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Dante has nothing on the place that was my live script reading

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  • SCBWI Region austin artsy friends decide to help me out and conduct a live reading of my screenplay.

By page 10 I am feeling horrid. The script is slow,  boring, conflict-less, awful. I think--let's get to good parts and I'll rewrite the beginning.


Info dumps. Lecture-esque dialogue. Pointless scenes.

I cut them off on page 40, unable to handle one more word.

I need to find a better use of my time. Deliver Meals on Wheels. Read stories at children's hospitals.

I hate being in this pit. I keep reminding myself "a professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."

But quit sounds mighty fine. Smart, even. Surely, surely there are better ways to spend my days on this planet.

#1 - April 22, 2008, 06:40 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction


TexasGirl, I completely sympathize with how you're feeling. I never thought screenplay writing would be EASY, but man... in a lot of ways, I think it's more difficult than writing novels simply because with novels you're working in the same medium that the final product will be in. Whereas with a screenplay, you've got to write something that reads well enough not to bore the umpteen people who have to review it, and it also has to translate well to the screen.


Maybe take a well deserved break and come back to it with a fresh mind before you decide anything? And know that you're not alone out there. :hug
#2 - April 22, 2008, 07:00 AM


Sorry  you're feeling so discouraged.

First readings are usually rough. Remember that no matter how good your friends are, every actor needs some time and practice to develop a character. Otherwise it's just reading aloud, and even a great actor who is not right for the part can take away from the material. I think it really does help to have someone reading your dialogue to you, which is one reason so many screenwriters have writing partners.   Try taking it slower, working on one scene at a time instead of trying to read through the whole enchilada in one sitting.

Screenplays are so tough because of all the things you can't really put on paper-  acting, sets, music and editing.

#3 - April 22, 2008, 07:28 AM

Z-cat makes a very valid point.  You basically had your friends do a "cold" reading, which is very difficult for many actors, and can even have the finest script seem flat.

That being said, it sounds like you yourself found problems in your script with respect to conflict, characterization, etc. and that is a GOOD thing.  Now (after you distance yourself a bit, lick your wounds and eat some chocolate) you can tighten, develop and edit to make it stronger.

I think honest self-critiquing is the hardest thing.  I don't worry that I won't like what I have written; my biggest fear is that I will be delusional, thinking everything is great, when in truth, it's not.  (I wrote this sentence about 15 times...hope it makes sense.)

I'm always telling my kids, "If it was easy, EVERYONE would do it".  It's not easy.  It's hard.  But you've taken a very important first step.  Several, actually!

So, if you really want to start delivering Meals on Wheels or reading stories to children in hospitals, that's great (I'd never discourage anyone from volunteering for a worthy cause).   But make sure you leave some time to keep working on your script..hey, maybe the stories you read to those kids will sport YOUR by-line!    :grouphug2

Hugs, Jodi  :love
#4 - April 22, 2008, 07:59 AM
WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN, Flashlight Press, May 2011
GOOD NEWS NELSON, Story Pie Press, Dec 2012

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Doing better today. Went point-by-point over my script using Blake Snyder's beat sheet and uncovered two holes in critical areas. And reading Linda Seger's "The Art of Adaptation" now and have felt some inspiration about characters, catalyst, and theme-setting.

I *think* the screenplay is fixable in the first two scenes, and some tweaking in about four others.

That is my current revision plan.

Which is better than the old one, which involved ritual candles and 106 pages of paper charred beyond recognition.
#5 - April 23, 2008, 11:30 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction


Good luck with it! Down with Dante!  :cheerleader

I'm glad you're feeling better.
#6 - April 23, 2008, 11:53 AM


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