“How to Choose a Good Script Consultant”

Doc Holiday's Grave in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Screenwriting, as movies, are subjective. What one person likes, another person does not like. If you’ve ever discussed a movie with someone, you know what I mean.

The same goes with script consultants. What each one sees in a script might be different than what each other one sees in a script. So, you should find out what kind of genres/movies they like the best. If their interests fit the genre of your script, then, they will be more objective when helping you out with your script because they have a deeper knowledge of the genre and what works and what doesn’t work with that particular genre.

Another thing to look for when choosing a good script consultant is where his/her focus is. If they have a background in working on high concept projects, then, their focus will be on high concept projects. They will be looking for “cookie cutter” elements in your screenplay. In other words, high concept movies are movies that are the same as other movies, the only difference being a unique and fresh approach to the same genre.

For example, with high concept action flicks, they will compare your script to successful box office action movies, if your script is an action script. The same applies to romantic comedies, animation, etc. The more elements they see missing in your script, the higher price they’re going to charge you to help “fix” your script so that it fits the mold of a successful action script.

The problem with this is that the more they have you fit your story and characters into a successful box office mold, the more it takes your story and characters away from you, your original intention for your script. And, the more danger it puts your script in with respect to being tight, rhythmic, the appropriate tone and mode, and a smooth flow with respect to story, characterization, dialogue, etc.

So, choosing a good script consultant boils down to why you are writing a script and what you want to achieve with it.  Box office success? Acclaim for its story and characterization? A combination of both? Whatever. The fine point of choosing a good script consultant is for you to know what your goal is with your script.

I hope this has been of help to you.

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net

“Cursing in Movies”

I hear “fuck” so much in movies that it’s become cliche to me, just like “holy shit!”. “Holy shit”, I swear is a term invented by Hollywood. Actually, the use of “fuck” and “holy shit” are becoming major turn offs for me when watching movies. Yes, I think there is an unnatural amount of cursing in movie dialogue. I believe it is a way of expression that writers/ directors/producers believe emphasize points in movies. In other words, cursing is common is real life, but in movies, cursing plays into the fantasy, the “un-reality” of how real life is.

The core audience Hollywood focuses on is 16-25 year old males. This age group, perhaps, more than any other group, are into cursing. In order to write, sell, and get their screenplays produced, many screenwriters incorporate cursing into their screenplays in order to attract producers, i. e. one approach to attract the core audience.

If a screenwriter desires to succeed in the film business, then, they must always keep an eye and ear open to what kinds of films make Hollywood money, and what the content is in those movies. Cursing is a standard by which producers utilize to attract audiences, increase box office receipts, and earn some money for making their next film.

So, you have to make the call. The first issue a screenwriter should confront is who is their audience going to be? What kind of audience do you want to attract, to come see your movie? Look at what caused you to come up with this idea. Think about what you were doing at that time in your life, where you were, when the idea come up, and who helped trigger the idea. Honestly answering these questions should give you an idea about your passion for your movie idea. This passion, correctly identified, will then, become the main theme for your screenplay/movie. These answers, then will help you determine your core audience, which, in turn, should help you make the decisions you need to make with respect to cursing in your movie.

Donald L. Vasicek
Writing and Screenwriting
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net

“How to Get Script Readers to Like Your Screenplay”

First, be very careful “directing” when you write. Any direction you do write, should move the story forward, otherwise, don’t use it. The “directions” you write are going to be rewritten any way, by you, or by another writer once your screenplay is optioned/purchased. They will be rewritten because the director will collaborate with the writer on writing the shooting script, which is considerably different than the spec script. Although it’s acceptable, do not break dialogue from one page to the next, for any reason. The reason for this is that those who read your screenplay usually have several screenplays setting on their desk and/or nightstand, in line to be read. Readers must move fast. Many readers skim and don’t read every word. Many readers also look for certain elements in the screenplay without reading the entire script. To have a break in dialogue from one page to the next causes the reader to slow down. It is like hitting a bump in the road with your bicycle. It can jar you and throw off your focus. Always strive to make your screenplays reader friendly. Strive to leave more white on each page than black. If you do this, you enhance your chances of pleasing a reader, and getting your script sent to the next level.

Donald L. Vasicek Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing and Filmmaking
http://www.donvasicek
dvasicek@earthlink.net