Christa F.

How many screenplays have you read for BlueCat?

93 

What is your job when providing feedback to a writer?

My job is to help the writer make their screenplay the best screenplay it can be by offering viable, constructive feedback.

What is your attitude toward a screenplay before you start reading?

I’m always excited before I start reading a screenplay because I’m hoping to find that “golden script” every reader wants to get. A lot of writers don’t realize that we want to read brilliant scripts. Every script we pick up, we’re hoping it’s the one and the writer shouldn’t give us a reason to believe it’s not. 

How do you stay focused when reading a script you don’t find interesting?

When a screenplay isn’t interesting I find that I come up with a lot of different ideas in my head for directions the script can go to make it interesting, which keeps me focused. I also try to find what the writer is trying to say with their script so that I can provide suggestions that will help make it a more compelling screenplay.

What are three common problems that keep coming up when reading for BlueCat?

1) Lack of in-depth research on the subject of the screenplay (if you aren’t sure, look it up)

2) Unnatural dialogue (gather friends and family to have a table-read so you can hear your dialogue read out loud)

3) An indifferent protagonist (the audience wants a captivating protagonist, not an indifferent one)

How do you handle being critical without being mean?

I think it helps that I’m also a screenwriter and I’ve experienced how it feels to receive both mean-spirited and constructive feedback. Mean-spirited feedback is futile and a waste of both the reader and writer’s time. Constructive feedback, on the other hand, helps open up the writer’s mind and gets ideas stirring in their head, which strengthens their story. I always try to include suggestions in my feedback as well. I’ve found that writers appreciate suggestions because it gives them a specific aspect of the script that they can work on.

How do you avoid unwarranted praise? 

In the same way that mean-spirited feedback doesn’t help the writer neither does providing unwarranted praise. I try my best to let the writer know what specific aspects of their script work, even if it’s just a single sentence. I never want to tell them something works when it doesn’t because then they’ll never be able to improve that part of their screenplay. When I go back to the fact that my job is to make their screenplay the best it can be, then I know it doesn’t help if I give them unwarranted praise.  

Do you have any pet peeves? 

My biggest pet peeve is when writers don’t research their material enough. It makes the writer look lazy when they could have a brilliant script but refuse to put in the extra effort to do thorough research. You don’t have to be a 20-year expert in the field you’re writing about, you just have to make it appear that way by doing the proper research. 

Another pet peeve is misspelling. Please use spell check. 

What is the heart of a successful screenplay?

An empathetic and intriguing protagonist. When you have a protagonist that the audience wants to root for, wants to follow on their journey, then you have the heart of the screenplay solidified. 

What do you believe is the hardest part of the job of the screenwriter?

I believe every element of being a screenwriter is difficult, but the hardest part is creating a screenplay with an inevitable, yet unexpected ending. A screenplay can be absolutely amazing up until the very end when everything suddenly falls apart. Piecing together that perfect ending is incredibly difficult, but when it does happen, it’s magical.  

What advice would you like to offer a screenwriter before they enter BlueCat?

My advice is to write about something you’re passionate about. Whether it’s a story, a character, an animal or a cause, you have to be passionate about it. A reader can always tell when a writer lacks passion — their writing seems artificial and contrived. Passionate writers have a way of making their words jump off the page and into the hearts of whoever reads them. Be passionate about your writing.

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