Thursday 1 November 2012

Screenwriter Online "Communities"

Screenwriting is a lonely business, and it helps to have friends who want to write screenplays, friends with whom you can discuss things.
It’s important to find a group of like-minded people who are on the same wavelength, who wanna write screenplays as badly as you do, who aren’t selfish, who support you. If you’re sinking or you’re drowning, it’s nice to have someone else in the boat. — Shane Black
The internet is a wonderful device for linking up those like-minded people wherever they are around the planet. Back in 1998, Francis Ford Coppola established a website for writers, which quickly became the focus of an enthusiastic community. In 2000 he converted the website into something he calls the Zoetrope Virtual Studio.
"The Virtual Studio is a submission destination and collaboration tool for filmmakers—a community where artists can meet, polish their craft, and perhaps get their stories published, their screenplays produced, their music heard by a wide audience."
In 2002, Kevin Spacey started another online writer community, Trigger Street. It's a place where you can have other writers critique your screenplay, once you pass the Review and Credit Process.
"Trigger Street Labs provides a platform for exposure and discovery. No matter if you're an aspiring filmmaker or writer, established professional already in the business, or just an enthusiast with an interest in film and story, there is most likely something here for you."
Then, in 2010, Ben Cahan started yet another writer community. This one is called Talentville. Once again, it is a place where you can have other writers critique your screenplay, once you pass their test.
"The method of getting your work noticed is by receiving reviews from the other Residents as well as Industry folks we will get involved as time goes along. That is done via our Review and Rating system. However, just uploading your script does not necessarily mean anyone is going to read it. ... Before you can get your own script reviewed, rated and ultimately ranked, you are going to have to do a bit of work to earn the bucks that you will then spend to have others review your work."
Now, in 2012, Franklin Leonard of The Black List has announced that it will host screenplays by amateurs, right alongside those by respected professionals... for a fee. This is a straight deal. Money for potential exposure to genuine industry professionals who are actively looking for a gem among the mountains of dross. No more loitering while you read other poorly written scripts, and an assurance that the person reading your script actually knows something about the business.
"... anyone who has written a screenplay to pay $25 a month to have their script hosted and indexed as part of our database. For a writer’s $25 a month, we make their script available to our industry professional membership so that they may download it, rate it, and contact writers directly if they so choose. All of these reads are 100% free. ... Writers can also pay an additional $50 per read to have their script read by readers we have hired who have expressed a specific interest in the genre that they are evaluating. "
So, which one is 'best'? I think that depends on your personality, your emotional needs, and what stage you're up to in your screenwriting career. This much I do know: the higher the caliber of the person reading your screenplay, the faster you're going to improve.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

It's excellent to see screenwriter communities focusing on critiquing each other's scripts. That is exactly what serious writers need, to have well-meaning readers provide expertise. Think how many good ideas or bits of great dialogue have never been seen because the screenwriter was trying to do everything alone and didn't know what parts of his screenplay needed strengthening (or ditching). Think how many screenwriters gain a truer understanding of how much work it takes to learn the craft.