Posted by: steveonfilm | May 18, 2010

A Conversation With A Friend

I’ve mentioned my friend Ryley on here a few times before. He’s a professional screenwriter out in Los Angeles. And by professional, I don’t mean just someone who’s repped, he actually gets paid to write for a living. He’s also pretty much my best friend.

When I complete a new screenplay, I send things off to Ryley to read. He’s somewhat of a writing coach. When he gets some spare time, he’ll give it a read, and get back to me with notes, advice, and suggestions. Sometimes this only takes a few days. Sometimes a few weeks. And most recently a few months.

Last night he contacted my about Served Cold and we chatted a while on the project, and my writing as a whole. Ryley doesn’t give feedback on the typical sense of the word, or in a way most people are accustomed too. He’s less concerned with how the story plays out, and more concerned with my growth as a writer. He’ll let me know when I’ve bitten off a bigger story than I can handle. And he’ll let me know when he thinks I took the easy way out. His feedback usually centers around areas in my writing, as a whole, that are weak, and points me in the right direction to strengthen those areas. Ryley wants to make sure that each screenplay I write is better than the last, and thus his advice is usually framed in ways for me to consider and use for my next project.

I got a lot of good feedback from him last night. He felt Served Cold was more hit than miss. He thought there was some really strong stuff, and that I had a significant command of the story, and screenwriting in general. He said it was a solid leap forward for me. And that really felt good, because I felt like I’d progressed significantly with that project as well.

After the initial feedback we started to talk about general writing stuff. One of the issues, I guess if you can call it an issue, is that the scripts that are selling right now, or getting new writers noticed, aren’t really anything super outstanding or amazing. It’s typically a relatively straightforward story with a unique take. If you can throw in an interesting twist, that’s even better. But bottom line, its a point A to point B story, with many roadblocks in between the two points, and sometimes having the need to go to point C.

I think I might take a few days and revisit how I’m setting up Bystander right now. I’ve got a significant amount of outlining done, but it’s a pretty complex story. About as complex as Served Cold was. I really want to take what I learned writing Pride is Forever (i.e. a relatively straight forward story), and see how I might be able to structure Bystander.

This all might not turn into anything, but I figure it’s a good exercise to go through regardless.

Still waiting to hear about who made the semi-finals in the Cyberspace Open. Should be out any day now, since the next round is this weekend.

Until next time, keep writing!
-Steve

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