Dear Poor, Unfortunate Writer,
Today I spied your screenplay being read by a woman sitting next to me on the subway. She read it off of an iPad, page by page, scrolling down every thirty seconds or so. She seemed to read your writing diligently and carefully, never skimming passed the boring parts (if there were any.)
For a second I thought she might be an actress, but generally when actresses read screenplays, they read them from hard copies with scribbled notes in the margins, and they quietly recite their lines. Occasionally they purse their lips and admire their reflection in the windows located across from them, causing random men to think they’re flirting. The woman reading your screenplay didn’t do any of those things. She was all business as she read with furrowed brow skepticism, a few times shaking her head back and forth (in a good way or bad way, I couldn’t tell.)
I was dying to know what she was thinking, so when she whipped out her iPhone, I knew I had to discover the truth. I couldn’t help but peak as she furiously punched letters into a text message. She wrote, “It’s boring…who cares about a wannabe monster who shows people his heating bills?” Whoever she was texting agreed, and they went on back and forth about how they didn’t like it.
As simple as that, you were out.
In your defense, I actually thought your story sounded kind of interesting. A wannabe mobster who runs around showing people his heating bills? I’ve never seen anything like it that’s for sure. Was it a comedy? A drama? I was already invested in your story and I had never even read it.
So, there’s that…
I guess I felt a little defensive on your behalf, because I’m getting ready to have my screenplay critiqued by my classmates next Wednesday night. All of the potential writers in my class (all of which are really talented) sit in a circle and analyze each others screenplays. The feedback isn’t all rainbows and lollipops, either. It’s brutally honest, and I can definitively say that I’ve never sat in on a class where everyone agreed that someone’s creation was simply amazing and that there was nothing negative to say about it. So, Poor Sap, I understand what it’s like to put your stuff out there only to receive feedback like:
“Your main character didn’t grab me…”
“Your story is too quiet.” (Whatever that means…)
“Too much wordy dialogue.” (But I like wordy dialogue…)
“Why are we supposed to care about this character and their journey?” (Because I wrote it, and I care!!)
Getting a negative response after you’ve worked so hard is tough, but it’s part of the process. Poor Sap, I hope you sent the wannabe mobster story to lots of other agents, and that someone ends up loving it, and if they don’t…