PDA

View Full Version : Anybody ever tried any script analysis or script doctor services?


Shade01
05-19-2005, 10:18 PM
Hey I was wondering if anyone has ever tried any of the script doctor or analysis services that write coverage for your submitted script? There's tons of them out there like scriptshark, scriptpimp, cinema 36 and others, and the price ranges seem to be either about $200 or much higher. I was thinking about using one but I'm debating on whether or not they are even worth it, plus I'm having a hard time narrowing them down since they all pretty much offer very similar services.

albertbarrera
05-19-2005, 10:32 PM
Yeah, there are a lot of them out there. I've also thought of using one but $200 is too much for me. I guess the detailed report you'd get back from them would be quite helpful and you'd get to see where your strong and weak points are. I don't know. I guess the best thing to do is try those workshops where you get feedback on your screenplay. Try Zoetrope.com. You evaluate one screenplay in return for an evaluation of yours by fellow screenwriters, some of which have written quite a bit of scripts already so have some level of experience. http://www.cgtalk.com/images/icons/icon10.gif

Albert

ColinCohen
05-21-2005, 02:04 PM
I've used a number of these services in the past, and I found Craig Kellem to be the best (http://www.hollywoodscript.com/).

He can be quite caustic, but he'll give you value. If you do use him, though, make sure you get him and not his daughter.

fwtep
05-21-2005, 04:05 PM
He can be quite caustic, but he'll give you value. If you do use him, though, make sure you get him and not his daughter.Why? What's his daughter look like? :)

Fred

scotttygett
05-22-2005, 12:33 AM
Zoetrope.com has one of the first contests I can recall where I found out about the early bird deadline without two weeks to go. It's in August.

Before I sent my script out to a reader, I would do three important things: first, read it out loud, giving every performance a shot (some of us write a lot of tongue twisters into our words); second, try to make every single line ironic, able to be said by the character who it's being said to (this is the western tradition), and third, hear what the audience is saying as they respond. This third thing is a little jading, because from it, you learn to start out with an orphan tripping, because you want sympathy with the character.

Audience interest and keeping the audience from feeling alienated from the characters are other little checklist items to watch, to see whether or not the orphan coming-on to the librarian helps the story.

Michael Straczinski (sp?) would make sure there would be a plot element, a character element and something else, I think an action, in every scene, and this would hook the audience, but I would hope we all want more than just being carried to the 88th minute. And I bet he does too.

I have posted my scripts at yahoo groups where I liked the opinions, and gotten good feedback. Something more important, I have rewritten while making the cover letter for friends I respect. It seems to help. Many enjoy informal readings with friends. The weird things that seem to help we have to cultivate. $200 script doctorin' is another experiment. Praying or being prayed for, or never thinking about competitors or competition, or only writing from 6-7am or reading F Scott Fitzgerald before writing or having Bullwinkle playing in the background or not stopping until you've rough-outlined the next ten pages (Hemingway's thing),...

I have not paid for script consultants, though, and that is your question, so I'll stop there.

Zeicon
05-22-2005, 02:35 AM
shade01...

If you're confident in your story and are planning on visualizing it yourself (I believe you are), I don't know if it is necesarry to pay for these kind of services. However, if you are planning on selling the script, you should most definitely do it.

Landing a spec sale requires that the screenplay is absolutely perfect from a technical perspect. The structure and pacing have to be perfect. The script better have a hook that grabs the reader's attention within the first ten pages or so or the reader will pick a new script from the towering pile of screenplays. Too much dialouge, too much action, too much narration, too much exposition is going to turn the reader off. There are just so many basic rules in the screenwriting medium that you have to follow, and if you stray away from them or simply choose to ignore them, you are going to look amateurish in the eye of a pro. It is a craft really, and if a writer doens't master the craft, it doesn't matter how good his story is - the script will be on its way to the trash can. Therefore, if you are counting on impressing a Hollywood insider, it is probably a good idea to have an expert go through your script to make sure that the technicalities are taken care of. That way the Hollywood insider will be able to actually focus on the story element instead of your outrageous grammar and informal formatting (just kidding).

If you are going to visualize your story on your own, the screenplay is mostly a blueprint to help you maintain the overview, and the screenplay itself doesn't have to impress anyone. Nonetheless, there are story consultants out there who might be able to take your story to the next level. I don't have any experience with story consultants or script analysts myself, but the following threads address some the questions you raised,

Script Analyst Rankings:
http://scriptsales.com/boards/showthread.php?t=7443&highlight=coverage
Best & most legitimate professional script consultants?:
http://scriptsales.com/boards/showthread.php?t=7429&highlight=coverage
Should I pay for Script Shark?:
http://scriptsales.com/boards/showthread.php?t=7340&highlight=coverage
Coverage service / Development notes:
http://scriptsales.com/boards/showthread.php?t=7510&highlight=coverage

There are a bunch of other threads over at Done Deal. You could also post a few pages of your script in the 'script pages' section to get some input. Anyway, good luck.

Shade01
05-23-2005, 03:35 AM
I'm glad I started his thread, it's been very helpful. I've gotten some great tips and solid help from everyone, thank you very much!

KarlSchroeder
05-26-2005, 11:06 PM
This is the writer's first rule: money only flows toward you. In other words, if you're paying somebody else to look at your material, you're getting ripped off.

There's nothing these guys can tell you that you can't figure out yourself (particularly in the age of Google). Don't waste your well-earned cash on them. It's the same with agents: reputable agents don't charge reading fees. Reading or analysis fees of any sort are not reputable in the publishing industry--at least not within my own area, which is book publishing.

Trust me on this one.

Lunatique
05-28-2005, 05:58 AM
KarlSchroeder - Yes and no. You can google all you want and read stacks of books on screenwriting, but there's no guarantee that'll make your screenplay a good one. Even good writers have blind spots, and if they don't have people around that are skilled/experienced in the craft of writing, how else are they going to get professional level feedback? I have seen the kind of feedback these paid professionals give to a friend of mine, and they were very thorough, and very helpful. Unless you hang around with a bunch of filmmaking-savvy friends with freetime on their hands to read and critique your work, your best bet to get highly detailed feedback is a professional.

The professional readers give far more feedback than merely correcting your technical mistakes--they give detailed analysis on inconguities in character motivation and behavior, unnecessary dialogues, inappropriate and unfitting sequences, suggestions for better plot progression, changes in pacing..etc. We can all lose objectivity when we are too close to our own creation--that's why a competent alternative view is necessary.

Zeicon
05-28-2005, 09:55 PM
This is the writer's first rule: money only flows toward you. In other words, if you're paying somebody else to look at your material, you're getting ripped off.

This is completely baseless. First of all for the reasons Lunatique pointed out, but if a script analyst actually likes your material, he/she might pass it on, and eventually it might end up in the hands of an executive.

The professional readers give far more feedback than merely correcting your technical mistakes--they give detailed analysis on inconguities in character motivation and behavior, unnecessary dialogues, inappropriate and unfitting sequences, suggestions for better plot progression, changes in pacing..etc.

Depends on the service. A 'coverage report' is merely a review of the script, that is to say, a summary of what worked and what did not. 'Development notes', on the other hands, are more thorough and contain suggestions as to how the story can be improved (usually more expensive as well).

visionist
05-29-2005, 03:02 AM
but if a script analyst actually likes your material, he/she might pass it on, and eventually it might end up in the hands of an executive.


Most likely not, I think its more about the money then the love of the field. And I bet you if one of these readers thought ur script was money he would want a cut if he got ur script optioned.

LmB

Zeicon
05-30-2005, 06:41 PM
If a script receives a "RECOMMEND" grade by one of the leading coverage services (Script Shark, Script PIMP etc.), it will be made available for executives in the industry.

This is a quotation from Script PIMP:

The Overall Review (coverage) was designed to supply a discounted rate for writers who are primarily seeking our assistance in circulating their material.

Script PIMP has a huge database where they upload screenplays that their script analysts have recommended. This database is accessible to executives, so I don't see why it is not possible? Well, I know it is possible. I have seen it happen.

telecaustic
06-03-2005, 01:57 AM
I just want to say the eventually if you try this long enough you will find the answers out for yourself. But I can assure you that script analysis service will do little more than take your money and give you vague ideas about what is good and what is bad about your script. Usually stuff you already know deep down.

You need to READ A LOT of scripts yourself to know what works and what doesn't work. I would recommend joining a writers group in your area and letting them read you work before a script analysis company.

And as far as these guys passing your scripts to an executive. I am sorry but that plain and simply doesn't happen. I know this FIRST HAND, Film Executives are scheduled for EVERY minute of their day, mainly passing on truly bad scripts. If they get a break, they are gonna go bang an intern or bump a line of coke before they hop on Scriptpimps database to see what's new in internetland. And ya what? If you, or I were a Film Exec we'd do the same damn thing.

Save your money for a plane ticket to LA so you can take a meeting or two, that's all I'm saying.

c.w.

Lunatique
06-03-2005, 03:48 AM
If they get a break, they are gonna go bang an intern or bump a line of coke before they hop on Scriptpimps database to see what's new in internetland. And ya what? If you, or I were a Film Exec we'd do the same damn thing.


That's kinda like saying all actors are prima donnas, and all blonds are stupid, no?

Zeicon
06-03-2005, 04:32 AM
Save your money for a plane ticket to LA so you can take a meeting or two, that's all I'm saying.

Mhm, you could attend a pitch meeting, but not everybody are natural pitchers. But let's face it, breaking into the industry is unlikely in itself. Sure, it helps to live in LA and know someone who knows someone. If you don't live in LA your best bet is probably to move there and get a job and work yourself up through the stystem.

I know this FIRST HAND, Film Executives are scheduled for EVERY minute of their day, mainly passing on truly bad scripts.

Excactly. Many are reading through stacks of unsolicited material. Therefore when a script comes in with a SCRIPT SHARK stamp and a RECOMMENDED, it is likely to go to the top of the pile. And why shouldn't it?

"I always enjoy getting scripts from Ryan Williams at ScriptShark as they are well developed and he has a good understanding of my tastes and knows what I am looking for."

Michael Schreiber
Development Exec, Tapestry Films


Don't say it never happens. I've seen it happen.

CaptainJackSparrow
06-03-2005, 03:49 PM
Coverage helps, for sure. Most writers badly need good feedback, the emphasis been on 'good'. Feedback from someone who is not in the know is largely meaningless and possibly counterproductive.

You don't have to move to LA, plenty of writers don't live in LA.

There are a hell of a lot of aspiring scriptwriters in LA already, many of whom probably thought 'I'll move to LA and that'll sell my script!'... Well moving locations will not make your bad writing good all the sudden.

So just focus on mastering script writing and producing some really good scripts, honestly, that should take, oh most of your life to accomplish;)

telecaustic
06-03-2005, 05:48 PM
That's kinda like saying all actors are prima donnas, and all blonds are stupid, no?

No, not really, it is just using words to creatively illustrate a point, it is something writers tend to do. ;)

Just to clear this up, so there is no confusion. I can only tell you what I have come across. Other people will have other examples of how things work with these guys. The reason I crap on those analysis companies is because they make claims that are not true. In turn poor, unsuspecting writers fall for their claims because the new writer hasn’t even seen the lobby of a studio or production company let alone have good inside information on the inner workings of the weirdest industry on the planet.

It is human to want a quick and easy way. We assume that we are not successful because we are doing something wrong. From our limited perspective we see successful people spring out of nowhere and we assume that they knew some secret handshake or service that got them to fame a glory. And as long as there are uneducated people who put unreasonable pressure on themselves, there will be people that take advantage of those vices.

Even small production companies have an endless system of checks and balances when it comes to making a movie. You could read Hollywood insider types of books for YEARS and never find a winning combination of how to crack into the movie business. The problem is that it isn’t about finding the combination. It is about being good at what you do, e.g. writing, directing, producing, acting etc… You will become a better storyteller by learning how to tell a better story. You will become a professional writer by learning how to develop relationships. Here is a way to kill two birds with one stone and I am giving it to you for free. But by all means if you want to cut me a check, shoot me an email.

Develop a triage unit of readers, friends and family first. They will ALWAYS say that you are good, and will support you. And you won’t believe it but that is okay. They point is two-fold at this fork in the road, building confidence and learning to write for an audience. Again, these people will not know why they don’t like it, usually they never finish your script, that’s why you ask them Where they stopped reading. This will give you clues to where the problems are. After you have ironed out some the wrinkles with your first wave of readers, talk to them about some of the changes you made and see how they respond. They might go, “Yeah, that is a good change, I didn’t understand that at first, let me read it again.” Once you start getting faster, and better reviews from Family, start pushing that script out to friends. Again, just talk to them about what they liked and what they don’t like. Be a pro about it, they don’t want to hurt your feeling, so remove that as being a possibility. The tell, “Hey, your opinion is important to me, I want to make this story better, so if you bring up something you don’t like you might very well be helping me turn this good story into something even better.” Once you get a few friends to read and like it, polish it up a little more. Then let acquaintances read it. Rinse and repeat.

I can assure you that Six Degree of Separation is TRUE. If you keep writing, keep polishing and keep letting people read you stuff. You WILL find someone that says, “Hey my cousin is Gore Verbinski’s assistant, do you want me to give this to him?”

And this is where you say “Yes, that would be cool?” This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen more than you think. But PLEASE, do not get trapped into letting some stranger who wants you money to tell you that you are good enough. This stuff is about practicing, like everything in life. Use your friends, family and business associates to help you along. You will develop richer relationships with people, and other people will see that. Before you know it, you will be banging interns and snorting coke with the best of them. ;)

cw

Zeicon
06-04-2005, 11:08 AM
To JackSparrow:

You don't have to move to LA, plenty of writers don't live in LA.

There are a hell of a lot of aspiring scriptwriters in LA already, many of whom probably thought 'I'll move to LA and that'll sell my script!'... Well moving locations will not make your bad writing good all the sudden.

You are right that good writing is more important than your location and of course it is possible to "make it" without living in L.A. However, being able to network with people in town can prove extremely valuable. If you don't know the importance/advantage of having the right contacts in this industry, then you are ignorant. Meeting an executive at a party or whatever, making an impression and then giving him your screenplay in person is much more powerful than sending out a query letter per e-mail. If you get a job in the industry, your chances of getting to know the right people are even better.

I want to quote the opinion of a pro,

Finally, the ultimate love affair for many is to get married, be together full time, and have kids. In order to do this, you have to actually be there. There is no substitute for putting the time into the marriage, and into the children. Your presence is required. That's the equivalent of living and working in town (L.A.), immersing yourself in the experience, and taking an active part in getting your movie made.

Read his whole take on the matter here,
http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp33.I.Love.LA.html


To Telecaustic:

Sorry to say this, but that is some horseshit...

If you think feedback from your uneducated (in screenwriting) mother, friend or whatever can replace feedback from a professional who knows the craft and the industry, you are WAY off. Then you have obviously not done much screenwriting yourself or read much about it. I am not saying that development notes from a pro is the holy grail or the absolute key to success, but they will give you in-depth, line-by-line, constructive feedback on how to improve your script and maximize your craft. Pretty much all the screenwriters I know have used these kind of services and found them extremely helpful. At one point, you need to have your script looked at by a pair of fresh eyes. However, your Average Joe won't do. How is he supposed to know when to use a voice-over, when your dialogue is too on-the-nose, when your action is over-the-top, when your character fails to materialize both internal and external goals, when your structure is 4-act instead of 3-act, when there is too much exposition, when the sub-plots fail to reveal the theme... he has absolutely NO CONCEPT about these sort of things. But the people you want to impress in the end, your potential buyers, THEY certainly have, and if they see just the slightest opportunity to throw your script in the trash can, they will seize it without thinking twice. Do not underestimate the value of professional advice and opinion.

Lunatique
06-04-2005, 12:55 PM
To Telecaustic:

Sorry to say this, but that is some horseshit...

If you think feedback from your uneducated (in screenwriting) mother, friend or whatever can replace feedback from a professional who knows the craft and the industry, you are WAY off. Then you have obviously not done much screenwriting yourself or read much about it. I am not saying that development notes from a pro is the holy grail or the absolute key to success, but they will give you in-depth, line-by-line, constructive feedback on how to improve your script and maximize your craft. Pretty much all the screenwriters I know have used these kind of services and found them extremely helpful. At one point, you need to have your script looked at by a pair of fresh eyes. However, your Average Joe won't do. How is he supposed to know when to use a voice-over, when your dialogue is too on-the-nose, when your action is over-the-top, when your character fails to materialize both internal and external goals, when your structure is 4-act instead of 3-act, when there is too much exposition, when the sub-plots fail to reveal the theme... he has absolutely NO CONCEPT about these sort of things. But the people you want to impress in the end, your potential buyers, THEY certainly have, and if they see just the slightest opportunity to throw your script in the trash can, they will seize it without thinking twice. Do not underestimate the value of professional advice and opinion.

I suspect maybe telecaustic has had a bad experience in the past, so he's taking the tree for the forest on this matter. Professional readers, like any other profession, have good and bad ones in the business. Even if you had ten bad one in a row does not mean that there aren't a few dozen good ones out there. I've seen the kind of good feedback a good one gives, and it was thorough, highly detailed, and very insightful. You average person will NOT be able to give a feedback like that. In fact, even a good writer won't be able to give you a feedback like that, simply because he doesn't understand the idiosyncrasies of the film language.

CaptainJackSparrow
06-05-2005, 02:42 AM
Oh look sure, obviously it's always going to be easier if you are in LA. No one is disputing that. But it will not be the determining factor of whether you break in or not. Your writing will be.

telecaustic
06-09-2005, 10:12 PM
To Telecaustic:

Sorry to say this, but that is some horseshit...

You win, oh wait... this wasn't a debate. I was just giving my opinion based of my experiences.

Practice, that's how you become a better writer, plain, simple and free.

cw

fwtep
06-10-2005, 12:37 AM
Practice, that's how you become a better writer, plain, simple and free. True, the problem is that with art there's more to it than that. If you want to learn to hit a baseball it's very easy to know when you failed: you miss the ball, or hit a foul. The same goes with many things. But with art it's not like that. Sure, you can draw something or write something and think you can do better, but it's all just opinion; what you think you need to do again because it sucks someone else might think is great. So how can you learn from your mistakes when there's no real objective way to identify mistakes?

The things that make up what we call "good screenwriting" are not necessarily cold hard facts, they're just things that work well with audiences (content-wise), or what the pros have agreed upon (on the technical side-- margins, the way to write certain things, etc.). While it's very likely that you can generalize and say "the more you write, the better you become," that doesn't necessarily mean you'll ever be as good as you could be if you had help of some kind, or that you'll ever get to a point where you can write something that is considered "professional." The way the industry is set up may suck, especially for people trying to break in, but it is what it is, and you've just got to deal with it.

So getting a professional reader's opinion is often a good idea. But as with most things, it's smart to do some research first, since they're not all the same. Learning on your own is fine, but there comes a point where it can help to have a pro tell you if your script is ready to send out, even if just on the technical side; after all, you don't want to blow your chances by sending something in that will get thrown right into the garbage. And readers at studios are extremely hard to please. They'll look for any reason to toss your script.

Here's an interesting web site/blog for anyone who wants to see what the "competition" is:
http://queryletters.blogspot.com/

Fred

Lunatique
06-10-2005, 01:19 AM
Practice, that's how you become a better writer, plain, simple and free.

cw

I know people that tried to write for decades, and basically just turned out one crap after another. Writing itself isn't enough--you have to research, get relevant opinions, and most of all, have talent in the first place as a storyteller. There are so many people out there who behave as if reading about the film industry, working in it in some capacity, or knowing people in the film industry..etc all of a sudden makes them a good writer. They talk about the film industry with this jaded and hardened attitude of a fake veteran, and spout off wisdoms that are not their own, just to appear "experienced." Yeah, whatever.

Even some established directors can't write, and I doubt anyone is more of an expert on filmmaking than established directors. The only way to be a good writer is to have talent, write a lot, and get relevant opinions.

CaptainJackSparrow
06-10-2005, 09:02 AM
The simple fact is, script writing is extremely hard. You can not overestimate how hard it is. Way, way, way more hard then people think it is, 99.99 percent of all scripts that are written are in no way up to scratch. People just don't know what they don't know.

Worst thing is, scriptwriting looks easy. People watch films and think they can do it, or pick it up by reading a book or two, or writing a script or two. Just doesn't work that way, it takes tonnes of study and practice and the industry is brutal. You can work on a script for years of your life and in a few letters find out it was crap, no reasons given, and then that time is gone. You can lose years, decades, and get nowhere.

No joke, you want to become a great storyteller, it would be easier to become a neurosurgeon, cos scriptwriting, I mean doing it well, is one of the hardest tasks out there.

Lunatique
06-10-2005, 10:18 AM
CaptainJackSparrow - Absolutely agree. Being a good writer is so different from most other endeavors, because it's is 100% mental, with no physical elements whatsoever. Other creative endeavors like art, music, dance..etc includes eye/hand coordination and training the body to perfect a craft, but with writing, it is completely mental.

The problem with most aspiring writers is that they don't understand the difference between them and the truly talented ones. So many are legends in their own minds, feeling that they just haven't been given a chance, when in reality, they just don't have talent. Even when pointed out by others, they still decide to delude themselves. Another problem is that most writers who are mediocre, don't know what it is that their writing lacks. Most of the time it's not even skill-related--it's strictly the difference between how enlightened and in touch with the world different writers' souls are. You can't remedy a defective soul that lacks important and profound insights regarding our world and universe of emotions. Experience will not remedy that defect, because there are plenty of people of old age that has been through the trials of life and still haven't learned the important lessons, or gained the wisdom that is out of their reach.

A truly gifted writer is a superior mind and soul among mere mortals. This is what serious writers aspire to be--an enlightened storyteller that has to ability to hold masses of people entranced and immersed, in tales so moving and powerful that the tales themselves take on lives of their own and become part of our treasured civilization.

Max4d
06-10-2005, 10:44 AM
Becoming better.. who does not want that. Tip: quit..... just quit. for a couple of weeks, a couple of months. do other stuff, forget about writing and live. Trust me, in a couple of months it will become to itch again and you will experience that you can wite "better"see more, feel more, imagine more than you ever could before. How? maybe age, maybe you pattern of thinking. Doing things to much to often makes the brain and yourself uncreative, you start thinking in the same patterns always and that makes you work lack a certain kind of depth.

Its weird but constant training, constant doing is good but to a certain point it destoyes more that that it creates. Just let it rest for a while and when the itch, the burn, comes again, then you will see, as if you are another person. trust me

mx4d

KarlSchroeder
06-11-2005, 01:43 PM
Well, telecaustic is basically right. It's not that you might not get some good feedback from a script service, it's that they are set up to benefit themselves, not you. They might be better in the film industry, but reading services also exist in the novel-writing arena. We warn people away from them, generally. They might work for you. There's more productive things to do with your time.

Having gone through this mill from one end to the other, I completely understand people's desire to find some method of breaking in, whether it be in the publishing industry or in the film industry. Having broken in successfully and (among other things) just signed a three-book deal, I can speak from experience--in my own arena; take what I say as only indicative and not authoratitive when it comes to the film industry.

Writing is a business. Like any business, much of it consists of networking. Writers don't spend their time chatting with other writers on golf courses, but we do need to do similar things. A businessman wouldn't hire someone to go to play golf with the lads for him, and a writer won't benefit by hiring intermediaries to promote her to potential customers. Money flows towards you; and you don't hire third parties to do things like make judgements about the value of your work.

Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens are two writers I know (slightly) who moved down to LA and made good. (Just check out the credits to the final season of Enterprise.) I know that a few years ago, after they had recently arrived there, they were between them writing something like ten thousand words a day. It was the fact that they were there, doing the legwork, and doing the writing, that led to their present success.

If you want to break in to writing, don't treat it as a hobby. Don't pay other people. Expect to invest twenty or thirty thousand dollars in hotels, travel, meetings etc. etc. to get established, just as you would expect to with any other business.

Okay--now about script analysts. They might be useful once or twice, but one of the necessary skills a writer has is the ability to analyze their own work. Using a service to help you learn how to do that is probably a good idea--so consider it an investment. There are plenty of agencies in book publishing that claim to put your manuscript in front of editors at major houses--they don't, and I suspect the same is true in film. Even if they're not lying, consider that you've hired an intermediary to form a relationship you should be forming yourself. Once again, does any businessman hire somebody else to maintain critical contacts for him? Money's flowing from you, and you're not actually rolling your sleeves up and getting involved in the industry. No commitment there.

If you're able to analyze your own work, you don't need to pay somebody else to do it. If you're not able to analyze your own work, you've flagged yourself as an amateur, so why would anyone buy your script? This is another reason an executive wouldn't buy from a script service.

You know, the barriers to success in Hollywood are high, as they are in the publishing industry. There's no short-cut. You have to scale them yourself.

CaptainJackSparrow
06-11-2005, 02:14 PM
Tell me, how can a newbie analyze their own work when they have no idea what is wrong with it? That is a recipe for trouble.

Paid or not (that's not the issue), you need good feedback from people in the know, not for connections, but to tell you how your writing is.Because this is the number one problem facing any potential scriptwriter... The quality of the writing. Scriptwriting is far less forgiving than other forms of writing. There is literally no margin for error. IMO it's one of the hardest, if not the hardest form of writing out there, because you have to master so many areas to truly be good at it. So if you can get pro help, take it, you will invariably need it.

fwtep
06-11-2005, 05:55 PM
KarlSchroeder that's interesting info, but there's a huge difference between novels and screenplays. Well, there's many differences, obviously, but the one I'm talking about is that screenplays have a huge amount of technical issues to be aware of. For example: how to handle transitions, how to format slug lines, how and when to use parentheticals, how to format montage sequences, etc. There's much more to it than simply "is it good." Take everything that can be caught by a novel reader (grammar, spelling, etc.) and add all of that technical stuff and you can well imagine how difficult it can be to get it right.

So, on purely a technical end, while getting a novel analyzed might not be necessary, getting a screenplay analyzed can help new screenwriters tremendously. As for the artistic end, there are probably some good and some bad analysts out there. One of the screenwriting magazines does a review of the top analysts every year or so. That would be a good place to look.

Fred

Shade01
06-12-2005, 02:39 AM
One of the screenwriting magazines does a review of the top analysts every year or so. That would be a good place to look.

Fred

Hey fwtep which magazine is that you are referring to?

Lunatique
06-12-2005, 04:12 AM
KarlSchroeder that's interesting info, but there's a huge difference between novels and screenplays. Well, there's many differences, obviously, but the one I'm talking about is that screenplays have a huge amount of technical issues to be aware of. For example: how to handle transitions, how to format slug lines, how and when to use parentheticals, how to format montage sequences, etc. There's much more to it than simply "is it good." Take everything that can be caught by a novel reader (grammar, spelling, etc.) and add all of that technical stuff and you can well imagine how difficult it can be to get it right.



I think worrying about the technical stuff is the LEAST of any screenwriter's worries. There are dozens and dozens of websites and published books that teache correct screenplay formatting, and unless you are an imbecile, you will learn it. The hard part is the actual storytelling, and that is something that's almost impossible to teach to someone who doesn't have the writer's sense and talent. Go take a stroll in any of the screenwriting forums on the internet and read the various posts by countless aspiring screenwriters. Majority of them don't have the writer's sense at all--just film buffs who are deluding themselves. They memorize all the established formats and story structures recommended by screenwriting teachers, but what good will any of that do if your accurately formated 3 act screenplay tells a trite, cliched, and aimless story that has no merit beyond demonstrating tenacity and patience?

ericsmith
06-12-2005, 05:09 AM
It's funny how many trite, cliche and aimless stories actually get made and put in thousands of theaters. I really do find it interesting that the hollywood system can put out such loosers as "The Pacifier" and while also producing movies that utterly move me like "Last Samauri" or "I am Sam".

But the fact is, even the "losers" have a better sense of the storytelling process than most of the scripts out there from the non-professionals. It's the same as with the music industry. There are thousands of garage bands out there that think they should be king of the hill, but in truth, their music is a mess. The music from Brittany Spears, although despised by most mature music affictionados, has better structure and polish than most of these unknown bands.

When you get right down to it, it's about talent. And from my perspective, talent is the combination of innate ability and knowlege. Very few artists make it on just one of the two.

So if you have innate ability, then you still need knowlege. You need to learn the ins and outs of story structure, character arc, theme, etc, so that you can turn the raw creativity into something accessable to the masses. There are lots of ways to get this knowlege, including schools, the internet, books and seminars. People that perform script analysis services also fit into this category. They help those who are on the early side of the knowlege journey to understand the process a little better. They won't take a horrible screenplay and magically turn it into a great one. They'll just educate the writer on where they've missed the boat from a knowlege point of view. And this is very valuable. It's one thing to learn the rules from an abstract perspective, but getting specific pointers on where you went wrong on YOUR project helps to tie knowlege and innate ability together. It helps to improve talent.

In the end, any art form takes years to really master. Screenwriting is no different. I'm sure that seasoned pros have no need of script analysis services. But on the way, it certainly can't hurt.

Eric

Zeicon
06-12-2005, 08:40 AM
Maybe you sould look at it like this,

You can learn and practice screenwriting

Storytelling, on the other hand, is innate

And since good screenwriting requires good storytelling, it is not all practice...

CGTalk Moderation
06-12-2005, 08:40 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.