Bang2write is known for being honest in its feedback. Note that doesn’t mean brutal, vitriolic or cavalier. Writing is tough and writers have to make all kinds of sacrifices to get words on the page. Nothing winds me up more than readers and feedback-givers who don’t exercise due care. Every piece of work is an expression of someone’s hopes and dreams. I take this very seriously.
But I do have to be honest. I would be failing in my remit as a script editor if I do not put honest notes at the very heart of what I do. So, realise what I say next is said with honesty, but also love …
But what do I mean by this? Well, when I read speculative drafts or short pitches aka loglines, they are often what I call ‘non-stories’. These can be broken down like this …
We don’t know who we are rooting for in terms of characters, or why
The conflict (ie. problem or issue) is not clear
We don’t know what the story is in terms of genre, tone or type
It might be too ‘writerly’ – interesting to the writer, but no one else
It might be too samey – we’ve seen this type of story, this way ‘too many times’
The writer has placed too much on an *issue*, so it seems too educational
A combo or all of the above
In other words, the concept just doesn’t sell itself ‘off the page’ to me. As I’ve said multiple times on this blog, if you don’t have a great concept, you’ve got nothing. What’s more, knowing your concept from the offset can help you write, since it creates a powerful baseline to work from.
Concept is really important and one of the key elements writers underestimate … Not only in terms of writing screenplays and books, but in terms of getting agents’, producers’ and publishers’ interest.
What Is Concept?
By concept, I mean what happens in your story at grass roots level. The premise, the controlling idea, the seed of the story if you like. So when someone says, ‘What is your story about?’you can tell them.
I know this sounds obvious (and it is). Yet lots of writers start writing without working out what their story is *really about* this out in advance. Then they get stuck writing the draft … Or they can’t get anyone’s interest like agents, filmmakers and publishers because it feels too unclear/muddled.
LB’S NOTE: The following Seattle Times article appeals to me for a couple of reasons.
I’m a long time Heart Fan, and so, it fortuitously turned out, is Gwen the Beautiful
Even now, the Greater Seattle Population Area has a first class local music scene
Seattle’s degree of sophistication and is increasing as its overall population continues to boom
This could very well be the last year that moving from wherever you may be to Seattle and environs is affordable for any but, yep, the 1%
I really love living here!
Okay, so that’s five reasons. But now it’s time for you to read what’s inspired me to carry on here sans sarcasm or snark.
by Jeff Albertson
Long before Heart was a chart-topping, platinum-selling band inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their bandmates were just one of many local bands kicking around the clubs and taverns of the Pacific Northwest.
Heart recorded a slew of Top 10 hits, including “Magic Man,” “These Dreams” and “Alone,” but the band’s early success was forged in dingy taverns and nightclubs — one of which was located on Highway 99 in Shoreline.
In the early 1970s, the band moved from the Seattle area to Vancouver, B.C., where it recorded its breakout hits and found its first commercial success with “Crazy on You” and “Magic Man.”
Earlier that year, word-of-mouth buzz about the band was spreading when it caught the ear of Seattle Times music critic Patrick MacDonald. “We play hard, hard rock,” Nancy Wilson told MacDonald in an interview with the Times in February 1976. “But we’re a happy group, never negative. That’s one of our appeals,” Nancy Wilson said.
MacDonald also wrote that by then Heart was one of the biggest groups in Canada, with hit singles and an album that had sold 45,000 copies. Heart toured Canada with big-name acts such as Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and the Faces, ZZ Top and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
When MacDonald asked the band if they were going to be big stars, Wilson jokingly said: “We’re going to be big, Big, BIG!”
Turns out, she was right.
Heart’s first big show in Seattle was opening for English rock band Supertramp on Friday, March. 19, 1976. In a review of that show, MacDonald, wrote: “… they must have been disappointed because their set was plagued by light and sound problems (because of Supertramp’s elaborate setup, Heart didn’t get a light or sound check before the show) which ruined their momentum.”
Luckily for Heart, the audience didn’t seem to care and responded with a whistling, stomping five-minute ovation calling the band back for an encore — a demand not usually afforded to local openers….
Once upon a time, TVWriter™ had a frequent contributor who called himself the “Impatient Showrunner,” AKA IS because he was indeed a showrunner and also a notoriously impatient man.
The other day, LB got a call from his good friend IS, and this TVWriter™ minion could hear the Showrunner’s rant all the way from my digs in London.
“What the hell is wrong with everybody?” IS demanded. “I keep getting email after email from total novices with addresses proclaiming their very own ridiculously named production companies? How can they form production companies if they’re still at a point where they’re asking me baby questions about what production companies even do? And people call me impatient?! Egads!”
In order to spare another generation of aspiring TV writer-producers from having to face the Impatient Showrunner’s wrath, I did a little googling and found the helpful article below.
If it wasn’t for professionals in the media space, the entertainment world wouldn’t be so advanced.
Some of the music videos, movies, commercials and TV shows that are indulged in today wouldn’t exist if not for them. It takes a level of creativity and technical skill to successfully produce any type of content.
It can also be relatively expensive depending on what exactly you’re producing. For those who are passionate about productions, you can create content that makes a major impact and has a positive influence.
Below, you’ll find things that you should know before going ahead and starting a production company.
1. You Need a Concrete Plan
The first thing you need if you want to successfully start a production company is a concrete business plan. Without it, you’re setting yourself up for what could be a lot of frustration.
A plan will tell you how you need to prepare and what the essentials are, as well as all of the resources you’ll need to do so. Below, you’re going to find tips on how to devise a business plan.
Financial statements are a very big part of your business plan. This is because a production company is a business, so you need to project how much you’re going to make during the early days.
To do this, include an income statement, balance sheet, cashflow statement, and budget.
Customers and Competition
Another important component of a business plan is your customers and competition. Make a decision about who you’re targeting and why.
Do this by researching the types of people likely to be interested in your company and which businesses already have their attention. Three customer questions to ask are:
Who is buying?
What do they buy?
Why do they buy?
You also want to find out how big your competitors are and what strategy they’re using to secure customers and clients.
After doing all of the background research, it’s time to document what your business is going to look like in the present and future.
Include things such as what your plans, organization, procedures, and company culture are going to be. This is also the time to write a strong vision statement that will guide your company activities….
In this excerpt from his book, Generation Friends, Saul Austerlitz meets the past of successful TV writing and discovers that it’s the present and future as well.
by Saul Austerlitz
Every writer knew the sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach. David Crane would enter the room, toting a script full of notes scribbled in the margins. He would sit down in his chair and begin drumming his fingers on the table before announcing, “All right, we’ve got a lot of really good stuff here.” The assembled writers would silently groan, knowing that this was Crane-ian code for a full script rewrite. Everything was out, and it was time to start again.
“Good enough” was not a concept Crane, or Marta Kauffman, understood or accepted. One day during the first season, writer Jeff Astrof approached Crane with a proposal. “Look,” he told Crane, “right now we work one hundred percent of the allotted time and we have a show that’s one hundred. I believe that if we worked fifty percent of the time we’d have a show that’s seventy-five, so maybe we work seventy-five percent of the time and have a show that’s like a ninety.” Crane instantly rejected the proposal: “Absolutely not. The show has to be one hundred.” There might have been a faster way to get the work done. But this was Marta Kauffman and David Crane’s show, and their room.
After hiring their staff for the first season, Crane and Kauffman gathered the writers to deliver a pep talk, and a challenge. “Comedy is king,” Crane told the assembled writers. “This is a show where we want everything to be as funny as it can be.” For writers in their mid-twenties, many of whom were on their first or second jobs in the industry, this was a thrilling proclamation. Writers like the team of Astrof and Mike Sikowitz had always felt deeply competitive about crafting the best possible joke and getting it into the script — Astrof’s concerns about the punishing schedule notwithstanding — and Crane was seemingly opening the doors wide to all competitors….