3/2/11

#@!!%

Long time, no post. I have been crazy busy for the last few months. Anytime I had an idea for a blog entry, I scribbled it on a sticky note. There were quite a few notes stacked up before they all got buried in work. I have now managed to clear my desk back down to the sticky note level, so I guess it's time to start posting.

I was going to ease in gently with comments on successful sitcom titles and Oscar nominees, but last night I read a script so painful, I have to start with a rant instead.


Out of every 100 scripts I read for my agency job, figure 10% are easy recommends. They might have a few issues, but the problems can be fixed and the good outweighs the bad. About 80% of the 100 scripts have something of value, but also serious issues. One has to decide if the problems can be fixed, and if the amount of good is worth the trouble.

Then there's the bottom 10%. These are the scripts written by people who do not grasp basic writing fundamentals. As in, people who have no idea what makes a story a story at a level one isn't sure can be taught. With these scripts, you want to tell the writer, "Stop now. You do not have what it takes. Do something else." Last night's script was one of those. And the f*cker had people and money attached.

Looking up the production company, I don't feel too horrified by the state of the industry. The writer owns the company – and he's planning to direct, too! It's possible the money comes from mom and dad. (Though if they gave it to me, I could put on a piece of performance art called "lazing around in front of my TV writing blog posts for the next twenty years" that would provide more entertainment value than their baby's script. But hey, it's their money.)

In honor of that script, and the Confidentiality Agreement that prevents me from going into details, I offer a new definition:

plot prod [plot prod]

–noun
1. An occurrence in a script clearly manufactured by the writer to drive the protagonist into an action he/she would otherwise have no reason to take, and without which the script would come to a screeching halt on page 11.

–antonym
1. plot point
The thing you should be writing instead.

2 comments:

Anne said...

I love the term! I may well steal, er, borrow it.

My pet peeve are plot flares, those ostensibly subtle clues about what's going to happen later on. The classic plot flare: "Oh, he had a bad childhood." And we're supposed to be surprised that this guy turns out to be the murderer?

eamenes said...

Anne,

Oh, I like "plot flare" too. I'm afraid this script had a doozy on page 3. "Dear God, why won't my daughter call me...?"

And then we learn at the end that his seemingly trivial quest was really about reconnecting with his daughter. Get it? Get it? Don't you just want to take this script and burn it and stomp on the ashes? :-)