Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Screenwriter Corey Mandell explains why "99% of Screenplays Are Rejected After the First Scene"

Corey Mandell on Film Courage explains why “99% of Screenplays Are Rejected After the First Scene”.

The first two scenes need to have conflict.  Does this mean that every script should take Hitchcock’s approach to starting “Vertigo”?

He recommends that aspiring writers work reading scripts for sixth months.  I know an actor who said he did that (for New Line).

He talks about a world of “too much content” which leads established companies to look for “brand loyalty” in existing public consumers.  But this may have led to a world where Hollywood does too many remakes and sequels.

Yet, at about 15:00 he says that a script needs to be original, that “only you could have written” (which is certainly true of my “Expedition”). 

My “Exposition” script starts with a lead character waking up in the dark, not knowing how he got there. Then one of the characters associated with “abducting” him is shown setting up access to his “mind” on a computer, and then you are shown that they are on a space station near another planet (it’s Titan, moon of Saturn).  You will then be shown part of the lead character’s first backstory (and I realize now it has to be absolutely clear how people would know this is that character’s background, and how the other people on the space station would know).  Soon you realize that the other characters in the space station are really the important ones (they are “angels”) and why, and you know you will take a “subway” to an O’Neill cylinder nearby.  But can you get all of this into two scenes? 

Oh, yes, he said, no one should have seen the script below.  I have treatments on another blog, and discussion of the ideas.  A lot of people know about this.

I hope Corey has talked about the way the Internet and Web would have changed Hollywood in the past twenty years. Yup, I know about the “Third Party Rule”.
(Oh, yes, I am intrigued by the premise of “Manifest”, and the idea that the characters know their owns sunset days.  But it took a whole season of a series to set this idea up.). 

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