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First of all, I've never sold anything. I am purely a hobbyist writer with no aspirations of leaving my day job. So I am more than happy to part with my scripts for nothing other than the written by credit. The satisfaction of seeing something come to life is payment enough.
Of course, if anyone was ever interested in one of my features that would be a different story, that's a lot of work to part with for nothing.
I'd be asking the more seasoned writers that actually get paid that question. Anthony, Pia, Dustin, etc.
As far as knowing who to trust, who the hell knows. It's helpful if a filmmaker has a showreel with previous work and I guess actual payment is a good place to start.
I've had a few shorts made now so I have a little network of filmmakers, actors, composers and the like that I bounce ideas off and share new work with.
As far as knowing when something is ready, I don't think the writer will ever feel that it's completely ready. I personally don't know when to stop, but once something has been picked up then I let it rest. Until then I'm always on Reddit or Craigslist looking for a good fit.
Your last point is hard for me to answer because I personally just write for the most part. For this challenge, I didn't plot anything out, I just wrote and hoped like hell it fit into 3 pages, and it did, almost perfectly.
Sometimes I do plan it all out, but mostly I just get going and see where it leads. Again probably something the long time writers would have a better answer to.
I'm interested to know what you wrote now.
Sorry, I don't think I've been helpful in any way.
Re voting - I've never voted on my own script but I know some folk have. Personally I don't think it should be allowed.
Cyborn can't be mine as I reviewed it. I've got James down for this one.
Dan - Some dialogue scenes and stories are the greatest ever. I personally love dialogue and wish it was used more creatively like in Tarantino movies, TV shows like True Detective, Doctor Who etc. I always say a good writer can write an entire movie of two people sat in a room talking and have you glued the entire time.
The problem is some folk see a script with a lot of dialogue and just go, "Bah, talking heads!" discard it and don't give it a chance. Write what you want to write and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks or how you are going to sell it. Be true to yourself first, practice and just get better over time.
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About dialogue heavy scripts. I love it too, however, there's a HUGE difference between boring chatter and good dialogue. Since QT is rather good at this, let's use him as an example. The beginning of Inglorious Bastards has probably one of the best dialogue scenes ever made. Think about it, near twenty minutes of just dialogue. But, and this is everything, it is intelligent, purposeful, suspenseful and there's a LOT of stuff going on. That is NOT a talking head scene. Same for True Detective, since it was mentioned. The dialogue is intelligent, intriguing, thought provoking etcetera. It keeps us glued to the screen. A talking heads scene is just people talking with absolutely nothing of importance or interest to say or further the story.
One of my biggest pet peeves is watching people write dialogue heavy scripts because QT does it. Ok fine, but if that's what you're going to do, it better be really really good. Most writers are not QT...
I'm not that smart and I write crappy dialogue I've been told, so I try to keep it to a minimum. I'm also not good at the prose type stuff, so I keep that lean and to a bare minimum too. Figure out what your strengths are and use that. Figure out what your weaknesses are and keep that to a minimum or even avoid it if you can.
As far as selling scripts go, all I do is post them here at SS. Sometimes I'll put a feature on InkTip. I have never tried to actively go out and find people. Never even once sent out a queery. I wouldn't even know how to. Like Warren, I'm just a hobbyist. I'm not looking for a career. Maybe if I was younger, but at this stage in my life, it's just a hobby and will remain that way.
But I don't know, only James can answer that question for this specific challenge.
I assumed I couldn't enter. Not sure I would have even if I could. I can't seem to bring myself to write shorts now that I'm trying to power through this new feature. It stresses me out horribly to work on anything else for some weird reason. I gotta finish this draft first. And I write slow as hell so I'm only just past the midpoint.
Dan, I know which one is yours by the subject matter alone...and I knew it instantly, as I knew your last OWC entry a well. The subject matter you choose is a dead giveaway.
In terms of choosing a topic/story/plot, you need to map it out in your head to see if it's going to fit the page length parameters. If it's too big a concept, it ain't gonna work. Keep it simple and contained until you get to be a stronger writer.
In terms of selling scripts? If I were you, I wouldn't even think about it, and I'm not saying that because you're unable to sell a script. Most peeps who sell shorts are not pocketing enough moola for it to even matter.
Write because you enjoy it. Write to get better. Write to make other peeps happy or entertained.
To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
I think if you take this stuff too seriously you are bound to be let down. I do not get excited when someone even options a script. Heck, I optioned Dead Cell this week and got a contract for a 'story by' credit with money this week but I didn't go post it anywhere because it's just little stuff. This is a hobby for me. I do not have time to put into it and I"m past the 50 so writing is just for fun for me now. If I get movies made then it's kudos. If I make some money... kudos again. But I'm not getting rich. And almost all my scripts have been found here.. including the two that happened this week.
Enjoy what you do. If you do not love writing, take up something else. Do not ever expect to become some famous screenwriter but work hard and if you do... then kudos.
Now the one who wrote Cyborn.... That short is so good ... you could possibly get a sell off the concept! Dying to know who wrote it ... I suspect ...but not saying until the reveal.
Now, I'm glad I don't write stuff that could sell off a concept. I mean, If I was the author of Cyborn I wouldn't expect anyone come up to me and ask for it. I imagine they would just take it and write their own.
I remember one MoviePoet guy had a script posted there about accessing human's mind through dreams when searching for a killer (don't remember it well but it was a lot like inception). Inception came out in several years. The Moviepoet guy didn't say it was like his scirpt not even once. I don't think Nolan read his short either. But if it was my short wouldn't I have thoughts? Big ugly thoughts...
No, I'm glad I don't have that sort of stuff. I sleep well. (and eat well)
One Russian guy lately started working for an animation producer and wrote three scripts for him. The producer didn't credit him and is now searching for different screenwriters. Said he doesn't have to credit him as he (the producer) and his wife changes a lot about the script. The screenwriter got about $20 for the script, didn't sign any docs. They say he forfeited the rights when he received the money - the fellow screenwriters told him that and in great volumes.