Screenplay Q & A

What went wrong, Lindsay?

Pam, a good family friend (and essentially honorary family member), posted a very good comment on my latest screenplay post. She had a couple questions about my screenplay and I realize I haven’t said a lot about it. Part of this is out of paranoia of my ideas being stolen and part of it is because I feel silly talking about the story when it’s still in its early stages. But, since she asked, and since I love nothing more than talking about it, here goes.

I keep referring to “Rush Week” as “‘Mean Girls’ goes to college,” which, a friend recently pointed out, is not helpful if you’ve never seen that movie. “Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey, stars Lindsay Lohan before she was crazy. She plays a high school student who, until recently, was home schooled. She begins public school and, in spite of herself, ends up running around with the cool kids. Completely disgusted by their horrible personalities, she decides to exact revenge on the popular crowd on behalf of her real friends, a couple of misfits. My screenplay takes place in a college setting and centers around a college freshman who seeks to go undercover for the school newspaper and write about the five sororities on her campus. She writes mean things about them, they retaliate with mean spirited pranks, she guns for them even harder, she finds redemption and realizes she may have been wrong in her initial impressions of Greek life. It’s based on a real article I once wrote about the rush process at my college that pissed off about every sorority on campus, except instead of thinking I might have made a mistake, it took me a few years to realize I may have been a little too hard on everyone involved.

Q. Are you looking for a commercial “hit” or just seeing if there’s an audience for your message?

A. This is, in my mind, more commercial hit material than my masterpiece. I am really proud of what I’ve written, but I am also writing it while keeping in mind its mainstream potential. This is not an indie film script. I’m hoping to write my “Little Miss Sunshine” down the road after I have some more experience. As for a message, I like to think this is a story about journalistic ethics. But since most people couldn’t care less about ethical journalism, let’s say it’s about sorority girls and non-sorority girls learning to be nice to each other and not dumping pig blood on anyone at the prom. That sounds far more interesting.

Q. What’s your target audience? If you need to expand your world, you might want to think about who exactly you’d like to have read your script. Will your audience be your age? Your dad’s age? Tall? Married? Precocious? (Hannah [my ten-month-old niece] might be interested in eating your script).

A. My audience will likely be the 18-34 demographic – maybe college educated, maybe not. This is a PG-13 script, not R. A web site I read recommended I “interview” my major characters in order to get to know them better, and as a result, write them better. Make them seem more real to the reader. I am hoping to do this exercise very soon because I think it will help my dialogue flow a little easier.

So, thanks Pam, for asking some good questions. I am writing a lot this week, and it’s very encouraging to me to know that people are interested in how it’s going!

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