photo via Go Into the Story
If you spend money on an entry fee for a competition, you want it to be well-spent, which means getting past the first few rounds. When you make the semi-final rounds, your logline goes out to production companies and agents who want to read your script.
That is success. But you have to get past the first few rounds of readers first.
So here’s how to get past me:
- Keep it short. Just a few years ago, a page count of 120 was fine. Now 100 is fighting weight.
- Write with subtext. Expositional dialogue is deathly boring to read. Keep your story moving with what characters do, not what they say.
- Use your own voice. Your voice sets you apart. The interesting things you find to describe and the writer’s voice you use to describe them make your script unique.
- Get your story underway quickly. Scripts are too short now to get bogged down in lots of setup. Develop your main characters, their immediate problem and what they’re going to do about it in the first twenty pages.
To have your script stand out in a competition, write a lean story loudly in your own voice.
Next week, we’ll cover those things that prejudice a reader against you on the very first page.
-ANNIE LABARBA @annelabarba
Beatriz was born in Brazil, then moved to New York in 2015 to study film at NYU. Her roots in Brasilia are close to her heart and are at the core of her work, from her 35mm black and white photography series to her upcoming feature film script. She was director of photography for Murielle’s “Can You Get Me High” music video and directed Foreign’s “Commando (feat. Da $ilva)” music video. She has taken photos for Brooklyn-based clothing brand ByLiv and behind-the-scenes photos for New York Magazine. Beatriz tells us about her artistic inspirations, her upcoming short film Shrapnel, and how her identity inspires her storytelling.READ MORE
After a career as a journalist for Forbes magazine, Deniz is taking her skills as a storyteller the world of film and TV. She is on the research team for The Problem with Jon Stewart on Apple TV+, a talk show about current events including climate change, the economy, and foreign policy. She is also writing and acting in a live reading of her pilot, 60 Days, about a Turkish immigrant who must get married in 60 days to keep her visa status after quitting her job. Deniz tells us about her love of New York, being an immigrant from Istanbul, and her Carrie Bradshaw moment seeing her cover story on a billboard on Fifth Avenue.READ MORE
Let’s give a warm NYWIFT welcome to new member Heather Shreve! Heather is an award-winning screenwriter, historical advisor, and content creator, as well as a master artist with four producer-ready film projects. In her youth, Japanese culture was always part of her life and has influenced her art as well as her writing and research. Heather has rich ancestral history in America, with several strong areas of knowledge, from the Keelboat Age to the 1940s. Heather resides in Maryland, has two grown children, and has authored six books. Heather spoke to us her passion for history, recent projects, and the connections between coaching and creativity.READ MORE
Please join us in welcoming new NYWIFT member Stephanie Okun! Stephanie is a screenwriter/director and recent grad from Wesleyan University. She is currently working on a feature film that she started at Wesleyan called At Sea, as well as throwing herself into Production Assistant and other entry-level jobs. She is excited to be a part of NYWIFT and get more entrenched in the world of film and television. Previously, Stephanie was a NYWIFT intern – and even wrote a few of the pieces in this series! Now, we’ve turned the microphone on her to learn about her writing, her theatrical roots, and her dreams for the future.READ MORE