Creating Scripts

quietheartedfsc: This panel is for Creating Scripts and our guest is Christn Mell of Tello Films.

christintellofilms: let’s do this!

quietheartedfsc: Christin, can you tell us a bit about what you look for in scripts?

christintellofilms: 24 people here!  this is awesome guys

christintellofilms: *guys

quietheartedfsc: and all potential script writers.

Gin Akasarahsmom: hanging on every word…

christintellofilms: oh great- no pressure!

Gin Akasarahsmom: I need to learn

Gin Akasarahsmom:

quietheartedfsc: just an overview of what catches your eye usually.

Gin Akasarahsmom: hehehe… good enough

christintellofilms: I usually focus on the first 15 pages

christintellofilms: if you can convey your characters and I find them compelling that’s what I find most interesting

christintellofilms: If by page 15 I don’t care then I have to move on

quietheartedfsc: so get the characterizations to 3D right away?

christintellofilms: that doesn’t mean you have to have a major event happen

christintellofilms: i just need to get an idea of the characters

christintellofilms: as much as you can yes.  I read a script recently where the first pages weren’t great

christintellofilms: but I really found the lead interesting- so I knew this writer could adjust the plot and keep the great characters

christintellofilms: making the lead compelling and at least sort of likable is important

christintellofilms: we have to care- or why spend our time watching

quietheartedfsc: geek has a question

christintellofilms: at tello I’ll usually give notes and help so send your best stuff but know it will – most likely need a rewrite

geekgrrllurking: Thank you for joining us today, Christin. How many scripts on average would you say you look at in a week.

christintellofilms: new scripts or scripts in transition?

christintellofilms: or both?

geekgrrllurking: both and any unsolicited ones or just assigned ones on a project you’re on?

christintellofilms: i get some kind of pitch or request about once a week.

christintellofilms: that could be anything from someone sending me a concept to a full blown pilot

christintellofilms: that includes projects we have in various stages of productions

christintellofilms: i saw a final edit without sound edits- of a project last weekend and i got the first 16 pages of one of our scripts last week

quietheartedfsc: ralst has a question next

christintellofilms: i had someone send me a short trailer

christintellofilms: yes?

fsc_ralst: Is there a format you prefer for submissions?

christintellofilms: I really prefer a full script

christintellofilms: or a video

fsc_ralst: would an amateur video suffice?

christintellofilms: I get so many submissions and subscriptions I don’t have time for pitches

christintellofilms: i would stay away from amateur

christintellofilms: if you can’t do a professional one then a script would be better

quietheartedfsc: would you like to tell us a bit about the programs Tello offers in this area?

christintellofilms: when you say programs what do you mean?

quietheartedfsc: I tend to troll your website thoroughly and I notice that you have various programs for assisting in the creation of videos.

christintellofilms: oh

christintellofilms: yes so I’ll give you examples from our site

christintellofilms: so McManusLand by Bridget McManus was written and directed and produced by Bridget

christintellofilms: we gave her $1,500 to do season 1

christintellofilms: let me back up for a second everyone

christintellofilms: our site pays web residuals- which means 80% of our net subscription fees go back to the content producers

christintellofilms: they receive these funds based on the percentage of views they receive

christintellofilms: so if in the month of july we net $1,000 that means $800 is split among the producers based on their % of views

christintellofilms: if we give you money we split your fee 50/50

christintellofilms: so if McManusLand makes $500 in one month we split that 50/50 since we helped fund it

quietheartedfsc: a return on your investment

christintellofilms: but with Kiss Her I’m Famous Rolla funded that on her own

christintellofilms: we didn’t put any money into that so she gets 100% of the funds

christintellofilms: the more you promote your projects the more funds you receive

quietheartedfsc: you also give advice on crowd funding, correct?

christintellofilms: Rolla did really well because she worked really hard on promotions and you can see that

christintellofilms: Yes- in fact we are working with someone right now on that

quietheartedfsc: ralst has another question

fsc_ralst: What percentage of your content is funded by the creators rather than with help from you?

christintellofilms: Jessica king and julie keck- who work with me – they have helped raise over $300,000 in crowdfunding

christintellofilms: um it’s about 60% funded themselves and 40% we have helped fund

christintellofilms: or we produce ourselves

christintellofilms: so if we like your project we might purchase it from you and produce it

christintellofilms: we are doing that with another project- we don’t pay a whole bunch- but we pay something and give you writing credit

quietheartedfsc: what would the possibility be of keeping the original writer on for subsequent eps?

christintellofilms: if we worked well with them and got along and they did what I needed then yes of course

christintellofilms: we love doing extra season

quietheartedfsc: doc, you have a question?

docwho2100: thanks, shifting gears a little, for someone interested in writing scripts, do you recommend any scripts to look at as “good examples” of script writing (not as much the story end but the format)…

christintellofilms: script formatting is pretty consistent so if you get any script that’s fine

christintellofilms: there are a few free products- which I can’t think of right now- that have easy formatting

quietheartedfsc: is there software you’d recommend for formatting

christintellofilms: you just want to make sure in your descriptions you make sure to paint the picture of the area we are in and the characters

quietheartedfsc: celtx and trelby. Are they some of them?

christintellofilms: I use final draft-

christintellofilms: but anything that has a movie format is fine

christintellofilms: it doesn’t matter to me because you should send me a script in a pdf format

christintellofilms: I give notes over the phone and not on the script itself

christintellofilms: or via e-mail

christintellofilms: does that help?

quietheartedfsc: Both of those are open source/free and I’ll have links posted on Monday.

quietheartedfsc: yes, thank you

quietheartedfsc: ralst has a question

docwho2100: yes thank you

christintellofilms: software doesn’t matter that much

christintellofilms: as long as it’s a script format

quietheartedfsc: go ahead ralst

fsc_ralst: Any script-writing no-nos we should all try to avoid? Things that just set your teeth on edge?

christintellofilms: oohh good question

christintellofilms: I have to be super honest

christintellofilms: i always encourage writers to write what they like and know

christintellofilms: however- as a producer and funder something set in a place, time or action that is going to cost money really bugs me

christintellofilms: don’t get me wrong- if it’s REALLY compelling I will try to figure it out

christintellofilms: but if you put a helicopter scene


christintellofilms: i can’t make that


Gin Akasarahsmom: LOL… so my time travel series is pretty much out eh?

fsc_ralst: lol so kitchen-sink dramas are good

christintellofilms: so know what your producer can afford and if you have an action don’t send it to me

christintellofilms: I mean- there was the Rebecca Drysdale time travel lesbian show

christintellofilms: and that was low budget

christintellofilms: so if you want to do it- make sure you note in there as the writer- how this might be done

christintellofilms: but yeah keep the action adventure tomb rader scripts to the big producers

quietheartedfsc: That leads me to ask what all should go in a submission packet.

geekgrrllurking: hm, insert Lego effects here

christintellofilms: ha

christintellofilms: yeah-

quietheartedfsc: it’s almost a challenge to figure out how to use Lego effects.

christintellofilms: well- it’s good to have a character break down, synopsis and log line and script

fsc_ralst: Lego effects?

quietheartedfsc: log line?

christintellofilms: that’s a short 2 line description

christintellofilms: like “A huge rogue shark terrifies a small beach town”

christintellofilms: Jaws

geekgrrllurking: special effects done with Lego blocks, usually badly on youtube, lol

fsc_ralst: Ah, I’ve missed my calling

quietheartedfsc: always something to learn, ralst

geekgrrllurking: there’s a darth vader one I’ll have to send you ralst

christintellofilms: all these lurkers

christintellofilms: jump in guys!

quietheartedfsc: ralst go ahead.

christintellofilms: ah

fsc_ralst: I know Cowgirl Up has a massive cast but would you recommend having a small cast? for funding, if nothing else?

christintellofilms: YES!

christintellofilms: OMG

the_dhamphir: lol

christintellofilms: um i mean

quietheartedfsc: I love CU.

christintellofilms: The Throwaways was a big cast

christintellofilms: but it’s much easier to fund a smaller cast

christintellofilms: you can get bigger in season 2

fsc_ralst: I Hate Tommy Finch is my all-time favourite, so it does show how much you can accomplish with minimal cast and setting

christintellofilms: just like cowgirl up- it was big and got even bigger in season 2!

christintellofilms: oh yes-

christintellofilms: we are working on one now with 4 characters

quietheartedfsc: IHTF is phenomenal. Best minimalist fic I’ve seen in ages.

christintellofilms: oh thank you so much

quietheartedfsc: doc, go ahead.

christintellofilms: the writers Jessica King and Julie Keck really made the script amazing

fsc_ralst: and together with the actors they made the aging work really well

quietheartedfsc: yes, great dialogue, tight staging, good flow, perfect actors. Ya done good, Christin

christintellofilms: evilbunyovrlord- love that handle

docwho2100: kfink is very amazing – but, to the question, with the series you’ve written and then filmed, are many changes to the script usually made during filming

christintellofilms: yea ralst- they looked at videos of kids that age to get the physicality of it all

christintellofilms: not as many during filming

christintellofilms: there are usually drafts before filming

christintellofilms: then during filming we might cut lines or adjust lines based on the actor

quietheartedfsc: what amount of re-write time/drafts can usually be expected

christintellofilms: and then more edits might come during editing where we make scenes even shorter

christintellofilms: it just depends

christintellofilms: on how much needs to be rewritten

christintellofilms: I think like 1 month if it’s a significant rewrite

christintellofilms: 1 week for tweaks

christintellofilms: I will say this you guys for writers

christintellofilms: i always ask this question which really seems to help writers write

christintellofilms: – How smart is this character?

christintellofilms: – In what way are they smart?  book smart, street smart?

christintellofilms: – economically how well off are they

christintellofilms: – did they grow up with wealth

christintellofilms: these things can really shape a character and help give you as a writer a way to give meat to the character

christintellofilms: if you think about The Throwaways and I Hate Tommy Finch

christintellofilms: you can answer all of these questions although it was never actually said or there was never a conversation about it out right

christintellofilms: during the show

quietheartedfsc: that’s true

Gin Akasarahsmom: as the writer you have to know the background/psychology of the characters you’re writing… sure…

quietheartedfsc: I was actually just filling them in with IHTF

christintellofilms: oh good!

christintellofilms: thanks

quietheartedfsc: Tello often explores new ground, taking us to the darker parts of this lesbian nation. Is that going to be a trend?

christintellofilms: Yes- we also like our comedies

christintellofilms: but we do like to push things

christintellofilms: we have a civil war project we are working on

christintellofilms: that’s going to look at gender

LZClotho: I was just about to ask if you would back a period piece.

LZClotho: nice to know

christintellofilms: well- this one is going to be done like I Hate Tommy Finch

quietheartedfsc: ralst go ahead

christintellofilms: so it’s going to be a play that we film for a webseries

fsc_ralst: How much of the non-vocalised motivation/mannerisms should you include in the script and how much should be left to the actors/director?

christintellofilms: think about what is going to help convey the character and the story

christintellofilms: so you can put something like “He slowly turns”

christintellofilms: and that will let me know what you’re trying to convey

christintellofilms: it might not be what ends up in there

quietheartedfsc: so if we’re going to have character A shoot character B in the back, we should include direction to turn Character B around.

christintellofilms: yes

quietheartedfsc: it’s actually pretty logical

christintellofilms: and you can say “he turns and he shoots him in the back”

christintellofilms: or make it explict

quietheartedfsc: minimalist blocking for the important parts.

fsc_ralst: but things like sarcasm might not come through unless you’re told that’s how it’s meant to be played, I suppose

christintellofilms: yes

christintellofilms: so make sure you say “sarcastically”

christintellofilms: or something

quietheartedfsc: geek, go ahead

christintellofilms: make sure we know as the reader

geekgrrllurking: Web series script vs tv series script vs movie script, any major differences?

christintellofilms: oh yes

christintellofilms: for TV you should think about commercial breaks

christintellofilms: for webseries think about episode breaks

geekgrrllurking: I guess budget would have a lot to do with what a script/story can do, like the helicopter scene you noted above

christintellofilms: for movie make sure it has nice arcs and think of it in 3 main parts of acts

quietheartedfsc: is there one format that’s preferable for Tello

christintellofilms: make sure you have episode breaks

christintellofilms: but you can keep it one script

quietheartedfsc: what’s the time limit on an episode

christintellofilms: best – i have found is 7-12 minutes

christintellofilms: so about 10-15 pages

christintellofilms: per epsiode

christintellofilms: hey docwho

christintellofilms: i have NL on the line

christintellofilms: can you e-amil her?

christintellofilms: no – she is e-mailing you

quietheartedfsc: ralst go ahead

fsc_ralst: Is there any type of show you haven’t done yet, that you’d really like to take a stab at?

christintellofilms: 5 mintues you guys!!!

docwho2100: nothing in email yet but ok

christintellofilms: get the good questions in

christintellofilms: yeah- I love fantasy

christintellofilms: when I have bigger budgets i want to do a battle star

christintellofilms: galatica or Xena

christintellofilms: something like that

quietheartedfsc: *perk*

christintellofilms: Lost Girl

Gin Akasarahsmom: Hello

geekgrrllurking: I have some Legos if you need it

christintellofilms: something with that kind of element

christintellofilms: haha

Gin Akasarahsmom: I spotted the word Xena

christintellofilms: thanks geekgrrl

christintellofilms: yeah- I love that stuff

quietheartedfsc: as do we

christintellofilms: yeah

fsc_ralst: It’s very popular in femslash circles, too

christintellofilms: it mean its my people

christintellofilms: hell yeah

christintellofilms: you guys are my people

quietheartedfsc: in fact, several of us have projects of that type in the works.


Gin Akasarahsmom: lol.. the xena panel is just wrapping up in the other room..

christintellofilms: woohoo

christintellofilms: I know there are lots of people who

christintellofilms: oh i wnat to do a project

geekgrrllurking: that explains the chakram that just flew by…

christintellofilms: where there are little girls playing in their back yard

christintellofilms: and we see them playing but then we see what they imagine they look like

christintellofilms: so you have these super hot women like- xena or

christintellofilms: the seeker chicks

christintellofilms: but we know it’s in the imagination of the little girls

christintellofilms: like how I thought I looked like Wonder Woman

christintellofilms: when I was 6 dressed in my underroos

quietheartedfsc: mandy has a question

quietheartedfsc: lol

mandygirl78: I have a question. I know from my experience in writing a particular fan-comic, that writing a script is a much more different way of writing than writing a regular story and requires a different mindset. How do you set your mind to write a script?

christintellofilms: it’s the only thing i write

christintellofilms: it’s really hard for me to write long form fiction

christintellofilms: i find it really difficult

quietheartedfsc: how much of what tello offers do you write, Christin

christintellofilms: I think you have to take time and practice for a bit

mandygirl78: Because you have things like EXT and INT. And you have to describe each action in detail

christintellofilms: not too much detail

christintellofilms: don’t worry about that- just give us the vibe

christintellofilms: i’m a crappy writer

christintellofilms: i write most of our first drafts

quietheartedfsc: OUr time is up now. Creating Graphics is next.

christintellofilms: then jessica and julie rewrite me

christintellofilms: i’m better at seeing what needs to be adjusted after they write

christintellofilms: and the story

christintellofilms: oh= i have to go to the webseries one too!

quietheartedfsc: Christin I want to thank you for taking the time to be with us.

christintellofilms: thankd all!!!

geekgrrllurking: thank you Christin for letting us pick your brain!

christintellofilms: loved it

christintellofilms: great questions!!!

quietheartedfsc: It’s been fun and educational.

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