Why Do So Many New Writers Ask the Wrong Questions?

The Bitter Script Writer voices our – especially our Beloved Leader, Larry Brody – pet peeves:

Many People Thinking of QuestionsAspiring writers asking the wrong questins
by The Bitter Script Reader

I’ve held onto this email for a while. It’s an example of an email or a tweet I get now and then. Sometimes I’ll pull out terrible emails as lessons in what not to do, but I tend to reserve that for the writers who are the most obviously entitled and/or belligerent. “Earnestly naive” is a little harder for me to make fun of, and so I’m putting this not to make fun, but to try to enlighten.

However, so as to not embarrass this person, I’m not going to use their name:

I stumbled across your blog and was hoping you could help with my situation.

As the subject line states, I am not a writer, nor do I want to be one. However, I have written a 30 min comedy pilot doing the best I can with formatting and story form and would like to give it the best possible shot of getting made. I don’t want to make it. I would damn near give it away if I could, as long as I knew it would make it even somewhat close to air.

I am thinking the best way to proceed is have a script doctor or reader take a shot at it and give notes, then register it and start the query letter, contest, submission route.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions on my situation, I would appreciate some guidance. Also, if you have a script doctor/reader that you would recommend, I would be grateful. 

The most succinct reply I can give is probably that if you’re not in this to build a career as a writer, I probably don’t know how to help you. It is so hard to break in and maintain any kind of ongoing career that I find it hard to pretend that a dilettante will have much success.

Also, I think you’ll find that if you’re not “all-in” it will be hard to get your connections to go the extra mile for you. People aren’t inclined to put their own integrity with agents and managers at risk if the client they tell them to pick up ends up only writing one script.  Going into this with the attitude of “Oh, it would be fun to see a script of mine made” is the wrong tact.

It’s not any easier to get a network or studio to make your pilot even if you’re “damn near giv[ing] it away.” The two big factors you’re always going to be facing is: the level of competition, and your own level of talent.

The competition is fierce, and you’re up against people who’ve taken the time to write many scripts, to carve out time to write each week and to consistently rewrite, improve, move on to new stories. The fact that you’re still hung up on questions like “How do I get the format right?” tells me that you probably haven’t read many TV scripts (red flag) and that you haven’t done enough of your own research to find these answers already, because they’re out there (double red flag.)

Read it all

Oh, and speaking of newbie questions, here’s the big one, so important – and aggravating – that The Bitter Script Reader has created its very own video: