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Screenwriting: from Fail to Sale (5/5)

As a final note on screenwriting, one of the places I’ve learnt the MOST about this craft from is from READING unproduced screenplays.
‘Unproduced’ is the operative word here, there’s little point to reading a produced screenplay, it’s like reading The Lord of The Rings AFTER seeing the movie.

(Note from Karel: Some of this article was cut because Sam’s overly generous attribution to The Story Series.)


-By Samuel Bartlett

READ IF YOU WANT TO WRITE

What’s the point?

There are a LOT of unproduced screenplays out there. Really fucking good ones you can learn bucket loads from. If you’ve got a bit of spare time and know your way around Google, you can find whole PACKS of UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAYS  – I’m talking hundreds of scripts that are doing the rounds in LA, right now.

Read that shit, see what these people are doing that you’re not. Even better, read their shit and analyse it, what works, what doesn’t. If you were a producer with 5 million dollars and a family to feed, which script would you buy? Would you take one, would you take 5 smaller scripts at a mill’ a pop?

Start thinking like the person that’s going to buy your scripts then sit down and write the ultimate film YOU want to see, but keep that buyer in mind.

THE STORY SERIES

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Karel Segers in here somewhere.

Yes. This is his website. Yes I am writing this as a favour to him (no money BTW) but do you know what Karel has given me…?

Pretty much EVERYTHING no other screenwriting teacher has given me.

Start thinking like the person that’s going to buy your scripts then sit down and write the ultimate film YOU want to see, but keep that buyer in mind.

I need to qualify that by saying that I’ve studied at AFTRS, I did my Master in Screen Writing at Sydney Uni, and while the teacher there is a great man, the curriculum of what they taught in an ENTIRE YEAR didn’t come close to what I took away from my first class of, what was it, about two hours with Karel.

I’m still studying with Karel, and will continue to do so until I can out wit him in film – let me say, that will be a loooooong time coming. (The word ‘long’ looks so much better elongated. Am I wrong?)

[OMITTED]

Anyhoo, enough of all that, you get my point…

I hope that in here there’s been some sort of advice you can take away to help you. I hate reading shit written by people, or interviews with screenwriters that have ‘broken in’ only to find it’s basically a recount of their glory days with little to no insight into how to better yourself.

Great, that person’s getting somewhere, how does that help me?

If nothing else, and if you are serious about screenwriting, then make it your daily ritual to read Script Shadow (just Google it) it’s a daily updated script writing blog-spot with a wealth of filmic knowledge.

I’ve learnt fuck loads from there.

Happy writing people.

Happy writing.

-Samuel Bartlett

Part 1 – The Beginnings
Part 2 – Cars and Cops
Part 3 – The Truth about Comps
Part 4 – The Law of Causation


Photo Credit: luis de bethencourt
Photo Credit: Sharon Terry
Photo Credit: Metro Screen

About the Author

Samuel Bartlett

Samuel Bartlett is an award winning screen writer and film maker with two feature films currently in development with Los Angeles based production companies. He shot his first award winning feature film in 2011 and has another short film ready for the festival circuit. He divides his time between Sydney, London and LA. Samuel also regularly deconstructs unproduced scripts here.

Comments 2

  1. Good job, Sam. I’ve been following you for a little while now and I like where you’re heading. You give the rest of us who are somewhat hidden in the background, hope. But one step at a time. Keep it up and keep inspiring.

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