On October 21, 1978, 20 year old pilot Frederick Valentich was flying a Cessna 182L from Moorabin, Australia (outside Melbourne) over the Bass Strait to King Island, off the northern coast of Tasmania. At 7:12 PM, he began seven minutes of dialogue with air traffic control where he describes what he believed to be a UFO. The last thing he was recorded saying was, “It’s hovering over me… it’s not an aircraft.” The Australian Department of Transportation spent three years investigating the case, generating over 670 pages of investigation. I wrote the screenplay The Valentich Disappearance based on the information held in the, recently declassified, investigator’s reports. This is a true story.
For those of you who don’t know, The Black List is a paid service that allows screenwriters (like myself) to post our screenplays on their site, to be reviewed by professionals or read by script readers from participating production companies. At the end of the year, they will put out “The Black List” which contains the “best” of the scripts on The Black List.
I submitted The Valentich Disappearance to be reviewed by a professional. I received a two page write up about the strengths. weaknesses, and commercial prospects of the screenplay. The Valentich Disappearance received an overall score of 5/10 (the average of all scripts on The Black List is 5) with a 7/10 for my dialogue (great to hear). The suggestions about how to change the script were (somewhat) helpful, but I am actually quite proud of some of the positives that were mentioned, in particular,
“There is clearly a fair amount of research that has gone into the script that allows no rock to go unturned…”
“Screenwriter also keeps the mystery and drama going by creating a variety of misdirects…”
“There is no doubt that this is a fascinating story.”
Those three statements say a lot about me as an overall screenwriter. I know how to do the research for a compelling story and I have a firm grasp on dramatic storytelling. In the fall, when I make my way down to Los Angeles to push my way into the film industry, I am going to use these quotes (among others) to help build my reputation as a thorough dramatic writer, even if it is for other people’s stories.
So, here comes the plea, if you’re a screenwriter or a script reader, I’m asking (borderline begging) you to check out The Valentich Disappearance on The Black List and leave me a review. Please? Screenwriting is a process. No script is ever “finished,” they are just abandoned because time has run out or it’s just time to move on to the next project. I’m going to be working on this for script for another month or so before moving onto my next project, tentatively titled The Last Battalion.