10 June, 2007


"On the Lot" was a reality show on Fox which was basically American Idol for directors. Actually, make that writer-directors as the directors have to write their own stuff and if they were crap writers then they went home early. The winner received a million dollar contract at Dreamworks.

Those directors had to come up with ideas for short films and film them quite quickly, which I acknowledge is a hard job, but what was strikingly obvious was the lack of originality. Most of the stories were either a re-hash of famous sketches or famous films. They generally weren't something taken from their own imagination, real life and truth.

I think those failed directors needed to focus on character more and invest more of themselves into those characters. Rather than re-writing a date scene from a movie they've seen, they should have started with their own views and experience of dating and spinning off of that. Original characters and truth is the best way to get a fresh story.

There's a perfect example of this early on in the series. The contestants were given one of five loglines and they had to go away and think of a film to pitch based on that. This is the logline the video clips relate to:

Obviously the contestants are also being judged on how clear their pitches are and how confident they present themselves but think about which film you would rather see and why.

Pitch 1

Pitch 2

The first pitch is all about events happening which pays little attention to the characters and how those events affect them.

The second pitch started with an intriguing character, a star priest destined to be the first American Pope. What's the worst thing that could happen to him? He falls in love. Of course there have been loads of priest falling in love stories but that second pitch doesn't remind me of any of them while the first pitch reminded me of The Exorcist as there was no character to care about, just the image of projectile vomiting.

We might not need to write a full script before we pitch, but we need to know our characters and our story.



The Construction of a logline (Christopher Lockhart)
Loglines and Synopsis (Wildsound)
Writing Loglines (Script Nurse)
Tips on loglines (Ink Tip)
Writing Loglines that Sell (Storylink)
Writing loglines for a comedy (John August)



Writing a Synopsis (Danny Stack)
Tips on Synopses (Ink Tip)
5 Steps To Writing A Synopsis (Vivien Beck)
Brief synopsis (Market Your Screenplay)
Screenwriting Tips: Scripts/Synopsis (Jerrol LaBarron)
Suffering the Synopsis (Michael Steven Gregory)



The Construction of a Pitch (Christopher Lockhart)
Writing: The Pitch (John Rogers)
The Wind-up and the Pitch (Terry Rossio)
Pitching your story (William Goldman)
Preparing to Pitch Your Screenplay to a Studio (Dummies.com)
The Art of Pitching (Christopher Lockhart)
The Art of Pitching (Syd Field)
Concept is Everything When You Pitch (Hal Croasmun)
Pitching (Julie Grey)
Screenwriting 101: The Pitch (Todd Alcott)
The Story Engine: Lisa Holdsworth On Pitch Docs (Bloggery Pokery)
Pitch Perfect (Danny Stack)
Pitching Follow Up (Danny Stack)
Pitching 2.0 (Danny Stack)
Pitch-a-screenplay - Pitching To A Producer? (Nick Dunning)
Some Advice on Pitching (Christopher Lockhart)
Pitching Essentials - 1 (Elliot Grove)
Pitching Essentials - 2 (Elliot Grove)
5 Pitching Tips (Lucy Hay)


Lucy said...

You is a ledge, Robin. Consider yourself on THE LIST.

Robin Kelly said...

Cheers, Lucy.

Dan said...

Great post, Robin. Personal comment, external links, video...it's got it all.

A contender for 'Post of the Year'. If there is such a thing.


Robin Kelly said...

Thanks Dan, I completely agree! ;-)

Marian said...

Yep. That's terrific. I'm just writing a crime novel pitch/synopsis for the first time and this is v v handy. Thanks.