Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

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  • bmcthomas
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    My scripts are cheap whores who will spread their pages for anybody.

    I don't live in California (yet) and I don't know many other screenwriters. Nor do I have unlimited funds to pay for reads. So I take what I can get. You don't have to be a writer to know if a joke isn't funny to you, or a character is unlikable or an ending is contrived.

    I don't necessarily give the same weight to all opinions, but I don't dismiss any of them outright, either. I've had friends with no experience in film other than watching movies give me invaluable feedback.

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  • ChristopherCurtis
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    Great topic. Here is my view on it all, some of which was already discussed and mentioned.

    Personally I like getting feedback and notes. Depending how hard you scour the internet, you can get services from 40 bucks to 400. It depends on how thorough the feedback you want is.

    I like using the "judges feedback" when entering contests, you get it "free" with your submission, some of them offer even more feedback, detailed notes, etc.

    Currently we are finishing our re-write #2 of our Christmas script.

    The feedback that I got from say 6 different companies/coverage/people has been highly positive overall. I see many similarities that ring throughout..such as "make your character more engaging and with Christmas spirit, there is opportunity such as..." or the continuity issue with,,,,,,doesn;t match up.. so, we take all the feedback, re-read it, and re-write accordingly.

    as for a non writer giving feedback, i don't think that does any good, because the person is just reading it like a book, a big picture view.

    such as my family..they read it and think its "a cute, family, friendly, christmas movie".

    so, i would stick to the pros, people with proven history of writing success, those who have sold scripts, etc.

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  • GI_Jeep
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    Scriptgal

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  • TravisPickle
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    I have two groups of people I get notes from.

    My reps (manager, agents) and my industry friends.

    Most of my friends are either writers, directors, producers, or very movie-savvy people.

    The notes from my reps usually steer me into something structurally bullet proof. I have learned to appreciate that angle but it's good to keep your vision in mind as well (assuming you want to do something a little less predictable).

    The notes from my industry friends are crucial to my process.

    I give good notes. But it takes me a long time to put them together. Easily 4 hours. That's something to keep in mind. Some people will spend more time than others. They are walking into a half-finished building by reading your early drafts. So when you get notes and they are vague, or generic, that's probably because the person did not have a lot of time on their hands.
    Last edited by TravisPickle; 12-28-2012, 11:26 AM.

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  • Manchester
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
    [clipped]
    Ronaldinho, thanks.

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  • Centurio
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    1) Join a writer's group
    2) Screenplay Mechanic

    Both were and still are essential to my progress.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    Originally posted by Manchester View Post
    I'm intrigued as to why the actors do this. Any insights you can provide?
    It's fun.

    One of the actors describes it as "an acting jungle-gym." They get to play - experiment, have fun, without worrying about making someone happy. She's told me it's the most freedom - and then often the most fun - she ever has as an actor.

    Furthermore, while they're all very very good and all work with some consistency, they're mostly a little older than most of the casting around, so they don't tend to get a lot of meaty roles. They care about the craft and have skills, so they want to use them. It probably helps them stay sharp.

    It's also a mutual support group. If we think writing is hard from that standpoint, acting is probably even harder because the rejection is more immediate and more personal. Having a peer support group in that way is probably helpful for them.

    And yes, there are relationships being built. Certainly they would be high on my list for any role I had that they'd be appropriate for (and a couple of independent features have come from the writing group in the past five years, and we also have someone who just sold a pilot pitch and another staffed writer) not so much "because they're my friends" but rather because they're good and I know what they can do.

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  • carcar
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    As an actor who's been part of many reading groups, long before the writing started:

    The chance to discover new material.
    The chance to take a crack at a part before anyone else does.
    The chance to discover a new writer. (And hope he remembers you later, when he gets his own break.)(Actors are filled with hope.)
    The chance to improve your cold reading skills.
    The chance to hone your own critical skills.

    And of course, all of that is also networking.

    Leave a comment:


  • Manchester
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
    I'm part of a really amazing group. We meet once a week in a theater, and have a group of actors. Every week, four writers get 25 of their pages cold-read, and the actors are good enough to really help you see it work.
    I'm intrigued as to why the actors do this. Any insights you can provide?

    (And the address and meeting times? Yeh, I'm envious.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Ronaldinho
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    I'm part of a really amazing group. We meet once a week in a theater, and have a group of actors. Every week, four writers get 25 of their pages cold-read, and the actors are good enough to really help you see it work.

    Then we usually spend 20 minutes or so discussing the pages.

    So the first feedback I get is actually seeing my work performed. It's an incredibly valuable perspective. Being in a room listening to the reaction as people you respect watch your work is amazingly helpful. (The writers are all in occasional-pro or talented-amateur level.)

    Mostly the comments are useful as a reality check. Did I tap-dance around a problem successfully or not?

    I still have a few people I send scripts to for a whole-script before-I-go-out check, but I'm phasing that out. Again, the real purpose is a sort of idiot check: is there something big that I'm missing because I'm too close to it?

    But it's been a couple of scripts since that process really yielded anything profound, so I'm considering phasing it out. At this point it's as valuable as a way to maintain relationships as it is to meaningfully impact my writing, if not more so.

    Leave a comment:


  • Knaight
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    This is one of those things you just need to trust your gut on. Like other posters have said, looking for common things among reviews can be very helpful. However, there will also be times where a crucial note comes from a single person. As you continue to write and refine your chops, you will get better at taking notes and making them useful. The important thing is to be open to others' opinions and to be constantly working to improve.

    Leave a comment:


  • TheConnorNoden
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    I know some people don't trust the feedback of non-writers but 99% of your future audience are non-writers. They can offer good opinions as long as it's honest.

    Leave a comment:


  • mikejc
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    I think this can be a difficult question to answer. Ultimately, the only feedback that matters is from those in the buying chain--agents, managers, producers and their readers.

    Similar to you:

    I've had a pro here tear my opening pages apart and then had a 30 year veteran (mid 6 figure script doctor and creator of many long running network series) tell me his critique was baloney and that the pro's own scripts were boring, so ignore it.

    Who was right?

    Hard to say.

    My experience is that pro script coverage services give very good feedback. the people mentioned on the forum and The Writer's Store are good.

    Leave a comment:


  • MJ Scribe
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    There are tons of services but i'd trust Andrew, the Screenplay Mechanic.

    You can tell from the lengthy thread on his services that he truly tries to help folks here at DDPro. As for me, his coverage is critically helpful as I write on.

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeBanks
    replied
    Re: Who to get feedback from, what feedback do you trust?

    My writer group members. Find people at or slightly above your current level of expertise and who are equally ambitious and serious about writing as a career. And who hopefully know how to give and take notes in a constructive way. Do that for about five or ten years and then see where you are at with your craft.

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