Monday, April 14, 2008

Advice to Aspiring (Screen)Writers

Dear People Who Send Scripts to the Company I Work For:

Hi. Thanks so much for taking the time to send out your script. That takes guts, and I appreciate it. However, may I offer you some tips? Thanks.

I know that Final Draft does not provide a grammar check. A screenwriter friend of mine explained to me that it is because dialogue does not need to be gramatically correct, especially if it is in a certain dialect. I get that. I really do. As a writer who often slips Spanish slang into her work, I understand that spell check is not always your friend.

HOWEVER! you are sending out your script in a professional capacity. You would like to see it produced. You are sending it to very busy people who receive a bevy of scripts each day and do not suffer fools lightly. Thus, my advice:

"You're" means "You Are". It is NOT interchangable with "your".

"It's" means "It Is". It does NOT mean the same thing as "Its". Just because you want to use a posessive tense does not mean that an apostrophe is necessary.

"Get's". I see this often. I'm not sure what it means. However, I do know that the sentence "John get's the wallet from Mary" makes no sense.

Your character has probably not just "kilt" someone. "Killed" perhaps. However, if they are dressed in Scottish garb, please accept my apologies.

Not everyone reading your work is a "Sir". Please address your querey letter appropriately.

That's it for now. Good luck, aspiring writers! I truly do enjoy reading your work and I'm always looking for that diamond in the rough.

Happy Writing.


Madison Leigh said...

So do you have any hair left?

I was trying to think from the writer's POV, wondering if perhaps... but no. NO! I agree with you 100% on your points. Writing is a profession. This means that you must be... well, PROFESSIONAL! I would never, ever send a manuscript out without having gone through it with a fine toothed comb. And sure, we all miss one every now and then. But the mistakes you are listing here sound like they stem from ignorance. And as writers, your submitters have the responsibility, like anyone else, to learn the rules of their job! And it is a job. People will argue, "It's art..." Well, art it may be, but if you are submitting it to a publisher or a movie house, you are obviously wanting to get paid for it. It officially has become a job at that point.

Viansa Blake said...

I agree with you as well. People actually write Kilt? That's funny. I think it is great that you are reaching out and giving advice to writers! :o)

Janelle Dakota's blog said...

So, Miss Fitzgerald, have you run across the smelt/smelled mistake? That one always cracks me up. I do believe that writers of screenplays should be held to the same literary standards as the novel or short story writer. I think it's (note correct use) only fair. After all, how else do they expect their work to be interpreted? The written word is subjective. One must be specific in language use in order to get one's meaning across.

Given your urgent situation, I thought it would be nice to send chocolate in a hurry, but my credit card ran under the desk the moment I reached for it. I think he's feeling a bit abused (overused?) since my trip to the east coast and he wants me to go back to my tight-fisted ways. I'll just send virtual hugs instead. Less calories.