Well Here's a New One
If we can't see it or hear it, it isn't there!
Anyway, that was an inauspicious start to the script, but I read it anyway, and noticed that it was on a similar topic to a script I had covered back in March for the same company. "Well that's odd," I thought to myself. "Topic must have gotten hot all of a sudden." In truth, this is not all that uncommon. For no discernable reason, it is pretty frequently that I'll get two or three script around the same time that are on similar topics. Still, it was notable that this seemed to be another script on this same subject.
Then I began to read the script, proper. Less than a quarter page in I realized this wasn't similar to the script I covered a few months back. It was the script I read then! I wasn't in front of my computer, and the title was different, so I wasn't sure, but a quick call into the office confirmed my suspicions. Fell through the cracks because, as I said, it had a different title, so the database didn't notice.
Now, the first thought was that someone was being sneaky and pulling a fast one. However, though the scripts were submitted pretty close to each other, the draft dates were 2 1/2 years apart, they were each submitted by different people, and they were each submitted to different execs. So as I told the company, I don't think anyone was "trying to pull a fast one" here. Rather I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and suggested it was probably just a case of the right hand not talking to the left. Still, funny and surprising!
By the way, I skimmed through it, since it was a different draft, to make sure it wasn't a vastly improved version of the same script. In those two-and-a-half years between drafts, the script didn't change very much. There were a few tweaks to dialogue, action, description, and character, but none of which improved the script enough. There was one significant structural change which excised an entire sequence. This was actually a very positive development, and I had even commented on the weakness of that portion of the prior draft (so I suppose other people felt the same problem). But that too was not enough to counteract the problems that were fundametal to the script.
In truth, it wasn't a terrible script either time. Just not a great one. So I think what we have here, between the half-hearted improvements and the miscommunication re: submissions from different people, is an author who may be lazy about his writing, and who has a bad handle on managing his business. And writing a great script is not all you need to succeed in this business!
Tags: screenwriting, script+coverage