As artists, we are oftentimes protective of our work. Baring your soul and vulnerabilities out to the world only to be criticized is a hard pill for creatives to swallow. This is especially prevalent among writers who put everything on the line in hopes of having their voices heard as well as to have their stories make a difference in other people’s lives.
Because writing is such a personal and solitary endeavor, writers tend to be sensitive when it comes to sharing their work. Not to mention, hearing what others think and have to say about it could be extremely terrifying and intimidating. Some writers who are crippled by fear of judgment tend to keep their work to themselves to avoid feeling rejected or invalidated, which just leads to wasted potential. Although to truly make it as a writer, one must fully embrace constructive criticism and feedback to grow and improve one’s craft.
In the entertainment industry, making it as a screenwriter entails blood, sweat, and tears with no guarantee of success. Since the competition is fierce, there has been a surge of companies offering to provide professional services to help you excel in your career, and the most common of all is script analysis and feedback. For an emerging and struggling writer who can barely make a living out of your craft, is it really necessary to use your hard-earned money to get professional feedback on your screenplay? Let’s weigh the options.
A Insider’s Perspective
It’s only human for anyone to believe that what you think or do is better than others. Especially when it comes to a writer’s work, some tend to take it personally when people respond differently or aggressively to what they poured their time, energy, and heart into. However, these reactions or criticisms shouldn’t be looked at as a threat or an attack, but as a fundamental component that will help you realize your full potential as a writer.
As an emerging writer, should you invest in professional screenplay feedback services? Absolutely. First of all, let’s understand what script development and analysis are all about. When we write stories, we tend to get engrossed in our own minds and the world we have created. Oftentimes, we make ourselves believe that what has been written on the page is perfect and ready for purchase and production.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in Hollywood. As you know, filmmaking is a collaborative effort and each has a role in bringing the story to life. Therefore, when producers, directors, and studio executives come into the picture, they will definitely have notes or feedback that writers should take into consideration and incorporate into the script. This is one of the reasons why it takes years for a film to get made because a bulk of it is done in securing funds as well as developing the story and ensuring that the script is ready for shooting.
Professional script readers or analysts play an important role in the industry because they are the gatekeepers
So, if you’re a writer trying to break into the competitive world of Hollywood, your screenplay must stand out from the pile and get anyone who reads it thrilled to see it unfold on the silver screen. To ensure that your script is in tip-top shape before it’s off to the races, you should get an outsider’s perspective on whether the story you’re trying to tell is shining through and capturing the attention of your audience. While family and friends are the most obvious and convenient place to start, their opinions can only go so far because not everyone can give logical and constructive feedback the way that industry professionals are able to.
Professional script readers or analysts play an important role in the industry because they are the gatekeepers that can make or break your career. They are the first people who will read your script and decide whether it has the potential to be produced and get into the hands of key players in the industry. They read hundreds of scripts on a daily basis and are extremely knowledgeable on the kind of structure, type of characters, dialog, plot, and other story elements that will work and succeed for the industry and the target audience.
Therefore, if you invest in hiring a script reader to give you feedback on your script, you will certainly get the kind of help and guidance that will give your story a competitive edge in the big leagues. Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed or set in stone. Not to mention, script readers and analysts are responsible for giving you constructive and honest feedback that can both be rewarding and debilitating simultaneously. So, this begs the question, how should one approach the notes and which ones should you take into consideration?
Take It with a Grain of Salt
It’s important to take note that you are not obligated or forced to incorporate the feedback or notes you receive. There will be some comments that you will agree with and some that you would completely roll your eyes at. While they are trusted professionals, what matters at the end of the day is your voice and the story you want to tell. Hence, the notes you should be focusing on and considering should support and enhance your vision and the story you’re telling. If your reader provided notes that drastically alter the essence or structure of your story, then you must go back to your drawing board to deliberate whether these changes would actually make your story better or only pull you further away from your original idea and voice. Although, it’s worth noting that if some notes come up more than once from different people or readers, then it is important to think it through and contemplate whether it’s actually something that would serve your story better. At the end of the day, you must pick your own battles wisely.
Writing is one of the most challenging and grueling undertakings in life but it’s also the most fulfilling and rewarding of them all. While making it in the entertainment industry as a screenwriter involves a fair amount of struggles and rejections, it is important to hold on to your ‘why’ or your purpose as a writer.
While they are trusted professionals, what matters at the end of the day is your voice and the story you want to tell
On the other hand, you don’t have to struggle on your own or play it safe by keeping your work to yourself because there are numerous resources that can support you in navigating the industry and in helping you understand your craft better so you can succeed. We know it’s easier said than done, but don’t be afraid to share your work as well as seek guidance and advice, when necessary, in order for your work to realize its full potential. If you really want a fighting chance at this career, invest in yourself and your craft, whether taking writing classes, joining screenwriting competitions, or consulting a professional reader to give notes on your story.
Furthermore, despite the noise or difficulties that you encounter in your journey, you must persevere and stay true to your voice and story. Ceaselessly fight for your voice to be heard especially if it will make the world a better place. Your art is meant to be shared with people so it can influence and make the kind of impact we need to have in our lives.