Saturday, August 2, 2008


I'm so excited. This is the first time I can comment on a comment to the blog.

Dave writes:

I definitely agree that bad dialogue is an instant turn-off when reading a script. However, most producers will only even start reading the script if they’ve first been triggered by an intriguing premise. So when they start reading they’re looking to see if this is a movie, not whether the writer is the new Harold Pinter!

In my experience (but this may have to do with my penchant for structure), producers are reassured when the structure is clear and firm. All the details can be perfected during development, as long as the basic framework feels solid.

Having said that, great structure, great dialogue, great locations ... none of this can make up for a lousy, uninteresting premise."

I could not agree more. When thinking of a project, the first thing you should be thinking is...This premise...would I watch it if I wasn't writing it? Would I pay $10 to see it? Would I want my mother, brother, sister, uncle, best friend, to watch this movie? Would they even want to see it?

There is nothing worse that a boring, bland, run of the mill premise. In all of my reading, writing, and 'rithmatic, one thing I see over and over with my clients who have open submissions is a boring premise, which is a certain deal killer AND the first thing a reader comments.

As far as structure...once again I couldn't agree more. That's why I am trying so hard to modify my writing structure in order to make the structure perfect. I've spent so much time relying on my dialog to get the message through, that I forgot the most important thing to make someone read it, the structure.

As a reader, the thing I see with all of my CLOSED submission clients is that the premise in on point, pitch-able, and high concept, and the structure is relatively well-constructed. However, in almost every instance, the dialog and characters are just atrocious. Still...they are getting their film read, and the quirky esoteric unmarketable story sits on the shelf.

This is very important...if the structure is NOT good, and the PREMISE is not on point, NO ONE will read the script even if you are the next "Harold Pinter".

That felt really gooood. Keep the comments coming.

Figuring out what you're terrible at

As optimistic post.

Writing and working in this industry is as much about finding your weaknesses as it is accenting your strengths.

For instance, I am great with dialog, decent on structure, and terrible at proofreading.

So, how do I account for that? I send my scripts to tons of people, have begun outlining more strictly, writing more extensive character developments, and trying to read scripts backwards. (yes, it's a little trick I learned recently. Try it)

The problem, not to sound boastful, is that in my opinion great dialog can make up for piss-poor structure. I look at the most recent re-write I did for a tv pilot I'm working on, and while I know the structure needs work, it sounds good, and flows because of the dialog, so it becomes difficult for me to see how to correct it. I know, I know, I know, it sounds terrible, and I know it does. On the other hand, great structure rarely makes up for piss poor dialog. But, I'm learning how to get the structure right.

But, that's why it's so important to see your biggest faults and PLAY TO THEM. Two of the most popular ways:

-Writing Groups--i have some excellent ones.
-Writing Partners--i am looking for one.

Either way, the easiest way to find your faults is to get other people's eyes on your script.

A professional will not only know where they are strong, they will be even more aware of where they are weak.

I'm obsessed with...

Google Analytics, and it's telling me that the average time spent on my blog is in a tail spin, and I think i know why.
I got a nice comment from a buddy of mine, a client actually, that told me my blog has been wholly depressing recently. I can't disagree, because I am in limbo, so many projects close to being completed, so much potential clearly pent up, and so many projects in's daunting.

But, I promise, my next post will be optimistic again.