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Script Magazine Sampler 2
Apr 22nd, 2017 by paul peditto

script mag 2Today we’ll continue our Sampler Series with some of the best writing from Script Magazine in 2016. I’ve been writing for Script Mag for a couple years. You can check out my articles here. Today it’s other authors, some of the best people in the field. Hopefully it helps you on your way to writing your movie. Vamos!

  • ARE SCREENWRITING CONSULTANTS WORTH IT?

Here’s an honest point-counter-point on the subject of screenwriting consultants. If you read this blog you know I walk a fine line on the subject. I founded a blog named Script Gods Must Die because I had issues with some imposters in the market charging absurd amounts for their services, making a living at what’s been termed The Hope Machine. But look over to the column on the left and sure enough, I’m selling the same damn services! Hypocrisy! Maybe. I always considered myself a writer first, a teacher second. I’m no guru and make no claims to be. I’ve helped plenty of folks through the years and we all got bills to pay. My point being– seek honesty, folks. Tony Larussa was a marginal baseball player at best but went on to the Hall Of Fame as a Major League manager. It is possible to help people write a screenplay without having written Hangover 2, Craig. Here’s an article that brings up some of these points when considering shopping for an “expert” to help you.

“What makes a good script consultant?

Online, I’ve seen many people say they only want to learn from someone who has been a successful screenwriter themselves.

In the land of unicorns and leprechauns, that might just be possible. But guess what? Not all produced screenwriters make good consultants. Being a great consultant requires a degree of patience, hand holding, and tolerance to help elevate writing that is sometimes horrendous.

You also don’t have to be a produced writer to know what makes a good story. Many script consultants have read thousands of scripts. Not all writers have. The more you read, the more you learn how to be an effective storyteller.

Think about it. Those readers the studios use… the ones who decide the fate of your script. Did they have a screenwriting credit? Um, not so much. But they do know about the industry, what moviegoers’ expectations are, what their studio’s needs are, and what makes a solid story. Since they read an incredible volume of scripts each week, they know when a great story comes across their desk.

Having said that, if you can find a produced screenwriter who has the skill set to consult, even better. They’ve walked the walk and will hopefully give you the advice they wished someone had given them when they were starting out.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Micro-Budget Screenplay: Preparation
Feb 4th, 2017 by paul peditto

Chat Poster V2

My new Script Magazine article is up. If you’re writing a micro-budget screenplay, maybe check this one out. It details some pitfalls along the path of my making CHAT (photo above) and gives some insight on the earliest formats your script can take in the outlining stage.

Here’s a piece of it:

“Glance at the Go Into The Story Spec Script List for 2015 and you’ll see 55 specs sold last year. Then add up the screenplays registered with the Writer’s Guild that year– shall we say, conservatively, 50,000? About 1,000 to 1, though I’ve seen the odds– especially for those without an agent or manager– at much worse. Then look at the WGA 2016 Annual Report to see that for all the tens upon tens of thousands of folks writing screenplays last year, exactly 1,799 got paid. For every spec screenplay writer you see on Deadline.com breaking through with a magical story of success, you could point to a thousand dreams that didn’t pan out.

Jez Peditto, so you’re saying I should stop dreaming of being a screenwriter? I should stop writing… because the odds are against it?

Script EXTRA: 11 Ways to Develop Your Screenwriting Hustle

Not at all. I’m talking today about the need for re-calibration. A mental rearrangement of priorities. From Old School to New. The need to know yourself…and your project.

When you write a screenplay and ignore budgetary considerations, you guarantee needing other people’s money.

Needing other people’s money cedes power. It guarantees the need of L.A. and the necessity of the L.A. mechanism. It’s why you should consider writing with micro-budget in mind. When you write for cost you increase your odds of seeing the script happen. Because you control the mechanism.

The real question should be: How do I write a movie for the absolute lowest price possible without compromising the vision of my film?”

Read the rest of the article here!

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Script Magazine, last from 2016
Dec 4th, 2016 by paul peditto

script mag 1

I’ve highlighted Script Magazine often here at Script Gods. Yeah, I’m a Homer because I write for them, but there’s excellent content over there curated by my editor Jeanne Bowerman. This will be last time to the well for the 2016 articles. Guaranteed there’s something to help you here, Good Reader. Check it out…

  • WHERE’S MY MONEY?

Excellent post by Christopher Schiller on the legal aspects of getting paid as a screenwriter. Got your interest? Here’s a sample:

“Fans of Major League Baseball may realize that each team’s ballpark is shaped completely differently than all the others. From the dimensions of the field to the capacity of the crowd on down, there’s a great variety among them. Keep this in mind when seeking a “ballpark” figure for your sale. But just like there’s a set 90 feet between the bases, there are some commonalities you can look to to get a sense of the playing field for pricing your works.

For a starting point, a writer can look to the Writers Guild of America or WGA’s Basic Minimum Agreement (BMA) for minimum levels for nearly every facet of writing agreed to between the Guild and their signatory producers. The copious clauses and stipulations set out in detail all the specifics of the minimum dollar figures, requirements, conditions and schedules for each stage of typical agreements. Even with all their years of negotiations and deal making behind them there are still some areas that aren’t quite hammered down, such as just how much of work can be included in a polish before it becomes a new draft and triggers a different pay amount. But most of the minutia is at least addressed well enough to ease a writer’s mind.”

  • WRITING THE FIRST DRAFT

Loved this article by Rob Tobin on writing the first draft, cultivating the proper mentality, keep realistic goals, “penstorming” and style copying. Sample…

I first came across penstorming during a financial workshop I attended many years ago. The workshop leader had us take pen in hand, and begin writing. There were no rules or instructions, other than we were not to stop, even for a moment, until she told us to. In essence, then, it was freewriting without even the restriction of remaining focused on a particular topic. At the end of fifteen minutes, there wasn’t a person in that room who wasn’t astounded at the revelations and perceptions staring up at them from the page.

Penstorming might seem too chaotic to produce anything of worth to a writer. In fact, however, the complete freedom which penstorming allows is what makes it such a valuable technique, especially for writers looking for topics on which to write. In freewriting, the restriction of having to stay on topic helps the writer produce something specific to the article he is writing, but restricts him from discovering new topics. Penstorming allows the writer to roam about at will, from the sublime to the ridiculous, from topic to topic.”

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  • WRITING FOR VIDEO GAMES

Here’s a topic I don’t often cover, writing for video games. Ashley Scott Myers interviews Justin Sloan and Stephan Bugaj here.

“Stephan Bugaj and Justin Sloan talk about how to have a successful career as a video game writer. They also discuss about their new book, Creative Writing Career 2, and some of the lessons they learned from conducting interviews with many successful screenwriters.”

ws_videogamewriting-500_medium Read the rest of this entry »

Script Magazine 2016-Sampler 1
Nov 6th, 2016 by paul peditto

script mag 2A bit less than two years ago I was welcomed into the Script Magazine world by my editor, friend, and– caps for emphasis– All-Around Good Human Being– Jeanne Bowerman. She’s a mentor to thousands of folks around the world both with her column and choices of contributors.  Many in-the-biz folks write for Jeanne. These are sharp people, not just in film but TV, not just with writing but producing, direction, micro-budget. If you’re interested in the craft of screenwriting, please check out Script Magazine.

Consider this a sampler of what Script Magazine has to offer. You can check out my own articles for Script Mag here. Here’s a taste of what they offered in 2016:

  • Feel My Pain: Travails Of An Undernourished, Unproduced Screenwriter

Bukowski once told me: “Anger is vindictive. Disgust is the Holy Water.” — Meaning laughter among the ruins. I love the black tone of this article. You can hear Michael Giampa’s voice clearly, sharp, take no prisoners. He walks the line between giving the reality of the screenwriting landscape for a newbie today, while still being able to provide hope. Here’s a sample:

“I sent my labors of love out to “industry people.” Heartless, cigar-munching “industry” people who dress in black and drink gallons of Evian. I wasn’t prepared for their abuse. Abuse can be in the form of: no response to your script, response on characters that don’t actually exist in your script and a response in which your script is returned stuck together by a substance of unknown origin.

Even if their response is favorable (“We’d love to see your script about the bionic monkey”) the odds are still stacked monstrously against you. Over 40,000 new scripts a year are registered with the Writers Guild of America and another 10,000 at the Library of Congress and assorted author’s agencies. Factor in a batch of online registration services and the “mail it to yourself poor person’s copyright” and that adds up to about 60,000 newborn scripts annually. Considering there are really only 12 major studios that each release about 12 movies theatrically within 12 months and about triple that for serious production houses that manage to get out, say, a half dozen films for wide market “straight to video” and – are you keeping up? – I’ll do the math. Your script has a .0006 % chance of seeing the light of any screen in any aspect ratio ever….

Now, this is the moment where “overnight successes” are born. Somebody actually does get that life changing let’s-do-lunch-this-is-Steven-Spielberg-calling phone call. The reality is it’s not going to happen. Forget that cover story about the teenager who sold Hip-Hop Hootchie for more money than Iraq’s defense budget. Do not base your motivations on this. That is an exception to the norm. And you and I are likely “the norm.” Some screenwriters are lucky. Some are deserving geniuses like Billy Wilder and … uh … Billy Wilder. The rest of us will have to settle with being marginally talented. Skills come with practice. Style comes with discipline (“ass/desk” etc.).”

hoolywood

  • HOW TO SELL A SCRIPT LIVING OUTSIDE OF HOLLYWOOD

Lots of people writing screenplays. Lots living outside Hollywood. The age-old question: How to break in? How to make a sale while not living in L.A. Here’s a podcast from Ashley Scott Myers of Shane Weisfeld, a guy who did just that…

“Shane Weisfeld is a great example of a persistent writer who has been able to forge a career while living thousands of miles from Hollywood. He gained representation and sold his first script, Freezer, starring Dylan McDermott, all while living in Toronto, Canada.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Hating!
May 9th, 2016 by paul peditto

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Good Reader, another week, another confessional…

If there’s one thing I’ve mastered over the years– being Southern Italian and Type A– it’s “hating” well. Hating artfully.

To quote The Sound Of Music, here are a few of my least favorite screenwriting things– circa my article this week in Script Magazine.

The only thing I hate more than parentheticals, misused adverbs & adjectives, etc…is debating it. The older I get the more these online format discussions seem like the Bernie vs. Hillary stuff breaking out all over my Facebook page. Just…freaking…pointless.

If you write The Social Network, sure, you can jam in as many parentheticals as you like. You can make it 162 pages too, as Aaron Sorkin did. Nobody will be questioning the number of adverbs you used or didn’t use.

Story trumps format. That’s the point of this article. Check it out here.

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