Questions for screenwriters roundtable?

December 17th, 2012 by

Tomorrow night I will be conducting a second annual roundtable with 6 top young Hollywood screenwriters: Chris Borrelli, F. Scott Frazier, Chris McCoy, Justin Rhodes, Greg Russo, and John Swetnam. Between them, they have sold over a dozen spec scripts, have multiple Black List scripts, and are involved with numerous film projects.

You may check out the 2011 version of the roundtable here.

If you have questions you would like me to consider raising in the discussion with this group of talented writers, please post in comments.

9 thoughts on “Questions for screenwriters roundtable?

  1. If you had to pick one route for an aspiring screenwriter, is it better to be skilled at multiple, diverse genres or be a master at only one genre?

  2. markbotts says:

    With the progression of technology, is it viable to think that a screenwriter could/can break into the industry without living in Hollywood or New York City?

  3. cjevy says:

    I’ve got a random question that stumped me a few days ago… How would you go about writing awkward scene dialogue and not have it look terrible on paper? For example an extremely shy man is trying to have a conversation with his love interest… the dialogue is going to be terrible and awkward, is there a strategy you would take to tackle a scene like this?? Thanks guys best of luck to you in 2013- Cjevy

  4. Thanks Scott, for opening this up:
    To all the writers because I am struggling myself with this: How do you set your writing goals day to day? How do you determine how much writing you can do per day/per week??

    And I am with Mark on his question, since I live in Toronto: how would it generally work for a screenwriter who wants to break in and work in Hollywood but whose mainstay is out of country?

    Final question: how long did it take for you guys to actually break into the industry? How long should beginning writers expect/be prepared/hope for?

    Thank you,

  5. Nick Scott says:

    How much importance do you place on the notes you receive from your management? Are you constantly developing your material based on their thoughts, or are they only coming in at the draft stages of your scripts? Wondering what the partnership is like.

  6. Yossi Mandel says:

    Why do we write screenplays?

    I don’t mean that personally, I’m asking about the industry – why do we use such an imperfect vehicle for creating the blueprint for a film? A wonderfully written screenplay may be a great read but have nothing to do with the screen, and it’s nearly impossible to convey how a scene will look through writing it. At best, we hint at what the scene will look like. We don’t describe the production set or the actors’ nuances or the costumes or the soundtrack or the sound effects etc. At least not in enough detail for a workshop to start spinning thread.

    I can think of better ways to do this. Pick a concept. Maybe outline to a treatment. Then have a staff of random actors and start table reading. Do it again and again, rewriting the lines until they feel right Then some generic backgrounds to give the feel of set. Then some existing music and sound effects to give the aural feeling. Iterate until it works. The reel of all that is the blueprint for making the actual film. Screenplays just feel like the poor man’s version of doing that. “Do it all in your imagination, Jim, cause we can’t afford actors sitting around a table.”

    Don’t get me wrong. I love this. But I have yet to read a screenplay that works for the same reason that the film works.

  7. David Joyner says:

    With YossI, I also wonder why the script format is the ideal format. It seems to me that with the strong visual impact of film, it should be easier, or at least more acceptable, to add visual descriptions. I would be curious what the scriptwriters think of the visual impact of a script should be, or what writing techniques they know to make a script more visually interesting.

  8. Malibo Jackk says:

    Would love to hear an audio version of the roundtable.

  9. Holly Bell says:

    If you could ask any question to your favorite screenwriters or storytellers, what would the question be — what is one thing you’re trying to learn to do better? Can you offer any advice or techniques for generating strong story concepts, and how do you go about choosing the best one of the bunch?

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