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Wise Words Writing Contest: A Note From Joey

August 18, 2017

Wise Words Writing Contest: A Note From Joey

Wow! It was inspiring to see so many submissions to our 1st Annual Wise Words Writing Contest. It's always exciting to see writers pursuing their dreams. We also received a lot of touching emails from writers that feel like their voices haven't been heard in the industry and Roadmap is super charged to create even more opportunities for writers over 50 as we believe all writers should have an equal chance of breaking in. 

We obviously haven't even made a dent in reading all the scripts yet but we have been reading as they come in and I wanted to highlight a few of the biggest pieces of feedback I have received from the reads so far. Note, that if you see a note that you feel is connected to your script that does not mean you are not going to advance. These are just things that seem to be recurring and I wanted to bring attention to all!

1) Script Format

It was shocking to get so many scripts sent to us in any other format than Final Draft. When you are submitting scripts to contests, execs, peers, etc, it's industry standard to write your script in Final Draft and then convert into a PDF before you submit. 4 out of every 10 submissions were sent to us in a format other than Final Draft. 

Writers in our Top Tier program must write their scripts in Final Draft as it's industry standard software. If you are writing on anything else and are spending time and money on marketing, you are definitely putting the cart before the horse.

Note: Roadmap gets literally nothing from suggesting writers use Final Draft. 

2) Script Openings

Some of the most common openings to scripts were: 
  • A dream highlighting the protagonist's goal and then getting awaken by a supporting character
  • Someone running through the woods being chased (if it's a horror)
  • A voiceover 

I highlight these to bring to your attention because if your opening starts with one of these, it might automatically feel like a familiar device to an executive. Be careful of being too on the nose with how your protagonist expresses their flaw and goals at the beginning of your script. 

3) The First 10 Pages

Make some of your boldest choices in the first 10 pages. Execs often just read the first 10 pages to see if it's solid enough to push up the ladder or if they should spend more time with it. So make bold choices at the beginning of your script. I've seen a manager sign a writer just off their first 10 pages!

4) Female Character Descriptions

So far probably over 75% of the scripts read described the female characters (or at least the main female character) solely by their looks. Describing your female character as "girl next door", "attractive and doesn't know it", "used to be beautiful but now hardened", "athletic", "pretty but plain", etc., are some of the easiest ways for an exec (male or female) to not want to keep reading.

If you are describing your main male characters by attributes not related to how they look, then there's no reason why your female character intros can't follow suit. 

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We will be announcing the top 30 from both categories (film and TV) in mid September so stay tuned!





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