Visual Presentation

A picture is worth a thousand words but make sure you don’t put any in your script.

The industry standard for screenplays is rigid. Margins, font, spacing; all done the same way to preserve a format by which everything from a story’s pacing to the film’s budget is regulated. Very good reasons there’s no room for illustration. I would even hesitate to change up the font on my cover pages for fear of upsetting a stickler.

White paper, black ink; nothing more, nothing less.

No wonder it’s so hard to get someone, anyone, to read one of these things.

I have a friend who’s been trying to sell a script. A wad of those white pages marked with black ink. It’s no easy feat. However, what my friend did to get producers interested in their wad of paper was something I’d only ever heard mixed reviews about. Something to supplement the wad and essentially absolve the target “reader” of having to actually read anything right off the bat. The tactic was a visual presentation. A boardroom style visual summary of the proposed project.

Now I’ve heard that this can fall right in with the whole don’t illustrate your script law but every once in a while one of these anecdotal stories will appear and chip away at the rule. I heard that Michael Davis, writer/director of 2007’s Shoot’em up won execs over with what basically amounted to flip book animations of the action scenes to his movie. Whether or not the script got him in the door to start with, I don’t know, but as the story goes it’s the visual presentation that did the convincing.

More and more I’ve been pondering the power of the average film executive’s laziness– I mean the power of a visual presentation to sell your idea rather than a script. I think there might be something to it. Eventually your script will have to stand for itself but it’s that tingle of interest, that whetting of the appetite that goes a long way…

My buddy with the wad of paper? Word is that script is now being passed around Hollywood like gravy on Thanksgiving.

One Response to “Visual Presentation”

  1. Tyler Gibb - Writer, Director, Editor, Filmmaker » Blog Archive » The Genus of Mankind Says:

    […] already relayed the power of the visual presentation in a previous post and that was really where I started when thinking about what to do about a […]