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Why Feedback Is Vital for Every Screenwriter

June 28, 2024
8 min read time

Getting feedback on what you’ve written is vital to the screenwriting process. You will likely rewrite your script a few times after reading it. However, after you’re happy with what you wrote and decide your script is finished, it’s still a good idea to get feedback from different people—both people you know and industry professionals—and be open to any constructive criticism or notes they have.

The screenwriting marketplace is highly competitive and when you’re presenting your script to the industry, you want to feel confident it’s the best version people are reading. Not only will this increase the chances of you getting representation and selling your script, but you’ll also develop a necessary skill if you want to become a professional screenwriter.

Getting Notes Is Part of the Job

As I’ve written in many past articles, getting notes and addressing them in a rewrite is a big part of being a professional screenwriter. Therefore, you can think of getting feedback as one of your primary job duties.

No one working in the film industry views a screenplay—regardless of its quality—as a finished work. It’s a blueprint for a film and should be thought of as “a fluid document.” How comfortable you are with receiving feedback—even when it’s on the critical side—will factor into whether or not you sustain a long-term screenwriting career. The more open you are to feedback, the better you will become at addressing notes. Hopefully, this will lead you to various job opportunities.

The above mindset will also make you a stronger and more skilled screenwriter.

Read More: 5 Screenwriting Insights from a Professional Script Reader

A Woman Holding Book and a Pair of Glasses; Why Feedback Is Vital for Every Screenwriter

The Benefits of a Different Point of View

In general, being open to different points of view helps you to be a more intelligent and well-rounded person: the same carries over into screenwriting.

Although it’s important to follow your creative instincts and to have a strong voice as a writer, we don’t live in a vacuum: the success of your script will ultimately depend on other people and their reactions to it. You might think a certain joke is funny, but what if it doesn’t land for people? You might find a scene you wrote emotionally moving, but what if it doesn’t resonate with readers in the same way?

This is why it’s helpful to get a general consensus. If you give your script to five people to read and four out of the five have a problem with a certain scene, character, or plot point, chances are others will feel the same. The more feedback you get, the greater the consensus. This is why the major movie studios do test screenings of their films: they’re looking to learn what works for people and what doesn’t.

Think of feedback as a test screening for your script and it can begin at home.

Feedback From Family and Friends

Once you’ve finished your script, one of the first things you should do is give it to a couple of trusted friends, family members, your partner or spouse.

Ideally, you want to pick people who are positive and encouraging of your screenwriting. You’re looking for constructive criticism, not negativity or any feedback that’s going to leave you disillusioned. Also if you can choose people who are movie fans (they don’t need to be full-fledged cinephiles) and who enjoy reading, you’ll likely get more useful feedback. They should have a general idea of your script’s genre and be able to communicate their opinions.

But what if you want to go out of your circle to get feedback? Are there industry professionals who will read your script and give you their thoughts?

Five Women Laughing; Why Feedback Is Vital for Every Screenwriter

Get Professional Notes on Your Script

As stated above, it’s important to get feedback from family and friends before sending your script to agencies and management companies. However, there are also script coverage services that can help aspiring screenwriters get their scripts further “in shape.”

Final Draft partners Coverfly and WeScreenplay provide such services. For a reasonable fee, these companies will connect you with professional script readers in the film and television industry, who will give you detailed coverage and notes on your screenplay or TV pilot. Readers are chosen by their experience within the industry and they’re extremely knowledgeable about their selective genres. As a result, their feedback will likely mirror that of other industry professionals (e.g., agents, managers, producers, studio execs, etc.).

If you want to know how Hollywood is going to react to your screenplay or TV pilot, these script coverage services are a good way to find out and the feedback they provide can help you improve your script and increase your chances of success.

You can also get notes directly from Final Draft 13 via the new Get Notes feature.

Go to File and click on Get Notes. This will take you to the WeScreenplay website, where you’ll see the different price tiers for script coverage and the categories: Features, Television, Shorts, and Treatments.

A group looking at a laptop in an apartment; Why Feedback Is Vital for Every Screenwriter

WeScreenplay is Hollywood’s #1 script coverage service. They offer high-quality notes from professional readers with super fast turnaround and affordable prices. You can choose feedback tailored to your needs and project, so you can get actionable notes that will help you revise your work to the best it can be. Final Draft and WeScreenplay enhance your writing and help your script get noticed.

If you want to receive more feedback from industry professionals, you can also enter your script into a screenwriting contest like Final Draft’s Big Break Screenwriting Contest. In addition to numerous prizes (including meetings with top managers, producers, and studio execs in the film and television industry), contest winners receive detailed script coverage from Big Break readers.

After receiving professional feedback and rewriting your script accordingly, you’ll feel confident to “go wide” with your script (i.e. circulate it to as many industry professionals as possible). You put in the work, you received the notes and you took your script to the next level.

Whether or not your script sells, you’ve undergone the full process and have taken a big step toward becoming a professional screenwriter!

Read More: Weekend Writing Inspiration: 6 Tips On Navigating Script Feedback

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