Sunday, February 11, 2018

Part 2 - My Author to Screenwriter Journey



How I decided to do it

ACTION
The first draft of the Marquel script was written by Amy K. Green, my daughter Blair’s producing partner. Amy spun my novel into an edgy movie she would want to see.
I really liked her snappy dialogue and scene progression. However, I felt my characters weren’t themselves. – After all, I am their mother! I know them better than anyone.
Amy agreed I could use her version as a template to rewrite and organize the book into a screenplay I was comfortable with.
Collaborate.
I also wanted to keep some scenes that were uniquely hers.
I started by buying the iPad version of Final Draft (screenwriting software). I didn’t know how to use it, but I got the hang of it over time.
When I originally wrote the book, I saw it as a movie in my mind. Each chapter had cinematic progression. Even now, if I hear a certain song, the Play button goes off in my brain. I can see my book as a movie.
After several drafts, we all agreed the screenplay should be sent for script coverage. We liked it, but it needed an outside perspective.
I knew what script coverage was, because Blair did coverage for Penny Marshall’s company, Parkway Productions. Basically, coverage summarizes a script for a production company’s consideration. The script will get a grade of Pass, Consider or Recommend.
I later learned in a workshop that roughly 96% to 99% get a Pass, maybe 1% to 4% a Consider and anyone that Recommends, is usually fired.
Literally.
“A good script warrants a Consider, but you better have a damn good reason why you’d stick your neck out for a Recommend!” --The words of a working screenwriter, not mine.
To save money, I entered a film festival screenwriting competition. Fee around $50. It included coverage. Coverage can be in the hundreds, depending on the experience of the reader.
I made top 12 of 125 scripts in the contest. No prizes, but good encouragement.
The biggest complaint. Sloppy formatting. And I used industry software!
Talk about embarrassing.
Okay, I can work harder. The story was solid. Not perfect. Now I have notes.
Notes – the film industry term for feedback.
Around the same time, I was writing the book sequel to Marquel, titled Marquel’s Dilemma, when I realized a big difference in book and film opportunities.
A novel can be self-published.
An author can write, hire a proofreader, editor, designer and marketer to launch a book, but a film requires a team. And, the writer isn’t important after the screenplay is approved.
The producer is the head of the film and can fire the screenwriter (of the approved script) and start over if they deem necessary.

Thankfully, I have daughters who are producers.
I don’t think they’d fire me?
Next week - Why I am doing it

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