Most Commonly Asked Questions for Screenwriters
Pro Tip: Start with a logline
By Jen B.
Hollywood is a busy place to be, studios and leading screenplay agents do not have the time to meet screenwriters on a daily basis and if you are an aspiring script writer than the chances of meeting a big producer are close to minimal as they hardly give you an appointment. However, there are few instances when nature favors you and by a great stroke of luck, one does actually get a chance for a rare meeting. That meeting is your defining time; those few moments can decide the future trajectory of your career. In every meeting there are some commonly asked questions and it is better to go prepared for them rather than just being overwhelmed throughout and regretting later.
What are those questions and what are some of the most apt answers to them, we’ll let you know in this new article
1. Introduce yourself
No matter where you go, the first question which will be thrown at you is to introduce yourself. Who are you? Why are you here? And why should someone consider you? Often people go blank at this question because they find it odd to introduce their own selves to others but remember the person sitting next to you has no idea where are you coming from or what’s your background and story. By merely looking at your resume it is hard for an individual to decipher an entire personality therefore it is imperative that you present yourself well. Make the other person fall in love with your personality so that he takes interest in your work too. If you appear dull and disinterested then the producer might see your work in that light too.
Even if you are going to a screenwriting contest or fellowship, then one has to give a formal introduction to the panelists or judges. Keep the introduction short but crisp; make sure to highlight a tleast one attribute which will hook them immediately. This could be anything, from a personality trait to a hobby or just something about your writing. One interesting tidbit could take you a long way so use it wisely.
2. What’s your script about
The next important thing after your own introduction is your script’s introduction. What is your story about, it’s better to share a screenplay synopsis to the producer instead of narrating the whole story because that will at least take 2 hours and nobody has the patience for it especially if you are a new writer. In Hollywood time is money so they can’t afford to lose it. Intelligently give the screenplay idea and articulate what the core of the story is. Clearly tell the producer the main hook line or the method through which it will appeal to the audiences. Will it make an emotional appeal, will it give them a thrilling experience or will it instill a patriotic fervor? What has the story got to offer? These answers need to be told to the producer because if you are able to sell the idea to him, only then will your story be able to reach the masses.
3. Previous experience
Whether one is an experienced writer or an amateur, people will still ask you about your past experience? What other projects have you worked on? How did you add value? Now for aspiring writers this could be a tough question to answer because they have not been featured before in a film or a drama series before thus they seem confused and nervous at this question. Don’t be scared of this question, there is nothing wrong with if your work has not been transformed into a film yet. There are two reasons this question is being asked. Firstly they want to check your confidence level and secondly they want to dig deeper into your previous projects. The previous projects could be a script you wrote for a short independent film or something which you created during your university time. Anything which seems substantial should be shared because it could prove your expertise.
4. What do you like writing?
When a producer asks you what sort of a script do you want to write, it isn’t because he shall offer you something similar but it is to gauge your interest in a particular subject. One can only write something well if he/she has interest in that subject, if you generally like watching and writing Sci-fi films then you can actually write a story which is much better than others. However, if you are pitching a idea in which you have little or no interest then there aren’t many chances that a you will write will great interest hence the overall product will be bad. While pitching a script remember to highlight your interest in the subject as well so that the producer knows that the script writer is invested in the script too and not doing it merely to earn money.
5. Your inspiration
This is very commonly asked during first meetings/interviews. Who is your inspiration? One can have so many inspirations in his life that we are often unable to recall one particular name but it is important to recognize that who is that one person who has made a critical impact on our personal and creative growth. A very common answer is “my parents” if you intend to impress somebody then please do not use this answer because it has been spoken to death. Producers want to know your creative inclinations therefore mention somebody apart from your parents. Ofcourse they have played a monumental part in your life but life offers so many experiences and exposure to so many people thus when in a meeting one hears an immediate answer which is my parents then it seems like a sign of complacency.
Apart from these questions, there could be anything thrown at you, just to test your knowledge and abilities. The key to success is maintaining composure and balance. It’s a game of nerves and you better win it!