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… And So It Rolls On

Interesting response to the idea of repetitive threads on the SP Screenwriters’ List this morning:

Golly Gee Boys and Girls, oops Men and Women or is it Women and men? If you don’t like what’s written in the bulletin, you, with a tad of intelligence, can just, well maybe, it is possible you know, to use your brain and consider skipping the read. Many newbees to the site just might like the read, so shut up, pass onto the next note and so forth until you have digested your meal, had your third beer and be done with it. Grow up and let those who might like the read, READ.

Funny how this poster forgets I made the point last Friday I was already “skipping the read” much of the time. Maybe he skimmed last Friday’s bulletin though, lol.

Or perhaps this guy just doesn’t like MY posts: he responded with this below when I posted in the dialogue section a short while back about The Power of Three:

Now, I want to make certain I have this straight! When a writer finishes his/her screenplay, he/she needs to get as many as nine critiques? Excuse me, but that is the most stupid idea I have ever heard in my life except “Let’s get married.” Find a great reader, writer or person who knows the art form and rely on that person for feedback, PERIOD! I have such persons; a writer, a director, a producer. OOPS, that’s the power of three! Except, I only let one of them critique depending on the genre, length and their time availability. If you, as a writer, cannot tell when a script is ready for the world, then go back to school and learn the craft! That my friends is the power of ONE!

Even working on the basis that this fella likes a internet-based ruck, I find it quite depressing that writers are expected to just “put up and shut up” with dialogue they find repetitive or whinging on SP. Whilst one poster said she felt £30 a year wasn’t good value to be “patronised” by people like myself yesterday, it does cut both ways. If I’m paying £30 a year, I would like intelligent debate that doesn’t repeat itself or indulge in the type of thing we can see above re: Po3. Alternatively I have no problem being left alone in peace to read the jobs, the ads, the announcements, etc without a load of clamouring voices insisting they’re RIGHT, so wonder if another list FOR dialogue might be appropriate.

I found it suprising that Andy said yesterday that those who don’t like the dialogue rarely contribute and are the “Haters”, because this is simply not true in my eyes. Just because someone does not want to get into an argument does not make them a “Hater”: the way I see it, they actually want to spread LESS hate. What’s more people HAVE complained about the list directly TO the list, they’re not back-biting. I am (or was) an active contributor to the list and so have other people who don’t sit on the sidelines of this scriptwriting malarkey – we could contribute well, but have found ourselves brow-beaten or feeling world-weary about the responses we get. Is it any wonder then we’ve thought, “Sod it” and now look elsewhere on the ‘net for dialogue, like on the blogs or Twelve Point?

Andy did mention yesterday too that he would be doing a “Best of” posts to try and avoid repetitive threads. I think this is a good idea, but wonder if it goes far enough when people will inevitably bleat about being censored because their new posts about old stuff will no longer get through? Chip and Potdoll made the excellent point in Friday’s thread here the list each day should be about “business stuff” like the WGGB newsletter, with a forum or message board for those people who want the dialogue that would have otherwise been on the SP List. Hell, maybe the Screenwriters’ Bulletin could come less frequently – quality, not quantity: three or even two times a week if content is low on collaborations, unpaid or paid work, plus Andy would no doubt get lumbered with responsibility for the forum, so he would need to re-order his time, it’s only fair.

In the absence of the above, why not a “new members” area of the list itself where it’s understood they can talk about whatever they want, as many times as they want, but older members can skip without any fear of missing anything? This wouldn’t address the “vicious responses” Dave Herman talks about yesterday of course, but maybe that will never change.

What do you think?

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20 thoughts on “… And So It Rolls On”

  1. I think if anyone is scared of posting to an internet forum because they risk being ‘flamed’ or dragged into some kind of online argy-bargy they are going to struggle in life generally, let alone in an industry where knock-backs, criticism and failure are part of the landscape.

  2. Except it’s not about being “scared” now, Robin. It’s about the quality of the dialogue and what purpose it serves. I’m saying: given that this is an issue that seems to divide people, why not divide the list in some way, as I’ve said in the post?

    Addressing your point though, I’m someone who doesn’t want to be flamed or pulled into the kind of “online argy bargy” you describe – and I don’t think you can count me as someone who “struggles” with anything.

  3. I’m not sure you can guarantee quality dialogue 100% of the time on what it essentially a public forum, albeit subs-based. As in life, there will be some knobs, brain-sharers and even a few folk out to simply wind you up.

    You may not ‘want’ to be involved in online argy bargy but you’re obviously not scared of it – you’ve had a fair bit to say over the last few days. So no, I wouldn’t count you as someone who struggles with anything – except perhaps with knowing when to let it lie!

  4. Said to say I’ve given up on Shooters. Too many people shouting the odds. The few times I found any opportunities worth pursuing, those involved have either never responded or made a lot of empty promises before vanishing offline.

    Anybody know how I can cancel my sub? That’s £30 a year I could happily spend elsewhere.

  5. Robin – Lol, you’re right there. Of course a person won’t be interested in absolutely everything on a public forum – I don’t read every thread on the Twelve Point forum for example. Also, I wouldn’t want to say what should be constituted as “interesting” anyway – what is to me is not to others and vice versa and I CAN accept that, hence the variety of “solutions” that I outlined in the post. What’s peeving me tho is the fact that compromises should be offered – and whilst many are quick to say their right to say what they like, however many times they like, should be protected, people like myself are expected to put up and shut up: we’re not afforded the same privilege, it seems. As I say in the post, it does cut both ways.

    David – that’s sad to hear, but I know what you mean. I don’t think you can cancel until it’s time to be renewed – if you log in to your SP account you can check when it needs to be renewed and then cancel just before then. Or an email to Andy Conway should shed some light on the matter.

  6. David, Luce is right, you just cancel before renewal, that's what I did. I joined Talent Circle and never looked back. You get some Q&A, but mostly it's ads, pitches, announcements, etc. Got a well-nice camera off it too. Anyone who doesn't know it, looky here (they changed the URL recently):

  7. David – if you don’t sub already to Moviescope I know they were offering Shooters a year’s subscription for just a tenner a couple of weeks ago. So for another £10 you can save £20. Twisted logic, I know, but it kind of makes sense.

    Lucy – all you can do is make your opinion known to the SP mods and managers. I guess if enough folk make the same point as you, there will be a reaction.

    Far more importantly though – there is a screenwriting forum on SP but no provision for writers to upload samples of their work. Why? It’s something I asked the management about, I was told it was being looked into. That was about six months ago…

  8. I’m not bad at making my opinion known, that’s true ; )

    That’s an interesting point Robin, but does there need to be a place for writers to upload work? After all, it’s v easy to get space online free to do it yourself and you can use your SP card to link to it, so you needn’t pay for a search engine fees. Or if you used a blog space you could do it for free AND turn up in Google for free. The lack of bloggers who upload their work makes me wonder if this would be that popular a feature?

  9. I think it would be handy if you’re replying to opportunities, or if someone is interested in one of your script pitches, for your work to be viewable from your SP card.

    If you can upload a showreel, an entire film, why not a few pages of text?

  10. I let my Shooting People subscription lapse when it ran out earlier this year. I found it slightly useful years ago when it focussed on the ‘business stuff’ (although 99.99% of posters were arrant bullshitters), but it just became additional irritating noise in my life once they opened it up for debates. God only knows what ‘professionals’ must have thought if they dropped in hoping to find new talent.

    I might be tempted back if the service was split into an informative email and a separate bulletin board for the hooters, but I think the whole thing has probably become too big and unwieldy to be a useful professional resource.

  11. Oooh Tom, you were commenting when I was there. Interesting that you could be tempted back if the list got split. Maybe I should send the link for this thread to Andy – though I think there’s a strong chance he might already be reading, he knows how gobby I am… ; )

  12. I did know about the Moviescope deal. Alas, I already subscribe to that title and paid full whack for it [ditto my Shooters sub]. Having been underwhelmed by Moviescope, I’d cancel that too but then they’d charge me for the ‘free’ DVD I got with my sub. Grrrrr.

  13. I occasional comment on Shooting People but less inclined to these days even though I’ve never been flamed. Witnessed it enough though.

    I now scan read so if I see a rant I skip it. Mainly because most topics have seemed a bit infantile.

    I want a film review I’ll look elsewhere and I know where to find a book of grammar. I’d much prefer to see more business discussions and in a businesslike manner.

    What I have noticed an increase in rants and decrease in production companies posting. Maybe because they got their heads bitten off for having a typo, or being inexperienced or not thinking of every possible question someone might ask….

    Oh and liked your comments Lucy. Didn’t find them patronising at all. I think a few egos got bruised from what I’ve read in the follow up?

    And no I’ve not taken part in this one on Shooting People. My pith helmet wouldn’t withstand the onslaught.

  14. Lucy,

    First let me set the record straight on cooties and single socks: Having been reincarnated as a pigeon in my previous life cycle, I happen to know from experience that missing socks end up in exactly the same place as dead pigeons. And there’s a perfectly rational explanation: Men complain about single right socks to distract attention and cover up their guilt feelings about what they deposit in their left socks when no one else is around. After which they have to furtively erase their tracks by giving the offending footwear to dying pigeons. Which as you can imagine, is liable to cause cooties and increase their chances of being reincarnated as pigeons themselves. It’s a funny old world.

    As for the SP screenwriting bulletin, I still open my mouth from time to time, but without expecting any really enlightening response in return (case in point: my attempt to initiate a new topic the other day in response to all the back-biting has been met with the only thing worse than being talked about).

    The bulletin inevitably operates according to the law of the lowest common denominator, i.e., experience. Which is OK if you’re just starting out, and not too bad if you’re somewhere in the middle of your learning curve. But once you’ve reached a certain level of professionalism, you want to connect and communicate with people at your own level, which as you indicate often means searching out other places like TwelvePoint and the blogosphere (the Storylink forum is another).

    The sad thing is that in most professions, the more experienced members of the community become valuable tutors and contributors, whereas on the SP bulletin they are often ridiculed and rejected. And here’s my interpretation:

    Screenwriting is often regarded by newcomers as an easy and glamorous way of earning shitloads of cash. The last thing newbies want to be told is that they are labouring under a costly illusion. That it will take them years of hard, unpaid work to learn to write properly. That screenwriting requires creative talent and originality as well as specific writing skills. That the vast majority of scripts written (by the uninitiated) are uninteresting and therefore never produced. And so on.

    Gotta go (scripts to write, children to take care of, washing to do … hey, where’s that sock?)

  15. Amen to that, Raving Dave – I agree on all your points, but especially on the cooties and pigeons.

    I’ve read Done Deal Pro’s forum quite a bit, though I’m not a member (there’s a couple of people who post links on my blog there and I’ve followed them out of the statcounter a couple of times in a cyber stalkery way, though I didn’t cyber murder anyone) – seems okay, though more American than UK-based. I hadn’t heard of Story Forum, unless you mean the forum on Wordplayer? Will check it out, anyway.

    Rach – thanks, I didn’t think I was patronising either: though one of the rules of semiotics says “the receiver is never wrong.” Luckily I receive the notion of semiotics as total bullshit.

  16. Someone’s probably said this already, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have a forum on the website for discussions and keep the bulletin for production related items only? What I don’t understand is I’ve found Shooting People to be very strict on what you can submit to the bulletin in the past. I’ve had numerous casting calls and crew requests for shorts rejected for various reasons, and most of the time I gave up and used Talent Circle instead. I also remember trying to weigh in on these debates (back in the old days when all this were fields and Shooting People was free) and having even those submissions rejected so I gave up trying. Maybe they’re not so bothered about what goes on in the debates these days?

  17. Maybe, Chris – I know what you’re saying, I’ve had script reading posts rejected like you say, though I haven’t for a while – I don’t know if that’s because everyone knows who I am now (there was a big furore about two years ago and all script readers had to have Shooters recommending them in the form of quotes in their posts) or because they are more lax now though.

  18. “Luckily I receive the notion of semiotics as total bullshit.” Oooh, controversial… Perhaps you’d like me to start a flame war? I gather you like that sort of thing 😉

    Off topic maybe, but I think your ongoing SP ruck highlights the inescapable fact that a lot of people don’t bother reading comments before hitting ‘reply’ and mouthing off in spittle flecked fashion. This is the reason I don’t engage in debate in the SP ‘forum’ – who can be bothered replying to people who didn’t read your comments properly in the first place?

  19. Very droll, Chipmeister.

    Seriously though, why are some people incapable of accepting others’ opinions – it’s as if the idea anyone thinks differently is a personal slight (I call this notion “mego”). Just because someone thinks differently to another doesn’t make them or the other person BAD (unless of course they’re up for mass murder, child abuse, etc).

    I have strong opinions of my own (anyone noticed??) and I’m sure as hell not going to change them simply ‘cos someone tells me I OUGHT to. However, if someone puts forward a reasoned argument based on logic and empathy for the situation and my feelings (on or offline), of course I will consider what they say and engage in debate with them.

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