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Old 10-21-2016, 01:12 AM   #1
TravisPickle
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Default Coverage conundrum

hey all-

I recently finished a new spec. I sent it out to a few trusted colleagues and got some very positive feedback- but I felt like spinning the coverage roulette so I submitted it to three different services: the screenplay mechanic, shore scripts, and an unnamed third one.

the mechanic gave me a fantastic review and some genuinely smart feedback. so did shore scripts- to the extent that I began a dialogue with the reader, who loved the script.

the unnamed third one, however, RIPPED it apart. I am talking scorched earth, angry, resentful stuff. the reader attacked everything from the dialogue to the formatting. he hated the premise, the plotting, took issue with the point-of-view, felt that it was unoriginal.

now, I have read a post from a previous member on here who had the exact same experience with the same reader at the same place.

virtually none of the issues this reader brought forward were shared with the others. and yet, in his profoundly ineloquent way, the reader poked holes at things that I thought were completely fine, assuming that one "goes with it" since it is indeed a somewhat heightened crime/sci-fi story with some crazy **** in it. But what I thought was a super fun, wacky, unique screenplay was torn to absolute pieces for exactly the reasons that others loved it.

I guess a good analogy would be... you write a scene in which a man throws a diving cylinder into a shark's mouth. people love it, because it's a little far-fetched in the way that only movie situations can be. but one out of a myriad of readers/watchers stands up and says "that's ridiculous, the shark would spit it out immediately!".

What to do? You could satisfy that person, but then you would probably kill the instinct of what made you write it that way in the first place.

frankly I hope this coverage is an isolated incident but it couldn't have come at a worse time, considering that I was ready to blast it out into my agents' hands and am now all sorts of worried...

any thoughts? should I just shred it and ignore it?
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Old 10-21-2016, 05:27 AM   #2
DangoForth
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Default Re: Coverage conundrum

Trav, not telling you anything you don't already know at this point... No script is going to please everyone. Reading is still a very subjective experience. If YOU are confident in it, and you have 2 out of 3 solid reviewers who liked it, that's a good sign. But still, take the notes of that third reviewer and look for anything in it that maybe rings true. Just because it's the only negative doesn't mean it's useless.
But there's not many films out there where the original script didn't get a pass by multiple readers before it finally found a home. And some of those the readers downright hated the script. Just make sure you've looked at the notes and made an informed decision whether or not to implement or ignore them.
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Old 10-21-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
ChickenScratch
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Default Re: Coverage conundrum

Going out on a limb... but guessing it was Tracking Board coverage. There is indeed an "angry elf" working for them that clearly hates their job. I got the same frat boy who stated my script idea would ruin it for all others going forward and the idea was used thousands of times - literally hated everything. But couldn't tell if he actually read past the first pages. Yet other coverage thought it funny and an idea they had not ever seen used. Hmmmm. So use your judgement and don't take it personal.

Knocked the wind from my sails but I agree with Dangoforth in looking through to see if there are any nuggets behind his anger. I tucked away the coverage and the exact same script made quarterfinals at PAGE and Screencraft, and semifinals at Scriptapalooza. Still a newbie ranking but made me feel better about the whole subjectiveness thing- ended up being a good lesson.

Although I still felt Tracking Board should have not just ranted about how they hated it and should at least have given constructive or useful notes as to "why"...especially when they are paid to do so. My 2 cents.
Good luck.
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:51 AM   #4
TravisPickle
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Default Re: Coverage conundrum

Thank you guys. And yes – I might as well say it. It was the tracking board elf. I don't know how they vetted that reader but it is shameful that they are taking money for what is essentially an unjustified flogging. I always say that the worst combination Is ignorance mixed with arrogance, and this guy has it in spades.

I have been a professional writer for seven years, I'm in the guild and have never seen something quite so nasty. Generally I like to take criticism and apply it to my work. But if I did that with this criticism, I would be destroying what I thought was a damn good script.

And the irony is that most the time when people get defensive about coverage or criticism, I tend to think that they are simply in denial about the issues with their script. In this case it goes so beyond that, I truly feel that it was a waste of money and a part of me wants to point it out with whoever is in charge of that service. But of course how can I considering that the whole exercise is subjective. Oh well. Lesson learned. Never again!!!!
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:54 AM   #5
Danigirl
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Default Re: Coverage conundrum

I'm still a rookie in this business, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, but I do know that there are angry, jealous, bitter people out there. They may read something brilliant, yet they will tear it to shreds just because they don't want to see anyone else succeed because they, well, haven't.

But do take his criticism and see if any of it, in your heart of hearts, rings true. If what he says goes against the grain of your intuition, I'd ignore it and go with your gut instead.

If you'd like, I can PM you a reader who was very professional and she gave me some excellent notes and food for thought. It was well worth what I paid and I can honestly say I am glad I consulted with her because I can tell by her notes that she is a person of integrity and has a genuine desire to help people with their work.

Bottom line: go with your gut.

Last edited by Danigirl : 10-24-2016 at 09:31 PM.
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