Making Your Mark In Hollywood As A Writer: An Interview with Joey Tuccio

Sunday 17 November 2019

This week on Into The Script we are so excited to welcome the wonderful Joey Tuccio!

Joey is  the founder and CEO of the incredible platform Roadmap Writers, a website which to date has helped 88 screenwriters fulfil their dream of getting signed and getting their projects out there. Roadmap Writers  have worked with some of the most influential and most recognised names in the business, including Disney, abc Studios, APA and NBC Universal.

Joey knows EXACTLY what it takes to be successful in the industry, which is why we are so thrilled to hear about some of his top tips today!

Without further ado, let’s hand over to him:  

1. What inspired you to create Roadmap Writers and start helping writers?

I’ve been working with writers for almost 10 years. 
Dorian Connelley, my COO, and I wanted to create a platform that gave writers expert guidance from mentors who are a good fit for them as well as full transparency into the process. 

We saw a lot of writers signing up for programs at different organizations that were completely wrong for them, and it’s important to us that we really give each writer as much personalized attention as possible, an abundance of executives to work with and clarity on what to do when their script is done. 

We also have a mandate that we only want to work with Career Writers (writers pursuing this as a career) instead of Hobby Writers (writers that are just doing this for fun). 

We want to give our full attention to writers who want to build a career in the industry. 

If they want it that badly, we need to be just as invested in that dream.

 2. Are there certain things that appear in many of the scripts you read that you wished people would just stop using, such as the clichĂ© alarm clock many use to start off a script?

A lack of voice. 

I encourage writers to figure out what their personal logline is before writing. 

Why do they want to write in the first place? What are they trying to say with their writing? 

What themes do they like to explore? Knowing this will help elevate their writing and help the writer inject more of their specific voice/perspective in their work. 

Description sections, in my opinion, are the most overlooked element in screenwriting. Whether they are too clunky, too verbose, stale, redundant, etc, description sections can really hurt the reading process if not fully developed. The best rule to remember when writing is to “Write Economically.” 

Keep things tight. 

Remember the exec who has to read 10 scripts a week. If they open a script and see that the description sections look more like novellas, they could immediately form a negative opinion of the script. 

All that description will probably make them say “I’ll read this later,” which translates to “I’m never going to read this.” 

 3. What would you say is your top tip to get into the industry when you first start out? Is there anything new filmmakers should consider?

Have 3 solid scripts and a lot of ideas. 

Don’t worry about having 10-15 scripts before approaching reps. 

Most likely, a rep will focus on 1 project at a time and even want to develop a new project with you. Know what your brand is. 

Don’t waste your time querying companies. It’s better to find referrals. 

Even if it means seeing who works at a company, look at Facebook, see your mutual friends and see if the mutual friend can help facilitate an intro. 

Ultimately, remember that you’re a human first and a writer second. 

When you go into meetings, don’t try to shove pitches and scripts down the exec’s throat. Show them that you can talk about anything BUT your scripts and you will make the exec feel more comfortable working with you.

4. Would you say rejection can also be seen as a somewhat positive thing? And do you have any advice for our readers on how to deal with it?

Rejection is always hard. 

You work on scripts for months or even years and getting a pass stings. But also know that the reason an exec might passed on your script might have little to do with your actual script. 

It could not be right for their mandate; they could have a client in a similar space as you; it could cover a topic that they are not comfortable exploring. 

I know a big production company that, for example, didn’t want to explore horror films for a while because the main boss just had children and had a change of heart on what kinds of genres that company should explore. Digest the feedback you get. 

Don’t jump to defend notes or shrug them off. 

The biggest note that I see angers writers is an exec mentioning something should be in a script, and it is. Did they even read my script? 

Maybe it’s in your script and maybe it’s obvious to you, but if people are missing things, maybe it has to be clearer or portrayed in a different way.

5. When it comes to pitching a project, are there any tips you can give to our readers on how to make a good first impression and winning over whoever they are presenting to?

Start with the tone and format of your project. 

Don’t jump into the plot before setting up what the genre is. 

That will help the executive know how to digest every word. Keep it short and sweet.

I encourage writers to have a 6 minute pitch and a 1-2 minute pitch. 

When you go into general meetings, have a 6 minute pitch prepared to give the executive a full scope of one of your stories and if they ask for other projects, give them quick 1-2 minute pitches so you don’t overwhelm them. 

In a pitch, it’s important to convey the biggest cinematic set pieces (what’s the funniest moment of act one if it’s a comedy, etc). 

That will help breathe life into a pitch. 

There’s a fine line between a pitch feeling like a book report and a pitch feeling like a cinematic experience. 

Hitting the cinematic set pieces, focusing on the protagonist’s emotional arc, and explaining what draws you to the story thematically could all really help your pitch feel like the latter.
Jenny Schwender is in her second year of studying Scriptwriting for Film and Television at Bournemouth University. 

She is currently working on a dramedy pilot episode and various short scripts while exploring life on set through different film productions in Germany. 

To know what she’s up to, you can follow her insta @jennyyy_000.

1 comment

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