Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bitter Script Reader on how not to write a screenplay

I am drowning in paperwork and red tape and bullshit, so I will turn over today's post to The Bitter Script Reader, whose post, "The Worst Query Submission I Have Ever Had to Read" is a must-read for all new screenwriters. Don't be that guy.


  1. read some of it and it makes sense...but I gotta tell my story.
    My screenplay was read at CAA, due to help from a family member. It's done well in the Nicholl, it was considered at Paramount and it's going around town to actresses people know. However, the reader at CAA had a really interesting comment:
    "This obviously couldn't be a true story."
    Well, yeah.
    It was based on a true story. It said, under the title on the cover page, 'based on a true story'.
    The genius who read it? I guess he/she was in a hurry to get to 'no'.
    That's why I am the way I am.
    The deck is stacked, the grass is laid with land-mines and they set up the field so the sun would always be in my eyes. Fuck them. I'll do it anyways; I do it well.

    Where was I?

    Oh, yeah.
    Bitter Script Reader better never be so bitter that he/she skips the ore of a story. The writer he mentions was a total pain, but there's a happy medium.

  2. If the only hook your story has is that it's "true," then you're in trouble. Real life is often boring.

    Whether or not the CAA reader thought the story was real isn't what you should worry about. Whether s/he thought it would make an interesting story, or a story that would be well-received by an audience is their main concern.

    Would sticking "Based on a true story" on top of, say, BRIDE WARS automatically make it a better script? And at the same time, is the only appeal of PIRATE RADIO that it's "based on a real story."

    And I can't speak for CAA, but there are instances when agency or production co. readers don't receieve the original cover pages in their copies. Sometimes this happens when the script has been sent in Final Draft and the cover page was never created, and sometimes it simply gets lost.

    Having said that, it sounds like your reader DID see the page and specifically included that line to express that the story felt fake DESPITE the disclaimer. What was the general tone of the comments after that?


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