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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:15 AM   #1
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When do you stop writing?

I've been writing fictional scripts for fifteen years (both short and feature length).

This year, I'm getting into 2-5 minute corporate videos. I've been shooting these videos but have never had to deal with clients directly for the stories or scripts.

My problem is that I can get too creative for my own good. I know from experience that I can write a 5-minute script in a day (the labor part). And I also know that I can look at thousands of work available online to copy ideas or whatever.

Questions:

At what point should one stop writing a first draft for a 5 minute corporate video? How much time and effort do you put aside for this aspect of the business?

How do you deal with script nuances and inexperienced clients? E.g., if a client asks you to clarify a certain section of the script, how do you go about it without sounding like a textbook on calculus?

If these questions have been answered already, I will really appreciate links. Thanks for the help!
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Old February 21st, 2013, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: When do you stop writing?

Sareesh,

it depends on how technical it is, how complicated the shoot is going to be and what the budget is. Some just fall into place,
some take time and some seem like they're impossible.

Things to avoid are, don't put it off till the last minute, especially if you need input from others. You might work all night but others don't,
and you might need to check their input.

Keep all your drafts for reference later; when the stash grows you can check up on the successful ones.
But it's a mistake to just copy one for a new client, start each one fresh. Every client is different and some will find you out.

Try to 'read' the client, and help where you can. Watch out for the 'control freaks' and the 'little Napoleons' who's missions are to drive you nuts.
And 'the overworked' who don't want to do this job anyway. And the 'last minute Minnies' who'll screw you down till there's no money in it.

But there are good clients around, and they'll rise above the rest.

A goods nights sleep works wonders, drafts read differently in the morning. And it's important to try and have fun. Pens down.

Cheers.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 09:34 PM   #3
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Re: When do you stop writing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Sareesh,

it depends on how technical it is, how complicated the shoot is going to be and what the budget is. Some just fall into place,
some take time and some seem like they're impossible.

Things to avoid are, don't put it off till the last minute, especially if you need input from others. You might work all night but others don't,
and you might need to check their input.

Keep all your drafts for reference later; when the stash grows you can check up on the successful ones.
But it's a mistake to just copy one for a new client, start each one fresh. Every client is different and some will find you out.
Thanks, Allan! These are some solid tips.

As a writer it's easy to get carried away but then there's the reality of having to shoot it within the constraints of the project.

When pitching new projects or writing on spec, do you have a general rule of thumb for a script (first draft) turnaround?
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 02:33 PM   #4
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Re: When do you stop writing?

The script turnaround will depend on the time line. Too short is just as bad as too much writing time. And it depends on what else you've got happening.
All going well, your business will grow and then the trouble starts .. STAFF!

Yes that's right, it's easy to write a Ben Hur draft, but the budget will keep you under control.

So you need a costing on all aspects of your work before you start writing any draft scripts.

Eg: you have to write and produce a 10 minute corporate video for a boat show.
This is the first of what's planned to be an annual event. Your brief is to show boat, yacht, and cruiser manufacturers, what, where
and how this show will run over a week in Mumbai. What the advertising will be, and in what areas of the media.

To attract sponsors for it, your video will be released 6 months in advance of the show.

You have the advantage of the assistance from the well known Commodore of the Mumbai Yacht Club* and you want this video to have a classy appeal.

So, what are your costs in production? You, per hour. Location shooting per day? Travel and transport? Stock costs? Crew costs?
Then there's all the post production charges, editing per day, narrator per hour, voice studio, mixing etc. How many copies?

Once you itemise these costs against the budget then you'll know how 'big' your video is going to be.

Now straight away I'd find out 'how good' the Commodore is, will he act as a video tour guide around the boat show site?
Will he wear his uniform, show plans and maps, run interviews, add his endorsement etc.
If this works, you've produced a show that regardless of the cost, could be considered priceless.

What I'm saying is, you've got to think outside the boat er box. Before you even think of starting the draft script,
check-every-single-idea .. every notion. Run everything down.

Cheers.

ps *Don't know him and I hate sailing btw. As a kid I crewed on an ocean racer and once fell over the side.
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