How do you tell a friend you think their newly-completed, beloved manuscript sucks? Eep.
"The Blue Tooth Virgin" is the title of the fictional screenplay being critiqued as well as the title of this indie film, which is a must-see for writers of any sort. It's a low-budget movie and has its flaws, but the central question of why we write (for art, for money, for validation?) and how we react to other people's opinions is fascinating. And, often, hilarious.
In the opening, the critiquer, who is a magazine editor played by Bryce Johnson, asks that simple question many writers find daunting: What's it about?
"It's a character-driven thriller. It's about the characters, but it's a thriller. That's what this is, so if you could pay attention to the characters, if you find them interesting and likable--but not too likable..." replies the screenwriter portrayed by Austin Peck.
Okay, then. Vague enough?
So, the magazine editor reads it, hates it and asks advice of a neighbor and film editor played with humorous pragmatism by Tom Gilroy. Here's part of that exchange:
"What's it about?"
"I don't know."
"Are there characters?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well, it sounds like an indie film."
As you might imagine, the moment of critique truth doesn't go over well. In case you decide to rent this one, I don't want to give away what happens, but there is a great scene with Golden Globe winner Karen Black as a New Age script consultant. And wacky as she is, she drives to the heart of the problem.
I'm going to do the segue thing now into other writerly things of interest, because if you don't want your beloved manuscript lost in the slushpile, there's work (with fun stuff!) along the road ahead.
WriteOnCon is coming! This astounding, amazing, stupefying event is brought to you by these fabulous writer/bloggers: Casey McCormick, Elana Johnson, Shannon Messenger, Laura and Lisa Roecker, Jamie Harrington, Jen Stayrook.
This free, online conference for kidlit writers takes place Aug. 10-12 and features literary agents, editors and published authors. Did you hear me? It's free!
Some participants: Suzie Townsend, Mark McVeigh, Steven Malk, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Anica Rissi, Mandy Hubbard, Lisa Schroeder. Does that have your attention? And there are many more. When you are quite done with me, go follow the WriteOnCon web site so you can keep up on the news. Registration opens July 1.
Talk about Paying it Forward. Some people are just made of awesome.