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For all the flap over how much and what sort of feedback a contest should give (ie what Bluecat does or doesn't do) that's been written on this board, I would like to call attention to feedback I received from Barb Doyon's xtremescreenwriting contest. It, in my opinion is very constructive while not hand holding you through the entire rewriting process.
Some of you have questioned others questioning Bluecats feedback. While granted I realize a contest cannot give detailed feedback that some writers may want, a little effort should be given to the feedback process to help the writer who ain't exactly rolling in dough to gauge his or her screenplay's strengths and weaknesses, or as the email that Barb's contest sent out to preface the feedback, "to provide signposts".
And thus I give you an example of full, in my opinon, feedback, not lip service
''The Crossroads to Somewhere Else'' is an interesting thriller led by a feisty ''superwoman'' protagonist who doesn't take ''no'' for an answer. Lots of twists and turns, witty dialogue and suspense, but the script's overwritten and long (129 pages.) Judge suggests cutting out the opening and closing bookstore scenes, condensing the rambling set-up in the Chicago newspaper office and getting right into the Nebraska relocation. Trim dialogue blocks; keep action lines to no more than 4. Clear up Yoyo's involvement in the murders; they don't make sense as written. What is behind Reilly's hostility towards Maggie? Maggie's credit cards repeatedly decline when she's trying to leave town, her bank account's empty and she has no cash, yet she's able to rent a motel room? ''Superwoman'' refers to despite being repeatedly punched, kicked in the ribs, knocked out and landing in the hospital, after a day Maggie's released and immediately punched, kicked, etc. again and yet she's still able to physically outwit the killer. Add mixing painkillers and liquor. When Mike calls her, why not immediately tell him she's trying to leave town and she wants her old job back with him? Maggie's risktaking and decisions are head-shaking at times (ie: when Carson shows her the photo of April tied up, she still gets into the car with him) Script needs a professional screenplay proof-reading service (lots of typos, words left out of sentences or redundant words, punctuation errors) Remove brackets from title; add screenwriter contact info lower right on title page. Move ''Fade In'' flush left. Where's ''Fade Out'' ? Remove ''The End.'' The title's a mouthful, but this spunky thriller shows a lot of promise, just needs work to make it marketable. Good luck!
I know I'm going to hear lip after expressing my opinion, but —
Why take script advice from someone who has been a failure in the industry?
Get a second opinion because --
Barb Doyon has been in the business for over ten year and is not a WGA union member. In order to be a WGA union member, one must first sell a script. That means Barb has not sold a script (a script that allows her to join WGA).
Barb Doyon has only one credit on IMDB over her illustrious ten year career as a writer: Terminal Trap (2009) (in production).
The name of the production company is called: Extreme Screen Pics, LLC. Check out the links:
Barbara Doyon = Extreme Screen Pics, LLC
Here's a little more about Extreme Screen Pics, LLC --
Slade -- Written by: Jean Hunter -- Extreme Screenplay (First Place, Drama category)
Lady Jazz -- Written by: Jean Hunter -- Extreme Screenplay (Finalist, Top 5 scripts entered)
Serena's Thunder -- Written by: Jean Hunter -- Extreme Screenplay (Semifinalist)
''Extreme Screen Pics is casting SAG talent for Serena's Thunder, a Native-American family-themed feature about an orphaned girl and her estranged Indian grandfather and how they overcome their differences while training a horse named Thunder for a prestigious Native American Heritage Race.''
Getting back to the point —
I wouldn't take too much heed into what Barb Doyon has to say about scriptwriting. So far, she has failed (personally) as a writer.
But she is smart enough to see a business opportunity and created Extreme Screenwriting and now —
She's picking up the talent in her new production company.
Get a second opinion before you start changing your script.
If your're getting a second oppinion Thomas, try my SCRIPTMENTORS. James Bruno and Elizabeth Stevens by the way. They've sold many scripts and work as directors, producers etc. Check them out on IMBD.
I just cant seem to get anyone on this board to listen to me about them. I like them very much. But....I dont use any one exclusively. I pretty much never use the same one twice, except them.
Sorry, its Brunner not Bruno. I just really like that name Bruno and always want to call him that.
OK, OK, Bruner not Brunner. Well, you all know I can't spell. Why should I disappoint you. And yes Ron, Im doing it again.
There's an actress, whose show was closed after five performances, who says on talk shows that if critics had any talent, they'd be screenwriters or novelists. But aren't some people just born to be critics and others born to be writers and actors.
Thomas say it ain't so...
Script needs a professional screenplay proof-reading service (lots of typos, words left out of sentences or redundant words, punctuation errors)
No Thomas not you? How can this be, not you, Yoda, not you?
Thomas I just couldn't let this pass. The man that hounded my ass about comma's and periods eternally, to the umpteenth power? I just couldn't pass it up. Sorry, you know how childish I am. I just couldn't pass it up.
Yes, the columbian pot get's a chance to call the green tea kettle, black.
Okay my baby ass has had my fun.
truly yours and mine
its all fabulous from now on and on and on. I love you even more, Thomas Jr. you're human after all, Dude.
In possible defence of Thomas, I think that was put on every feedback.
Are you suggesting that we should pay for feedback only from WGA members with a slew of production credits? If so, do you know of a list of WGA screenwriters with multiple production credits who are willing to provide script notes to aspiring screenwriters? Are they affordable? Barb charges $75 for a script analysis.
Actually, Terry does have a point because my SCRIPTMENTORS are $180.00 just for coverage. But I guess it all depends on what you're looking for. I did
want someone who actually sold scripts in the first place to actually find out wether or not I had a sellable
one. I mean I think there can be really good scripts out there but theyre not sellable either because their idea
(or close to) has (BEEN DONE) a million times or it just is not something that sells.
I think Dan has a point too that some coverage readers take advantage and encourage (NON SELLABLE) scripts to make a profit. They basically convince you that they can help you make your script unique and or sellable which I personally dont think is something you learn. Technique, industry standard etc etc you can learn but NOT uniqueness. If you learn uniqueness from some one then its not unique now is it?
But anyway that is why I always say , ALWAYS use different coverage readers, analysis or mentors and don't get hung up on just one. And TRY my SCRIPTMENTORS. Theyre very different from most that everyone talks about on this board. And they ARE sucessful writers, DAN.
"Barb Doyon is the owner/founder of Extreme Screenwriting, a Los Angeles based screenplay coverage service. Extreme Screenwriting works with 42 studio and independent-level production companies and over 400 professional and aspiring screenwriter/TV writer clients. Barb holds a BA Communications and is a graduate of UCLA's Advanced Screenwriting Program. She worked for four years at the Walt Disney Studios in Corporate Communications (Press Room) where she ran the Euro-Disney website and handled press releases for Disney Sports. She has sold over a dozen teleplays to shows like ''JAG'', ''Monk'', ''The Dead Zone'' and ''Battlestar Galactica''. She currently has a feature in pre-production titled ''Terminal Trap'' that Universal Studios will distribute. Under a First-Look Deal, Barb is actively working to bring Original Movies to Universal Studios' cable station, the Sci-Fi Channel. Barb plans to expand Extreme Screenwriting into a full-scale production company that will seek independent and studio financing for feature films. Extreme Screenwriting's spin-off production company, Extreme Screen Pics, recently optioned a client's screenplay and is in the process of attaching talent and financing to the project. Barb's represented by the Bonnie Black Talent & Literary Agency in Los Angeles. The agency has packaged talent to several of Barb's projects and is working with her production company to secure financing. *** BIOGRAPHY BARB DOYON"
I doubt if the following two guys' attitudes is uncommon among successful screenwriters.
I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script by Josh Olsen, screenwriter, A History of Violence
"I will not read your fucking script.
That's simple enough, isn't it? "I will not read your fucking script." What's not clear about that? There's nothing personal about it, nothing loaded, nothing complicated. I simply have no interest in reading your fucking screenplay. None whatsoever."...
SciFi Writer David Gerrold Reacts to Olson's "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script"
"Josh is being way too polite. The only proper response when an amateur attempts to hand you his manuscript, his screenplay, his unpublished novel, his short story, his treatment, his outline, his notes, is to take an axe to his laptop, follow him home, burn down his house, and salt the ground."...
First off, typos I will cop to. I write so quicly and sometimes leave out a word or mistype. The punctuation I'm not sure but who the hell is perfect with their punctuation.
As for you Dan, I believe a writer should take criticism from whoever wants to give it. Credentials neither make you an authority nor do lack of them disqualify you as one.
I'm not taking up Barb's defense because she's probably rich enough to have a team of lawyers for that but what I will say is that she or the person she hires to read your script is another pair of eyes, divorced from what you're doing. That way, they see something you might have missed.
So, let me get this straight Ron. The guy that wrote
"History of Violence" is the same one the writer of
"I don't want to read your fucking script" is talking about?
Well, thats interesting. I just happen to see THAT movie for the first time Yesterday and while I could say it was "OK" I certainly wouldn't say (the writer of it) is an authority on "great writing". I mean good grief it was about "the mob" and getting one of their underlings back. Ummm....how many times have we seen THAT? I mean ok there was a little bit of a twist to it . The underling ran away to the midwest (although I thought that was realistic it definitely wasnt all THAT clever) to lose his gangster idenity and become a simple farmer. And the movie started off not letting us know that this little quiet small town guy with a family had "a past". But come on, it was not "Great writing".
I adore Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris, which is actually the only reason I picked the movie up (in the 2 for a dollar section by the way). And I can maybe even say the directing was really good. But the story? (plot, dialogue, beginning, ending etc etc) was not GREAT. Not like other script/writers we have talked about on the board.
So, I guess I just think this guy has a lot of nerve and I doubt very much that I would be bent out of shape if HE didn't want to read my " fucking" script.
And one more thing.
I believe the " I dont want to read your fucking script" was directed at the common practice in Hollywood of friends of friends slipping well known producers, writers etc. a script and why he feels THAT practice should stop.
Which I MOST DEFINITELY agree with because it obviously DOESNT pertain to any of us. We dont know any one in Hollywood remember? And I feel THAT common practice is part of why NEW writers like us cant get in. Its because of the nepotism system in Hollywood has gummed up the works. If they just stop spending all of their time trying to help their talentless friends and family maybe they would have time for NEW writers like us . Many of which DO have GOOD scripts.
"James Bruner and Elizabeth Stevens are a husband-and-wife writing and producing team ...."
Thank you! __ I'll give them a try when I start my next project.
As far as I'm concerned: there are those that have made WGA and those that have not. Those that have made it -- hold a greater weight than those that haven't. Especially after ten years of attempts.
I don't like plugging people's names and I won't. But check out Janet's recommendation (ScriptMentors.com) and you'll get a feeling of the market rates from established WGA union members.
Learn to recognize ''fluff'' and you'll hit the nail on the head.
06/16/2002 --TalentScout Announces TV -- Honorable mention -- Doyon, Barbara; JAG: "TWIN SIGHTINGS"
01/17/2005 -- 20/20 Announces Contest Finalists -- Barb Doyon "Questa"
01/31/2005 -- Open Door Contest Announces First Round Finalists -- Barb Doyon, Questa, thriller
07/31/2006 -- Scriptapalooza Announces Semifinalists -- American Alligator by Barb Doyon
Re: ''.... typos I will cop to ....''
Did Barb give you any recommendations for proofreading?
Re: ''I believe a writer should take criticism from whoever wants to give it.''
So do I!
But I'd rather have that criticism from someone who ventured down the yellow brick road.
Not someone still trying to find the trailhead!
My only point was that I don't think that Barb has ever been at all secretive about the fact that she's a struggling writer just like the rest of us. Indeed, she used to be a frequent poster on this very board. If you want to head down the imdb road, search Dave Trottier, Blake Snyder, Syd Field, and Robert McKee on imdb. Are you impressed with any of their writing credits? Does their collective lack of substantial credits take away from the usefulness of any of their screenwriting principles? You said the following: "Why take script advice from someone who has been a failure in the industry?" My purpose is not to steadfastly defend Barb, I just think this statement of yours is unfair.
You wrote __ "I just think this statement of yours is unfair."
It's just my opinion after evaluating her environment.
I rarely post on the boards other than to say congratulations to a writer. However, since the information provided about myself and my service is inaccurate, incomplete and reeks of having come from a disgruntled amateur, I decided to post.
First, I'd like to say congrats to the finalists in this year's Extreme Screenwriting Contest! It was a tough competition this year. Three producers from among Extreme's 42 production companies will pick the winner and it'll be announced September 14, 2009.
Folks, feel free to contact my WGA signatory to agent to confirm: Total years in the biz is 14, four spent at Walt Disney Studios, the rest running my own, successful coverage company for producers! Only 5 of these years have I helped aspiring screenwriters and only because I was getting inundated with requests to do so. That's why my prices are low. I don't make a living from writers, but production companies!
Here's a brief list of my so-called 'failures': 14 TV episodes sold, 2 TV Pilots sold (WB), pending sale to Lifetime for Women and a First-Look Directorial Deal with Universal Studios.
Thanks to Dan for reminding me to pay up my WGA dues! An organization I've been a member of for years! In case you can't count, I've spent every working day of my life in the entertainment industry!
With this said, I believe my real SUCCESS is the clients I've helped to win contests, gain representation (most recent Eric Sentell from MB), get their movies made (The Canyon opens next month and Midnight Movie is currently playing on Showtime), etc. Updates on these successes are available in Extreme Screenwriting's free monthly newsletter — sign up on the website's homepage to obtain a copy.
My sincere wishes that every writer find a guru they're comfortable with that doesn't sugar-coat their work and really helps them take it to the next level. Like it or not, this isn't art business, it's show business!
Sincerely, Barb Doyon Owner/Founder Extreme Screenwriting www.xtremescreenwriting.com
As I was saying...
Sorry you had to jump in and correct all the bogus information, but it was getting out of hand and you know best about your accomplishments. All I know about you is the outstanding information I got from your services and the great networking you do for and with all of your clients.
I have been a client of Barb's, and will always be one due to the great value to servies she provides. I tend to ignore the rantings of those who would criticize with errroneous information and no first hand info from real clients who have used her service. There are a LOT of good services out there, and many of them read and comment on this website. They all deserve a fair shake.
I always have reservations from posters who have no profile and 90% of their postings are criticisms of script services provided for fellow struggling writers.
Patrick, I defer to your good assessment of the situation. Good get 'em, Tiger.
I have had the good fortune lately to have both Barb and big studio and agency readers cover the same scripts.
Barb and the studio/agency readers offer almost identical feedback.
I actually forwarded Barb's coverage of my script to a producer before he submitted the script to the studio reader. He called me to report the similarities.
Barb is the best bargain out there.
Another thing to contemplate is how many sports coaches never had huge careers, but are amazing at coaching atheletes.
I've tried several sources of feedback over the years. Some "get it" about what you're trying to do, some don't. Some have helpful remarks to point out your weaknesses and make suggestions on other approaches to try, some don't. Etc.
Barb is a reader with comprehension. She understands. She knows what a script ought to have in it. Shop and compare. Those of us who have come to respect her insights have done so on this basis, I feel confident. I've seen coverages of other writers' work costing $500 that is somewhat wordier, but certainly no more genuinely helpful, in a tough but fair, insightful but constructive way, than that offered by Barb Doyon. I'm glad she's out there to help us evolve toward our goals -- without ripping us off.
And, Janet H. -- I'm left unclear... did you read the first article at the link? It does include an explanation of what the writer means, i.e., why he won't read our (The Unrecommended's) fucking scripts. (And, did you know that "A History of Violence" was adapted from a "graphic novel" story?)
Hmmmm. And now I have the germ of an idea for a new Hollywood horror movie... "The Unrecommended." This board can be so inspiring!
I know Ron, but it sounded like you thought it was directed at ALL new writers out here. Sorry if I misunderstood. I just took it to mean he is tired of dealing with friends of friends, family and aquaintences all trying to use him to sell their script and I was just pointing out that (I think) THAT is a good thing for us (non Hollywood NEW writers) not a bad one. He's my hero. I read that somewhere too.
I mean.....most of US are doing the education, coverage, contests etc etc up through the ranks without using or trying to use any connections, not that we have any, or chasing down producers in the street, all just to get read. So I dont think WE are the ones he directed that article at. And personally Im glad because (I think) there is ENOUGH nepotism going on in the buisness and it hurts US little new writers. See?
And.... Oh my, not Unrecommended (the musical)?
If you find her name, let me know.
Until then, fluff is fluff!
''Here's a brief list of my so-called 'failures': 14 TV episodes sold, 2 TV Pilots sold (WB), pending sale to Lifetime for Women and a First-Look Directorial Deal with Universal Studios.''
You should file a complaint with WGA because someone stole your signatory credits.
The words ''first-look'' and ''right-of-first-refusal'' have different meanings in my book.
And please don't take it personally if I choose to pay the big bucks to get it right from a WGA member!
This topic is getting off course. I was mainly refering to previous discussions about feedback provided by contests, mainly what has been written about Bluecats feedback.
Having entered Barb's contest, I am content with the whole process and her, or her judge's, dissection of my work. From the review, it is obvious the reader read the piece and gave legitimate thoughts about what worked and what did not.
And aside from winning, that is all I, or anyone else could ask for.
As someone who's stepping in the water to see what is, I would recommend Barb's services.
Granted I wish I could get her advice for free but everyone has to make a living and the quality of her services make the money spent worth it.
If you want a WGA writer try Herschell Weingrod. Great guy. http://www.scriptmaven.com/services.html.
He does charge $500. I haven't used his service but have met him a number of times and think he's really savy.
I met Herschell last year at Austin and it was one of the coolest moments for me. I was a commodities floor broker in trading cotton and orange juice for many years - Herschell's the guy who wrote Trading Places and was quoted almost daily on the trading floor. "Turn those machines back on!"
Irin, you've done everything!
Yes, HW is great. We had him up here to speak and I thought he was the nicest guy. Hope he comes to Austin this year.
Who's running the NW Screenwriting Group now that Aadip moved to L.A.?
I like Barb's coverage. Her price is also affordable which makes it a great plus.
A couple of questions though:
1. Anyone can edit a listing on imdb.com, can't they? If so, then anyone can edit Barb's listing.
2. How many writers have worked on scrips and not receive credit?
I agree with Barb, its her successes of the people/producers who she has provided coverage counts. And we may never hear from some of them.
Irin, A guy named Randy Webb and then sometimes Aadip comes up.
I've never used Barb's service so I can't attest to the quality of her work. Likewise, I've never read one of her scripts so I can't say anything about her skills as a writer.
But I feel you're making a mistake if you base your contacts on whether or not they're on the WGA signatory agency list (the link you posted in reply to Patrick). For starters, Barb's company is not an agency so it wouldn't be on the list anyway. And neither are the top "management" firms in Hollywood. Benderspink isn't a WGA company despite an enormous load of script sales. Same with Management 360, Anonymous Content, and many others.
Again, I've never used her service, but Barb's pricing is well below industry standards. I think that's why she's so popular. For $75 can you get what other analysts will give you for $500? Probably not, but everyone on this board who has used Barb considers her notes a value for the price.
From my experience, the level of a writer's personal success does not correlate to the quality of their notes.
I've used Barb's notes service on two scripts, and took part in this year's contest (honorable mention). I've been extremely happy with the quality of her feedback, which is extremely detailed and shows she has read the entire script carefully -- no silly errors in her notes, like saying your script is missing something it actually contains, for example. Her coverage deals with all the aspects of your writing, from format to story to dialogue to marketability, and has been a tremendous help in improving my screenplays. Whether she's in the WGA or not doesn't really matter - the quality of her service is what's most important, and I've found it to be extremely helpful.
I know some people look down on paid script consultants, but I find their feedback invaluable as I'm not yet to a point where I'm ready to move to LA, nor do I have much access to people "in the business" who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to looking at your script.
I've also used Story Notes and Scott the Reader, and have been extremely happy with both as well.
Everything's subjective. And that's okay with me (because everyone's allowed to have their opinion).
But I like to stick to the facts.
In your second paragraph you had many questions about the WGA ''Find a Writer'' link.
These two people were mentioned by Janet in an earlier post: James Bruner and Elizabeth Stevens of Scriptmetors.
Using the WGA link I confirm they're both WGA union writers, but have no agency.
Copy and paste this link -- http://viewer.zoho.com/docs/jXlcbg
I hope the information in the above link answers the questions in your second paragraph. If not, get back with me and I'll do a rewrite (lol) and try another approach.
I hope the following sums up clarity on my part. And remember, this is my ''subjective'' opinion and is directed at the public (in general): ___ I'd rather get constructive analysis from someone who made it rather than someone who hasn't. Because there's a reason why a person never made it and bad habits are contagious!
Would you consider a male OB less of an authority on delivering a baby because he'd never given birth himself?
As a mother of two I can tell you I'd rather have a male OB deliver mine than another mom who's had one or two babies.
Thanks for the laugh, Heather.
And that goes to the rest of the cheerleaders as well!
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