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Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette: How to get the gig - tongue-in-cheek! • SAG rules re casting directors asking for your age • Writer's question - difference between an Outline and a Treatment
by Ms. Bubbette

April 2000

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

How come after I stalk the casting directors, I just can't get the gig?

- Confused and Delirious

Dear Confused and Delirious,

Have you tried bending over backwards - in front of them? Kinda gets their attention. Another alternative is to bake your family's favorite cookies and lay that on them after the big entrance. They just might recall your name later that evening as they fish the last delicate crumbs from inside their shirts...


Ms Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

Here is my riddle.. What happens if an eight shovels horseshit for acting classes for a 4?

- Anon

Dear Anon,

Might I mention first, this lady feels you could have picked something a little more delicate to shovel?

If you are referring to the Enneagram (the understanding of yourself and others in your life) you are the 8 - the Boss, who will do anything to get his own way. The 4 - The Tragic Romantic, is obviously a local, well-loved acting coach who will pick up on your pain and anger and show sympathy as you shovel. You will no doubt be awarded those acting classes, provided you remove your shoes before entering her domain!

And that is my final answer!


Ms. Bubbette

Dear Bubbette:

I have a serious question! What exactly are the SAG rules about casting directors asking for your age? I heard it was totally not acceptable, but [casting director - name withheld] asked us point blank at a recent audition. If it IS against the rules, what can you do about it? Do you "report" the offender to SAG? And if they press you about it, do you just lie about your age? Thanks very much!


Dear Miffed,

This is absolutely against the rules - it's called discrimination.

According to Ken Freehill at the Dallas SAG office, this is completely illegal. All they can ask is your age range or if you are legally old enough to sign documents. I would suggest that all actors who have had this happen to them, call the SAG office at (214) 363-8300 and lay a complaint against the offender. Let's nip this kind of thing in the bud before it becomes a habit!

If it happens again just say, "My age range is ......." If they press you, say, "I'm only compelled to say my age range."

And that's my final answer. Good luck.


Ms. Bubbette

Dear Ms. Bubbette,

I'm a little stumped on this's my question:

What's the difference between an outline and a treatment?

Is the treatment the one that is submitted to the producers? Is the outline a rough draft of what you are prepared to write?

I have some knowledge on both, but I'm still a little confused on the meaning and how it works for the writer.


Luis A. Olmeda

Dear Luis,

Very simply put - an Outline is just that - it outlines the plots, subplots, growth of the characters and sources of humor and/or drama. A Treatment on the other hand has much more detail and can run from a few pages (short treatment) to the old style of 10-20 pages. (European markets still prefer the long treatment.)

"Treatments are a misunderstood tool of the screenwriting business. Stories are bought and sold from pitching or spec scripts, not treatments." says Carl Sautter, author of "How to Sell Your Screenplay." His advice is: either pitch the story from a short treatment or write the full script. The former gives the writer the chance to sell the concept with visible enthusiasm; the latter shows writing skills. An outline shows neither.

Never put a treatment, summary, or outline in with the script. The danger is the reader will read these instead of the script and the writer will get no points for dialogue, stage direction, or scene structure. Always make sure the final product is in the correct format - spelling counts, punctuation counts, neatness really counts. You don't want to do anything to alienate the reader.

A final word from Frank Cardea ("Crazy Like a Fox.") "How well your script is presented is nearly as important as how well it's written. If you're lucky enough to get someone to read your script, don't give them any excuse not to like it."

And remember to register your script, treatment etc with the Writers' Guild WGA before letting anyone read your brain child. Good luck with yours, Luis.

And that's my final answer!


Ms. Bubbette.

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