Check this out, screenwriters. It’s a very cool video series published by www.fastscreenplay.com, an informative site put together by a production company in Sydney, Australia.
Hey, just a cool little thing, Scriptapalooza included me on a video montage they did of some of their alumni, past winners and finalists. Scriptapalooza is pretty renowned for being an awesome screenwriting competition and most people in the Biz have heard of them, so I’m proud to be a past semi-finalist with my script, “My Dirty Secrets.” You can check out the video by going to Scriptapalooza and clicking on “Alumni Video.” Anyway, I take any recognition I can get, so I’m grateful the folks at Scriptapalooza for making my day.
After years of fearing pitchfests almost as much as needle-toothed clowns and the arrival of high-pollen season, I decided to bite the bullet and attend one. I chose the Secret Door Pitch Fest put on by Script Pipeline Into Motion Pictures for a couple reasons. First, it was happening soon enough after my decision to attend a pitchfest that I couldn’t back out. And second, it’s smaller and more intimate than some of the bigger pitchfests where you have hundreds and hundreds of writers all vying for the attention of the producers and creative exec’s. For those of us who have never experienced a pitch fest before, here’s the basic structure: a writer has about 5 minutes to pitch his or her best project to a collection of industry executives who are willing to listen. When the bell rings, you’re done and you have to move on to the next executive (or wait in line to see the next executive.) I actually have four different projects I wanted to pitch, and of course 5 minutes isn’t enough time to tell the stories on all of them, so this is what I did. I spent the first minute talking about myself, my training and awards and stuff. I memorized this stuff so it was easy to rattle off the top of my head. Then I gave one-sentence loglines (including genre) for all four projects, hoping at least one would resonate with the exec and he/she would want to know more. To remember, I wrote all four loglines on an index card. That took about a minute. Usually the exec would agree to listen to more about one of my stories, sometimes two. I made up an index card for each script, each with a longer logline, some comparable movies or reference points, a 2-sentence description of the protagonist and his main goal, a 1-sentence description of the world and a description of a scene or two that illustrates the premise and entertainment value of the movie. I think some writers get hung up on thinking you have to tell your entire story in 5 minutes, and that just isn’t the case. The Pitch Fest meeting are more designed to allow writers to introduce themselves and their most passionate projects to industry professionals that they might otherwise not get the chance to meet. I thought Secret Door was very well organized and I was extremely glad I went. If you want to be a professional writer, you have to learn how to pitch as it’s an essential job skill; there’s no getting away from that part. Pitch Fests are an excellent way to hone those skills and I plan to attend many more in the future.
As promised, I’m posting my completed Director’s Lab application for my feature screenplay “My Dirty Secrets.” Here it is… Directors Lab Application — My Dirty Secrets
I’m going to submit my feature screenplay “My Dirty Secrets” to Film Independent’s Directors Lab. For those who don’t know, Film Independent is one of the most well-known organizations for filmmakers. They put on the annual Independent Spirit Awards and also the Los Angeles Film Festival. The submission package is due in early October, so I have a couple weeks to put it together. I’m going to post all the elements here so you can see how I approach getting into the Director’s Lab and my vision for directing my first feature film. Every year, FIND chooses up to 8 feature screenplays to participate in the Director’s Lab, submitted by people who hope to make the scripts into films as directors. Usually the submitting director is also the writer, but not always. I’d be interested to see what percentage of directors also write their screenplays. If the script is chosen, the director participates in workshopping his/her script with experts from FIND as well as other director participants. FIND also provides cameras and some equipment so that short scenes from the script can be filmed. This resulting footage can be used to help sell others on the
director’s vision and hopefully raise financing to complete the film. More on this as I get the elements ready to submit, so stay tuned!