Sunday, March 20, 2016

Transcript for 3-20-16 Screenwriting for Novelists

First, thanks so much to Zac Sanford for taking time from his busy schedule to answer questions on tonight's chat. It was very nice of him to take the extra time, and chat on a night that wasn't on his schedule.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to show up and answer questions. And thanks to Tawny Stokes for joining us and answering questions too. She's a pitching guru. LOL
Moderator: @authorjamie

Monday, March 14, 2016

#Scriptchat Transcript: @FinishLineScrip - The Rewrite (Where the hell do I even start?)

Finish Line Script Competition @FinishLineScrip talked with our screenwriters about rewriting, tips for taking screenplay feedback, and how to make your script pop.
Moderator: Zac Sanford @zacsanford

Read the transcript below or on the Storify site.

#Scriptchat Transcript: @FinishLineScrip - The Rewrite (Where the hell do I even start?)

#Scriptchat Transcript: @FinishLineScrip - The Rewrite (Where the hell do I even start?)

Finish Line Script Competition @FinishLineScrip talked with our screenwriters about rewriting, tips for taking screenplay feedback, and how to make your script pop. Moderator: Zac Sanford @zacsanford

  1. Hello everyone and welcome our guest @FinishLineScip -- Tonight we're talking about Rewrites! #scriptchat
  2. Evening all. Been a while since I've joined a scriptchat, but after going though lots of rewrites, thought I'd say hi. #scriptchat
  3. This is one place where a lot of writers fall flat. I can't tell you how many rewrites come my way that just word smith. #scriptchat
  4. I'm pretty good at identifying flaws and asking questions about my work, but working out and executing the solutions... #scriptchat
  5. I'm current an accounting tempt who would like to write for animated series. #scriptchat
  6. Thanks Zac, I'm an ex-lit manager, currently read for about 5 top screenplay competitions and ave my own consultancy #scriptchat
  7. Also just started the Finish Line Script Competition where the focus is on helping writers win through rewriting! #scriptchat
  8. @FinishLineScrip Interesting concept on the contest. What made you want to do something so different from the others? #scriptchat
  9. I believe there are two types of rewrite: 1) the one you do during your own writing process before you have a saleable script #scriptchat
  10. As someone who reads so much for competitions, I saw so many scripts that shouldn't be there yet, that still needed a rewrite #scriptchat
  11. #scriptchat Anyone used Scrivener or any others over Final Draft for the rewrite process? I struggle with going back n forth finding bits
  12. So we developed the competition so people could enter and then receive notes and work with a consultant to improve the script #scriptchat
  13. @AdrienneAiken I love Scrivener b/c I'm a real lateral thinker. But I haven't really cracked it for rewriting yet. Any tips? #scriptchat
  14. and 2) the rewrites you do for a producer/studio following their notes on the job. Very different beasts. #scriptchat
  15. For all those in attendance, feel free to shoot your rewriting questions to @FinishLineScrip #scriptchat
  16. I think that the less a writer knows his story the more notes they're going to get. This cannot be a concept - #scriptchat
  17. characters and story have to be fully outlined and you need to know everything before you start, Then, you need to be able to #scriptchat
  18. @FinishLineScrip Q: What about rewriting while writing? I have found myself going back and changing things. #scriptchat
  19. @FinishLineScrip Q: what's the first thing that jumps out at you typically for a script that needs a rewrite? #scriptchat
  20. step back and let someone else take a look so you can take a break. You cannot get so personally invested that you won't change #scriptchat
  21. #scriptchat Do you do several rewrite passes for diff things like main char, dialog or just fix everything at once?
  22. Characters almost always need to be better developed. Writing out full bios for every character and how they interact with #scriptchat
  23. @FinishLineScrip Q: What tips would you suggest for someone to rewrite dialogue, i.e. give it more subtext? #scriptchat
  24. characters is key to having 3-Dimensional characters that impact story and emotion. #scriptchat
  25. Dialogue is something that one has to have some skill in. We want stories that feel real, not written. #scriptchat
  26. Rewriting for me needs to include others reading it, so I know what doesn't work. I'm too close to the story sometimes to see it #scriptchat
  27. If your question is missed with the barrage of questions sent to our guest, please wait a bit before asking again. #scriptchat
  28. The more written a script feels, the more the writer needs to take a step back and relax the dialogue to conversation. #scriptchat
  29. I think rewriting when writing is OK but sometimes it's good to get that first draft out and do it a streamlined way. #scriptchat
  30. Rewriting is a different skill than writing - it's a real need to be WILLING to change things. To let things go. #scriptchat
  31. @FinishLineScrip Q: When rewriting dialogue, in addition to making it more conversational, is it about the intent of the lines? #scriptchat
  32. @FinishLineScrip Q: By that, I mean, why is this person saying this, that or the other, and for what purpose? #scriptchat
  33. Outlining is the key to rewriting. It's always going to come back to that initial outline. #scriptchat
  34. @FinishLineScrip Once I started to reoutline before rewriting, it made a huge difference in my ability to tackle the task. #scriptchat
  35. Oh goodie, more outlining. Although in theory it should be easier the SECOND time cause you know the story, right? #scriptchat
  36. @FinishLineScrip Q: When writing a character bio, how extensive should it be, and how do you know what to use/not use? #scriptchat
  37. Every scene in a script must move the script along. Whether through action, dialogue, exposition, it the script must progress. #scriptchat
  38. Yes, outlining will get easier but it also needs to be solid to begin with. Bios should be as extensive as you want, so you #scriptchat
  39. can have fully rounded characters. They need to have connections with everyone and all action you create, #scriptchat
  40. I go nuts with the character bios. If they're solid enough, they can endure any changes to the story #scriptchat
  41. Every scene must create or resolve arcs, develop characters, motive or conflict or resolve things. & instill humor or suspense. #scriptchat
  42. Emotional arcs work for introverted characters. Most themes stem from emotional arcs. #scriptchat
  43. #scriptchat what's ur advice on emotionless, unexpressive chars eg. with Asperger's syndrome without making them zombie like?
  44. @blueneumann @Al_1701 less is more. sometimes a reaction to an intended action works better. #scriptchat
  45. You have to go with what you feel is right. Rewrite notes are not personal to you, they're about your script. Craft, not ego. #scriptchat
  46. @FinishLineScrip Q: On average, how many rewrites would you recommend before a script can be as best as it can be? (may vary) #scriptchat
  47. @Al_1701 @jgsarantinos If you want a good example on tackling this type of character, check later seasons of #Parenthood #scriptchat
  48. Yes, number of rewrites may vary. Recently one of the scripts we got through our competition was pretty 'not good'. I worried #scriptchat
  49. #scriptchat @FinishLineScrip And how many rewrites before you let your baby go to a consultant? When you're ready to throw the laptop?
  50. #scriptchat anyone else got any views on best software for rewriting? I find FD great generally, but when rewriting, less so
  51. writer wouldn't be able to make any headroom and it would be a hard process but we gave 6 pages of notes and he turned in a #scriptchat
  52. highly improved new draft. So, he's going to have less work to do than expected. I have gone up to seven drafts with clients. #scriptchat
  53. I am constantly reminded of the adage that says "great works are never finished but merely abandoned." #rewriting #scriptchat
  54. When you no longer feel you can look at the script objectively it's time to get it to a consultant. You must be ready to change. #scriptchat
  55. Effects of three dimensional writing- You'll feel totally trapped in the story/the script you are reading #scriptwriting #scriptchat
  56. There will always be room for improvement but that starts and ends with the writer's desire to work. Kill your Darlings. #scriptchat
  57. @FinishLineScrip Q: Based on your work/consultation with comedy writers, any rewrite techniques for that genre? #scriptchat
  58. @FinishLineScrip Q: Or are the techniques for re-writing pretty much the same as for any other genre? #scriptchat
  59. Comedy is hard. You have to be funny. Sometimes I tell people to try and create new stories that will bring more comedy. #scriptchat
  60. I find the greatest re-writing tools are time & distance. Set is aside to get perspective instead of constantly wresting w/it. #scriptchat
  61. Comedy needs to be reigned in at times, so often it's about story, development and dialogue. Unless you're naturally witty. #scriptchat
  62. #scriptchat "Comedy is hard. You have to be funny." (That made me laugh)
  63. @JLalliWriter #scriptchat months or even a year. distance brings a new perspective on things
  64. @FinishLineScrip Even then you need moderation. That one joke too far can ruin the entire comedy. #scriptchat
  65. I've had experiences where writers who came to me or competition for consult had ideas I expressed in my notes but needed #scriptchat
  66. @SarahAlexis4 It disturbs me to see TV writing that doesn't take that into acct.Shoehorning character behavior2serve the plot. #scriptchat
  67. voice, more assurance they were following the right path. #scriptchat
  68. I was a lit manager I worked with clients on many rewrites before/after options or purchase. Make sure whoever is reading you #scriptchat
  69. @FinishLineScip Q Do you feel people should tackle certain things on each rewrite? Char, plot, scene work, dialouge, etc. #scriptchat
  70. I need to finish this rewrite so I can send it to friends and get feedback to do a REAL rewrite. That feels so stupid. #scriptchat
  71. really knows what it takes to make that script better. I like every script I read for consult. I don't worry about that. #scriptchat
  72. I think good notes will touch on all things that need to be looked at. Some things don't need to be looked at in a big rewrite #scriptchat
  73. @jgsarantinos A laugh a minute. I hate comedy where it's a whole scene for ONE joke. #scriptchat
  74. Later, after the script has more solid ground I might get into dialogue issues. Most important is getting structure #scriptchat
  75. @FinishLineScrip Have you worked with anyone who's written content for the web/streaming, preferably short content? #scriptchat
  76. story and character arcs solid. Motive is key. Purpose and reason for things happening. #scriptchat
  77. Yes, I have worked with people who have created web-series. #scriptchat
  78. @blueneumann @jgsarantinos Reminds me of that Kids' Choice countdown clock skit last night on SNL. Same joke over and over. #scriptchat
  79. Good readers will cover structure, story, pace, tone, theme, character, dialogue, description. We do in our competition notes. #scriptchat
  80. @FinishLineScrip Very cool. From your experience, what tips do you have for writers of short form content re: rewrites? #scriptchat
  81. I used to work with a very seasoned comedy writer for TV who said you should be able to open a script and #scriptchat
  82. @blueneumann It wasn’t even all that funny. I don’t think it made a lot of sense. #scriptchat
  83. #scriptchat I think it's important for consultants to give positive feedback where a writer has done good as well as critique Not ego, helps
  84. understand the story from whatever page you read. Everything needs to be that tight. #scriptchat
  85. Yes, you must always encourage the writer. It's a hard job and I am always impressed with anyone who writes anything! #scriptchat
  86. I've some great short scripts. Sometimes they're easier because you don't have to fill so much. Again, it's all in the outline. #scriptchat
  87. @AdrienneAiken #scriptchat for me all feedback should actionable. liking a char or scene doesn't really help me.
  88. The best way for someone to rewrite on their own is to read every scene and ask whether it moves the story. What's the purpose? #scriptchat
  89. @FinishLineScrip Q: Best way to outline a short script, if it's web series, sketch or short film? #scriptchat
  90. In feedback, saying we like a character or scene is to let you know what works and that you're on the right track. #scriptchat
  91. od feedback should be in depth and constructuve. Helpful with examples. #scriptchat
  92. What is the story you want to tell? Who are the characters, the conflict and the plot lines that are going to tell it? #scriptchat
  93. Where do you start and where do you want to end up? Who is in there to make that arc happen? What is your theme? #scriptchat
  94. All of this needs to be in beats so there isn't excess chatter, no scenes that don't matter. Characters and ideas cannot pop up! #scriptchat
  95. @AdrienneAiken #scriptchat touche, for instance dialog in scene 1 is great but on the nose in scene 2. a comparison helps.
  96. It's clear when someone has just written without a plan and when one is followed. The latter usually makes a lot more sense, #scriptchat
  97. I think rewrites help sweep a lot of the excess stuff that the writer thought would add to the script away... #scriptchat
  98. Some of the best feedback/notes I've gotten from @theblcklst & contest notes have been extremely harsh. #realtalk #scriptchat #rewriting
  99. I do not bullshit (excuse my language) when it comes to notes.I want to encourage but the writer needs to know where they stand. #scriptchat
  100. I worked with the writer who won last years Launch Pad pilot contest. 7 rewrites. #scriptchat
  101. Rhythm is important too - For TV, knowing when to cut out of acts and for Film, cut outs of scenes, very important to success. #scriptchat
  102. @FinishLineScrip How do you know when to walk away from a project instead of being stuck in rewrite hell? #scriptchat
  103. I wish I could be as high-frequency as my rewriting as Pixar is. CONSTANT rewriting #scriptchat
  104. This is where sometimes, feedback can simply say - this works. The pace is keeping me involved. #scriptchat
  105. @FinishLineScrip #scriptchat but you can be diplomatic. you can say this is a very rough, loose unpolished draft rather than...
  106. I think there are scripts that you feel more of a connection to and know you can keep working on. Others just aren't in you. #scriptchat
  107. @FinishLineScrip That's why I like objective notes from people outside my circle - friends & fam often go "too easy" on it #scriptchat
  108. A good consultant will help you figure out how to keep rewriting to bring progress instead of stalling. #scriptchat
  109. @FinishLineScrip Q: How would you know where to end an act/begin another if you did a TV script? #scriptchat
  110. Acts are about an amount of time passing and always ending on conflict or suspense. This is where someone can turn off the TV #scriptchat
  111. @FinishLineScrip Bad notes homogenize every story into tropes, remove a writer's individuality -- what is your approach? #scriptchat
  112. We only have 15 minutes left with our guest @FinishLineScrip. Get those rewrite questions in now. #scriptchat
  113. #scriptchat @FinishLineScrip David Trottier suggests get away from your script for two weeks after you finish. What do you suggest?
  114. Depends on drama or comedy scripts but a number of acts need to keep the pace and make sure people stay involved. #scriptchat
  115. Yes, writers need to put the script in a drawer. I suggest, when you're not writing to watch great movies or TV & read. #scriptchat
  116. Sometimes you get bad notes. It's a shame. But a good consultant, and we have many, will get in there with you and help you work #scriptchat
  117. @FinishLineScrip Q: Any particular movies/TV shows, and their scripts, you would suggest? #scriptchat
  118. @FinishLineScrip Q If you had to give one big piece of advice on the rewriting process, what would it be? #scriptchat
  119. out YOUR script, not a scripts in general.Craft must be tackled but specifics of your script will be assessed most specifically. #scriptchat
  120. @Al_1701 By that, you mean? I’m not sure what question you responded to. #scriptchat
  121. It's always going to be about going back to t he outline and readjusting. Emotional arcs are super important. #scriptchat
  122. #scriptchat Seeing successful scripts is great too. but there needs to be more spec scripts online - most examples are shooting scripts.
  123. For all it's action and adventure, The Revenant worked so well because it was an emotional story. That can be any genre. #scriptchat
  124. My advice is to know your script and story like the back of your hand. Be able to answer any question off the bat. #scriptchat
  125. If I may just plug the competiton,you can enter your script as is or get 6 pages of notes and keep working w/the same consultant #scriptchat
  126. the prizes are great, You meet with over 15 people if you win. And if you don't you come out with a much better script. #scriptchat
  127. We wanted to make sure you at least got a better script out of it as most notes aren't given until the end. Resubmission is free #scriptchat
  128. Take time to absorb the notes you receive. Start bit by bit where you feel most comfortable.Go back to your outline. Rewrite IT. #scriptchat
  129. Rewriting your outline is going to be key to making changes. Always be open to change. Start with the skeleton of the story #scriptchat
  130. Rewrite character bios, how they interact with others to get purpose and meaning in scenes. Conflict has to feel organic. #scriptchat
  131. Stories cannot be left hanging. Read your script over and over, don't just rewrite it. Know it. #scriptchat
  132. @FinishLineScrip It amazes me how often when I hear pitches and I'll ask questions that the writer doesn't know how to answer. #scriptchat
  133. @FinishLineScrip Awesome advice, and thanks so much for sharing it with me and all of us. Really appreciate it! #scriptchat
  134. @FinishLineScrip Again, thanks so much for joining us, and for taking the time to answer our questions. #scriptchat
  135. Remember... Write drunk. Edit sober. The hardest (but best IMO) part of writing is the rewriting process. #scriptchat
  136. You need that solid elevator pitch bit also answers to each question a reader asks. If you don't you better figure it out! #scriptchat
  137. Rewriting is more than just word-smithing. Dig in. Tear things apart. Your script will thank you for it. #scriptchat
  138. we have a couple more minutes if you've got a last minute question. #scriptchat
  139. Go Into The Story | Zero Draft Thirty 2016 Spring Challenge: Day 13: Zero Draft Thirty: Day 13. Ma...  #Scriptchat
  140. You cannot have a successful script w/out a successful rewrite.Get help with it, there are lots of very qualified people to help #scriptchat
  141. We're always sober so if you want help with the rewrite you know where to find us . #scriptchat
  142. Next week we're talking about Screenwriting for Novelists. @authorJamie moderating. #scriptchat
  143. @FinishLineScrip Q Sorry if this has been asked, but how many rewrites until it just needs to be put to pasture? #scriptchat
  144. Even if you don't write novels, feel free to join us as there will be lots of great tidbits. #scriptchat
  145. #scriptchat working out what ur story isn't can be just as important as what ur story is.
  146. And a big thanks to @FinishLineScrip for joining us and giving the deets to rock your next (or current) rewrite. #scriptchat
  147. As many rewrites as you can do without not being able to move forward anymore. Somethings just end. #scriptchat
  148. Embrace the outline. And the re-outline. It can make yuge difference. #scriptchat
  149. My pleasure to be here. thanks so much for all the questions and the opportunity. #scriptchat
  150. Enjoyed being here, and chatting with you guys, as always! #scriptchat
  151. Okay, now... well, later... to see if re-outlining my draft will help me solve my issues #scriptchat
  152. Seriously some of my issues with the script are so... that there's no easy answer. #scriptchat