Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sample scripts - always a good time to write more

I heard from a female actress/producer this weekend who needs a writer to help her and some friends who look like they'll be getting funding for a sitcom they're writing. From what I can tell they're more like comicedians and need a sitcom writer who gets the ins and outs of writing an entire sitcom, along with a series. They wanted to see samples that represented their idea to find the right writer.

As I was gathering samples to show I could write what would fit their show, I realized, I actually had a lot of samples with female comedy leads. Who knew! It's funny when you write piece after piece that eventually you actually have a lot of things that fit in the same category. I think because I wrote so many guy pieces at times, I didn't realize how many female pieces I really had.

So I sent them along to her and her partners and now I wait. But it just goes to show, keep writing. Because you never know when those things you're writing can actually turn into a gig!

Whenever I see a contest that asks for a certain sample piece, if I don't have it, I try to write it, especially if it's for a short film. It doesn't take much time to write something that if it doesn't win you the contest, could at least be a sample piece later on. So, compile those samples! You never know when you'll use them next.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll get hired from them. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Well that was a good meeting

So I've been creating a show with another writer I've been recently working with. I met him through my neighbor who was a director on a family sitcom. My friend said hey, you need to partner up with this guy who works as hard as you to become a full-time writer, see if you guys want to work together! So we met, we clicked, and thought, okay let's try to write together! We wrote, liked each others' style of writing, had fun working together - this team was working! We had different styles of approaching the writing, but like any good partnership, you allow the other writer to do what they need to, if in the end, you wind up with something good. And, we thought we just might have that!

So today, the director and writer met with their executive producer friend to get notes back from him. (I couldn't make it as I was on another gig). We had already heard that the exec prod. really liked it too! So we knew it would be at least a fun lunch, not painful with, "This sucks!" kind of lunch. So they got notes and they were all very positive and helpful. And now looks like he might be interested in partnering with us! So, he's going to let us know for sure in a week! We're all overjoyed. This is someone with lots of connections and really could make this happen. We're going to tackle his notes in this week and plan to have it rewritten to him before he makes his decision. We're thinking maybe it will help him say yes to us! We sure hope so!

On a side note, the reason this is even happening is the director is my neighbor I've known for years, just as a nice neighbor. He hasn't always been a director but I knew he produced different shows, not sitcoms but more event shows. We've always chatted about what we were working on, but really never thought I'd be pitching a show with him! Till one day he suggested I team up with him and the other writer. And here we are! So it just goes to show, you never know where a friendship will lead to. So make friends in LA! It can't hurt.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Don't shove theme down my throat

So I went to a short film festival a few weekends back. Okay, maybe more than a few weekends back. But you understand what I'm getting at. I go almost every year to this festival. Usually there are some good ones, okay ones, and some even close to bad ones.

This year, I went to an earlier time/hour than normal. So maybe that's why I wasn't really loving any of the films. Maybe they save the best ones for the later hours. But, what I did notice that wasn't working in pretty much all of them was that they all were forcing theme in our faces. Hitting us over the heads with it. But guess what? Theme is only supposed to be obvious to the writer! Not the people watching your film!

If you're watching a film and you come away thinking, "This movie was obviously about the family bonds", then that writer did not do their job. For instance, when you watch The Godfather, did you walk out going, wow, what a close family! Probably not. You probably just loved the drama and the fighting between the mob and all the Italians. It's not until you probably took a film class did you really think about wow, that was really about family and the loyalty between relatives and the loyalty with the mob family. Nowhere in the film did any of the characters say out loud, "I"m loyal to you." No! That would have been awful.

Some people swear that you have to have theme at the start of writing your script. Others say you don't and say it's okay if you stumble upon it and then pepper it throughout once you realize what it is. I say as long as you find the theme and put it in, who cares when you put it in. I personally put my theme in after I've started. Sure, I might have what I think is theme at the start. But sometimes, another real theme emerges and then that's what it becomes. The fact is, it doesn't matter when you find it. It just matters that you don't hit your audience over the head with it. Or I promise, your film will not resonate the way you think it will.

So get to writing that script. Add your theme. But just don't be so obvious, okay?

Happy writing!