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Public Screenplay Feedback

I’m running a poll today (2/2/22—whoa! cool numbers) about an idea I had: to offer free feedback on writers’ scripts, but make it public for educational purposes. Link here:

So far...six responses, three for, three against. It’s likely I simply don’t have the twitter profile to get enough feedback to make this a valid poll.

Here’s how this came about: I was corresponding briefly with somebody who runs a script contest. I’ve been vocal about not liking script contests—I think they’re not good for writers, and too many are run by suspect/shady folks.

But I liked this person, and was impressed by some innovations the contest is already making to help writers.

So I suggested, why don’t you offer free feedback from time to time, but the catch is, the feedback gets shared with the public, for educational purposes? That way you’d get a lot of people coming to your site, and people would learn a lot—win-win.

The idea was quickly rejected as being something that writers would not like, that the process is “too private.”

I respect the answer, of course. But to me it’s a no-brainer idea as far as attracting eyeballs—and helping the writers.

There’s one site that already does it, the Scriptshadow blog, where the proprietor, Carson Reeves (a pen name), offers a free and very good blog to promote his script consulting business (and more recently his producing ambitions). I don’t agree with Carson on some things (mostly pertaining to taste) but I’ve learned a lot from his columns.

A few times a year, Carson has an “amateur showdown” where he picks five reader-submitted scripts, the readers vote on the coolest sounding logline, then he reviews the winner.

From time to time, this has led to actual business developments for the writer. I have submitted to it several times, but never been picked. Probably this was doing me a favor, as nothing I ever submitted was truly ready, and I would not have gotten the results I wanted.

For me, there are so many reasons to do what I’m suggesting, and almost no reason not to.

First of all—if you’re not comfortable sharing your script publicly, then DON’T! Nobody has to do anything they don’t want to do!

So that leaves the people who DO want to do it...

And why not?

I understand that there’s a potential downside: public embarrassment. But in my experience...nobody cares. (It’s why I chose the Jurassic Park scene to show above: “Dodgson! We got Dodgson here!”)

If anything, people like to be supportive. You can get free feedback, meet people, and have a positive learning experience.

Also, correct me if I’m wrong...we’re writing these to be MOVIES, right? As in, companies spend millions of dollars to make them, and then SHOW them to the global public?

So you’re writing this as a blueprint for a public piece of commerce/work of art, but you’re too timid to allow it to be seen and analyzed on a measly blog somewhere...? I don’t get it.

If you’re not happy with it as a working draft, of course that’s understandable. But if you are proud of it, and you’re querying managers/producers trying to get it have to be brave!

In truth, the script that you’re so desperate to get read and produced probably is nowhere close to ready. Getting feedback from a professional will be like getting dunked in cold water.

But it’s the only way you truly learn!

You need the creative experience of getting your ideas criticized, and the business and emotional experience of having it happen and being gracious and cool and figuring out how to get right back on the horse.

So that’s my opinion. I’d be interested in hearing yours.

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