Friday, July 09, 2010

What do you want to know from a big time pro?

I have something cool coming up and I want to get your input. Most of you guys never post anything so I can only guess as to who the majority of readers are, and as I was making up a list of interview questions for my next victim, I tried to think of what you guys would want to know.

It was pretty easy to think of things I want to know, but I also want to make this useful to you guys.

So I'm going to pose a question and anybody is welcome to chime on in. If you could interview a successful screenwriter - think big budget studio projects - what would you ask? I'm not going to say who just yet because there's always a chance it will fall through or I'll say something stupid and end up on the wrong end of a restraining order, but just know that I am fucking stoked.

Let's assume the How you broke in and How you got an agent are already off the table for this interview. I'm big on doing my research before I conduct interviews so I actually already know the answer to those questions.

Anyway, what would you ask? I already have a good set of questions, but I don't want to forget something that everybody wants to know.


  1. How long does it take you to write a first draft? How much outlining do you do? What kind of turnaround time do studios expect these days? I don't know if this person's studio work includes adaptations, but if so, what kind of research is involved regarding the source material? Does the studio provide you with research material (if it's something like a comic book or board game, obviously)?

    Probably not super-original, but those are the first things I can think of. Look forward to seeing the interview!

    Patrick Sweeney
    I Blame Ninjas

  2. When is it, for you, that you realize your story is coming together? How do you know? What do you look for, and what do you realize or experience that tells you so?

  3. "When breaking in, how useful did you find the Bitter Script Reader's advice - Somewhat useful, very useful or EXTREMELY useful?"


    "What do you see missing in most wannabe scripts that are essential to a 'big budget studio' script?"


    "Would you have been capable of writing the script that 'broke you in' as your first script, or was it necessary to have the experience of all your previous, presumably less refined, writing in order to come into being?"

    oh, and...

    "Will you read my fucking screenplay?"

  4. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Based on the numerous blogs out there, aspiring screenwriters seem to be really caught up in making sure that their story or character does this or that by a certain page number, etc.

    What do you think about this paint-by-numbers guideline for writing scripts? Does it inhibit creativity?

  5. You guys ask good questions. I'll consider these carefully.

  6. What's your take on the market for screenwriters at the moment? Do you see any signs of a thaw? Some pro screenwriters have complained that some studios are going to a "cattle call" approach on assignments, bringing in numerous writers for what's sometimes a protracted pitch process, then selecting one for the paying gig - have you seen this happening?

    Patrick Sweeney
    I Blame Ninjas

  7. Bootsie11:01 AM

    What do you think of failed screenwriters who charge people hundreds or thousands of dollars to teach them how to write?

  8. Anonymous4:05 PM

    I'd like to work as an assistant to a film writer (either on set or as an assistant out of an office or their home office) - how do I go about getting a job like that? Knowing that most feature writers don't have assistants....

  9. What do you have the most difficulty with in your scripts? What is, for you, the hardest thing to get right, and how do you deal with that?

    What kinds of notes do you most often get? What do execs focus on when critiquing your scripts?

    How do you handle script notes you don't agree with, which you think will weaken the story?


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