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Screenwriter Q & A: common questions answered

Here is a compilation of questions I was asked by screenwriters on varying topics a few years back and my advice still holds firm — some helpful screenwriting tips that I’ve learned over the years and I hope this information can help you…

Questions Below (links removed):

  • What is the criteria for script contests?
  • How long should I wait to submit my work to the industry?
  • Getting the read
  • How long will it take me to break through?
  • What do you look for in a story?
  • Art Films vs. Popcorn Movies
  • A contact wants a “cut” to pass on my script, should I do it?
  • To a writer worried about their idea being stolen…
  • I know I’m shooting my script as an indie feature, do I need your services?
  • Is it a big Hollywood movie or a TV spec sample?

WHAT IS THE CRITERIA FOR SCRIPT CONTESTS?

hi Dan,

What is the criteria for judging scripts in script contests? If you don’t place in one does that mean odds are you won’t place in another? Is it possible for a good script to not place simply because it wasn’t what they were looking for?

I entered my script into the San Diego Script Competition and found out yesterday I wasn’t even a finalist.  I was pretty disappointed and it got me thinking that my script isn’t as good as I thought. I am still waiting to hear from another contest but, I can’t get it out of my head that it is hopeless…

I won’t ever give up and have already begun redrafting, but man did that hurt. Can you offer some insight into to how the whole script contest thing works?

Thank you from a newbie!

J.

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Choosing a Script Service for your screenplay: “Those Who Teach” by Daniel Calvisi

script

Looking for a professional script doctor
or script service to teach you
how to write a screenplay
in the most professional, polished,
industry standard method?

Are you sick of wading through the hundreds of websites that offer “script services” or “movie script coaching?”

Think your screenplay deserves the best script doctoring and coaching you can find on the internet?

Did you hire a joker that took your money and gave you template notes or sub-standard coverage?

Are you wondering why the flashy website for a script doctor or screenplay service doesn’t have a bio page or list any credentials?

Did you pay good money to enter your script in yet another contest only to place in the “Top 25%” (whatever that means) and find out that the volunteer judges chose a boring screenplay that will never get made in Hollywood as the winner ?

Are your friends and writing group members not providing the level of detail and story solutions to truly help you take your work to the next level?

Choosing the right script service
can be a daunting task.
But it’s a crucial decision for
those looking for help with
how to write a screenplay.

A screenplay that will blow away Readers.

I should know, as I’ve been working professionally with screenplays and writers for almost fifteen years. I’ve worked as a Senior Story Analyst for major movie studios and production companies and I’ve seen the quality of writing at this level.

I was paid to give a Pass, Consider or Recommend to scripts and books being submitted by agents, managers and major stars.

In this article, I break down the basics of script services and offer some little-known tips to help you find the best script doctor for you. I will discuss…

  1. The three main types of Screenplay Coach/Consultants
  2. The inherent problems with Coverage services
  3. Writers vs. Teachers
  4. The “Triple Threat” of Screenwriting Coaches
  5. What I can offer YOU and more

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Don’t Pay for Script Coverage!

Buyer Beware, fine screenwriters: DON’T PAY FOR SCRIPT COVERAGE!

I don’t offer script coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on scripts and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

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Screenplay Coverage

Attention Screenwriters: Don’t pay for screenplay coverage!

I don’t offer script coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on scripts and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

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script-coverage-RDJ-Iron-Man

Why I don’t do Coverage and why you don’t need it

I don’t offer script coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on scripts and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

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Why I don’t do Coverage and why you don’t need it

I don’t offer screenplay coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on screenplays and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

Screenplay Coverage

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Script Coverage

I don’t offer script coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on scripts and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

Read more

Screenplay Coverage

I don’t offer script coverage as one of my consulting services; I prepare detailed story notes that identify narrative problems and offer specific suggestions on how to fix them. However, I wrote coverage on scripts and books for years as a professional movie studio Reader. So I’m very familiar with it. You will find a number of services online that offer screenplay coverage, but in my opinion it’s not the best thing to spend your money on. Here’s why…

Read more