I never understood why ‘fade in’ and ‘fade out’ were a standard for script writing (fading out would have ruined Inception), but when it comes to the actual script, there is no room for a traditional story or structure, unless you’re the best out there, so subversive progressiveness, a unique voice, and general competency go a long way.
After subscribing to various blogs’ RSS feeds using Google Reader for my university research, I found this interesting post from the Screenwriting Goldmine blog, by Phil Gladwin, amongst the deluge of posts, articles, stories and reviews from my numerous feeds. RSS readers certainly make information overload easier to manage.
Gladwin’s post lists 5 critical lessons about spec scripts, and I think they’re a useful reminder to writers trying to get their work noticed. Here are some quotes from the 5 points to give you a summary:
- ‘Opening your script with a black screen and a voice over really has to stop.’
- ‘Original story setups, that you genuinely haven’t seen before, really do stand out.’
- ‘The Standard is Really, Really GOOD!’ (So you have to either be incredible or unique to stand out)
- ‘It’s Not Enough to Have a Good Structure’
- ‘You Need a Voice’
I think the last point is probably the most important.
‘I’m looking for scripts that have all that – but also have that rarest thing: a wild, never before heard voice.’ – Phil Gladwin
In the end, no matter how much you read, practice, experience, edit, think, or write, it comes down to whether or not you have something new to say. It might be something old that has been forgotten, but it has to be something we haven’t really seen before, and it’s a lot harder than anyone realises.