Writing is often a lonely pursuit – it can be like working in the dark in an isolate room. Daring to shine a light on it, for others to see and judge, is incredibly difficult and personal.
So many writers I know, never share their work for critique other than by people who will tell them how good they are – and I understand that completely. Screenplays are an incredibly personal thing and when someone picks holes in them or shines their own light on the many deficiencies a first draft will often contain, it can be hugely disheartening
But rejection and feedback are an essential part of this craft – and learning to pick out what is helpful from the mess of feedback one ordinarily gets, is a challenge. But it is worth it. Sending it to well-meaning sycophants may be helpful for the ego, but deep down, what we all need is hard, impassionate critique.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions apparently… a breakfast that makes you feel a little queasy – so send your work to people who will be blunt, but positive in their feedback, before you enter into competitions and see what response you get.
And never be afraid to ask for that feedback. I’ve lost count of the number of times my screenplays have been saved by someone spotting a plot hole or character behavioural inconsistency (never mind typos and grammatical errors). You can ignore the feedback you don’t agree with (unless of course one or more person has given it, then they might be right!).
My very first screenplay was critically destroyed, numerous times by pompous, paid, reviewers. But in amongst some of the painfully smug and in some cases, ridiculous nit-picking, there were many kernels of truth.
When I give writers feedback, I never sit on a pedestal. My feedback is honest, blunt, helpful and positive and comes with potential solutions to the problems the screenplay may be facing – if indeed there is any, because I don’t give feedback for feedback’s sake. I’ve read some amazing screenplays and that’s the feedback I have given.
If you would like some feedback on your script, because either you think it is ready for a competition, or you think maybe it needs some input or help, then feel free to send me a note using the contact form – and maybe I can help you out.
In the meantime, keep writing.