Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Need Some Help?

maïa is back with her formula for mentoring would-be screenwriters and playwrights. Her methods are brutal, but she gets results. Here's maïa describing her technique in her own words (slightly edited because I like initial caps on sentences and maia doesn't - sorry maïa).

If you'd like mamma maïa to give you a little tough love, email her at: maia3maia@hotmail.com. Check out her website at: http://saysmom.com. Also, check the last article I posted on her: mysterious maïa


How I work with aspiring writers

For writers of other forms, it’s pretty much the same technique.

It helps to know something of your background in writing, age, education. . .and writing goal. . .such as, do you absolutely have to be a screenwriter (novelist, poet, etc.) or you'll die?. . .or are you just doing it to see if you can? The former has a slim chance of some day in the far future selling (or optioning) a script (novel, poem, song lyric, etc.). The latter has virtually none. . .and that's the first sample of my mentoring style. . .blunt 'n brutal honesty, that I tinge now and then with humor, to soften the blows. . .some see it as sarcasm and can't take the heat. . .they'll never succeed, because at my worst I can't come close to powers that be in la-la-land (or publishing) at their best…working with me will improve your writing skills and thicken your skin to film (or publishing) industry survival levels…

... I'll start at the top and work my way down:

1. You have a full, finished, properly-formatted script/ms (so far, no one who's come to me has)...

I read it and give an overall critique of plot, characters, dialog, etc., point out what works and what doesn't and in critique, and then in more detail within the script/ms itself, tell/show how to fix what needs fixing... same goes for synopsis and pitch (called logline nowadays).

2. You have a full, finished mess that you think is a screenplay/book/story (as have some I've helped)...

First I give you an in-depth analysis of what's wrong with content, plot, characters, dialog, etc.... then, step by step, I show within the work itself, the first few examples of what's wrong with these, show how it should be done and give you a shot at fixing the rest...

I'll urge writers to get books I use myself for good writing basics and format reference... ask me for my ‘tools of the trade’ list, to get the whole range of reference ‘tools’ I recommend…

Then I'll walk you through a rewrite, make suggestions, ask questions about problems in plot, character, dialog, etc., to make you think for yourself, so you won't need me next time... we do this over and over ‘til you get it right and have a marketable script/ms, a great synopsis and an effective pitch...

3. You have only bits of 'brilliant' story 'ideas' & no clue how to develop 'em into full plots/storylines but 'know' they're gonna be the next blockbuster hits (as w/ my 3 young mentees in Las Vegas, Australia & Holland)...

First I burst your bubble with questions about each 'great idea'... how original is it? How many flicks in past 50 years used same gimmick? What's the story behind it going to be? and so on... then I take you through the idea development process step by step, 'til your 'idea' is workable/doable and you have a real storyline to work with.

Then I make you learn how to write a script (story/novel/article/whatever)... I don't do it for you, unless you happen to have $50,000 to $200,000 pocket change handy (seriously, I'll never again work for money, but that's what it costs to have one ghosted).

I'm tough on you all the way, 'cause nobody in the industry is gonna be kind or sympathetic toward you if you send them a piece of scheiss and expect them to read it... (I'm an ecologist and hate the waste of trees for putting garbage on paper!)... I'm kind, but can be lethally sarcastic if my comments, questions, instructions are not sufficiently paid attention to...

It's not necessary for you to have a finished script... it's probably best you don't, since you can't know enough to write it properly and rewriting a mess is twice as much work as learning to do it right, starting from scratch... if you have ideas you'd like to work up now, let's get at it & by the time you're ready for full-out screenwriting, you'll have a fully-fleshed-out story/plot ready for you to learn how to turn it into a script (or whatever).

None of this can be done quickly... nothing really good can be, unless you've got some 'extra-worldly' assistance (I've turned out 3-4 essays a day... each fully polished, needing no editing whatsoever, for a total of almost 200!... now THAT had to be an 'assist' from something beyond the mortal!... don't count on the same yourself!)...

Let me know if you'd like to start on your story idea... I'll be glad to give you references, since most newbies are paranoid about folks 'stealing' their 'great ideas' not willing to believe nobody'd bother... and story ideas are often dreamed up by more than one fertile brain anyway, as all stories break down into 3 basic ones... and those were told around campfires in caves and painted on the walls millennia ago!.. all since is just creative plagiarism...

That's it... Are you up for it?... love and hugs, mammamaïa


1 comment:

  1. nice website
    very informative

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