Sunday, January 29, 2017

#Scriptchat Transcript: Guest Academy Nicholl Fellow Anthony Grieco @SwimCharlieSwim

Academy Nicholl Fellow Anthony Grieco @SwimCharlieSwim, also co-author of Pocket Screenwriting Guide @PktScreenGD, joined the #scriptchat crew to talk contests, career advice and more... and there were cats. Enjoy!

Read the transcript below or on the Storify site.

< #Scriptchat Transcript: Guest Academy Nicholl Fellow Anthony Grieco @SwimCharlieSwim

#Scriptchat Transcript: Guest Academy Nicholl Fellow Anthony Grieco @SwimCharlieSwim

Academy Nicholl Fellow Anthony Grieco, also co-author of Pocket Screenwriting Guide @PktScreenGD, joined the #scriptchat crew to talk contests, career advice and more... and there were cats. Enjoy!

  1. Time for #scriptchat with guest @SwimCharlieSwim (story consultant, Academy Nicholl Fellow. Co-author @PktScreenGD)!
  2. IT’S #SCRIPTCHAT O’CLOCK w/ @SwimCharlieSwim 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellow. Co-author Pocket Screenwriting Guide @zacsanford moderating
  3. I love that I've gotten back into this, Normally I've been scheduled to work on Sundays. Thank God for slow Januarys. #scriptchat
  4. Hello everyone. Hope your year is off to a wonderful start. Please welcome our guest @SwimCharlieSwim. #scriptchat
  5. While we await our guest to arrive, how is everyone doing? #scriptchat
  6. Ah, Anthony is already here. @SwimCharlieSwim, why not tell our chatters a little about yourself. #scriptchat
  7. Worked at The Writer's Store and as a consultant as well. #scriptchat
  8. Last year, I won the Nicholl Fellowship for my script Best Sellers. An overnight success 12 years in the making! #scriptchat
  9. @SwimCharlieSwim Congrats on winning one of the coveted Nicholl spots. A huge accomplishment. #scriptchat
  10. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: Since you toiled around for all those years, what advice would you give to not give up? #scriptchat
  11. You have to be in love with writing; you have to love words. At some point you have to realize you're doing it for yourself. #scriptchat
  12. @SwimCharlieSwim So had you entered many contests before? And how did you previously do? #scriptchat
  13. And everyone else, feel free to jump in at any time with questions. #scriptchat
  14. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: What are some biggest missteps you think writers should be aware of w/ their scripts? Craft or otherwise. #scriptchat
  15. I'd entered the Nicholl 2 years earlier with a different script and didn't even make the quarterfinals. #scriptchat
  16. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: How can you best manage writing time when you're busy with other work? #scriptchat
  17. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: To add to that, how often should you spend reading scripts, aside from time writing? #scriptchat
  18. @filmwritr4 Set time aside every day to write. Find out if you're a morning or evening person. #scriptchat
  19. So... we have a Nicholl fellow with us tonight? Awesome. Q: Does winning get you an invite to the Playboy Mansion? #scriptchat
  20. I try to read at least 2 professionally written scripts each week. #scriptchat
  21. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: It can take some time to develop one's voice, any thoughts/pointers on this aspect of the writing? #scriptchat
  22. @SarahAlexis4 Your voice is your attitude towards life. If something isn't bothering you about the world, your voice hasn't... #scriptchat
  23. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: Any tips on improving dialogue through subtext? Do you try to focus on character intentions w/dialogue? #scriptchat
  24. @SwimCharlieSwim shame. I always struggle to find motivation to enter Nicholl, but I really want to swim in the lagoon! #scriptchat
  25. @filmwritr4 The less your characters have to say, the better. Think about behavior. What objects are in the room that best... #scriptchat
  26. Q: What was your biggest obstacle to overcome with your own writing? #scriptchat
  27. @blueneumann Probably coming to the realization that your characters existed before you wrote page 1. #scriptchat
  28. @SwimCharlieSwim That's a very interesting way of looking at it. I might try that sometime. Thanks so much! #scriptchat
  29. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: What's your process generally like? Do you outline extensively? Index cards? Vomit draft? #scriptchat
  30. @SwimCharlieSwim @blueneumann And will continue to exist after the last word (unless they're killed off). #scriptchat
  31. @SarahAlexis4 I don't outline extensively. I basically outline pivotal story beats: inciting incident, the lock-in, the pinch... #scriptchat
  32. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: How do you develop your characters and storylines? Do you come up with backstories? #scriptchat
  33. @SwimCharlieSwim How were you creating them? Were you doing character or story first? #scriptchat
  34. @filmwritr4 All I really need to look into is the character's scar. That's the primary back story. #scriptchat
  35. @SwinCharlieSwim Q: If you had to pick one scene, in one script, that you've read and wished you'd written, what would it be? #scriptchat
  36. @blueneumann Character first. There is no story until you know the character's problem with the world. #scriptchat
  37. @SwimCharlieSwim Would that be an incident or mistake from the past? Someone who haunts him? #scriptchat
  38. @chasinglamely The scene from Jaws when Quint tells the story of the USS Indianapolis. #scriptchat
  39. @SwimCharlieSwim What steps did you take to improve as a writer between the non-finish and the Nicholl win? #scriptchat
  40. @zacsanford Being able to track a character's attitude throughout the script is something takes time to develop. Like a muscle. #scriptchat
  41. @filmwritr4 One feature, one pilot is my maximum. Some people are more prolific, but it doesn't improve my quality of work. #scriptchat
  42. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: And from your experience, how often should you wait until getting feedback, then the rewrite? #scriptchat
  43. @SwimCharlieSwim When you say take time to write everyday, what sort of writing? Anything specific? #scriptchat
  44. If your question is missed, please give it a moment before asking it again. #scriptchat
  45. @filmwritr4 I belong to a writers' group, so my feedback is constant. However, ideally have 3 professionals review your work. #scriptchat
  46. Q: Have you ever found that there's a gap between the genre you'd like to write and your ability to do it? How do you bridge it? #scriptchat
  47. @charlie_gandez Always screenwriting although I'm starting to consider writing a book. #scriptchat
  48. @chasinglamely I believe genre is related to tone. I simply adjust the tone. Also, all stories are love stories ultimately. #scriptchat
  49. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: What do you like to do to fuel your creativity? Where do you tend to draw inspiration from for new ideas? #scriptchat
  50. @SwimCharlieSwim By professionals, would you recommend other writers or paying someone to look at it? #scriptchat
  51. @SarahAlexis4 Reading; I'm always reading at least 1 fiction and 1 non-fiction at a time, plus endless movie reading/watching. #scriptchat
  52. @filmwritr4 @SwimCharlieSwim I live in a town without a writers group (that allows screenwriters) - they're quite snobby here! #scriptchat
  53. @SwimCharlieSwim @chasinglamely LOL! I guess that means they don't take movie/TV writing as "real" writing... #scriptchat
  54. @SwimCharlieSwim that's true, I suppose! I always struggled to write horror, but I guess that's just too dark a tone for me! #scriptchat
  55. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: How do you approach rewrites? Do you take various passes w/ specific focuses? #scriptchat
  56. @SwimCharlieSwim @chasinglamely Like if you can't just pick it up and read it, or if it's not a best selling book... #scriptchat
  57. @SarahAlexis4 I usually wait to get the same note 3x, then I know it's a problem that needs to be addressed and rewrite. #scriptchat
  58. @filmwritr4 @SwimCharlieSwim They literally told me that. They were fine with me when I was 'just a poet' in their eyes though! #scriptchat
  59. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: Do you have any favorite scripts you think all screenwriters should read to study the craft? #scriptchat
  60. @SwimCharlieSwim who do you send it out to, to get those notes? Only people in the industry or others? Friends, family? #scriptchat
  61. @AndreaLMcNeill My writers' group, my wife (who used to be an agent), and my reps. #scriptchat
  62. @blueneumann @filmwritr4 @SwimCharlieSwim It's not out of the question; my blog has a writers' forum built in that's unused... #scriptchat
  63. @SwimCharlieSwim Yeah, I was told you send it to everyone and anyone who'll read for you. #scriptchat
  64. @AndreaLMcNeill I am, but as long as Qs are being asked, I try to step back and let others have theirs answered. #scriptchat
  65. @zacsanford @AndreaLMcNeill I would definitely only send it to people who are familiar with the medium. #scriptchat
  66. Q: I'm going to be in LA in a few months... any workshops you'd recommend I look out for? #scriptchat
  67. @SwimCharlieSwim What advice would you give someone to capitalize off their award/fellowship wins/placement? #scriptchat
  68. @chasinglamely Maybe Writer's Boot Camp, and see what The Writer's Store has on the docket. #scriptchat
  69. @zacsanford If you don't have representation, that should be the first order of business. #scriptchat
  70. @SwimCharlieSwim What, in your opinion, are some of the best written TV shows (past/present) that writers should study? #scriptchat
  71. @zacsanford You'll get a ton of meetings if it's a high-profile award; few if any will lead to a job though. #scriptchat
  72. @filmwritr4 Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Friday Night Lights, Veep, anything by Norman Lear. #scriptchat
  73. @SwimCharlieSwim Norman Lear is incredible. I did read the Breaking Bad pilot episode for my writers' group a while back. #scriptchat
  74. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: With each script, what are you noticing about the way your writing has evolved? In content and style/craft. #scriptchat
  75. @SwimCharlieSwim How do you go about getting representation? When do you know to starting looking? How? #scriptchat
  76. @SarahAlexis4 There are fewer words on the page but the words that are there (hopefully) have more impact. #scriptchat
  77. @charlie_gandez Write something you love, write it well, and representation will find you. It probably won't be your 1st script. #scriptchat
  78. @chasinglamely @filmwritr4 @SwimCharlieSwim Is that just a list of the best written shows or are the scripts also available? #scriptchat
  79. Q: Do you ever look at your first script to remind you how far you've come? I found mine the other day and cringed! #scriptchat
  80. @AndreaLMcNeill @chasinglamely @SwimCharlieSwim It's the WGA list of the 100 best written TV shows. Scripts available for most. #scriptchat
  81. @charlie_gandez BTW, I know that sounds cliched, but the longer I'm around this industry the more the cliches prove true. #scriptchat
  82. Special thank you to all those people who converted movie scripts into .TXT files back in the 90s #scriptchat
  83. @filmwritr4 @blueneumann (tab tab tab tab tab) CHARACTER. (return, tab tab tab tab) Dialogue... #scriptchat
  84. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: What are some common pointers you often find yourself giving in your role as a story consultant? #scriptchat
  85. @AndreaLMcNeill features are harder to find. But most award scripts can be found online. #scriptchat
  86. @SarahAlexis4 Getting into a scene late and getting out early; a scene must either be a fight, a negotiation, or a seduction. #scriptchat
  87. @blueneumann @chasinglamely Hahaha! Me too. I still remember having to print out scripts back then. #scriptchat
  88. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: If you find yourself stuck in a scene, do you have any exercises/tricks to help find your way forward? #scriptchat
  89. @blueneumann @chasinglamely No wonder I didn't spend a lot of time reading scripts in the '00s. Tablets were inconceivable. #scriptchat
  90. @AndreaLMcNeill And since you live in LA you can go to the WGA Library and read tons of feature and TV scripts for free. #scriptchat
  91. @zacsanford @AndreaLMcNeill the internet is an amazing resource, too; I've found that if I see something I want to read... (1/2) #scriptchat
  92. @SarahAlexis4 I go back to the very simple "What does my character want?" Most writers lose sight of that at 1 point or another. #scriptchat
  93. @SwimCharlieSwim What advice would you have for writers doing the water bottle tour? #scriptchat
  94. @SarahAlexis4 Also, I'm a big fan of Mamet's 4 rules: who's my lead character, what does s/he want, what if s/he doesn't get it #scriptchat
  95. @SarahAlexis4 ...and "why now?" This applies to the entire story, but it can also pertain to each scene. #scriptchat
  96. @zacsanford @AndreaLMcNeill ...oftentimes, the writer will send you a copy if you contact them and ask nicely. (2/2) #scriptchat
  97. @SwimCharlieSwim Here's hoping someone isn't taking writing gigs that don't pay when they don't own the underlying story. #scriptchat
  98. @zacsanford If you are going to accept a job that doesn't pay, make sure that it's a dream job & you can find your voice in it. #scriptchat
  99. @AndreaLMcNeill "water bottle tour" = general meetings all around town after winning Nicholl or having a hot spec/sample. #scriptchat
  100. @AndreaLMcNeill @zacsanford It's basically meetings with executives after you get a new rep, win a contest, or have a hot spec. #scriptchat
  101. Q: Any advice for someone who gets stuck at the turn/spiral (shit goes bad-all is lost) moments when they write? My weak spot #scriptchat
  102. @blueneumann Your character needs to have an epiphany that drags him/her out of that moment; the epiphany is usually rooted in #scriptchat
  103. @SwimCharlieSwim How did getting a Nicholl fellowship accelerate things for you? #scriptchat
  104. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: When you read a script what makes you eager to keep turning pages and keeps you engaged? #scriptchat
  105. @AndreaLMcNeill @zacsanford why not? I got an incredible mentor because I asked for a script he wrote. Nothing to lose! #scriptchat
  106. @blueneumann ...the lesson the impact character has taught him/her, which is ultimately the theme of your story. #scriptchat
  107. @SwimCharlieSwim I just read re: The Princess Bride that most of your story comes in one flash, that part never comes up then #scriptchat
  108. @filmwritr4 If it's your own script, by all means, it's an avenue that's been successful for other writers. #scriptchat
  109. @filmwritr4 I've seen more directors get notice off of webseries than the writers. Which is a shame. #scriptchat
  110. @JLalliWriter I got in more rooms; I got a new agent; and I charge more for consultations ;) #scriptchat
  111. @SwimCharlieSwim Thanks so much, Anthony. I'm working on one, or attempting to, right now. Maybe one day I'll earn money for it #scriptchat
  112. Q: What's the one prjct you'd love to get off the ground that nobody else "gets"? Seems to me that every writer has one... #scriptchat
  113. @SarahAlexis4 A character that I can emotionally identify with and writing that makes me wonder what happens next. #scriptchat
  114. @SwimCharlieSwim @JLalliWriter did you know the business well before you won the Nicholl's? Important to understand business #scriptchat
  115. @chasinglamely I wrote a script that Clint Eastwood wants to produce but no studio wants to fund. #scriptchat
  116. @zacsanford Wow. I had no idea that was even happening. Actors who create their own shows get attention, but hard to believe... #scriptchat
  117. @AndreaLMcNeill @JLalliWriter Yes, I think I did, but I certainly understand it better now, and it's constantly evolving. #scriptchat
  118. @filmwritr4 Happened to a couple writers I know. And myself. Then again, maybe my writing wasn't strong enough. :) #scriptchat
  119. Alas I only made it as far as the semifinals. It did give me validation, & more respect among writers in the biz #scriptchat 
  120. @filmwritr4 @zacsanford I think b/c people see actors/directors as usable resources for their own projects. Parts. #scriptchat
  121. @SwimCharlieSwim I know I have spent too much time honing the craft and not enough learning the biz. At UCLA now in a great clas #scriptchat
  122. @zacsanford I hope I can improve mine, as well as the production quality. #scriptchat
  123. @filmwritr4 @zacsanford I'll straight up admit I keep thinking "I could use that/him/her somewhere" #scriptchat
  124. @SwimCharlieSwim seems bizarre. Right topic, right guy... I guess even the perfect package doesn't always sell. #Hollyweird #scriptchat
  125. @chasinglamely Okay, slightly off topic, that last bit totally gave me an idea for a movie #scriptchat
  126. @chasinglamely @SwimCharlieSwim No one wanted Arrival, and now it's an Oscar nominated film. "No One Knows Anything." #scriptchat
  127. When you truly love a project, it'll never die. It's just finding the right team at the right time to make it a reality. #scriptchat
  128. @SwimCharlieSwim Q: Any words of advice for those working on scripts they'd like to submit for the upcoming Nicholl fellowship? #scriptchat
  129. @zacsanford Hopefully your writing will get even stronger, and that you'll get more opportunities to show your talents. #scriptchat
  130. @filmwritr4 Well the series is now being developed into a feature. Working on financing now. I feel it's my best piece yet. #scriptchat
  131. @zacsanford @SwimCharlieSwim Yep. A few years ago, I was pitching a silent movie. "Nobody will watch a silent film." Guess what? #scriptchat
  132. @SarahAlexis4 To be blunt, it really helps if it's a drama (though moments of levity are welcome). #scriptchat
  133. @SarahAlexis4 That said, anything well-executed and character-driven stands a chance. #scriptchat
  134. Drama always tops. RT @SwimCharlieSwim: To be blunt, it really helps if it's a drama (though moments of levity are welcome). #scriptchat
  135. And for those who were at the last chat with me, your books are coming this week. Promise!!! #scriptchat
  136. Any last questions for Anthony?? Get that in for the last chance. #scriptchat
  137. @SwimCharlieSwim Is it better to enter Nicholl early or later in the competition, or does it not matter? IMO, early = better #scriptchat
  138. @zacsanford @SwimCharlieSwim Don't mention Mad Men. It made me watch Good Girls Revolt. And now I'm hoping for a cable pickup. #scriptchat
  139. @JLalliWriter I entered with 4 hours left til the deadline...not sure it matters much. But I didn't save any $ doing it that way #scriptchat
  140. A big thanks to @SwimCharlieSwim for joining us this evening. Give him a follow. #scriptchat
  141. Really enjoyed being here with you guys, as always. Thanks to @SwimCharlieSwim for taking the time to answer our questions! #scriptchat
  142. @SwimCharlieSwim Thank you so much for joining us and fielding our questions! You did great. All the best with your writing! #scriptchat
  143. @SwimCharlieSwim @JLalliWriter Legit contests it won't matter when you submit, other than costing you a little more. #scriptchat
  144. Thanks for joining us and imparting wisdom tonight, @SwinCharlieSwim. I appreciate your time. #scriptchat
  145. @filmwritr4 if it's based on a true story you need a release. Just learned that in my class, or the rights. #scriptchat
  146. @zacsanford Thanks so much for having me! This was a lot of fun. You can DM me if you have any other questions. #scriptchat
  147. Enjoy the Super Ads next week. We'll be here again on the 12th. Have a great rest of the night and get to those pages! #scriptchat
  148. @SwimCharlieSwim @zacsanford Really enjoyed speaking with you and everyone here! Awesome job! Thanks for being with us! #scriptchat
  149. Thank you for taking time and answering our questions and passing your knowledge to us @SwimCharlieSwim I really appreciate it! #scriptchat
  150. @JLalliWriter Smaller contests matter to be early, that way readers aren't overloaded/behind/over it. :) #scriptchat
  151. I have a theory about readers giving a slower, more in depth read early rather than rushing reads as deadline approaches #scriptchat 
  152. @AndreaLMcNeill @filmwritr4 Any info on the requirements if it's based on something that happened to u but others were involved? #scriptchat
  153. @KathieJuengling Shoot me a PM with deets on FB and I'll let you know if anything is needed on a release. #scriptchat