THE GREATEST SCREENWRITING GUIDE EVER! – PART 2
You’ve written your first draft of your feature, TV pilot or completely misunderstood everything in Part 1 and wrote some Haiku poetry instead. What next?
You reckon if the likes of Stephen Spielberg read it, they would kidnap you and demand you sell it to them for an eleventy figure fee. However, there is a niggle of a doubt it isn’t quite the magnum opus you think it is and it may require tweaking. What are your options?
You can ask family & close friends to read it. They will offer fantastic feedback like, “Ooh, that was lovely. I couldn’t understand why the little spaceman was so angry all the time though and do they have to swear so much?”
You can request other screenplay writers give it a once over. They will then explain in excruciating detail how they would have written it.
Alternatively, you can pay for professional feedback from anonymous entities whose credentials are top secret and may not actually be human.
The end result is a lot of comments – some useful and accidentally constructive, some conflicting, while the rest is barely decipherable. The rule of thumb is if several reviewers make similar comments then that is something you need to address no matter how much it stings. The rest is filed under ‘opinion/taste/bias/insane ramblings’ and stored in a waste bin.
Competitions are a fantastic/terrible method to help gauge your skills as a screenwriter and how engaging your screenplay actually is. Similar to independent film festivals, there are three tiers of screenwriting competitions.
Tier 3 – These accept entries written in crayon on planks of wood. They run competitions online daily and offer fantastic prizes like a FilmFreeway auto-generated digital laurel and a free listing on DinkNip worth 100 Cameroon bottlecaps.
Tier 2 – These used to be tier 3, but over the years they’ve built themselves an obsessive, cult-like following and sledgehammered themselves a niche in the industry-within-the-industry that is in no way affiliated to the industry you are trying to break into.
Tier 1 – Competitions with prizes actually worth winning like (real) cash, exposure to people in the industry who are paid to humour the winner for a short period before Ghosting them, and production deals with filmmakers who have little or nothing in the way of anything produced you’ve actually heard of.
Tier 0 – The secret GOD TIER! I could be shot for even mentioning this but some competitions can actually gain you a foothold in the industry. A few examples are the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, The Black List and Mark Renshaw’s Amazing Hollywood Cannes Screenplay Awards ™ – I have a 50% coupon offer at the moment for the latter – the winner gets an amazing digital laurel embedded with an NFT, a credit on IMDDb* and your screenplay is circulated to every producer in the multiverse. DM me for more details.
So – you’ve implemented all the changes from the reviews, entered a bunch of competitions with a wide range of conflicting confusing results and yet, somehow, still not had a call from the likes of Speilburg. You’re 30 and ready to try a different approach. Stay tuned for the third and final part of this guide where I cover using the internet to get noticed, networking, producing your own scripts and cold querying!
* Incredible Mark’s Digital Database.