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It’s Been Way, Way Too Long

In the seven months since I started this blog I have written two feature length scripts and a short. Every time I sit down to make a new post the guilt strikes me hard.  If I have time to blog, then I have time to work on a script.  Time is such an invaluable and hard to come by commodity for me the latter usually wins out.  So it’s not to say that the time away from blogging hasn’t been productive, it very much has been. I started this blog as a means to hold myself publicly accountable towards my writing goals. While that’s still a focus, I think I need to use this medium as an outlet to work through writing blocks, brainstorm ideas, and basically just bitch about things that bother me. So here’s the latest.

I think I’ve gotten pretty good at the networking game via Twitter. I’ve made some strong, positive connections with more experienced and established writers than I. Some have even offered to give me notes on my latest script. So here comes my two cents on the consultant debate…while I didn’t like HOW the anti-consultants presented their position, I do agree with them when it comes to seeking someone’s professional advice and criticism.  I don’t believe you can pay someone money for their honest opinion.  Human bias just doesn’t work like that.  @jwillis81 got things going with a twitter rant that spoke volumes to me. He mentions times as a consultant when he what he really wanted to do was to tell the writer to kill the story or idea, abandon or rework it completely. But these were PAYING customers and he felt BAD taking their money to NOT be honest with them.

I believe I experienced this exact scenario when I entered the @bluecatpictures screenplay contest. I choose Bluecat because it was relatively cheaper than other contests and they provided feedback.  When the feedback came it was the first time I had ever put myself out there for others to critique. And the feedback was GOOD.  I compared what I received with the examples provided on the Bluecat website and mine was on the positive side. The reviewer had more GOOD things to say than NEGATIVE.  So I was a little more than disappointed when I didn’t make the top ten percent.  How could I receive such affirming feedback and then not be one of four hundred DECENT scripts? 400! This was quite the blow and setback to the pursuit of the screenwriting dream.

What I realize now is those wiser than I, like @jwillis81 and @courier12 who are adamant about NOT paying for notes, are absolutely right. But more importantly, there are going to be setbacks, I’m going to be told no and what I’ve written isn’t good enough and that I’m not good enough. But that is ALL PART OF THE PROCESS of improving and getting better.

I recently got HAMMERED on some notes that a fellow writer provided me.  I knew that the script was still pretty ROUGH and in need of a lot of work. But I couldn’t put my finger on what was needed. My first pass of her notes stung, pretty badly actually.  But the more and more I read through them it became clear how spot on they were.  Her notes provided exactly what I needed. I don’t believe I would have gotten such unbiased and helpful notes had I been paying for them. I don’t believe the reader at Bluecat was as honest and helpful as I wanted them to be…as I NEEDED them to be.

So I rewrite. And then rewrite some more. Because that’s what we do, right?

In the meanwhile, I am going to do my absolute best to make at least one post here a week. As always, please drop me a little note if anything I’ve said here has resonated with you even a little bit. Follow me @mcorcoran15 and everybody loves a retweet. Until next time…

Michael

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Am I Doing It Right?

Today is the day I’m supposed to get feedback for both my feature entry and my short entry to the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. While I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear what they think, I forge on with other projects.  I’ve started writing a rom-com spec and have outlined another spec, a spy thriller.  My game plan hasn’t really changed. Get the BlueCat feedback, re-write/polish, and then I’m going to try the Blacklist with it.  I’ll give it a month, then after that I’ll probably put that one on the back burner.  It’s gotten some read requests but no real traction as they like to say.  And that’s ok. It was a passion piece and it has helped me take several positive steps forward on my journey towards reaching my goals of being a professional (paid) writer.  I have learned a tremendous amount.

One of the more positive experiences having come from writing and trying to sell a spec screenplay is that it has given me a context in which to engage in conversations with some pretty well-connected people in the industry via social media.  Twitter has become the go to medium for connecting with industry people.  So far, I like to believe that I’m doing it right and yes, there is a wrong way to do it.

I try to just be me. I’m honest and forthcoming in my online interactions. I ask questions about people’s projects and interests.  I congratulate them when they share their successes.  I try to do this for everyone, not just the famous people or the bought, sold, or produced people.  I don’t have to “know” them to shoot a quick “congrats, great job!” tweet their way.  Trust me, it means the world to some one to get that little notification that says you’ve been mentioned in a tweet.  Every Friday the Twitter population participates in a great practice of sharing user’s handles with all of their followers, encouraging them to go and follow these individuals themselves.  It’s called Follow Friday, denoted with #FF.  If you get a mention in a #FF from me, it signals that I interacted with you that week in way that was educational, inspirational, or encouraging to me. I use #FF as a means of saying thank you for making me a better screenwriter.  There is a small collection of people on Twitter that I have referred to as the “Cool kids.”  These are established industry people who have been beyond kind in answering my questions, entertaining my little anecdotes, or whom have shared an article or blog post that was both inspiring and educational.  Again, my way of telling them thanks.  It’s silly, childish, and cheesy…but man it would be cool to get a #FF from one of the Cool Kids.

I believe I’m doing it right.  I do my best everyday to pay it forward; to share something or to mention some one in some way that helps them or moves them along on their own journey.  These are invaluable connections we make here in cyberspace.  I very much hope to meet some of these people someday. I’m going to leave you with some thoughts on hope. But as always, please leave me a note in the comments and let me know your thoughts.  And of course, follow me at @mcorcoran15 and feel free to give a retweet. 😉