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10/20/2001 - Energy Sells

Teleplay Tips & Tricks

Energy Sells

In an era where screenwriting courses are rampant, available at your local adult school, junior college, university, vocational school, you-name-it, it's easy to throw yourself into the study of format and technique. My web site, TV Writer.Com, is bombarded daily with questions about the "best" way to show scene transitions, the "most effective" way to write an action scene, and the "most subtle" way to "imply" rather than "state" a new shot.

Now, it's a given that this matters are important, but it's more important to remember that no screenplay or teleplay has ever been sold because it "looked good," or was "easy to read," or "seemed professional." Those are bonuses, yes, but at the heart of every sale is something more. At the heart of every sale is-well, "heart."

I don't mean schmaltz or warmth, I mean SOUL. As in passion. As in energy. Producers, readers, and audiences want to be moved. They want to be involved. The best way to do this is to write with real feeling. The key to selling your script is to create characters who feel passionately about something and then put them in a situation that puts their belief to the test, and to write it in a prose that gallops along, barely in your control. A great writer writing a good script is like a great rider riding a wild horse. Don't break it, go with it-and your readers and you will end up richer by far.


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