Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: I Fought Your Script & Missed the Boat

Recently, I fought through the first 10 pages of a spec script.

Bloody, bruised, and confused,  I didn't want to read any more after p. 4.

I missed that you had painted arrows on the ground for me to follow. I missed the clever handkerchiefs you tied to trees to guide my way.  I even missed the sack of gold with the "Buried Here" neon sign.

Why?  Because there were so many gnats I could barely see.

This script followed a trend I've seen of late: A lack of patience for building a mood, and laying out the landscape.  There's a series of fast unrelated intercuts and hurkey-jerky switcheroos. 

Even worse, I see writers trying to be super-clever by hiding the ball.  More often than not, the writer thinks that fast and furious action (like a swarm of humming gnats) will divert my attention from the fact that the story is not well set up. 

ex. The script includes a long shot of a boat. Then a wide shot. Then a close up... uh, hello?

Where's the story?

Frankly, I can tell you're trying waaaaay too hard to fake me out.  I just want to know where the pier is so I can get on the boat.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: I'm smart. I normally don't miss the boat...unless you WANT me to miss the boat.
perPage: 10, numPages: 8, var firstText ='First'; var lastText ='Last'; var prevText ='« Previous'; var nextText ='Next »'; } expr:href='data:label.url' expr:href='data:label.url + "?&max-results=7"'