Joseph Writer was the world’s first writer. He was better than everyone.

So I’m trying to come up with observations about Repped Week, although the small sampling makes the findings far from conclusive. The most telling moment and probably the biggest thing to come out of the week is that the highest rated script (Emergency Contact) unknowingly came from a writing team that had already sold a script. The fact that I didn’t know they were sold writers (and therefore wasn’t biased) and still saw the writing to be at a high level says a lot. Then again, my second favorite script of the week, The Conquered, came from two writers who only recently secured representation. I honestly believe that with a wider net, that script is lower-half Black List material. However I do not think it’s an accident that they are repped by UTA (a big agency).

Someone in the comments section mentioned Project Greenlight – Damfleck’s attempt to prove that the Hollywood system was ignoring a huge talent pool that couldn’t get their foot in the door simply because they didn’t have connections. Sure there were a ton of variables involved, but the resulting three movies (ranging from bad to mediocre) proves that maybe, just maybe, Hollywood knows what it’s doing.

As for the whole “The Void” thread, which unfortunately turned personal, I believe – from an objective place – that Zach just isn’t ready yet. That’s not to say he won’t be. That’s not to say he can’t be. But The Void has too many flaws to sell in its current incarnation. Howevuh!

HOWEVUH!

…there are some good things about the script, and that is why he’s getting these [heavily debated] meetings. Someone doesn’t have to want your script to want a meeting with you. They may simply be looking to establish a relationship so that if you do improve and do end up writing something great, they have you in their rolodex. It’s good business sense.

What I learned from Repped Week is that by and large, writers are successful because they deserve to be successful. Scripts get sold because they deserve to be sold. Sale scripts are rarely perfect, but the combination of concept and execution is usually better than whatever else is out there. That’s not to say wherever you are, you’re stuck there. Writers are constantly improving, and once your writing gets better, more people will take notice. Bigger agents, bigger directors, bigger actors will woo you. And let’s not forget the wild card: the brilliant concept. Come up with a great concept (A dinosaur park) and execution or not, you shoot to the top of Spielbeg’s speed dial. I believe that knowing what a great concept is is part of what makes a great writer. So all of that has to be factored into the equation.

So my final very unscientific analysis is that the hierarchy, while fallible, is for the most part accurate:

Unrepped < Repped by Manager < Repped by Agent < Sold Writer

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I think you’re right. Great idea with repped week by the way.

    So raw talent may win out when it comes to securing representation, but it’s still seemingly random luck which scripts get picked up. Oh well, the good news is that there’s always assignments.

  • http://highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend.wordpress.com/ highmaintenanceimaginarygirlfriend

    Carson, does blogger give you blog traffic stats? Repped week was big for comments, obviously, but did it also spike traffic?

    Curious.

    PS: do you have the script for THE PERFECT GETAWAY? Just saw it, and I won’t comment except to say I want to study a couple of scenes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I know where you can find it. E-mail me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    By the way, what a bizarre movie that was. I didn’t necessarily dislike the twist. But I did have a problem with how the twist was conveyed. So odd.

  • Anonymous

    SO when are you going to review DJ? How did the top 5 from the other contest compare to these 5?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    DJ = Dow Jones?

    The top 5 from my contest, overall, were better by a slim margin than these 5. But Emergency Contact would’ve won the contest had it been entered.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    So the winner of your contest would have got no more than a ‘worth the read’ This doesn’t reflect well on the contest scripts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    A strong worth the read. Remember, I’ve only given about 50 impressives total. That’s out of like 1500 pro scripts I’ve read. So a “worth the read” is still solid.

  • Anonymous

    Dysfunction Junction. I was just playing around. I think next year, I am going to write a script with a good concept. ;-)
    Keep us up to date on what happens with the contest winner.
    Jim

  • Anonymous

    Funny how people have started calling this a contest. I don’t remember anyone saying it was a contest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Were talking about a contest. Not this.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Yeah, sorry for the confusion. I held a contest over at the DoneDeal message boards that ended recently. I had a “Top 5 Finalists”, which is what Jabber is referring to.

  • The Truth

    This of course reinforces the comment I posted about The Void. What a shocker that the writers of the best script to come out of this exercise have already had someone willing to write them a check.

    The equation is: Professional caliber WRITING equals eventual PAYCHECK.

    If you have the pro caliber writing, it’s only a matter of time before you find the right concept to showcase it.

  • Anonymous

    Ah. I was unaware of the Done Deal contest. My apologies.

  • The Truth

    “So raw talent may win out when it comes to securing representation, but it’s still seemingly random luck which scripts get picked up.”

    No, the worst and most self defeating behavior is to try to pin things on luck. Come up with a great concept, execute it well enough for someone to see a movie there, and guess what? The luck suddenly ain’t so random.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05346662241448196719 JabberWocky

    Off the bat, Carson, what would you have rated Juno?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    lol. I refuse to be drawn into a Juno debate. I’ve spent way too much of my life discussing that movie’s success.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Oh, but go back to the Jennifer’s Body review: http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2009/04/jennifers-body.html for a hint.

  • Anonymous

    I saw Diablo Cody do a Q&A after a screening of Juno and she was very forthcoming with the fact that Reitman had a huge impact in molding that film into that wasn’t necessarily in the script. But there was something in those pages that got him excited about it in the first place. I have not read the script, so I can only assume it was her unique voice that piqued his interest.

  • Anonymous

    fallible not falliable. Can’t you get spellcheck on Blogger?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    I don’t think there’s any question Cody has talent. But her style is either love or hate (except for me I guess – since I rated JB right in the middle).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08439555051697115476 Carson Reeves

    Don’t you know Sundays are no spell-check day?

  • Bruce S.

    Time for another DD contest? With just new submissions? I missed the first one.

  • Anonymous

    Do you have a rough estimate of the percentage of contest scripts that would have fallen into each of your categories?

  • Anonymous

    Good for you for being honest about the fact that no, there is not some giant conspiracy to keep thousands of professional-quality writers out.

    I worked hard to become a decent writer, and there were a few years where I thought I was ready and wasn’t. Lo and behold, the first script I wrote that actually WAS ready: along comes a CAA agent who wants to rep me. I’m still on the road to making real money, but I’ve figured out that no, there’s no conspiracy to keep you down. When you’re good enough, stuff will happen for you.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed repped week and hope you continue to feature it – say every 4 mos. Very instructive.

    And to the writers – thanks for having the b*lls to go for it. Best of luck.

  • Anonymous

    Where can you find script for THE PERFECT GETAWAY since its already open?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00186547055781675001 Archie

    About being repped the thing to keep in mind is that usually where you enter the foodchain is where you remain.

  • Rewritze

    I have this theory that luck does play a huge role in breaking through…but ONLY after you’ve learned the craft, done the time, gotten a lot of bad/mediocre scripts out of your system, found and refined your voice and developed a level of proficiency/professionalism below which you never, ever produce. Then–it’s just a matter of being prolific/passionate/perseverant enough to keep putting out stories until something resonates with someone in the position to do you some good. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t willing to put in the time and respect the craft.

    On this subject, I once read a quote by screenwriter William Monahan that was so profound I wrote it down:

    “The only thing that will help you with the smallest problem in screenwriting is overwhelming general mastery of the form, and you get that by pissing blood for 20-odd years. In medieval times a craft used to be called a ‘mystery,’ and for good reason. A craft is a mystery, and ultimately, if all goes well, so is its practitioner.”

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07331424275788593543 anthuswilliams

    Here are my observations on repped week:

    1) The fact that a writer is repped is no guarantee that a given script by said writer doesn’t suck.

    2) There is, generally speaking, a notable difference in quality between a writer who is sold and one who is merely repped.

    3) Observations 1 and 2 were kinda obvious to begin with. So fuck me.

    4) There seems to be a recurring idea underlying the posts of some commenters that because Hollywood buys (and reps) shitty scripts, they are therefore ignoring great ones.

    5) When you think about it, this is ridiculous. The fact that Hollywood buys (and produces) shit in no way implies that it intentionally ignores greatness. I have read a number of great scripts in my life, some of which were unproduced, and some of which even went unsold, but NONE of them were intentionally thrown in the trash basket. IMO, it just proves how few great scripts there are to begin with.

    6) Some supremely bitter comments appeared this week. As Scriptshadow grows in popularity, the amount of anonymous bile will probably increase. For this reason, I think that Carson may have to disallow anonymous comments. I respect that there are people with good reasons for remaining anonymous, but I still think it would be a good idea if these people adopted usernames and used them consistently. I just believe people should take responsibility for the things they say. This coming from a person who has written more embarrassing things on the Internet than can be tallied.

    7) I liked THE FIXER a lot more than Carson did.

    8) EMERGENCY CONTACT was awesome.

    9) MALCOLM MCCREE AND THE MONEY TREE, not so much. It had a great concept, but the execution didn’t do it for me. Although at certain points I could tell I was in the hands of a writer who was worth reading.

    10) If I see another spammer shilling for the Expo, I’m going to hang myself.

    11) Repped Week was supremely awesome and informative. I hope Carson plans on doing it again.

    12) This comment form keeps erasing everything I’ve written. It’s a good thing (or not, depending on your point of view) that I copied it all to my clipboard.

    And 13) This post of mine is way too fucking long. For which I duly apologize. :l

  • Anonymous

    Monahan is god.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16466073087511717639 Mococo

    “Joseph Writer was the world’s first writer. He was better than everyone.”- lol!

    Thanks Carson for Repped week! I learned a lot. You should do this again.

    Re: horror script reviews

    I, like you, am not a big fan of the genre unless it is interesting and smart. So please do not do more horror script reviews because of the overwhelming comments on “The Void”! I think that had more to do with the writer’s website than the genre of his script.

    Unless the horror script is really smart and interesting.

    Sorry horror fans. Just my 2 cents.

  • Anonymous

    did any execs request any of these?

  • Anonymous

    Emergency Contact was my favorite from the week. A fun ride and really funny.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07331515482413022555 ibrahim