3 weeks to Christmas

I wanted to have my rewrite of Bible Con and first draft of Dyke for a Day done by Thanksgiving.  I also wanted to have a business plan for the former ready for my trip to SC at Christmas.  You know, so I could sort of test the waters for raising the money there.  So new deadline, Dec. 22.  Except I’m working days, nights and weekends.

It would help if my health wasn’t undermining my energy and I was less easily distracted by QI, which is my new favorite thing in the universe.

In other news, I got my feedback from ScriptSavvy, and for the most part the notes are very good.  If you really want decent notes on your script, I would send off to them long before I did to Zoetrope or any other script contest.  My only complaint is that the notes have a tendency to talk down to the writer, as though they aren’t terribly bright and don’t know anything about screenwriting.  I’m sure this comes from an attempt to guess what you can assume the author knows.  They don’t appear to have a terribly high opinion.

I got a 48, which is about 5 points off an honorable mention score, and 7 off a win.  I guess that means a strong rewrite could be a winner.  One thing I really don’t like about the Nicholl is the complete lack of notes, even for the people who advance.  That’s true of many contests, but it’s definitely a flaw in the Nicholl and a strength of ScriptSavvy.

Go to 47:55 of this YouTube video to be incredibly impressed by Senator Parker of NY.

Zoetrope: *headdesk*

I’m so over Zoetrope already.  I think it could be a useful tool except that 90% of the people there are either completely touchy or arrogant assholes. Or both. That other 10% is non-vocal and/or driven away by the other assholes. So far, it’s not worth sifting through the shit to get to the good bits.

On the plus side, there was the guy who responded to my really long and not necessarily positive review with this comment: Ashley – your review/remarks warrant a “10″ (out of 5) – the most thorough critique – without prejudice – I’ve received on Zoe since 2005. I was surprised because the other responses to thorough critiques, or even any criticism at all has been a defensive reflex. I get that, and I’m the same, but what you feel and what you actually write to another person shouldn’t always be the same thing.

The reviews I’ve gotten so far are, with the exception of the one this guy returned, barely longer than the shortest they can be, 200 words. To give you an idea, mine have been 900-2000 (lots of quoting, to be fair) with thoughts on construction, plotting, and character arcs. The ones I’ve gotten have mostly been notes on grammar or formatting. Not that those are bad notes, but there’s not direction, suggestions, or deep thoughts involved. One of the “reviews” basically was a guy complaining that it wasn’t his idea because he’d do it better.  Well that’s great, but how would you do it better?

And that’s not even talking about the assholes on the discussion board who routinely post things like: I’ve just looked at the scripts available on the Read pages and there wasn’t one Logline that made me want to read a script. It’s a site for up-and-comers, if you want to read professional scripts, you can find ones that got made into movies. You want too act big and mighty, why are you still hanging around a site for amateurs?

At first I found it all offensive and annoying, but now I’m just bored of it. My guess is if you know any writer in real life you’ll get better more thoughtful notes without anyone saying that they are better than you. Writing isn’t a dick measuring contest. If you can’t even be collaborative enough to offer thoughtful notes, write novels. Filmmaking involves other people.

Good and Bad; They want to read my script, hopefully I won’t vomit!

Good:
1. Email from very legitimate and known lit management company:

Congrats on placing in the Semi’s of the Nicholl Fellowship! I’ve actually judged plenty of screenplay contest before so just placing in the semis is a wonderful accomplishment, so again, congrats!!!

I’m a literary manager at *** we rep some of the hottest up and coming screenwriters and directors and I’d love to read your screenplay!

If you could email me a PDF, I’d love a chance to read your material!

2. E-mail from Legitimate Production Company

Thank you for submitting your script. We would like to read your screenplay. You can e-mail us a PDF or Final Draft file if you’d like.

My name is ***. I work with Producer *** who has a first-look deal at Warner Bros. And I also co-founded a company called *** Productions. ***’ has done various web-series and commercials. *** recently got private funding to make our first feature film. Thus, we are on the search for an undiscovered script that is affordable and marketable.

We understand the time and hard work that goes into writing a screenplay and only hold the up-most respect for writers. Thank you for being open to share your story with us.

3. Email from production company I’ve actually heard of and didn’t have to google:

Congrats on your success in the Nicholl Fellowship!  I am travelling , but I work at *** Entertainment, a management and production company in Beverly Hills.  I’d love to take a look at your script and will try and respond as quickly as possible .  Please include a logline.

Bad:
1. Nausea. Even though I finished the course of Antibiotics days ago, I’m nauseous all the time. I got caught in Dodgers traffic last night and the stop and go… Yeah, when traffic makes you vomit, you gotta reconsider the wisdom of life in LA.

2.a. The Internet is Filled with Assholes. I am implementing a new policy on my site which is that if you say something off-topic and/or stupidly mean and confrontational, I’m just going to delete the comment. Trolls are mildly entertaining, but not worth the effort. And if you really want to post something I imagine you can make sure it’s within the bounds of civilized discourse. (Exceptions obviously made for things I think are really funny.)  But this means no more people saying that gays are gross and no more people leaving vaguely threatening comments on unrelated posts.

2.b. The Internet is Filled with Assholes. Once my 30 days on this script are up, I don’t know that I’m going to use Zoetrope again. The community has a lot of good things, and I’ve certainly gotten some useful thoughts, but it’s probably best for people who don’t mind others being really confrontational and juvenile. (“You’re really immature, nener nener nener.” “Insert video of a clapping seal.” No really.)  Every thread on their discussion board devolves into name calling and even the private messages involve people being just as hateful as they are helpful.  “Sorry, I read a few pages and I was bored so I stopped.  Good luck.”  Yeah, I’d pretty much rather get advice from people who don’t have the internet to anonymize their asshattery.

Zoetrope: Thoughts

I have now read and reviewed two scripts on this site and I was impressed.  They’re not great scripts, but they’ve got potential.  And they are so much better than the crap I was stuck reading when I read for development.  (With the exception of the Gumby script, that shit rocked!)

I read a fantasy idea that had a lot of problems but it was actually tonally quite nice and had very evocative imagery.  If this author does a second draft, I will be excited to read it.  And I read a piece that was Top Gun meets Taken, with a female lead… tonally it was all over the place, but the quality of the writing itself (the prose and dialogue) was really quite good.

I was pleasantly surprised having read… well just awful awful screenplays from writers that had representation that got their work into my hands.

Bible Con hasn’t gotten any reviews yet, but it’s got 14 reads.

Grraaah

Grraaah

First Act: One person officially liked it

Woo!

Minor adjustments and it may be ready to ship off!  I’m still waiting on one reader to send their thoughts, but it’s always so exciting the first time someone reads something you’ve written.

I also signed up for Zoetrope.com where I put up Bible Con to get thoughts.  I have to review 4 other scripts to read it, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that by the time anyone actually reviews it.