Way back when I was still in college, majoring in theatre, focusing on acting, a lesson brought up by one of my professors -- when prepping for the audition circuit -- was how best to attach your paper acting resume, to your 8x10 headshot.
Do you glue it? Print the text directly onto the back of the photo? Use a paper-clip?
Or do you staple it?
Well, the discussion revolved around the idea that no matter how you did it, it was going to displease someone. Print it on the back and the casting person would have to flip it back and forth. Paper-clip it and the two items could eventually get separated. Staple it, and the casting person might poke their finger on an askew staple edge -- thus leaving a bad taste in their mouth about you as an actor -- regardless of your award-worthy audition.
In other words, it's all subjective. Any number of issues out of your control could result in a "bad audition", at least from the casting person's perspective.
And I was thinking of this lengthy anecdote when it comes to screenwriting.
I'm all about the details -- certainly good for you as potential clients of Klugula Screenplay Consulting. But I believe that any screenwriter should be detail-oriented.
I've found that when reading scripts (not ones which I've been hired to edit/analyze) with a lot of grammatical errors, typos or misspellings -- that such mistakes are unforgiveable. If you consider the piece "done" and send it out, with potential glaring problems (which are easy fixes) -- then you're sending it out with a "sharp-edged staple".
Look, any potential financiers, contest readers or producers, will have a subjective reaction to your characters, their journeys and your plot. And your writing style.
But if you are improperly formatted, with an onslaught of typos or other technical problems in your writing -- you're already handicapping your chances. You're inviting criticism and rejection, even if your high-concept story is Oscar-worthy.
As part of my business, typos and the like, stick out like a sore thumb. I can't NOT see them. And I've got to assume that most readers are also going to be painfully aware of such mistakes.
Yes, typos are possible, even for me -- but one teeny-tiny incorrect punctuation mark (while ultimately unacceptable) happens to the best of us, even on scripts which have already left our hands.
And while those casting directors might have problems with the staple/paper-clip/glue choices you've made for that resume, you've done your best -- sending out your acting marketing materials with the best intentions, knowing that again -- it's now beyond your control.
So before you send out your scripts to the "powers-that-be", do everything within your power to make it great. Why give anyone reading your work, an excuse as seemingly paltry or inconsequential (they're not) as an extra "c" in necessary? Let their choice to accept or reject your piece be based on things of substance.
Speaking again from my personal experience while reading scripts -- there's a sort of "awww, that's too bad" reaction when I see too many easily-corrected technical gaffes. Perhaps it shouldn't, but when I see so many (not just one, which suggests an actual typo -- but a lack of attention to detail overall), I start to shut down.
Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes the script and story and characters are so darned engaging, that I begin to care less about consistent technical mistakes.
Obviously, such a stance is not the case when I take on your script in a client/consultant relationship -- only an example of me as a casual reader.
Bottom line, if you're not hiring someone to catch all of these mistakes, then you need to be the very best you can be on your work, before submitting it. Staples are open to interpretation, but being overly-conscious about the finer details in your script, is not.
Don't like my story? Don't care for my main character? Fine.
Hey, reader! You're not reading past page ten on my script because there are too many technical issues?
Certainly possible, and who can blame them?
Why short-change yourself?
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