Dara Marks – the Second Consultation

Yesterday Laura and I had our second three and a half hour phone consultation with script consultant, Dara Marks. The first consultation two months ago dealt with thematic and story arc issues. This time around we were dealing with more concrete issues of dialogue, character development (or lack thereof), where to tighten a scene, story inconsistencies, etc. In other words, the small tweaks that will make the script ready to go out.

We sat in Laura’s office at her company, East Coast Flight Services. Dara had sent us a digital copy of her marked up script and we could see that on Laura’s computer as we talked on speaker phone. Some changes were in the script itself and some were on electronic sticky notes. The notes were not done in track changes and, for that, we were grateful. Track changes has its advantages, but sometimes it’s impossible to get rid of pesky tracking ghosts.

Laura and I had print-outs of the script we had sent Dara and we could both make notes during the session on our copies. Between us we will be able to fill in all the gaps. And Dara sends us a link to the tapes of the sessions so we can go back and listen if we have a question. At one point Dara said, “I’m getting excited all over again about this story.” We’ll hang on to that.

As with all critiquing, we are the final decision makers as to what is changed, but a fresh eye on the script is invaluable. A couple of times Dara commented that some teen dialogue didn’t seem current. We’ll have to pull in some teens to help us with that.

One suggestion from Dara was that every time we work we spend the first half hour or so reading out loud the ten pages we’d worked on the day before. We probably don’t do the out loud thing as much as we should, but will work on that. Our manager, Margie Farmer is going to arrange for a table read, and that will be helpful as well.

These are exhausting sessions. Dara is on the west coast so three hours earlier. We started yesterday at 3:30pm EST and finished at 7pm – wrung out and hungry. Earlier in the day I’d advised my husband to order a pizza because I wasn’t sure when I would be home. When I got home at 7:30 and he wanted to hear all about the session, I told him he’d have to wait until I’d had a glass of wine.

Today We Didn’t Do the Squirrel Thing

amblerburt Squirrel Logo

Laura signed up for something called InkTipPro. It allows her to see what various production companies are looking for in terms of TV and movie scripts. Last week a huge Italian company was looking for a half hour comedy series with a plus size female lead. She thought with a few tweaks a script we had written two years ago might work. We tweaked, she sent off the log line and within 24 hours the Italians had requested the script. We’ll see what happens.

A few days later there was a posting about an hour long procedural. Hey, we wrote one of those, too…about a robotics R & D company. This time they didn’t want just the log line, but the synopsis of the pilot and six more episodes and the bible. We had everything but the bible so we set to work. The bible gives more in depth back stories for the main characters, what they want, where they fit in the series, etc.

When Laura arrived yesterday she told me she had heard an ad on NPR for a huge robotics convention in DC. “We should go,” she said, handing me a print out from her computer.

“This is just for industry professionals,” I said after taking a look.

“No problem,” she said, “my company does DOD work. I can get us in. We missed the early registration so the price is now $299 per person.”

“When is this convention?” I asked.

“Monday,” she said. “Three days from now.”

After thinking about this, I called Laura this morning and said, “I don’t think we should go to this convention. We are only tweaking the robotics script because we are in between projects. We need to stay focused. This feels like a squirrel thing.”

Laura laughed. “I just sent you an email. Read it.”

I was at my desk and pulled up the email. In it Laura said she thought we should pass on the robotics convention, that it felt like a squirrel thing.”

It’s so great when we are both on the same page. Today we didn’t act like squirrels. I am very proud of us.

Read Our Santa Diaries Movie Script and Send Us Your Comments

Laura and I emailed our revised Santa Diaries movie script to Dara Marks. We’ll have our consultation in two weeks.

Over lunch today we wondered if people might want to read the script and comment on it. Why not, we thought. Email Laura at lambler@eastcoastflight.com and say you’d like to read the script. She’ll send you a pdf. We’d love to hear your comments, thoughts and suggestions.

Dancing Santa 300dpi

A heads up for those of you who were in the play, or who saw the play…the movie script is somewhat different. There are shifts in settings that are not possible on stage…establishing shots, cut to’s, fade to black and smash to black. The movie version is less sentimental than the play. The darling elves carrying presents across the stage are gone. But, we put in some zombies just to keep things current.

If you’re intrigued, email Laura and give us your comments.