Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Call for Questions

It's been a while since I put out an open call for questions, so consider this an official invitation. Hit me up in the comments, at my email address or via the Facebook page.

I'll take every question that offers an interesting or useful answer. Ask anything about screenwriting, movies, this blog, working in L.A. - whatever seems relevant.

DON'T send me things like "Is this a watchable logline?" and then write what I presume is your own screenplay pitch.

DON'T send me a random quote from an industry article or screenwriting book, especially if there's no question related to it.

DON'T copy press releases from Variety in their entirety and ask me if this film in pre-production has the potential to dethrone Avatar.

All I'm asking is that you be smart about your questions. I've gotten a lot of good questions in the past and I'm hoping this will lead to some interesting and informative posts.


  1. I've recently discovered your blog and I'm finding it fascinating.

    What do you view as the key differences between the British film industry and Hollywood? Do these variations result in vastly different scripts?

  2. I recently watched Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger for the first time in years. All three spend a HUGE amount of time on exposition, but arguably it pays off with the impact of the thrilling conclusions. Do you think a spec with that kind of extensive, intrigue-based exposition could ever sell in today's market? More to the point and your expertise, what kind of reaction/impression/coverage would you have for such a thing, if it crossed your desk? (Supposing that formatting, grammar, and the story's internal logic were sound. It just spends a LONG time setting a LOT up.)

    I've wanted to write such a story for a long time, but I keep shying away because I imagine it's unsellable, so I don't want to devote my limited time to what might forever be a white-tail. But perhaps my impression is based on bad assumptions, so I figured I'd ask.

  3. Agent vs. Manager...? Say some poor shmuck just needs a paying job. There's an impression that Agents get you the work, where Managers get your movie made. Your thoughts.

  4. Hey Bitter, have a question on formatting. When you read a script, what type of continuance do you prefer? "..." or "--". I noticed guys like Tony Gilroy love the "--" but guys like Scott Frank (and I would argue the majority of screenwriters) like to employ the "...". Is this more a question of style, or do readers like yourself role your eyes when you see one type over the other?

    Thanks brother.

  5. When you're reading, does potential for profit play a factor in your analysis?

    (I know, ostensibly, the best ideas/concepts/screenplays should make the most at the box office, but that's not reality.)

  6. I'm writing a screenplay in which a character is thought to be called one name for the first act, after which it's revealed that his name is actually something else. For the dialogue tags and descriptions, is it appropriate to change the name used at this point, thus potentially confusing the reader, or should I keep the same name throughout, thus cluing the reader in to the twist before the other characters (and audience) know?

    Thank you!