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Archive for the Category "Feedback"

Have you ever changed your mind about a movie? Aug 03

Second Looks

Have you every been wrong about a movie? You know, you’re flipping channels and happen across a movie you saw a few years ago that you thought sucked, only to be suddenly drawn in by it.

For me, that movie was Starship Troopers – Edward Neumeier‘s adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s military sci-fi classic book, directed by Paul Verhoeven.

When I first saw it, I thought it was campy and ridiculous. When I later saw it, I suddenly realized it was a brilliant satire and social commentary. How did I miss that the first time through?

Has that ever happened to you? What movie was it?

5 Things to Consider When Incorporating Feedback Nov 18

I have a few friends who have a hard time knowing what to do with the feedback they receive on their scripts. So for all you similar screenwriters out there, this post’s for you.

(Note: This post has little to do with the development phase where you’re incorporating notes from executives. It deals with the rewriting phase of your script where the only people who have seen it are friends, family, peers, script consultants, etc.)

5 Things to Consider When Incorporating Feedback

Script Feedback1. Does it resonate with you?

If the note you receive on your script doesn’t make sense to you, you should never incorporate it. There has to be some recognition of its inherent validity for it to be considered. Never follow a note blindly, no matter who’s giving it to you.

2. Is everyone saying the same thing?

While it’s important to stay true to your artistic vision, ultimately you want a script that appeals to your audience. If you consistently get the same note back from your respected readers, you need to seriously consider incorporating it.

3. Does it hint at an underlying or alternate problem?

Suppose you’re absolutely sure that some story beat needs to stay in your script, yet your readers keep flagging it. It’s entirely possible that the setup to the beat, or some other aspect of the scene or script needs tweaking. Part of your job is to read between the lines of what people are saying.

4. Are you resistant to a suggestion because of the work involved in correcting it?

Sometimes we’ll bristle at a suggestion, and immediately think, “No frikken way!” Usually that happens when the suggestion involves a major change.

When you receive such a note, take a deep breath, let the feedback wash over you for a couple of days, then try to evaluate it as dispassionately and honestly as you can. If you decide the feedback is valid, it might take you a few extra weeks, even months, to rewrite your script, but that’s a much better alternative than hoping no one else will see the problem… because I promise you they will. You’ve come this far, you might as well give your script the best chance of selling.

5. Who’s giving you the note?

If you’ve just written a raunchy teenage comedy and your grandma thinks some of the lines are too offensive… you should probably take that with a grain of salt.

But that’s an easy call. Often you’ll have peers who are accomplished in one particular genre, but may not have expertise in your genre. Or maybe you’ve given them harsh criticism on their last script and they’ve been itching for some payback.

On the other side of things, if someone who’s been around the block for a number of years tells you something that no one else has told you, it’s possible they’re bang on with their feedback and they’ve seen something that more casual readers have missed.

Either way, make sure you run the feedback through all five of these litmus tests before you start incorporating it. And remember, no one knows your story better than you do.

How do you process feedback?


$39 Script Notes – 1 Day Sale Jan 14

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new script. Now it’s time to put it away and not think about it for a few days. That will allow me to get some distance from it, so when I start the rewrite I’ll be able to look at it with more critical eyes.

To keep away the temptation of returning to it too soon, I’ve decided to have a crazy sale and immerse myself in scripts for a while.

So here’s the deal. It’s a one-time only event.

I’ll read your feature film script and provide you with professional notes for $39.

Seriously, $39!

If you haven’t quite finished your script yet, I’ll even let you purchase this bargain rate now, and submit your script when you’re done.

But you have to act before tomorrow night (Saturday, January 15th at midnight).

Don’t let your script go out with a key problem that I could have easily identified for you for 39 bucks.





Click here for more information.

Any questions? Let me know!

Category: Feedback  | 6 Comments
New Year, New Service Jan 11

Change is GoodWhen I trade scripts with a my pro screenwriting buddies, we tend to give each other very high level notes. Just the key elements that worked and didn’t work, with specific suggestions for improvement.

Sometimes, that’s all you need right? No logline, no deep discussions — just quick, insightful, essential feedback.

Why it didn’t occur to me to offer this service to my clients sooner is beyond me. But now I have! And for the Optimus Prime rate of $59.00.

The option is called Script Notes Express.

You can take a look at all my services here. I think they’re the best in the business (though I’m probably a tad biased).

A big THANK YOU to everyone for making 2010 a terrific year! Let’s do some damage in 2011!

Category: Feedback  | One Comment
Deciphering Notes from Executives Oct 10

Exec Notes

At some point in your writing career, hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to receive notes from a development exec.

Just pray it’s not this guy.

H/T to Scott for the link.

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