Many scribes are upset when production companies announce they are developing a concept identical to a spec said scribe already has in their portfolio. The scribes in question mistakenly believe this sounds the death knell for their own project: after all, they can't compete with a big prodco - or even a middle-sized one - so surely it's back to the drawing board?
No it isn't.
Newsflash: as writers - repped, commissioned or not - we are NEVER in direct competition with prodcos. They are always going to have the ideas before us - it's their JOB. Whilst writing might be ours, the likelihood of OUR ideas (rather than OUR writing) ending up on screen - TV or Film - is unlikely, especially without mega amounts of options or commissions behind us, but sometimes even WITH them, too.
We can look on this as a BAD thing... or we can say, "Hey. Our scripts are samples, it doesn't matter what the idea behind them is, it's all about the execution." Whilst nothing is ever 100% - there are are always ideas just too dull/filthy/crap for words and NOT worth writing - it DOES mean your script about *some popular historical figure* or *this science fiction idea* (or whatever) is probably safe and worth revamping in your bid to find work (even with THAT similar series or film in the public domain).
We are, however, in competition with other WRITERS. They want to see THEIR writing on screen just as much as you want to see YOURS instead.
This is why every writer needs an edge. Something *they* are good at, in comparison to their peers. Maybe it's a particular element of craft? Maybe it's an ability to take notes well? Maybe it's an ability to problem solve? Whatever yours is - do you know WHAT it is?
What's more, do you know WHAT your competition is? There are certain stories, characters or scenarios that turn up in the slush pile, again and again and again. Do you know WHICH do? Some are obvious - Zombies, Vampires and the like - some are NOT so obvious, even surprising. What's more, do you know how to DIFFERENTIATE yours from the rest?
If you're not sure on one or both of these, then come to my class, HOW TO BE A GREAT SCRIPT READER with Chris Jones at Ealing Studios, London on April 24th 2010, 10 - 5.
It's NOT just for wannabe script readers, but WRITERS wanting an insight of how readers work and how their scripts might be viewed. We'll also be looking at our OWN work and putting these new insights into practice.
At the moment, there's a £20 discount for people going through this link, making the course just £97.
Can you afford to miss out? All the details and booking.
ON THE BLOG BEFORE:
It's Not the Idea Jim, But The Execution: A look at 6 Films With Only 3 Ideas