Knowing when you're ready...



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  • Knowing when you're ready...

    I know that there is no easy way to answer this, but with each passing day I can't help but look back and think: perhaps I did attempt to market myself/script too early... what seemed like a good idea at the time, having been a decision I deemed to be sufficiently calculated at the time, now seems to have been a bad one...

    Though, isn't it difficult to tell if you don't test the water?

    How can one tell if they're ready? There will always be something one can do better in their script, in their writing, when should one attempt to contact producers/agents, etc. with word of their script?

    I'm a very patient person but can't help but feel that I need to chalk up some of my screenwriting-related regrets to lack of experience - but that's OK - mistakes need to be made, I'm much better now.

    On another note... is it wrong to look at one's script and like it? I know it sounds weird, but sometimes liking it too much is synonymous with not being able to see it objectively perhaps... do many of you here have a hard time disliking your work, even months after when looking back on it?


  • #2
    Re: Knowing when you're ready...

    I like to constantly get feedback from a number of different sources.

    This allows me to see it for what it truly is.

    However, saying that - it is never going to be ready.

    People will always dislike this and that and when it comes down to it you need to know what works and what doesn't.

    I would also advise you to let it sit for a couple of weeks after completion before sending it out. This is common advice but it is rarely done in practice.

    Too often people rush to make deadlines and it goes out with far too many problems.
    I wanna tell you about the time I almost died....


    • #3
      Re: Knowing when you're ready...

      use a script coverage service, perhaps? caveat emptor though: do some legwork on the service yr paying $ to.
      " Life is high school with money. " Frank Zappa


      • #4
        Re: Knowing when you're ready...

        Chances are that you are not ready.

        The only real way to find out is to take your script out and hope for the best.

        Fortune favors the bold - Virgil


        • #5
          Re: Knowing when you're ready...

          I've also felt this before. The problem is, when you're sending out your script for feedback, the people who are reading it know this. So even if they all and all like the script, they're going to find and nit-pick things in the script to change "more" to their liking. There will always be things that need changing. And even with feedback, you'll have someone who just doesn't like the script, no matter how good it is.

          I say... write it. Rewrite it. Send it out for some feedback. Change accordingly and, all and all, if you're happy with the script and the only feedback you're getting is random small complaints, then send it out. But make sure you truly are happy with it. And I'll repeat what someone else said above, sit on it for a while. You'll be surprised at the problems that are seen with a refreshed pair of eyes.

          Hope that helps a little.
          Things happen twice. The first is in your mind.


          • #6
            Re: Knowing when you're ready...

            There's a point when feedback from respected and trusted peers crosses from substantive criticism that requires large blocks of the script to be reconceived to niggling details that would make the script marginally better. When you cross that divide with a script is when it's "good enough" to start sending out.

            The caveat, of course, is that your respected and trusted peers truly deserve your respect and your trust.



            • #7
              Re: Knowing when you're ready...

              Check this out (from the Wordplay message board archives):

              I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!


              • #8
                Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                >Is it wrong to look at your script and like it?
                I look at old work and think that some parts are pure genius.
                The problem is that those 'some parts' are way too small, and buried in 110 pages of klunky setup.

                >Use a script coverage service, perhaps ?
                I heard some good things about the AWG script review service.

                New blogposts:
                *Followup - Seeking Investors in all the wrong places
                *Preselling your film - Learning from the Experts
                *Getting your indie film onto iTunes
                *Case Study - Estimating Film profits


                • #9
                  Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                  Originally posted by Hazeem
                  is it wrong to look at one's script and like it?
                  Of course not. If you don't enjoy your own work then why should someone else? However, your point about it standing in the way of objectivity is a valid one. You have to be willing to kill the bits you *love* to service the story.

                  Originally posted by Hazeem
                  do many of you here have a hard time disliking your work, even months after when looking back on it?
                  Disliking? Probably the wrong word for it. Though often, especially on things that have only had a couple of drafts, I groan occasionally while reading. But hey that's the purpose of redrafting


                  • #10
                    Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                    My tip on this very subject....


                    - Bill
                    Free Script Tips:


                    • #11
                      Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                      You need to be getting feedback all along, from friends and strangers alike. You need to learn how to discern good feedback from bad, honest from friendly. You need to observe the changes in the feedback through the months and years. Then, as Harry said, you'll be in a better position to see how the world at large is going to view your work.

                      Bill mentions contests as a form of honest feedback. My experience, contest readers aren't always the best judges. I've done really well in contests with scripts I know now aren't very good. They're well-written, they're just not great stories.

                      I've completed ten scripts now, and I think I can tell what works and what doesn't. Unfortunately, none of those ten scripts does. Some day, maybe I'll write one that does. I think I'll know it.

                      About liking your own work--we tend to be drawn to the scenes we loved. We look at one of our scripts and see the cool scenes or funny dialogue and we ignore the bad stuff. Other people who read it, the bad stuff is what they see first. Sometimes it's all they see.


                      • #12
                        Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                        Hazeem says, "How can one tell if they're ready? ... when should one attempt to contact producers/agents, etc."

                        Feedback is the number one tool that a writer uses to find out if his script is ready. Even pros use feedback.

                        I didn't have the same experience as nickj with contests' feedback.

                        I had a script reviewed by my peers on Zoetrope and one out of the five reviewers mentioned a problem with tone.

                        Well, when you have a writer who's passionate about what he's written, one voice out of five isn't necessarily overwhelming evidence that in fact there's a problem.

                        I entered it in a contest that gives feedback. It advanced, but the judge said in the feedback that it would have scored higher if not for the problems with tone.

                        Scored higher? Damn, now I'm convinced there's indeed a problem. There was another voice that mentioned the tone problem. An improtant voice, but luckily I found this out before I sent it out to the industry pros.

                        The following link is for a thread I posted a while back about the process I go through to make sure my script is at a professional level before I send it out into the marketplace:



                        • #13
                          Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                          If you dont know, you ain't ready.
                          "Entertaining the world is a full time, up at dawn, never ending siege, the likes of which you will never fully understand."
                          Billy Thrilly 2005


                          • #14
                            Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                            billy says, "If you don't know, you ain't ready."

                            Give Hazeem a break with the negativity. He just wanted to know how a writer decides when his script is strong enough to send out.

                            I'm not a 100% positive that my scripts are ready unless I go through a feedback process. To get an objective opinion.

                            You were so sure there were no flaws or weaknesses with every script you've written that you didn't need an objective eye?

                            If you've sent your script out for feedback, then your mantra (If you don't know, you ain't ready) is bull, because if you knew, then there'd be no need for feedback.

                            After I've gone through a thorough feedback process, then I know.


                            • #15
                              Re: Knowing when you're ready...

                              I'll know I'm ready when Vig tells me.
                              "Tact's just 'not saying true stuff.' " - Cordelia Chase