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05/25/2006: Script Dentistry
Well, have we drifted far enough? I've been completely tickled by our exploration of types of jokes. No one is doing this. No one is cataloging these species, as far as I know. But, I also realize, the purpose of this blog is help anyone who wants to write a good spec television script. And, it has been pointed out, maybe there are a few more generally helpful things to talk about.
Seriously. They're hugely important. Certainly as important as any one line of dialogue in your script is going to be. You know how, in this country, the most visible, and most reliable, indicator of a person's social class is the condition of their teeth? Well, brads are script-teeth.
When I'm handed a script by a professional writer, it has two one-inch brads – top hole, bottom hole. And they're stiff – they hold their shape. When I'm handed a spec script, it often has brads with long spiky legs. And it almost always has soft brads that pull apart when the script's pages are turned. No one gets to read your writing if your script falls apart. Find good brads. I know it's not easy. When I was in grad school, sending in my Star Trek: TNG spec scripts, I had a very hard time finding good solid brads -- I don't know why this is true, but for some reason there are a lot of totally worthless brads out there. It's worth the effort to find the good ones.
By the way, during my first year on Buffy, my Secret Santa gave me a quart of good brads, because I loved the show's fancy silver ones so much. I'm still using them -- fantastic.
There are other cosmetic things to pay attention to, of course. You don't need to try to fake the show's logo on the cover. And you don't need to indicate how many times you have re-written it – no need for a draft number. Date optional. Remove it, I'd say, if the script is getting old. Keep it if it's recent.
Put it in an envelope and send it to the ABC Writing Fellowship (making sure you've met any specific requirements they might have about what to include on the title page, etc.). They're going to be happy to see a professional-looking well-bradded script, believe me. There wouldn't be a saying about judging books by their covers if it wasn't so easy to do so.
Lunch: Chicken and Waffles!