Posts tagged ‘feedback’

September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: Julie Gray

Good feedback is kind, thorough and timely. It’s professional and focused. It leaves the writer feeling challenged to do better but great about their strengths. Even if that just means the location they chose was cool. Give your feedback relative to the skill set of the writer. Never lie or obfuscate. Just serve it up gently. An upset writer isn’t going to hear your points anyway. But an encouraged one will. Trust me on this.

August 30, 2011

Quote of the Day: Julie Gray

Writers awaiting feedback are in a very vulnerable position. Yes, yes, we have to have thick skin but writers are sensitive, let’s face it. This is not a new toilet we have installed; our stories are our hearts.

August 11, 2011

A Few Reasons to Give Script Consultants a Shot

I’m trying a script consultant this month for the first time ever. I’ll let you know how the experience goes, but in the meantime, here is an article (written by the service I’m trying — Script A Wish) outlining some reasons why you might want to consider using a reputable script consultant as well:

Before we start, I have to make a confession… I’m a script analyst. I know, I know – I have a conflict of interest here. Feel free to take this with a grain of salt – but I promise you, this will be a balanced and insightful article on story notes, and why they are a vital component in every serious screenwriter’s arsenal.

There is one key to success that I want you to keep in mind while reading this article: all it takes is one champion of your script to make your dream of becoming a professional screenwriter a reality. Write that above your desk – it will get you through those nights where you question what it is you are doing, and it will be a happy reminder once you’ve “made it”.

First, let’s talk about the professionals – the big league players everyone here wants to be. They don’t often use script analysts for their story notes. What? That’s right, they don’t. Why? They don’t have to. They have managers, agents, producers, and studio executives who give them story notes all the live long day. They don’t often use script analysts, but they rely on story notes to guide them to the final draft.

It’s an important point, because as we all know – writing is rewriting. So while they may not take every story note from every single person and integrate it into their draft, they use all of them to help winnow down what needs to be done to get the ball across the touchdown line. Why is that? Because, and this applies to all writers – aspiring and accomplished alike – we don’t have fresh eyes when it comes to our screenplays. We live them, we breath them, we write them – thus we don’t have an unbiased, objective eye to see exactly what works, and what needs work. So that’s point number 1:

#1 FRESH EYES: All Writers Need At Least One Pair of Fresh Eyes to Read A Script

Professional screenwriters get the added bonus of having managers, agents, producers, and other people who know exactly what makes a script work take a gander at their screenplays and tell them what it lacks.

But aspiring writers don’t have the same luxury – their family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and people they bump into every day are usually not highly knowledgeable industry professionals. Sure, you could have a friend who went to film school or another who’s an intern for Brett Ratner – but are they experienced and acclaimed analyzers of the golden brad-ed 120 pages? Most likely not.

What can those accomplished and experienced “fresh eyes” bring you?

Read more here.

May 30, 2011

If the Reader Doesn’t Get It, the Problem is in the Writing

This is a great article by Gordy Hoffman about taking criticism on your script and making the most of it. It’s a lot more productive than getting offended:

If you’re like me, if someone doesn’t like something about my screenplay, my very first reaction is always the same.

You’re not as smart as me. If you knew what I knew, you would understand what I wrote. And you don’t understand what I wrote, because you don’t know as much as I do. About everything, in general. In short, life. You know, people. Planet Earth. If you really don’t understand what I’m doing in my script, my first feeling is I don’t respect you. I have contempt for you. I feel attacked personally, and with my feelings hurt, I want to denigrate your position, and while I won’t call you an idiot, basically the foundation of my exchange with you in the wake of you reading my script is you are, in fact, some kind of idiot.

Someone once told me I can be right or I can be happy. Or you can be right, or you can get your screenplay produced into a motion picture. I have had this happen twice, and I can tell you if I had committed myself to being right about everything during the development of the screenplay, they would still be living as files in my hard drive. Any produced screenwriter will attest to this.

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April 20, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Script Coverage Services

This article by Ray Morton is a response to another writer’s attack on script coverage services. Ray raises a number of valid (and thoroughly explained) points about the value of quality script coverage.

My only word of advice on the topic is this: If you’re going to spend the money on a coverage service, be sure to pick one that is well-reviewed and well-respected. A lot of people claim to be able to help you with your script, but not very many actually can. Take the time to do your research before handing over your script and your cash:

A few weeks back, Chad Gervich created quite a stir when he wrote an article for this website advising aspiring screenwriters not to use script coverage services. As I am a professional script analyst who—in addition to assessing scripts for producers, production companies, and screenplay contests—works for a coverage service (ScriptXpert, which is owned by Final Draft, Inc., the company that also owns this website), I had some strong reactions to Chad’s piece. I posted some of them in the article’s comment section, but wanted to offer a more detailed and thoughtful response here.

For those that don’t know, coverage is the name given to the 3-5 page reviews written by script analysts (also known as readers) of the screenplays submitted to their employers (producers, production companies, studios). These reviews assess a script’s strengths and weaknesses in a number of areas (premise, story, characters, dialogue, writing), as well as its suitability for production (a judgment arrived at by considering the quality of each script along with the needs/interest of the production entity—for example, if the producer wants to make a horror film, then a reader obviously wouldn’t recommend a romcom). Coverage is an internal document used by a production entity’s development staff and principals as a guide when deciding whether or not to proceed with a particular screenplay. It is usually confidential and not distributed to the writers of the script or anyone else outside of the production entity.

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April 18, 2011

Ten Tips to Get You Writing

This list of ten tips for screenwriters from FilmScriptWriting.com is a useful resource for avoiding writer’s block and inspiring creativity. The list is hardly perfect — I wouldn’t take these tips as gospel — but it’s a good starting point for getting those typing-fingers working:

1. Read more scripts.

That’s what the sample script section of the site is for. We’ve also got a link to a site that is chock full of scripts in the use resources section.

There are many advantages to reading scripts. First is it allows you to become very knowledgeable when it comes to formatting. When you read an original draft of a screenplay that you’ve already seen then you get to see what was changed from the initial script. You will also get a better idea how to layout and transition between scenes.

Read a couple of scripts over the weekend and write down everything you’ve learned. Keep it blue tacked to the wall behind your monitor to remind you until it is ingrained in your brain.

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