Screenwriter Wanted

NOTE: This position has been filled. Thank you to everyone who sent me a note. It’s amazing to me the quality of work, the education level of the applicants, and the creativity of the writing samples I received. We got over 75 responses in two days and I would say that at least half of them had completed and produced one or more feature films. That is impressive.

Again – thank you for sending your material. Perhaps we can work together on another project in the future. Best Wishes, Joe Crump

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I am looking for someone to help with my screenplay.

This is a part time temporary job and will require 10-20 hours of your time per week. The pay is $20 per hour and you will be paid weekly as an independent contractor.

I have a lot of notes on the story, the “future world” it takes place in and the characters who inhabit it. There are about 30 pages of the script already written, but I want to start over from scratch.

What I need is a writing partner who will help bring my notes together into a coherent feature length screenplay… and hopefully, add their own ideas and vision for the project.

It will require a good deal of cooperation and passing pages back and forth. There will also be a lot of rewriting involved.

The first thing I want to do as a collaborative effort with you is an outline. Once that is done, we will put it into treatment form (20-40 pages). Then, once we are happy with the treatment, we will flesh it out into a screenplay.

Last time, I did it alone. I went straight to screenplay format and tried to shortcut my way to finish it. That was about 2 years ago and I wasn’t satisfied with the result. I put it on the shelf and just recently pulled it down. This time, as I start again, we are going to spend the time we need in order to do it right.

I also want your help to develop additional side documents about the world and the characters so we can use them as “canon” for the world.

While we create the story, I will also be hiring a couple of illustrators to help us with images for the story locations.

Your job, in addition to coming up with ideas for the project, will be to take notes during our conversations and get our “brain dump” onto paper so we can start organizing it in outline form.

I will also need you to write some blog articles since I want to document the process of this project on my film blog. I would like to start building an audience for the film while we are writing it. Perhaps we can use a list like this to run a kickstarter campaign to help partially finance the project.

If you have the capability of doing video blogs, that might be an interesting addition to the articles – but it’s not required for the job.

My problem is time – I don’t have a lot of it and I don’t enjoy the process of sitting in a room by myself at the keyboard writing. Perhaps worse than that for me, is writing without intelligent feedback.

I love the process of storytelling, of bouncing ideas, themes and characters around and finding a story that is fun, emotionally charged and full of deeper thematic ideas.

I also want to tell a story that people want to see.

IMPORTANT: Ultimately, the hard work of putting this story on paper is going to fall mostly on your shoulders.

One thing that worked creatively very well for me recently is a collaboration I did with my co-director on a low budget feature length documentary. I had an excellent creative working relationship with the co-director (who is also my sister). I would like to find a writing partner who can work with me in a similar fashion.

I’m hoping to get the project to the treatment stage within 6 weeks from the time we start. I’d like to have a solid draft written of the entire script within 3 months if possible.

The story takes place 75 years in our future. The world is more a post scarcity utopia than totalitarian dystopia, but there are still underlying human conflicts that create life and death challenges for our characters.

Some of the important elements of the script are ideas about the future of gaming, artificial intelligence, virtual immortality and virtual reality. At it’s core, it’s a “coming of age” story about a young girl and her father.

I’ve always written alone in the past and have written about a dozen feature length narrative screenplays. None of them have been produced.

Quite a bit of time has passed (20 years) since I wrote those screenplays and I don’t feel they are relevant now. After getting sidetracked all those years working as an entrepreneur and building several unrelated businesses, I have now come back to the idea of making a film.

I recently completed a feature length historical documentary that is about to be aired on PBS, has won “Best Documentary” award at a Film Festival, and is about to be aired on television in Europe. You can see more about this project at our documentary website: http://ChildrenOfInternment.com

I graduated from film school in 1981 – now it’s time for me to come back to my original dream and explore it further.

If you think you have the skill, ability and creativity to work on a project like this – and if you have the willingness and discipline to do the hard work of getting it down on paper – and if you are someone I can rely on and trust to do the work in a competent and professional manner, I’d like to hear from you.

Here are the things I’d like you to send to me with your query for this job.

FIRST – This first thing is OPTIONAL and NOT a requirement of you being hired. If you have a feature film that you wrote or directed or edited that has been produced, send me a link and tell me what role you played in it’s creation.

I know most people don’t have this kind of experience. SO… for the rest of the population…. please send me the following:

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1. Send one of the following to show me your writing skill. (please send pdf files)

a. Send five to ten of your best pages from a script you’ve written (don’t send the entire script, I may ask for that later).

b. Send an outline or treatment of a feature length screenplay you have written.

c. Send a short story in prose (no more than 5 to 15 pages) if you don’t have a script.

d. I’ll also look at a stage play or any other fiction writing (just a few pages, please).

I am especially interested in your ability to write dialogue – I consider myself rather weak with dialogue and would like to find someone who can help with that aspect of the script.

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2. It would be nice to know what you have accomplished so far in your life creatively and your level of education. I don’t need a resume – just a few sentences.

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3. Before you submit your information, please read the script for the short film I’ve posted on my blog. Two years ago, I wrote this script using the world and some of the characters who inhabit my feature script. I never produced this short film.

I did post the script on my blog and held a ‘critique’ contest to get some feedback on the piece. I got 34 replies and posted a bunch of them on the website. You don’t have to read them all, just get an overview of what they said.

Doing that little contest was a lot of fun and I may do something similar to this again with this new project as we develop it.

Here is the link to the script:
http://joecrumpfilm.com/screenplay-escalation

And to the feedback I received:
http://joecrumpfilm.com/and-the-winner-is

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4. Also – please take a quick look at our documentary website: http://ChildrenOfInternment.com
This will give you a little insight into what I have done before. Although I was in the film business for years in different capacities, this is the only film I ever directed – and I did this as a co-director with my sister.

ALSO – If you are interested in more about me, one of my other businesses is real estate investing – I blog about this subject regularly. Real estate investing has nothing to do with this job, but it will give you a better understanding of who I am and the work I’ve done with youtube video blogging. http://JoeCrumpBlog.com

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Please provide these things along with a cover email telling me why you would be right for this job. Please do not write a book – be concise – a page or so is fine.

Once I get some responses, I will pick several people and ask them for more information or clarification.

I will then narrow it down even further and have skype or phone conversations to see if we can connect and communicate properly.

Then I will give you more details about the script and show you some of my notes.

From there, once I pick someone, I will start a trial run and we will start having voice conversations about the story.

Our first goal will be to flesh it out, find our main themes and start the outline. I will ask you to put it on paper from the discussions we have. Then we will start passing documents back and forth and get the ball rolling.

If, for some reason, we get started and things don’t gel properly between us, we will stop the collaboration. Hopefully this will not happen, but I know it’s not always possible to find the right person right off the bat… so I want you to accept this going in to avoid any hard feelings.

Well, that’s about it. If you are interested, send me what I need and we’ll get going. I may not respond to everyone, since I expect to get quite a few applications for this position. So please don’t be offended if you don’t hear back from me – just try to get me what I need from the beginning because I probably won’t ask you or respond if you don’t. I hope that is not too harsh.

One more thing…

Just for clarification: If you help complete the project or have what I consider to be a substantial input into it’s creation, you will get screen credit if the film is produced and perhaps some additional share of profits – if there are any. My intention is to personally make the film and I have some resources to do that, but there is no guarantee it will be produced. In any event, I will also retain control and ownership of the script. So it’s possible, if things don’t go as I hope, that your only benefit from the project will be the hourly pay you make during the process. If this is a problem, please don’t apply for this position.

Regarding pay for hours worked: It’s always hard to put value on time worked when you are involved in a creative process. I know I’ve heard attorneys say they sometimes charge their clients for time when they are not working because they are thinking about the case. I have no way to monitor that time, so I’m going to ask that you count the hours you get paid based on actual time spent writing and time spent on skype communicating with me about the project.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best Wishes,
Joe Crump


Joe Crump

About Joe Crump

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Filmmaker and Serial Entrepreneur, he recently co-directed (with his sister Kristina Wagner) the documentary,, Children of Internment. You can read his full story here on 20 Questions Film. Joe is the founder of 20 Questions Film.

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