On March 5, 2012 I signed up for Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy is an event ran by The Office of Letters and Light, which runs National Novel Writing Month. Script Frenzy is where writers are given the challenge to write a 100 page script over the 30 day period of April. The script can be written for Film, Television, Stage, or Comic Book/Graphic Novel, and since I am a movie guy, my script will be for the screen.
Similar to NaNoWriMo, once you sign up with Script Frenzy you can get sponsored to help bring donations to The Office of Letters and Lights and their mission. You get access to forums, and the ability to talk to people with in your region. You also get guides to script writing since writing for film, television, stage, and comics is different from writing a novel. It require you to be detailed enough that the reader knows what is going on yet sparse enough that you don’t choke the artistic freedom of the cast, crew, and director that will breathe life into your word.
To sign up for Script Frenzy go to their website, www.scriptfrenzy.org, and click on the Sign Up link on the upper right-hand corner of the screen page. The sign up process involves creating a usernamer, providing an e-mail, and picking what area you are writing in. You then get a password e-mailed to you to which you can then log in and start with your journey to write your script. Once you are in you can start updating your writing profile, releasing information on your script, post on the forums, and find friends for the support you will need.
And while the event requires that you write with in the month of April and not before or after that month, nothing can stop you from starting you plan your work.
Script Frenzy: Week 1
Even though I do not want to start writing my screenplay out of fairness, but that is not stopping me from think about what to write. I want to be as prepared as I can be so that once April comes around I can dive right in. At first I planned on re-writing a screenplay I started last summer and only got seven pages in. But then I decided to challenge myself a bit and start anew.
When starting a new script, I thought, it is always best to think of a pitch. In the business, the pitch of a film can break or make your film. Each pitch is different because every film is different, but there tends to be one cardinal rule. That rule is you must keep it short. It used to be that you had to describe your film in fifteen words or less. If you could not do that your film was less likely to get made. While I am sure that some companies still go by this rule, I doubt most adhere to it. One sentence should be enough, and this is something that applies to most medium.
This makes sense for multiple reasons. Writing a movie, television, or comic book script or a play is very different than writing a novel because you are writing for a visual art. A highly collaborative visual art in which many people will be interpreting as the product is getting made. As such, you are writing an outline, and having the ability to use a sentence (or a “log line.” for a more technical term) to tell everything about your story will show the potential producers your talent for by descriptive with minimum detail.
Another reason to use a log line is the fact that someone has to buy your script. In order to sell your script, you have to advertise it. Calling your script “A surrealist character study musical with comedic bit about a group of quirky adolescents taking part in a spelling bee” is going to get someone’s attention faster than “This story is about these quirky kids who take part in this outrageous spelling bee where on kid is a horny boy scout while another spells words with his foot and there is a counselor who is there because of his service hours…” You are going to lose potential buyers quickly if you cannot hook them immediately. This is made even more vital since the producer who is interested will probably be seeing many other potential buys outside of yours.
There are other reason for having a log line ready, such as giving you script focus, a mood to play with, and much more, but there are two other elements to having a pitch ready. One is the “My script is…” in which you use two films to describe your film. An example would be “My film is Up meets The Sixth Sense.” This shows that the story has elements of the two movies and depending on the log line the elements would be very visible. Another thing this does is compares you film to two or more other successful movies. Be careful when comparing movies to your film. Make sure you use movies that are either critically and commercially successful, just commercially successful, or considered classics, otherwise the film may not get picked up. The last thing to have for your pitch is a title. It does not have to be the actual title, but a title none the less. The buy may not ask what you are going to call your movie, but there is a good chance that they will. Having one ready shows that you are prepared for the journey ahead.
If you are an aspiring writer, especially if you are interested in writing for the visual and performance arts, Script Frenzy is the challenge that can get you in moving in the right direction. Again, sign up at www.scriptfrenzy.org, get friends involved and start planning.
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