Any screenwriters (wannabe or otherwise) in the house?

Just got my two cheesy certificates from the Writer’s Digest Screenwriting competition. My two entries placed somewhere between 11th and 100th place. Not bad (they hasten to point out in the accompanying letter), considering there were over 19,000 entries, but just not god enough to suit me.

Are there any other screen/television scribes out there? Professional or “working on it”? Wanna share horror stories of the pitch sessions that went awry? Or the one that almost made it?

I’ve been working seriously at it for a couple years–got a pitch to a television series on the strength of a spec (no sale); almost talked Hayley Mills’ assistant (yes, that Hayley Mills) into taking one of my scripts home with her (play performance in Nashville); been turned down by a handful of agents; had one agent who never called, etc., etc., etc. Once sat next to actor David Keith at a Steve Earle concert, but just could not handle the thought of him playing one of my characters, so I never brought the subject up.

Anyway, who else?


I wrote a script for a short film I want to make. The problem is that I’m a “visual” person. I get shots in my head, but then I have to write a script to use them in. And I’m terrible with dialog.

So I wrote this script. Then I looked at it and decided the dialog was crap. (Actually, the original intent was that there would be no dialog, but I decided it would work better if it had some.) I sat on it for a couple of years, then I had an inspration and “tweaked” it a couple of months ago. It’s much better now and the exposition doesn’t get in the way of the images. Of course, now I’m trying to move out of state, so I can’t make the film. I’ll do it after I move, which will be easier because the guy on whose films I usually work is up there.

I started a feature-length script. I have the first act written in script form, and about half of the second act written in outline form. I registered what I had with the Writers Guild.

I like telling the story with pictures, setting up the shots and directing the actors, coming up with innovative solutions needed when you have no budget; but I’d rather interperate someone else’s story than write it myself. Still, I have images in my head around which I can make three other shorts. I’ll do the first one first, then look at the others again.

I’ve written three feature-length screenplays, one of which, Tips, with my occasional writing partner. Together, we also wrote a spec script for Seinfeld that we get rave reviews about on our [url=“”]web site*.

I’m trying to focus on writing prose more than scripts nowadays, but I had a producer interested in my last screenplay, Angel Wings, a few months ago, which prompted me to do a bit of a polish on it. I wrote Angel Wings in sequence, without an outline, and only a basic plot idea (the woman falls in love with someone by the end of the movie. I didn’t know who the lucky guy was, though, until the end.). I’ve gotten rave reviews about Angel Wings, particularly from Silver Fire here on the SDMB.

My other screenplay, Tierra Del Fuego, is an epic drama I wrote about four years ago about a man who becomes convinced he’s the messiah. It’s big and bloated, and part of a planned trilogy (The Star Wars trilogy of religious epics). Oddly enough, it’s rather dated now, and many elements from the Bible I took also showed up in The Matrix, which prompted my brother to call me after seeing Keanu kick ass and tell me that I got robbed.

The first screenplay I wrote, Tips, with my friend, is an action-comedy about smugglers in 1980s Miami. At the time, we thought of it as an episode of Miami Vice, as directed by Tarantino. There’s some wild stuff in there, but I don’t think others like it as much as I do. Based on Tips, we did have a producer working for Aaron Spelling interested in either purchasing Tips, or possibly a follow-up script that we never finished (called Thrill). That, as everything else in this life, fell through and I remain to toil in obscurity.

The Seinfeld episode, though, which we wrote back in 1994, the high-point of the series, gets nothing but laughs, and we’re very proud of that.

Anyway, all of the above can be checked out on the above-linked web site. Reviews and comments are always welcome.



I’m no where near a professional writer. No pitches, no agents, hell not even any submissions.

But it seems I am Johnny LA’s dark reflection, or possibly vice versa.

I’ve always been pretty good at writing scenes of natural dialog for a variety of different characters, but I’ve never had the discipline to wire it all together into a story. So I’ve got this collection of dialogs (with absolutely no blocking in mind) either written down, in my head, or floating on the mists of time, and no story to put them in.

If I’m not being too much of a media slut, Johnny, I’d love to help with the dialog of your script. Not that I’m looking for any sort of credit for your work, but it sounds like something I’d like to at least try to contribute to.

Just a thought.

I am curently working on my first screenplay, “Surrounded by Mormons.” I can’t imagine it being very commercially viable, but so far it’s pretty damn funny (in my opinion). But I have questions on some basic aspects of how certain scenes are written, for example, a hallucination: how do you describe the more psychadelic visuals? And do you write in song titles that you want for background music and hope you get the artist’s clearance, or do you just say “a song is playing on the radio?” Any help would be appreciated.

Working screenwriter here (at long last! :)). My short film, which I also co-directed, “Hate* *a comedy” appears on Cinemax this month (shameless plug!). I’ve had a couple of low budget films produced. Writing a script for Tony Scott now. Here’s my IMDb page.

Pitch session horror story? Let’s see… There was the time my writing partner and I were pitching to a woman on the Disney lot. She showed up an hour late because she was caught in traffic. She came limping in on a cane because she had just had knee surgery. Her assistant had forgotten to tell her we were coming in, so she hadn’t been expecting us. As she was sitting down to hear our pitch, she spilt hot tea on her legs. Finally, she turned to us and said, “Okay, go.” By that time, so much was working against us, I considered leaping out the window and running. No, we didn’t sell the pitch!

woodstockbirdybird: If you mean where do you format the psychadelic visuals, do it in an action description. And the general rule of thumb is, never name a specific song in a script, unless it’s absolutely critical to the plot. Just describe to feel of the song you want. BTW, “Surrounded by Mormons” is a great title!


Hate is fantastic! I was able to catch it at the Endeavour Film Festival in Fort Worth about two months ago.

Folks, do yourself a favor and catch this flick. I don’t want to say any more (“We had a deal!”). :slight_smile:

For myself, after trying to think about I wanted, could only make two very short screenplays that should never see the light of day. My very limited thoughts are that writing is the <i>easy</i> part, actually taking the idea and structuring it in your head is the much more difficult task.

Thanks for the tips, Anamorphic, and congratulations on your film. Is there any way to see it without having Cinemax?

Kookalouris -

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed Hate. And thanks for the plug! Watch out for the poisoned chimichangas… :slight_smile:

woodstockbirdybird -

The film will available on DVD in February, on Shorts, a collection of short films.

I have a “Texas” trilogy in progress: El Paso, Austin, and Trinity Falls. You heard it here first (though hopefully not last :rolleyes: ).

I’m still ironing out a number of scenes, but I do have a friend who’s also a published author who’s going through the travails of getting an agent and promoting his completed screenplay, so hopefully that’ll make some of the follow-through a little easier (but hey, what do I know?).

Anyway, it’s still more a pipedream than anything–the compulsion to get it on paper while I have it, rather than hoping something concrete comes from it all.

And congratulations Anamorphic (and good luck to everyone else :cool: )

I wonder how many people reading this thread know what “anamorphic” and “kookoloris” (“cucoloris”?) mean? :wink:

Jack Batty, I might want to take you up on your offer. But I have to relocate and make Somebody (my short) first. Then I have to finish the outline on the feature. And there will almost certainly be other projects before that. My cohort (see his interview here: says he has a couple of things in mind. (No, I didn’t get a mention in the interview. :()