.

The logline and synopsis are your best chances to really showcase what your story’s about, but letting the genre do the heavy lifting. Comedy – play up the jokes. Thriller – keep us in suspense. Horror – scare us.

In my case – adventure – both logline and synopsis should give you an idea of what kind of rollercoaster ride you’re in for.

I’ve written before about what a solid logline should include, but just in case: hero with a flaw, villain with a goal, the conflict between the two, and what’s at stake.

The synopsis has always given me trouble. It’s easy to get lost trying to accurately describe the story. You want to include all the cool stuff, but you can’t.  As a result, here’s a tip I’ve found very, very helpful: focus on the main character and their storyline. Don’t worry about the subplots and supporting characters.

Although it comes from publishing, this may be a huge help for those also struggling with the synopsis.

You’d think after tackling a 100+-page script, writing the same story in one page would be easy. But it isn’t.

But it is doable. Like for a script or any kind of writing, you just have to work at it.