So, it’s been a while since we’ve visited or talked about the SCRIPT NOTES PITCH WORKSHOP, but I don’t want to let it fall through the cracks. In fact, I’d like to revamp it a bit. Originally, I’d proposed doing it in two or three-week stages: for a certain time period, readers could submit loglines, then we’d do slightly longer summaries, and—finally—a page-long synopsis. The idea was that people could get feedback on their ideas not only from me, but from other readers as well.
But only about four people ever submitted ideas, so I’ve been re-thinking the process a bit, and I’d like to give it another try. Here’s what I’m thinking…
• Let’s do away with the two/three-week phases and, instead, make it an ongoing cycle. Whenever you have an idea… email it to me at WDScriptNotes@FWPubs.com, or simply post it as a comment to this post or one of the other workshop submission posts. I’ll then post it as its own blog post so other readers can find it and give you feedback.
• Since we’re not submitting in stages, feel free to submit a logline, paragraph or one-page summary. PLEASE DON’T SUBMIT ANYTHING LONGER THAN ONE DOUBLE-SPACED PAGE! However, submit whatever you think will garner the most helpful feedback.
• Also, I’ve added the Pitch Workshop to the list of CATEGORIES on the left side of the screen so it will always be easy to find. That way, you don’t have to comb through old blog posts to find this post, or other submissions, if you want to submit anything or leave someone feedback. I’ll make sure all submission, past and present, find their way to the Pitch Workshop category.
• All the old etiquette rules still apply… the workshop isn’t here so we can bash each other or our ideas… it’s here so we can all get helpful feedback and constructive criticism on our ideas. So definitely be honest in your feedback, but be polite and respectful!
• Lastly, if you submit an idea, take a moment to give some quick feedback to other readers who have submitted loglines or summaries. You can tell them you love it, or tell them what’s “bumping you” and a quick suggestion to tweak it.
Ultimately, I’d love for the Pitch Workshop to be not only a great forum for swapping ideas and creative suggestions, but a forum for dialogue about story, character, etc. I’ll do my best to respond to as many submissions as possible myself.
So to re-kick start the workshop, I thought I’d take a moment to give some feedback to Tanya, who not only submitted her movie logline last month, she commented on Phillip Sevy and E. Daniel’s submissions as well.
First of all, Tanya—thanks for offering those guys your feedback… I hope they found it helpful! Second of all, sorry it’s taken me a while to get your feedback up here, but—at long last—here you go!...
BRB TO THE FUTURE, a feature-length comedy, follows 13-year-old cell phone-obsessed Barbara as she travels 500 years into the future, where chat/text message abbreviations are more than just the latest craze – it’s a spoken language used by every nation in the world.
WHAT I LIKE:
There’s clearly a lot of fun to be had with a futuristic world that has become so technologically dependent that our very language has degenerated into a universal mess of abbreviations. It’s a great way to comment on where we are today and where we’re going. Having said that…
WHAT I THINK NEEDS WORK:
You’ve given us a fantastic detail about the future world, but I’m not sure of two important things…
A) What does the rest of the world looks like, and how is it a reflection of our world today? Your future’s language has clearly changed, in a wonderfully dark and comedic way, but what else has changed in this cautionary tale? Are people so techno-dependent that they have chips embedded in their heads, allowing them to download movies or talk to friends without the aid of computers/telephones? Is everyone a cyborg? Is the planet simply one big sprawling city? The idea that cell phones and texts have eroded our language skills is great… but how else do you envision computers and technology changing humanity—for better or worse? This will be the key to selling (both creatively and commercially) your story: creating a world that articulates where you see us headed… and how it’s a comment on today’s society. (Think about The Matrix, Idiocracy, Clockwork Orange, 1984, etc. These stories are all set in the future—and in some cases, even play with language in similar ways to your BRB TO THE FUTURE, but they concoct a full-bodied world that holds a mirror up to our own.)
B) What’s the actual STORY in BRB TO THE FUTURE? What does Barbara want? I presume she’s trying to get back to her own time…? But in that case, how did she get to the future, and—however she traveled—why can’t she just hop back? (In Back to the Future remember, Marty traveled back in a time traveling car, but the car broke… so he had to fix it before he could return.) And WHY does Barbara want to return to the past? From your initial set-up, it seems she has traveled to a future tailor-made for her… so I’m guessing/assuming she begins to learn the downsides of this blind dependence on cell phones/technology. Perhaps she discovers no one in your techno-dependent future is capable of human connection; babies are made in labs, people live alone in pods, heartfelt discussions are a thing of the past, etc. But as she learns this, does she use her “stronger” interpersonal skills to try and rule this devolved future? Does she despise it and try to leave?
To be fair, I think you probably know the answers to many of these questions and see much more of the movie in your head than has been articulated in your logline. But I would adjust the logline to accommodate more of that vision, rather than just focusing on the one detail of the world’s ravaged language. For instance, while I don’t want to rewrite your logline for you or push you down a story path you don’t like, notice how these revamped loglines give more of a sense of story… without sacrificing the spirit of the world you’ve created…
BRB TO THE FUTURE, a feature-length comedy, follows Barbara, a computer-obsessed 13-year-old, who falls through her science teacher’s time warp and finds herself stranded 500 years in the future, where technology-dependent humans have lost the ability to relate to—or help each other—in any way.
BRB TO THE FUTURE, a feature-length comedy, follows Barbara, a computer-obsessed teenager, who invents a time machine that takes her to the future, where people are so dependent on machines they’ve lost the ability to communicate… allowing Barbara to take over the world and become an interplanetary dictator.
Again, I’m not saying either of these ideas is good… or right… or the story you want to tell… but they at least give Barbara an engine and arc to carry her through the incredible world you’ve c
Anyway, Tanya, I hope this helps. Thanks so much—for both submitting your own idea and commenting on the others… and keep reading!
As for the rest of you… let the pitch submissions begin! Just put them in the comments section of this post... or email them to WDScriptNotes@FWPubs.com. I hope to hear from you soon!
Have a good weekend…