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Professional reader/writer will provide coverage on your script for this low rate. It usually comes out between 1 and 2 pages of analysis, punch up suggestions, editing ideas, etc. I'm on imdb and tvtome. Please email for more information and/or credit list.
I wrote a spec script, entered it in several contests and bought coverage from three or four script analysts. All hated it... not one kind word. I sold it to a producer who made it with a budget of $20 million. It featured A-list actors and Ebert gave it 3.5 stars.
WOW! That's certainly inspirational.
As many who have been here for some time, they'll remember I had posted an experience I had years ago. I had gone against my own advice and paid $400 for a critique, which was worthless (particularly since he was doing nothing but promoting a certain cult/organization almost the entire hour--and saying bad things about other Writers).
I had gotten 64 phone calls/requests in one month from VPs/Producers for a particular script. I GOT STARS IN MY EYES! What can I say? IT HAPPENS.
So I went and sought the advice of this so-called person in order to make the script even better before submitting it.
He kept calling me and asking for another copy. WHY? Have NO IDEA! He ended up with four.
The first time he called and left a message, he said my script was very unprofessional and that I would NEVER make it in Hollywood. WHAT THE F? Why would ANYONE say such a thing to ANYONE?
He kept re-scheduling our "meeting" until AFTER my check cleared. It then became CLEAR as to why. I think he had a LOT of Writers putting a "stop payment" on their checks once they got their WORTHLESS SO-CALLED CRITIQUES.
Well, needless to say, I didn't take his advice. When I received my next "purchase offer," I found the tape with his irritating voice on it, took it outside to the sidewalk, along with a hammer--and smashed that puppy all to hell!
I’m a Professional Script Consultant and I believe I’ve helped quite a few screenwriters improve their material, including a few who now have scripts in development and in production. One of my clients recently received his first request for a read ever while others have gone on to place in contests or secure representation.
However, I’m also a screenwriter/TV writer and I’ve received some pretty awful coverage myself from sources who were supposed to be professional readers. With this in mind, I’d like to say that the goal should be to obtain several reviews – preferably inexpensive ones – from pros and do a side by side comparison. If more than one says the same thing about the script, listen! Every thing else is opinion.
Most importantly, if you find readers whose opinion you’ve come to trust, then stick with them. I have a handful of readers I use on a consistent basis because it is imperative to receive feedback on your material.
I can appreciate that some have made it even with bad reviews from what sounds like inexperienced readers, but most won't make it without obtaining pro review and making improvements because it's extremely difficult to see the flaws in your own material - even I obtain reviews!
Are you talking about the Bobby Jones movie?
I have wanted to watch that since I saw it come up on TMN in Canada.
I noticed quite a few writers involved in that project. Two Story By and three in the Screenplay.
Was this a write for Hire gig by the two people who had the Story?
Why would you enter it into contests and have all these analyses done with the five people involved in the writing of the project?
I'm curious, I'm involved in something similar and would be interested in your process.
I would like to second Barb's comments. We need commentary and when we find a person (s) that we trust stay with 'em.
And I might add, her comments on one of my scripts were insightful, unique and cut to the chase of important story elements. They were largely, IMO responsible for the script jumping into the winners category - up from many semis and quarter's finishes. Thanks Barb.
If the comments you receive don't seem to add up to a consistent and integrated critique on the story, plot, characters etc. as a whole then I would tend to discount to some extent the value of the coverage.
Thanks Peter. Coverage is imperative for us all.
By the way, I’m now offering a Free Newsletter on my website at www.xtremescreenwriting.com and plan to do articles, tips and there will be a section on Featured Screenwriters monthly beginning August 1, 2005. The newsletter will go out to screenwriters, and production companies (12 companies have subscribed so far).
Most Newsletters tend to focus on the established writer and I want to give the aspiring screenwriter a chance to shine.
Keep getting those reviews so we can all have the opportunity to see our stuff up on the silver screen.
It's my opinion a writer can't possibly be truly objective about his/her own work.
I've had all manner of critiquers over the years and it's taken me that long to find the right one. Not only is she the best deal for the money out there, her professional quality is absolutely unquestionable.
Without Barb Doyon I'd still be knocking on Hollywood's closed doors with 16 oz. boxing gloves. Thanks to the insightful guidence of Barb's perceptive critiques, my career is finally taking off.
A second opinion is great but the opinion of an accomplished industry professional is essential.
Interesting topic. I have a few questions.
Ms. Doyon, I see you referred to as a accomplished industry professional, and note on your website that you are an alternative to coverage by analysts who have never sold anything. (I agree)
BUT, I find no record of you having sold anything, either. If there are reasons for this (including my own shortcomings in searching industry databases :-) perhaps you could be a little more specific?
BTW...I admire the success of the golf movie, but note on imdb that the writer directed many films before that. I have to think that it's a lot easier for an established director to sell a script than somebody off the street. I haven't quite figured out what the best route from street to suite is yet, but haven't ruled out getting critiques. (If I could just shake the feeling that most of it is high prices for opinions no more useful or qualified than my own.)
I work with dozens of production companies, most with studio deals to bring in material, have a development deal with HBO as well as a script under option with them, I’ve sold episodes to several cable/TV shows and have a feature film also currently under option. I’ve worked in the biz for over 10 years as a Professional Script Consultant.
Many consultants have never sold anything and are very good at what they do, while others have sold material and don’t have a clue, but I personally prefer to deal with consultants (yes, I use consultants too) who work on a daily basis within the industry - - many don’t. In my opinion working daily within the industry is imperative to assisting a client with determining what their script will require in the current commercial market to sell.
Working within the industry with solid deals has also allowed me to offer my services at a very reasonable rate to aspiring screenwriters.
Thanks for your helpful and professional suggestions on how to improve as a potential screenwriter.
Skip Press writes that we should not call ourselves screenwriters until we have cashed an option check. So, we are unknown or unsold screenwriters. I'm not going to worry about that opinion. I'll have fun in any way I choose.
Terri, why don't you try Barb, sometime, and write your reaction?
I believe, Barb that you have a JAG tv writing credit One of my favorite shows.
Good luck I'll be in touch for some of your outstanding help.
"Skip Press writes that we should not call ourselves screenwriters until we have cashed an option check. So, we are unknown or unsold screenwriters. I'm not going to worry about that opinion. I'll have fun in any way I choose."
I agree with William Goldman that nobody knows anything. Just because you may not have sold something, doesn't mean you're not a screenwriter. If you've finished a screenplay, you're a frickin' screenwriter. I don't think it makes you a plumber.
You know, I've sat and talked with that individual Grover mentioned extensively, sometimes for hours, when we've been at the same meetings, etc. He even told me to use him name when he referred me to a specific agency that he said catered to sci-fis. So I did. I was told that if I hadn't used his name, they would've seen me--but since I did, there was no way in hell I was getting through that door. People I talk to have nothing nice to say about him. They've told me their experiences--which doesn't give me enough evidence as to why they should say such nasty things. (Doesn't prove they should say nice things, either.)
I don't think there's anyone in this World who is free from the nastiness of our society. It's just human nature. I personally believe that William Goldman is thee top Screenwriter of our time--but when I mention that, there are those who do nothing but shoot him down and mention projects he wrote that weren't huge hits or Oscar-winners.
William Goldman never said that he--or anyone else in this Biz--was perfect.
There are no perfect screenplays, either. But if you tell a story, put it in screenplay format--whether it's good or not--it's still a screenplay. So if you write a screenplay, doesn't that make you a screenwriter?
Hey, I've sold--but never cashed an option check, so I guess I'm not supposed to call myself one, either!
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