Ask @Bang2write:

Damn, I wish I'd seen your blog on 7 Steps to Road Testing Concept before I'd spent ages writing this steaming pile of horse shit. Can you point me in the direction of any quality one page pitches and loglines to read please?

LOL, sorry to hear your work is a "steaming pile of horse shit", that's rough - but fear not, we've ALL been there and anyone who reckons they haven't is a LIAR. It's like a rite of passage!
"Simply Scripts" has treatments and outlines listed as well, not sure about one pagers. The Black List is worth a look too - lots of scripts etc uploaded which you can read with the writers' permission. Here's a collection of articles about loglines http://bitly.com/bundles/o_4h0h9gl8st/8 (you may have to copy and paste the link into your browser). You can also find templates and ref guides for one pagers here: http://bitly.com/bundles/o_4h0h9gl8st/j.
Best of luck!

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Hi Lucy, I'm revising a script I wrote some time ago. It's in English French and German and at the moment I have the dialogue in the respective languages with dual dialogue English subtitles beside. However this does make the script look dense & maybe more difficult to read. Your advice?

A difficult one, because there are no real "rules" or expectations on this. Personally, I don't like the dual dialogue function 'cos as you say, it makes the page look "dense". I'm of the opinion format is about "not getting busted" and ensuring the read "flows" as "smoothly" as possible, so I'd probably do one of two things:
1) Use a parenthetical, ie.
MIKE
(In French)
Where are you going?
2) Or, if it's not important to the story what Mikey says in French but the fact he's French IS, I might write:
MIKE
Où allez-vous?
Hope that helps!

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Hi Lucy. I'm looking to get some expert feedback on one of my feature scripts - are you able to point me in the right direction? I'm looking for two or three different sources. Thanks in advance.

Andy Keen
Hi Andy. In terms of paid-for readers, besides my company Bang2write, I always recommend WriteSoFluid, Script Angel and Script Advice Writers' Room in the UK. In the US, "Coverage Ink" and Scott The Reader from "60 Buck Notes" are also good. If you're looking for peer review, try my Facebook page "Bang2writers" for a straight script swap. Post on the wall at www.facebook.com/Bang2writers

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In sex scenes, I always tend to make the language a little more flowery than the act itself. Well, I am British :-) In this day and age, rather than me write something like 'Amy and Joe make passionate love...' can I write (for example) 'Joe f***s Amy hard and fast under the covers'? Thanks Lucy.

Hi, PLEASE DO! "Make love" and "fucking" are two different ways of describing sex, sure -- BUT they are two very different ways of HAVING IT OFF, yet as you rightly say most writers are rather flowery and I never get this ... We go out our way to ensure variety in our language, except on sex scenes. Noooo! My absolute pet peeve is when writers try and avoid sex scenes altogether and have characters "lying back, SPENT"! So write whatever you want my saucy friend, just make sure it matches what's going on and that it's not YAWNSOME! Good luck haha ;)

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I don't know if you are a big believer in fate and such, but how do you know if you are 'right' for writing? For example, if you're unsure of what path to take in life and writing is an option, are there any tips you'd give on knowing if it's what you're meant to do? Thanks!

This is a really interesting question and I think (unhelpfully) it's probably different for everyone. For me, I felt a strong "pull" (for want of a better word) towards storytelling even as a little child. I recall feeling I could live both in the "real" and the "fictional" worlds and I do remember adults telling me I was getting mixed up, or that I was fibbing. Certainly my memories are a mad mix of things and I do remember "seeing" cartoons in real life. That was all over by the time I was about ten, but I just knew I wanted to tell stories, however I could and I wrote and wrote and wrote, transcribing words off the television and off videos, or pretending I had my own magazine or newspaper. I'm sure that if the Kindle had been around 20 years ago I would have been writing weird fan fiction and killing off boy bands or making them having sex with octopuses in stories on there. So, in short, I never really thought of doing anything else ... Once I was a young single Mum I did TRY to have a proper job, working in shops & even in schools teaching, but my heart was never in it and I was always day dreaming about stories. So I had to get to it! That probably doesn't help, so in which case I'd suggest going with your gut - writing is a daft idea, it's badly paid and against the odds, so you really have to WANT to do it ... but if you do? THEN DO IT.

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Is it normal to mention a character's race in a British script if the race is what you'd like them to be/imagine them to be but serves no particular purpose story-wise? And do you mention if they're white? Sorry if obvious. Thank you very much.

This is a debate that goes round and round in British circles. Those who are "for" mentioning a character's race are of the opinion that it's more *likely* to be cast or imagined that way if it is; others (which incidentally include some people of colour) insist that the "best actor" should be picked for the character, regardless of race. However, historically it is obvious PoC are *generally* relegated to stories about race and/or secondary role functions. On this basis then, I am one of the people who believes - rightly or wrongly - a character's race SHOULD be mentioned regardless of story, since I think characters are "more" than their race and that it is patronising to suppose the "only" supposedly "normal" people are white, whereas other races are representations of "issues". I believe the same across the board - gender, sexual preference/trans or disabled, too. We rarely hear objections to writers choosing a character's gender (many stories don't "need" a female protagonist, for example, yet we insist we should more for representation's sake!), yet the SAME people will argue against mentioning race, LGBT status or ability, citing "story" as the reason. I find that very curious. I've talked about this a lot on my website, check out the "race" label. And never apologise for questions! :D Hope that helps x

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Can the overriding antagonist be a drug/drink/depression (examples) that gives the protagonist the hardest of times?

Yes, sometimes a protagonist is their own worst enemy and make terrible decisions for themselves; we see this most often in drama or comedy. However we must be careful with this device, which can end up very introspective and isolates your character from the audience, so they end up thinking the protagonist deserves what s/he gets. If we consider the notion of the "anti hero", he (and it's usually a he) will have a talent of some kind that means we *like* him regardless of him being a vile person, for example. Very often this is humour or dry wit, such as Mark Zuckerberg and friends in THE SOCIAL NETWORK or a kind of brashness that means he's "larger than life", like Melvin in AS GOOD AS IT GETS. If a character is stupid and makes bad decisions, normally he is "larger than life" too and therefore endearing, such as Lloyd and Harry in DUMB AND DUMBER. So drugs, drink and depression *can* figure as an antagonistic force, but rarely on their own.

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How do you respond if given a script to give feedback on that although in some ways well-written, literary, but had an attitude to women that was somewhat apalling? (Eg. Women as two dimensional sex objects, there for male titillation, then to get killed off/ punished.) Do you confront writer?

Do you mean me personally, or if you were given this screenplay? If the former, then I will certainly comment on the representation of women as I see it in the script, though I always keep in mind that different imagery/story choices etc means different things to different people and that I am not the authority on this, just as I am not the absolute authority on any storytelling device. I am also aware that most writers are not "bad" people or even secret misogynists - they're just mistaken that those representations are effective characterisation, or even "controversial". So instead I will suggest alternatives for specific reasons, ie. if there is a rape scene in the script, I will question whether it's valid to the story or that character's arc and if there are other ways the writer can represent problems in this character's journey. I never rant at writers, or say their work is horrible. If you are asking for yourself, I think you would have to go with your own conscience but it's rare that confronting someone leads to anything but conflict in my experience. On this basis then, I would suggest you make a note of your response to the representation of women in the script, say it "didn't work for you" and then ask the writer if s/he can think of alternatives to those elements. Hope that helps! :)

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After writing my first script, I approached a TV Director for advice. He offered to read the script; he loved it, and asked to direct it. A year later, after much inactivity, he says he wants to adapt it for a stint at the Southwark Playhouse next year. Step in the right direction or not? Thank you.

"After much inactivity" is definitely how this industry works, so yes - sounds good! It's unlikely the play will make money TBH, but it will be a credit and as a collaboration will teach you a lot if it goes ahead. Ask if you can be involved in things like the casting, readthroughs, etc and make sure everyone is on the same page regarding who does what, by when and to what end. Good luck!

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If you're introducing a new character and the first time you see their name is in dialogue, do you still put the name in capitals that one timeor wait until their name appears in action? Thanks Lucy.

There's no set rule for this & I've seen people capitalising names in dialogue, then again in scene description. Personally I would only cap up the character's name the first time we see them physically, rather than in dialogue as well. Really it's up to you.

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Two producers asked to see more of my web series script. Is it unethical to send both producers the script? I have not signed any contracts, as I still do not know which producer I would like to take on my work. I don't want to break any rules or have this come back and bite me.

It's always perfectly fine to make multiple submissions, as long as there are no official or verbal agreements in place. Good luck!

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