Power Of Three: the dilemma

Over the next month, we scribosphere bloggers will naturally be whizzing our Red Planet Prize scripts to each other, for a little Power Of Three action. Critiques, questions, opinions, denial, editing, tears, paper, ink and blood will fly like crazy geese.

Here's a question which might be worth a mini-debate: should we send our PO3-helpers those first 10 pages, or the whole script (provided it exists)? Even though the first 10 pages seems sensible, as this is what the first-round readers will see, isn't there the chance that a PO3 person might spot something later in the full script which should be dragged/flagged/foreshadowed up-front, making for a better 10 pages? I welcome opinions. Forge them with your nimble fingertips.

PS As an anonymous poster recently pointed out, somewhere or other, the Red Planet comp seems to have changed its stance on multiple entries. They're now permissible. I say that our one entry should be sufficiently brilliant, in order to win.

27 comments:

Piers said...

If you can get notes on the whole thing, why not get notes on the whole thing?

Otherwise you'll only have to do the whole damn thing over when you get through to the next round.

Jason Arnopp said...

Wise words.

Perhaps the idea, then, should be to get PO3 people to read the whole shebang, while giving you a special note on how the first 10 pages work...

Laura Anderson said...

I was planning on asking for people to read the whole lot of it. Like Piers says, if I can get feedback on the whole piece I feel like I should! Similarly if people are only intending to have 10 pages done, then I would read them too. (!)

Lucy said...

I disagree. Because I like to cause a ruck and also because I actually disagree.

Screenwriters underestimate their first ten pages MASSIVELY I think (speaking v generally, obviously).

9/10 of ten, it's the first ten pages that kill a script for a Reader. So many scripts start in weird places and don't state their intent - what genre is this? Who is the protag? etc etc. If a Reader reads on, they *might* find something interesting... But they don't, cos those first ten pages are a mess.

Those ten pages are an absolutely must in hooking the reader - if it shows the genre, protag, intent, then you don't need anything else.

PO3 peeps shouldn't let the rest of the script sway their opinions of those first ten; a Reader won't. Besides, so few of us will get through to the next round anyway it could very well be a big fat waste of time.

Far away said...

I agree. 10 pages is more than enough

Jason Arnopp said...

I'm really starting to think that PO3 readers should ideally give us two critiques: one of the first 10 pages, then of the whole script. In my case, it's only 30 pages, so hardly an epic. I think you have to think positively, if you're confident enough in your script. As Piers says, if - or goddamn it, when - you make it to the second-round you'll have to PO3 your whole script again...

Luce, why would it be a waste of time for someone to PO3 your whole screenplay, if it didn't make the second round? You'd still have the lovely, polished script, right? Not like you're going to bin it if it doesn't make the second round...

Lucy said...

Maybe, but it's that first hurdle you need to get over and those first 10 that need the real attention - from small cheeses big wotsits grow and all that.

Oli said...

With yours, it's not such an issue, as it's only 30 pages. I'd say either'd work for you... That's no help at all, is it? Happy to contribute towards any round of your POT, though. I'm also planning to Zoetrope mine.

Piers said...

"Dear Power of 3 Reader: Thanks for agreeing to help me out. Please can you pay extra attention to the first ten pages. Love Jason."

James Moran said...

I think they should only read the first 10 pages *first* - that's what the compo wants, and you need feedback on whether they grab sufficiently to make you want to read the rest. Give the feedback on the first 10, *without* knowing what comes next. Then read the rest, if necessary. But those first 10 pages need to stand alone for the competition, you have to know how they work without knowing what happens - if you read the whole thing first, it colours your opinion of the first 10.

That's what I reckon, anyway, and I've got two writing hats and a special pencil case.

Jason Arnopp said...

To quote one of Doctor Who's most chucklesome moments, "I can't stand the confusion in my mind!".

Actually, I don't believe I'm confused any more. What I plan to do is this: find Power Of Threesters who are willing to read the first 10 pages and write notes on 'em, THEN read the rest and write overall notes. THEN make me a cheese sandwich and sweep the floor. I want the moon on a stick, me (actually, I don't. It would be weird and cumbersome).

And Piers: how did you get your mitts on my originally-planned template letter to prospective Power Of Threesters? Ya big hacker.

Piers said...

Simplicity itself: I just had Halle Berry watch while another woman fellated me.

Lucy said...

Eeeugh. Boyz are gross.

Jason Arnopp said...

And for the phrase "simplicity itself", let alone the subsequent mention of fellatio, Piers wins Arnopp's Comment Of The Week!

The prize is a punch up the bracket. Step forward, sir.

Lee said...

I see you've come to your own conclusion and, bless you, I agree completely. Send out the whole thing and ask that particular attention be paid to the first 10pp.

Laura Anderson said...

I concur - with everything, but especially with Lucy that boys are gross.

Far away said...

gross

Piers said...

You mean that's not how everyone hacks into other people's computers?

Of course, there's also the fact that John Travolta is holding his weapon to your head during the experience.

That's the really hard part.

Lucy said...

which head, Piers?

Piers said...

Honestly, you're filthy.

Jason Arnopp said...

And, uh, which weapon?

Jason Arnopp said...

Ahem. Anyway, what were we talking about?

Ah yes. The PO3 scenario.

Seems fairly clear that each writer should make their own decision, as to how to play it: partly depending on the length of their script.

Here's what I'm asking my PO3 folk to do...

1) Receive the 30-page script.
2) Read the first 10 pages. Make notes on 'em, including a prediction of how you think the story will go.
3) Read the rest. Make notes on 'em.

Ooh, what a taskmaster.

Pillock said...

Here's what I'm going to do: write and polish the first ten pages. Then when they ask for the rest script, I get to write it with the manic energy of having a deadline. Total brain mobilisation!

Rob Stickler said...

Is nobody developing a couple of ideas and looking at writing just the first ten pages initially? Then choosing which to submit.

By which I mean that that's what I'm planning.

My thoughts would be get notes on the first ten pages - you may need them to shape the rest of the script. Plus you don't want to spend the next few weeks taking your script in the wrong direction... or something.

Jason Arnopp said...

Messrs Pillock and Stickler: that sounds like a perfectly valid way of doing it. The only thing I'd be scared of, though, is being asked for the rest of the script, then hitting some unforseen barrier/problem which means it doesn't work so well. Or at all! Not a problem with decent outlining, of course...

Lianne said...

I don't see the point of only getting feedback on the first ten pages if you've actually written the whole script. Your readers can give you much more constructive feedback on the structure and content if they know how the whole story unfolds. And why make things unnecessarily complicated by asking your readers to provide two sets of notes? One set of notes, paying particular attention to the first ten pages. Simplicity itself. ;-)

Jason Arnopp said...

Hopefully so, Lianne! As my Power Of Three process continues, I'll blog again about how it's going.

As I said, my plan is to basically get two sets of notes at the same time. One set, based purely on the first 10 pages. Then the rest on the whole thing.

It struck me that this is especially useful for my script, as it's the kind of story where the reader/viewer *hopefully* doesn't anticipate where it's going. We shall see...