Screenmancer Exclusive presents
Jerrol LeBaron is InkTip's President
Screenwriter's Brain Pick: Jerrol LeBaron
Interview by Quendrith Johnson
Q: Jerrol, what is your view of the high profile screenwriters who have put together a mandate on changes in the pay structure for screenwriters in Hollywood?
A: I’m not versed enough in this to give any kind of an intelligent or educated answer. Sorry.
Q: Were you around for the writer's strike in 1988, and do you think it will come to that again?
A: Nope and don’t know.
Q: Do you get many queries from screenwriters about the most important question? Two brads or three? and what is your final answer?
A: We do receive some formatting questions, but InkTip is more for completed screenplays. We do, however, have some formatting tips at HYPERLINK "http://www.InkTip.com/tipslinks.php" www.InkTip.com/tipslinks.php - but we say two (2) brads, as that is the industry standard for submitting scripts to production companies in the US.
Q: What inspired you to found InkTip?
A: I wrote a screenplay and discovered how difficult it was to get it seen – there had to be a better way for writers to get their scripts into the right hands!! Hence, InkTip!
Q: Is the inclusion of Ink in your name an anachronism?
A: Actually, our newsletters always contain some type of “tip” for writers. And “ink” has to do with the old phrase “to ink a script,” meaning to write a screenplay. So, I joined the two together.
Q: Let us segue to the digital world of Hollywood online. How do think the advent of screenwriting software has influenced what we see on the screen?
A: Screenwriting software has been around for quite some time, long before I came onto the scene. But from what I see, it only provides a standard format more accessible to all. I doubt very much that it has had much, if any, influence on the actual artistic value of a story. That’s still in the hands of the writer, actor, director and producer.
Q: Are the studios inventorying scripts, in your experience, in defense of another strike -- subtly or not-so-subtly?
A: The studios have been doing less and less inventorying over the years. Seems like they fewer and fewer scripts and work more on getting packaged projects that they can more easily get produced, without having to spend large dollars to writers to get the scripts further developed so it can then be produced. I don’t believe they are doing any extra inventorying.
Q: When writers come to you, what are their top concerns: top three concerns?
A: 1) Safety of their works on the site.
2) Who has access to their screenplays
3) How else can they market themselves.
Q: Do you feel the screenplay will go the way of the buggy whip as the industry changes to accommodate New Media, new technology and burgeoning "avatar" environment encroaching from gaming tech?
A: Not at all. However, more and more producers are getting comfortable with writers emailing the scripts, rather than snail-mailing them. The producers merely print out the script after they read the first few pages on a computer. Very few producers read entire scripts on a computer. It’s hard on the eyes and means they are still “working.” It’s better to have the reader/dev exec or producer kick back in his chair and read it. The more comfortable the reader is while reading, the better the chances are for that script.
Q: What is your personal, all time, favourite screenplay? Screenwriter? Period, or era, in Screenwriting?
A: My all time favorite screenplay is ‘Gone With the Wind.’ I never can get enough of that one. I’m very partial to sci-fis such as ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Thirteenth Floor,’ ‘Blade Runner,’ etc.
Q: Do you feel the best screenplays have four or five dead giveaways that make them Blockbusters?
A: No. I wish there were, but I honestly don’t feel there is.
Q: Are you a screenwriter yourself, producer, produced or unproduced? And you don't have to answer that one if it sounds like a loaded question -- really, the one difference between screenwriters is a paycheck, health insurance from the Guild, and a bad attitude when they get paid too much -- like our friend Shane Black, the poster child for Screenwriter Paid Too Much!
A: I am none of the above. I’m very happy to facilitate the hooking up of writers and producers.
Q: Any last thoughts?
A: Writers need to know that the marketing of their talents never ends, no matter how big they become as writers. Writers have two hats, salesperson and writer. Never forget that, and you’ll have a leg up in the business.