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07/26/2007: Clean Script, Clear Heart, Can't Lose
Nuts! Nuts and bolts! That is, I'm hoping, primarily what you're here for. Nuts-and-bolts advice about writing scripts. Stuff like this:
If you simply have to give a character a very long chunk of dialogue -- if there's simply no way to shorten it, try breaking it up with parentheticals and stage directions so that it doesn't sit on the page as one big block.
I mention the nutsy and bolty nature of this advice because I'm looking at a lot of blogmail here that I simply don't know how to answer. I'm afraid I can't get you Battlestar scripts or suggest what you can do to get your Battlestar specs to the Battlestar show runners or take your ideas for episodes to my bosses or any of the similar things that I know would be very helpful, but are simply, as we used to say in grad school, "beyond the scope of this work."
It's probably time to review the basic premise of the exercise that is getting work as a television writer. Again, my expertise is in the writing, not the getting hired, but here is what I've observed. There are two primary ways in. One is by getting recognition through a contest or a fellowship, or by doing well in film school, that kind of thing. Leading with your script and letting your body be pulled after. The other is by moving to Los Angeles and getting work as a production assistant, then a writers' assistant, and simply working your way into the writers' room where you can make friends who will read you. This is leading with your body and pulling the scripts behind you. Both ways require that you, at some point, get someone -- someone from the ABC/Disney Fellowship, a professor, a boss… someone to read your spec script.
That's really where my part starts. Not by reading your script. But by making sure that when you hand that script over to that someone - whether at the start or the end of the process - it's perfect. Clean, spare, elegant, confident, funny where it's supposed to be, mature and reflective of your sensibility. Sound fun? I think so!
Lunch: roast chicken, broccoli, corn