S-e-x Tips for Screenwriters: Dear Dr. Paige Turner
A writer’s life is rife with uncertainty. Does the size of my screenplay matter? How much should I reveal in a logline? What really turns readers on?
You deserve answers. You won’t be satisfied until you get them.
So occasionally, I’ll be handing my blog over to my darling friend, Dr. Paige Turner, to address your most perplexing questions. The ones that keep you up at night, tossing, turning, tortured.
I have every confidence Dr. Turner will deliver just what you are craving.
The floor is entirely yours, Dr. PT.
Dear Dr. Paige Turner,
How do I know my script is done and ready to be in front of the eyes of the industry?
Should I just keep endlessly rewriting?
Dear Truly Uncertain,
You pose an excellent question.
Unlike in other pursuits, there are no subtle clues when script is finished. No heavy breathing, no groans of pleasure, no one calling out your name or even inadvertently moaning, “Oh, Bill, Bill, Bill Goldman.”
But, if you are aiming for fireworks, here are some things to take into consideration:
Have you devoted enough time to foreplay?
There’s plenty of groundwork to be laid before one starts caressing the keyboard. If you hope to send tingles down your reader’s spine, you had better know your way around your story’s spine. Did you devote yourself to planning your screenplay before typing “Fade In?” Whether you use corkboards or computer programs, prewriting is a key strategy for scoring.
Is there chemistry?
Your idea should grab us right from the start. As your story is revealed, we should find it intoxicating. A little unpredictability is hot. Your every move feels deliberate, designed to turn us on. Every element of your script comes together, supporting the core concept. Your hero drives the story. The conflict builds and escalates relentlessly toward the climax, leaving us breathless. Of course Truly, I don’t need to tell you that there’s no happy ending without a satisfying finish.
Was it good for you too?
It’s easy to be impressed with your own performance. After all, you gave it your best moves. This is your baby. It’s nearly impossible to be objective about it. Chances are you are so caught up in the lush fantasy movie unspooling in your mind, that you may not realize what is missing on the page. Get some fresh eyes. Start with writer friends who offer reliable, constructive feedback on your latest rewrite. Beware those wingmen who fake it with over the top flattery, as well as those who attempt to turn your story into their story.
Are you scoring in contests or repeatedly striking out?
Many writers turn to contests to gage their writing, and send in a rewrite the next year to see if it scores higher and makes the cut. This can be a lengthy and slow process. Research contests and what they offer. Search for the right fit. Find out other writer’s experiences. There are so many out there. I recommend MovieBytes for the inside scoop – created by a writer, for writers, and jam packed with info and opinions from those who have come before you.
Before you’re through rewriting, spend some time with a pro.
The opinion of a well-respected professional who has been around the block a few times will cost you, but their opinion is well worth it.
The short answer: You can’t tell.
That’s why I recommend a pro to bring you some fresh insights and offer constructive and objective advice. Be sure to check them out first, and get some recommendations from other satisfied customers!