Thursday, March 19, 2009

Read the small print

I haven't been blogging for various reasons. Normal service will be resumed eventually.

I have in fact spent a chunk of my "free" time working on my entry for the Screenwriters Festival Scriptmarket. When I say "spent" what I mean is "wasted".

Wasted because I didn't read the small print or, if I did read the bit in question, it didn't register.

You have to supply a 400 word synopsis with a tagline and it's that which will decide whether your script joins the fabulous 30. But the main page recommends you read two articles, one by Julian Friedmann and one by Linda M James. The latter is about writing log lines, the former is about treatments.

I've read a lot of stuff on treatments and, to be honest, I'm not good at them. I know this. I even went to the "Writing treatments" talk at last year's Screenwriter's Festival. But I dutifully read Julian's article and set about writing my treatment using his article as a basis.

Have you spotted the problem yet?

I finally finished my 4000 word treatment, I'd even sat down with the 36 Dramatic Situations to ensure that I had drama in the treatment in one form or another. I tend to editorialise to the point of cutting out everything except the skeleton, it needs some meat which I had to put back.

Spotted it yet?

I am out by a factor of 10. They want a 400 word synopsis not a 4000 word treatment. Which in my current perpetually tired state, irritated me quite a bit. Why on earth do they have an article about treatments when they want a synopsis?

Of course, I have been stupid. I should have realised but, as noted, I am perpetually tired at the moment (which is one of the reasons for not blogging - there are others, constant irritation is another, resulting in churlish blogs, like this one).

So then I had to synopsise my story instead. I contemplated trying to cut down the treatment but gave up on that. Eventually I went to some of the early script analyses I have had done as inspiration on what to leave in and what to take out. This is working better.

I tell myself that the work is not really wasted because I now have a treatment, which is a good thing. But I am still annoyed - mostly with myself for not reading the small print.

I better stop now before I work myself into a rant.

(Why did Danny Stack post about the Red Planet competition? I had got myself out of accessing my email 99 million times per day and hoping. His post put me straight back into that frame of mind. And it's been a week since he wrote "...Red Planet news will be very soon indeed. Am expecting an announcement any day now, possibly sooner!". Hah! Oh dear, I really am not a happy bunny at the moment.)

Hope your life is running more smoothly.

(Another reason for not blogging is that the launch of the website I'm working on is only 14 working days away and that includes 2 weekends - it is beginning to dominate my life.)

What's on the turntable? "Connecting Rooms" by Sky from "Sky 2"


Scaramanga said...

EEK. 4000! yeah thats out by a considerable amount.

Youre right though at least you have the next step down.

What is the 36 dramatic situations of which you speak??

Would be interested to know what that is exactly. Treatments are so vague. I remember looking for some a while back and what I got were actually synopsises (synopses?).

It would seem that everyone expects something different in their synopsis when they request one. I could be wrong?

Anyways hope you pull through the next two weeks!


Paul McIntyre said...

Oh no! I'm annoyed for you on your behalf - but still, at least you have put in a bunch of extra work, and that can never be a bad thing.

Also checking my emails every half hour again - I think they do it to torture us. They should send us cakes.

Adaddinsane said...

Thanks Paul, it gets worse, watch out for blog over weekend. (I've pre-written 3 which will be published at intervals.)

Hey, Scar. I'll do the 36 dramatic situations next week. I have mentioned them before but there are things that need to be said. (They are very misunderstood - usually by people who haven't read the original work.)