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Screen & Stage
DVD Script Teaser
By J.R. Kambak
December, 2006, 12:50

Ditch the paper script-pitch. Create a fresh presentation with multimedia.
Script pitches Ė formulating one feels like a month of Sundays. A million pitches a day in front of production house reps that have heard more ideas than all the love songs that anyone has ever heard. And after all the money and labour youíve invested, there's that competitive edge looming in your rear-view mirror, ready to knock you out of the running just when you've finally stamped Final Draft on the cover page. So, here I give you a hit of inspiration, by god, thatís worth a damn, assuming you've still got a shred of brain left in that skull of yours.

Remember, thereís nothing that canít be done if you learn how to play the game and set some of your own non-delusional, freethinking and freewheeling standards. Iím talking statecraft here; a teaser script DVD. Think Green. Save a tree.

Iím talking about something bright, snappy, and rich that conveys the flowing depths of your creativity in multi-digital, video-MP3-iPod inputs. Immerse agents and producers in your "look how cool I am" conceptions of creativity. Sound profound? Farfetched?

How many boxes of CD/DVDís are you carrying around right now, forever mixing milkshake extravaganza soda-shoppe hits into that iPod? Dig it. Itís time to refurb your way of thinking into the micro-summary of script disc promotion.

I mean, really: How many more manuscripts do those coverage readers really want to spend their precious weekends pouring over, repeatedly encountering stories that feel like . . . Cicely, Alaska? Believe me, theyíd rather be basking on some remote tropical island with a portable DVD player enjoying an ice cold one while watching a screenplay pitch, which they quickly follow with a one-minute phone call to their boss to say, "Buy," before calling it a hard dayís work.

The DVD pitch format is like a moving poster, edited with visuals and sounds, graphics, or whatever fliggertigibbets you can come up with to hit the scriptís plot mark, while being bootlegged to all the guys down at central casting. Theyíll be grateful to you for not eating up their cherished headbutting, ya-ya stints at a late-night adolescent rapper extravaganza.

This approach is a notch up for most writers I know, but if youíre serious about testing how well your script flows, putting it in a "trailer/teaser" format gives you an impartial reality check. This perspective will also pay off when you write your next script.

Most moviemaker software tasks are as easy as copy and paste your logline into your query letter. Preplanning your scene sequences ought to make it all fall into place like cogs in an automatic transmission. I use salient scenes, pivot plot points that total about 28 with a time limit of ten minutes or less each. I burn a PDF script, characters list, synopsis/treatment, and logline for convenience.

Whether you burn it on a CD or a DVD is up to you, but having that disc ready to distribute will emblazon your brilliance on the minds of decision makers. Like a photo of a puppy in the arms of a bikini clad sun bunny or an awesome 720-degree slam-dunk. Ka-pow!

The software packages available range from free downloads (including 3D) to technological wonders such as Final Cut, which George Lucas used to make his last three Star War films. I started with Windows Movie Maker that came preloaded on my PC, and then upgraded to Adobe Premier Elements after all the accolades I got from my hodgepodge of streetwise critics about the ingenuity of this type of presentation.

Maps of the world make sense to us, so why not map out your script in a teaser format that provides an visual/audio reality for those miserable Bluetooth junkies driving up and down Sunset Strip? Believe me; they could use a refreshing script pitching experience.

I suggest you open with the title of the script, author(s), registration number, contact information, and then cut to something with strong visual/audio impact. Use legally obtained background music or something from the neighbourhood grunge band slush pile and/or a voice over with text overlays taken directly from the script. Dialogue snapshots. Provide background on the subject matter if it adds credibility, while all the time pretending that you are making what your mindís eye envisioned in the perfect visual/audio script pitch.

It takes me about three days to burn a teaser script DVD, but Iím getting a leg up now. When I write a script today, I am downloading so much annotated information during my creative development "gestation" period that I have all the website bookmarks and research compiled in my roughed out scene sequence outline. Bingo!

I wouldnít just set up a video camera and film yourself pitching the script as if youíre face-to-face. Thatís tacky, like outdated video dating. Give it a twist, something that will stand out, and above all show your versatile artistic abilities in this evolving technological multimedia world of ours.

Not so easily sold? The deal is Ė like having no social skills and loose morals, poor grooming habits and no musical taste, poor work ethic or an improper hairstyle Ė you wonít be endangering your life with this undertaking. Youíll be enhancing your knowledge of script-to-film aspects you may not have considered before, and discovering places for script improvements, while creating the pitch.

Just take a day or two to get ramped up on the fundamentals of editing with user-friendly software. Then, off you go into a new evocative and engaging script-pitch presentation with your resume in the credits roll. If you want more insider tips, email me.
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J.R. Kambak is a regular IN contributor and award-nominated screen-playwright, award-winning videographer, and former corporate communications/media relations executive. Contact J.R. Kambak for more information and resources:

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