Posted

print

favorite this post NEED HELP WRITING/FIXING YOUR SCREENPLAY? (Midtown) hide this posting unhide

Maybe you have a great idea for a feature script or TV pilot but not the years of experience necessary to write it.

Maybe your screenplay is just...missing something.

Maybe you can't get your third act to gel.

Maybe you need a polish or punch-up...or even a complete rewrite.

Maybe you've just thrown up your hands and kissed your chances goodbye at getting your movie or TV series sold, let alone made. It seemed simple when you began but you soon realized writing a really great script is a lot harder than it looks.

DON'T FEEL BAD OR DISCOURAGED.

Like most screenwriters you've watched zillions of films, read stacks of scripts, pored over all of the screenwriting books, consumed the websites, listened to all the advice and...you're even more confused. While it's important to know the rules, there is no substitute for doing...that is, writing. As Morpheus told Neo, there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path. I read all the books too, years ago, some in film school, many after first moving to Hollywood. I was already a professional writer but I wanted to write for the entertainment industry. I was hungry. I eventually learned that while it's good to read the rule books cover to cover, you need to be on the court to really understand the game. You also learn what truly can and cannot be done. What the books don't tell you--and actually doing it does tell you--is what our buddy Morpheus explained: That some rules can be bent, others can be broken. You can only learn which through experience.

IS HAVING SOMEONE ELSE WRITE OR FIX MY SCRIPT...CHEATING?

Hardly. You'd be hard pressed to find another industry where your work is revised, rewritten or repurposed more by others, whether it's one person or large groups of writers, producers and executives. Some of their advice is helpful, some is downright idiotic. It takes years to learn what to heed and what to ignore.

That's the nature of it. But to even have the experience of having your baby savaged and remade you need to GET IN THE DOOR.

Most people, because of all the rewriting in Hollywood labor under the assumption that if the idea is good the screenplay doesn't have to be that good.

WRONG!

It must be a good idea but it also must be well written. Yes, Hollywood makes a lot of bad films but for MANY reasons other than poor material. Yes, lousy films get made because of contacts and nepotism and favoritism and politics but unless you're the studio head's niece or nephew you need to get in the door with a screenplay that sparkles and ignites the imagination of the readers.

Who are these readers? Despite their importance to the process they're generally lower level functionaries. Assistants, junior agents, would-be producers, all looking for that one script that will propel them to the next level. Yeah, believe it or not they want your script to be as good as you want it to be. But they also have no mercy if they detect too many flaws and missteps.

You ever watched American Idol or The Voice? Both you and the audience, and yes, the judges, ALL want that next singer to be amazing.

Those readers actually want your script to knock their socks off.

Another thing they don't tell you is that most readers (who are usually fairly literate people) can tell in the first page...IF NOT THE FIRST PARAGRAPH if you can write. The singer sings two bars: nope, can't sing. It happens that fast.

Most readers, unless they're writing coverage for their boss, often don't get five pages into a script before rejecting it and moving to the next one. Why? The script didn't grab them for a hundred reasons. Or it simply sucked, big time.

How do I know all this?

I'm a professional writer: screenwriter, book author, ghostwriter, and both book and script doctor. I've worked in television, (mainly sitcoms) both as a staff writer but have also functioned as a (ghost) script doctor and consultant to high level producers, rewriting their scripts and helping them develop TV pilots.

One of the first scripts I helped fix, a spec sitcom, got a young writer her first job on TV. Many years later she is a household name as the creator of several major hit television series.

As a ghostwriter I've also rewritten a number of feature scripts for other writers and producers, as well as a number of books for various authors.

I've sold feature film projects to major studios for seven figures. I have an historical true film project that has had two of filmdom's biggest directors interested in making. My books have been published by most major publishers and translated into more than 20 languages, many of them commanding six figure advances.

I've been the word doctor professional writers, publishers and producers turned to fix troubled or difficult books and screenplays. I can punch up the dialogue on your script, hone the jokes and make them funnier, focus the conflict, better define the characters, or all of the above, or fix a hundred other problems you might have.

A major agency I had (specializing in comedy) said one of my scripts was the funniest they'd ever read. One of my non-fiction books (published by a major publisher and the basis for a Warner Bros. film with a superstar lead) was called by The Hollywood Reporter "perhaps the funniest book" ever written about a comedy star.

I wrote a horror thriller novel (I also turned it into a screenplay) that was lauded by many readers on Amazon as "the scariest book" they ever read.

So I have written the gamut between busting your gut and scaring the crap out you.

Does your script grab the reader on the first page? And keep them reading? If not, let's take a look at your script and figure out why.

A GREAT SCRIPT EQUALS GREAT POWER.

With a strong manuscript in hand you have power in the market. You can enter it in contests, get recognition, and you can find an agent who can find a buyer or producing partner to arrange the financing.

A really good screenplay will also make you stand out because, quite frankly, most scripts--and I'm talking about those from actual paid writers, not amateurs--are mediocre. Agents and producers have complained to me for years that most of what they get is substandard. Sometimes even when they like the idea they tell the creator to "come back when you fix it." It's that step that stops most cold.

A really good screenplay will create opportunities, sometimes well beyond your expectations. It's a very satisfying feeling to help people realize those dreams.

IT'S GOTTA BE GOOD. REALLY GOOD.

You really want to sell your script? Feeling unsure about what you have? Been rejected and can't figure out how to fix it? There's nothing wrong with turning to a seasoned, proven pro to help you make it as good as it can and should be.

Moreover, you need someone not just experienced, but talented. Why? Because the film world is fiercely competitive and you need to stand above the merely decent writers. The WGA registers more than 50,000 scripts a year but Hollywood only makes a few hundred. While indie producers make hundreds or even thousands more, producers buy a lot more properties than that but never make them. Even if you don't get it made wouldn't it be better to at least get a fat paycheck and use that to finance writing your next one?

To get past the readers and into the hands of the buyers, your story can't just be a good read but must be "impossible to put down." If it's supposed to be funny it shouldn't be merely amusing but by turns "hilarious and wildly inventive, maybe the funniest script I've ever read." Scary? More like "the scariest script I've ever read."

A SAMPLE?

My clients find me really easy and supportive to work with. If we talk and I think you've got a serious project and are serious about making it happen, to make you feel more at ease I'd be happy to write you a sample of a couple pages of your project to show you how good it could be.

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE AREN'T ALWAYS FREE.

Yes, this process costs money, no matter how you cut it. If you have no money, keep writing and the best of luck. I do not work on spec, no more than does your doctor or your favorite restaurant or the contractor who will build your dream home when your movie becomes an international blockbuster.

But I'm also realistic. What I've charged studios or producers or publishers I don't have to charge an individual, mainly because I'm not going through my agent or attorney and my overhead is relatively low. The question is: can you afford to miss this opportunity to have your script taken seriously?

And, in terms of money, my fees are paid in bite-sized stages, allowing you to quit at any time and not requiring you to pay me all at once. But every client has been so delighted with the results no one has ever quit the process before it was completed.

IT'S POSSIBLE.

So if you want to do it far better than "just good enough," and if you think your story deserves to be exceptionally conveyed, tell me what you have and let's turn your dream into a salable reality...and maybe even a top rated series or box office hit.
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

post id: 6916700883

posted:

updated:

best of [?]