Slate Building: A Screenwriter’s Portfolio
Pro Tip: Start with a logline
It is no secret that becoming successful in Hollywood is an easy task. It takes a lot of time and effort, a struggle of trial and errors with your screenplay ideas. You have to make sure that the work that you produce is the best out there, the most unique, but you need to also be prepared for the possibility of having your work rejected even if you think it is a great idea. There is a possibility of things going wrong no matter how much you plan, a project may not work out as expected so you need to have more ideas that are ready to be worked on or used.
In the film industry, the competition is tough so you need to have multiple ideas that you are developing. This process of collection of ideas, improving them to cash on later is called a slate in Hollywood. As a screenwriter it is essential that you work on building your slate.
Think of it as the edgy screenwriter resume that you are building to impress the industry professionals. Your portfolio is your slate thus, it is important to constantly work on improving and adding to it whenever you can. The more ideas that you can add to your slate, the lower the risks will be associated to your ideas not working out. As a screenwriter putting all of your attention and effort in just one project or just one idea, limits your creativity and the chances of more of your works getting attention and success.
If your slate is good and interesting then you may even catch the eye of screenwriting agents or companies that want to work with you on those ideas of yours.
The question that we are sure you must be asking is ‘’Well, how do I build my slate then?’’, don’t worry, we have the answer to that question for you.
What You Need To Do To Build an Impressive Slate:
It is no easy task to build your slate, you need to be determined about putting in the effort required to add to it and manage it on a regular basis. If you have the determination and motivation to do your best with building your slate then this task may not seem tedious to you. First step is to trust in your abilities and ideas, if you do not believe that your idea is amazing then the people that you show it to will also not do so as well.
To start off on your slate, write any and all ideas that you currently have on your mind and if there aren’t any that come to mind at that moment then make sure that when the metaphorical lightning bolt strikes you, you note it down quickly. It does not matter that the idea that your mind has come up with is the best out there, it will still give you a base to work on and giving you an opportunity to tweak it to become much better.
Having access to your slate board at all times is a good way to keep track of your progress and how many ideas that you have to work on. Writing everything down mindlessly can make a mess of your slate board so for efficient working categorize your ideas on the basis of how good they are, what you are currently working on, those that have yet to be developed and the ideas that you will refer back to whenever you are hit with more inspiration to improve them.
A slate board’s content is never static nor should it be. For progress and productivity you should always be thinking of how to move your ideas forward, improve them and how to make them unique and interesting. Management is key here. You need to prioritize your work, being aware of how much time you are investing in each idea. You don’t want to work on everything at once because that would lead to low quality content that you will not be happy with. Allocate your time and effort to idea development on the basis of their importance, value and resources available at the moment to work on it in comparison to other ideas in the slate.
When you analyze your slate regularly, check how many of your ideas have been developed to a point that they have a strong base to them and can be categorized as your intellectual property as a writer. Ideas that are still at their earlier stages should be down on the list and should be focused on when you have the time and resources to move forward with them and introduce them to the world.
A slate board is a tool which helps you in keeping track of your progress, the variation of ideas that you have and it also tells you how much work you have finished or brought towards completion. You will not get stuck over one project and will feel responsible for completing the other projects as well. Make screenplay evaluation a part of your routine as well to put out the best content. Building a slate board is perfect for keeping yourself in check.
Having a lot of ideas in your slate to work on can get overwhelming at times, you just need to make sure that you do not get too obsessed with completing everything at once or if anything does not work out then just move on to the next idea in the order. Not every idea is bound to work but do not beat yourself up over it, move on to the next great thing.
Thinking about how to sell a screenplay is a great way to amp up the quality of your product and how you approach an idea. Targeting people’s interest and presenting unique ideas is how screenplays become successful.