I took a lot of the feedback I got from my 7.8 contest evaluation, which gave it a “strong consider, and not far from a recommend.”
The evaluator pointed out that there was no obstacle to Jamie+Tom on Jamie’s side, once they’re Go for Relationship. I fixed that 🙂 The problem was getting something in here that felt “dramatic” but not “melodramatic,” which is always a problem (I hate the word challenge, it’s been ruined by corporatespeak) in a romance.
And Tom needed more agency at the end. In the novel and previous drafts of the script, Jamie pushes him into the confrontation with his family, and it’s more powerful if Tom comes to that decision on his own.
And I think by adding two lines of dialogue, I solved the problem called out re “what do these two characters have to lose if they don’t make it in this relationship?” Not everyone in my writers’ group is a fan of my solution, but it’s flexible 🙂 and at least there’s something that wasn’t there before, and hits the target if not yet the bullseye.
It’s so close… so strong now. And now, I’m debating Next Steps. People have said repeatedly in forums, don’t go out there with your first script, because if you do get an agent or someone to look at it and like it, their first question will be, “so what else do you have?” Forum people say you should have at least one other finished script and ideas for a couple more.
Well, I don’t know if I should just put it in park right now. First off, there’s the ICE AGE PACE at which wheels turn when you’re nobody. Even if I did get an agent to look at ALTB, how long would it be before they got to it? Jeebux Christmas, I could have another finished screenplay by then, if they’re anything like book publishing. I see these horrifying posts on Reddit, “I got an agent for my screenplay, but I haven’t heard from her in three months, what should I do?” And the professional advice is… shudder… “Wait another three months and then contact her.”
FUCK A DOODLE DOO I’M OLD, I don’t have a YEAR to cool my heels waiting for a call. And if it does take a year, well shit I might as well send in Script One now because God knows #2 and who knows how many others will be at least drafted by the time the wheel finally turns its attention to me.
Also, these forums also gave advice like “throw out your first screenplay, and your second, and your third, humba dumba, because they’re all shit, humba dumba doo.” Well fuck you buddy, my first screenplay’s at 7.8 already 🙂
There’s one important thing I’ve learned in this last year, since I first started taking acting classes, which led to short scenes for other actors in class, which led to the confidence to write a screenplay. Whether it’s acting or screenwriting or whatever, the fastest way to reach the top 10% of anything is to pay attention to the basics. That the reason some people’s first, second and third scripts suck is because it takes them that long to realize they can’t get anywhere if they don’t master basics.
In acting, basics are like, don’t say sorry and ask to start over when you flub a line, or break when the other actor flubs, because they can possibly pull something good in the editing room; keep your eyes up and off the page as much as possible in an audition; don’t look straight at the camera; don’t do “nothing” when the other actor is speaking, waiting for your turn; when a casting director tells you to try something a different way, don’t repeat what you just did…
In screenwriting, it’s don’t put sweeping purple prose in your action lines; don’t order the actors around emotionally in parentheticals; don’t use some weird font or think you can reinvent formatting; oh and fucking spell check and don’t say your shitty punctuation “shouldn’t matter if the story’s strong”…
TLDR, the secret to getting into the top 10% of anything is paying attention to the basics. 90% of people in every field of everything suck because they refuse to do that.
So yeah. I’m going to start exploring options. I mean, as you can see from my support/donate page, it’s not like I don’t already have a billion more ideas where this one came from 🙂