Friday, 13 July 2012

New Questions, New Answers

Looks like longtime reader Rainforest Giant has some more questions for me to pretend to answer. So get ready for another heaping helping of knowledge!
Ok, since the mouse doesn't have a lock on Barsoom Floor, what other stories are out there in public domain that are begging to get made into movies?
Rainforest Giant in his natural habitat.
Literally thousands.

While laws differ per country, just about any work that's 100 years old or older is a good bet to be in the public domain. If you want to know if a specific work is free and clear check out Project Gutenberg the world's biggest online resource of public domain works.

What is the difference between a script and a screenplay?
The word "script" is a general term used for any sort of written work that is meant to be performed. That includes screenplays, stage plays, teleplays, whatever.

A screenplay is a work specifically written to be made into a theatrical film, be it a short, or a feature.
More importantly, how can I make it big or simply get paid to write one?
To get a paying gig writing screenplays you need to get an agent.

To get an agent you need to show that you are getting paying gigs as a screenwriter.

I know I'm being glib and negative with that answer but I don't need the competition.

Okay, seriously.

You do need an agent to get anyone to look at your script.

However, it's next to impossible to get an agent to look at someone who doesn't already have a track record of some kind. Remember, if you don't sell, they don't make any money and can't pay their bills, so they have to be cautious.

It's easier to attract the attention of a manager, who tend to be more on the lookout for new talent, and can hook you up with an agent.

However, managers are exponentially harder to find than agents. Many of the major management firms have little or no web presence and you need to buy a map from a mysterious one-eyed pirate in Singapore to find one.

These days your best bet is to make some sort short film get it into festivals and onto YouTube and make it so eye-popping great people have to take notice.

Of course all that is for nothing if you can't write and don't know the proper format for screenplays.

Final Draft is the industry standard for screenwriting in Hollywood. And there are numerous books on writing available to teach you the basics.

Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434 is a good introduction to writing screenplays, at least it was 20 years ago when I first read it, and Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant's Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at The Box Office and You Can Too! does a pretty good dissection of the business of screenwriting.

But even then the odds are stacked against you, especially with feature films. Television however is booming with more channels producing more original scripted content than ever before, which is probably the best career path for anyone interested in writing for the screen.

Any more questions?

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