FILMMAKERS: WHAT TYPOS SAY ABOUT YOU
We’re filmmakers! We compose art, not scholarly essays. Why should we care about spelling, capitalization, punctuation, or sentence structure? If you want to be highly regarded in your industry, you should start with how you look on paper.
From casting calls to emails to contracts to screenplays, a typed document may be the first impression you can give to a new actor, producer, or crew member you want to work with. Here are some assumptions (whether they’re true or not) which other film professionals may make if you ignore basic grammatical conventions:
- You’re not intelligent.
Whether you are or not, bad spelling or grammar will definitely give the impression that you are not the brightest bulb in the equipment cage. Actors, especially the best ones, do not simply submit and show up to every casting call in town: they pick and choose the projects that could be advantageous for them. With anyone and their dog having free reign to post a casting call on Facebook, actors are constantly discerning between serious filmmakers and fair-weather producers (see How to Spot A Scam In Your Film Industry)
- You don’t care.
Let’s assume an actor doesn’t firstly leap to the possibility that you’re not smart. The next most evident assumption would be that you don’t care about your cast, movie, or your place in the film community. Like an actor doesn’t want to work with someone who isn’t competent enough to produce a film, they equally don’t want to work with someone who could care less to compose a proper sentence. If you think spelling and grammar are unimportant, note you are in the minority. Because we conduct so many social and business relations online and through digital text, the way you write becomes a huge part of your identity and connotes who you are in real life.
- You’re unprofessional.
This final assumption isn’t unrelated to the first two. In fact, it’s almost a summation of both intelligence and carefulness. Your travesties in spelling and grammar may wave the flag that you don’t consider your filmmaking a profession: “This is just for fun”, “This film is not a big part of my life”, or “I’m just starting: I’m not a professional yet”. That latter is what I want to focus on: using the fact that you are young and inexperienced (maybe even a film student) will never be an excuse for a lack of professionalism.
Being or acting “professional” doesn’t begin once you’ve finished a film or won an award. You set the precedent for how you want to be regarded whether you’ve started your first student film or not. The thing is, grammar and spelling are not huge hurdles to overcome to positively represent yourself! It’s 2017: every devise, program, or app will most likely have a spelling and grammar check. You almost have to purposefully choose to misspell or use incorrect English conventions anymore. This is your first chance to announce that you can be a successful asset within the film industry. It’s not a quick text to your bro where you get a pass for not typing-out “tmrw”.
If you took the time to read this entire article, I wouldn’t be surprised to find you aren’t the English offender we’re worried about. If you have some filmmaker friends, however, who are not yet convinced to take more time with their typos, share this article with them. Make the filmmaking world a better place… one that is easier to read.