About two weeks ago, I followed a link from IT’S ON THE GRID about a new spec pitch that had gone out and I was excited to dig into the material – until I did.
Now I judge, develop and cover a lot material and being a writer myself I’m always careful in my constructive criticism – so let’s just say this writer’s manager did him a huge disservice by sending this out.
The concept is high, very high. And it really could be very good if executed properly.
The actual link is at the end but let’s just take a quick look at where the execution is lacking before you see for yourself.
The logline is:
A CIA agent who is presumed dead while on assignment is recruited into an organization known as the International Discreet Taskforce after a terrorist calling himself The Wolf threatens to destroy the Seven Wonders of the World.
This could be so much more dynamic and to the point given the concept – but honestly it’s the least of the pitch’s problems.
Following this is an overview – not to be confused with a synopsis. This section jumps into production specifics about how this concept will be achieved without breaking the budget. Toward the end it states something very intriguing – that the audience will be participatory in the case. Aside from this tidbit (which is never mentioned again) the budgetary selling point should move to after the treatment.
Now, once again to be fair, there are no set rules to writing a treatment and ZERO good guides out there for aspiring screenwriters (even that store geared toward writers is a waste of money in this particular arena). But, no matter the format, length or style one thing for certain is a treatment is meant to be a short story of the final product – with little detail and very little dialogue.
This pitch package has a 53 page ‘treatment’ that has an anvil of dialogue weighing it down. Ordinarily I’d say just give the first 10 pages if you can’t write an effective treatment, but in this case — I’d say less is more.
Two immediate reasons this is bad: It’s written like half a script and half a treatment. The action lines are written in short story mode and then pages of expository dialogue break in. The writer is giving no reason for anyone to want to read on because clearly dialogue is not his strong suit.
The good news is the typos are almost invisible within all of this.
Following the treatment are screen shots of actual 7 wonders that support how his story is plausible. This is an excellent addition and belongs here at the end. (though I would suggest formatting them better – perhaps with visual support that lends itself to film.)
All of his aside, this is presented as a story about the hijacking of the 7 wonders of the world – with very little attention to the characters that should move this plot.
The C.I.A. agent that’s supposed to be dead is a nice touch but why should we care to follow him?
There’s great potential with him and his sidekick, but it’s not there yet.
For those of you wondering how in the effin’ hell did this guy get a manager to rep and send this out? My research came up with nothing on them, so it’s not like they’re CAA or like this link was followed up with an IT’S ON THE GRID – SPEC SALE announcement.
Here you go: