Screenwriting : Professional Script Evaluation prices by Eric Sparks

Eric Sparks

Professional Script Evaluation prices

I am about ready to send a script off for a professional script evaluation, and I'm wondering what others have found is a reasonable going rate for the service. What I'm looking at is around $500-1000, depending on the level of thoroughness and detail. Seemed reasonable to me, but then I suddenly thought I had better at least ask some opinions. The editor is David Trottier, author of The Screenwriter's Bible. http://keepwriting.com/tsc/scriptev.htm Any thoughts?

Dave Trottier's Script Evaluation Services
Dave Trottier's Script Evaluation Services
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Mark Souza

Lucky you. One of the best. I'd value what he has to say and would jump on the opportunity. Money well spent.

Eric Sparks

sorry, it is an evaluation.

Bill Lundy

David's great, but there are cheaper and equally good options out there. Danny Manus and Ray Morton, for instance. I've used Ray and found his notes to be extremely thorough and helpful. And his basic rate is a lot less.

Jeff Tipton

Way too much...

Stage 32 Staff - Julie

Eric - we at the Stage 32 Happy Writers offer script coverage by executives who all currently are managers, agents or who work at production companies. You can chose specifically who you'd like to review your coverage here: http://www.stage32.com/happy-writers/coverage You can contact joey@stage32.com if you have additional questions, too.

Tim Judge

ERIC - YOU HAVE COPYRIGHTED YOUR WORK WITH THE us COPYRIGHT OFFICE FIRST, YES?

Ivana Massetti

David Trottier is very good! He wrote also a book that you'd read, it's very useful "Screenwriter's Bible" .In any case copyright your work before you send it out! Ok?

Eric Sparks

Yep. it is copyrighted.

Eric Sparks

thanks Bill and Alle, I will look into it. and thanks Julie, didn't even know about that. yeah, Ivana, I got that book first. found it incredibly helpful. only afterwards did I find out that he does script evaluations too.

Pinar Tarhan

Hi Eric, that's way out of my budget. I'm considering Stage32 Happy Writers evaluation, page awards and/or Doug Davidson (he is a member here- I really liked the sample he posted.) Even if I did have the budget, I'd probably get more than one evaluation at that price. I think Trottier is great, but for too expensive for just one evaluation. Whatever you choose, hope it works for you:)

Padma Narayanaswamy

Well do you think that after the evaluation your script will e produced . Is it a benchmark?

Pinar Tarhan

I don't know if the question was meant for Eric or others, but there are no guarantees. But getting an evaluation by someone who knows what they are talking about will help with the strengths/weaknesses of the script. I guess if they fall in love with the script as it is, they might consider recommending it. But the primary goal is generally to reach the best version of the script.

Niraj Kapur

Hi Eric, $500 seems a huge amount. I would recommend paying the $150-$200 most script editors charge for coverage/development notes since you will be doing many rewrites to your script. Good luck.

Howard Allen

Look at what I do which has the quality of Story Notes which is better for the writer than "coverage" price help listed above. And I have the same kind of reputation as the folks charging $1200

Padma Narayanaswamy

I wanted to know that and thanks for the reply . In that case why shell so much money? You can post in Zoetrope and other websites and the reviewer will do it free. It is only fair that you should review others.

Eric Sparks

well, Padma, I have gotten plenty of casual and amateur reviews/evaluations, and at this point I'm really only interested in professional evaluations. I was thinking about going with Trottier because I knew his work, from the book, and I know that he has lots of professional experience in this. I may be willing to consider cheaper alternatives, but only if I can be assured of the same level of experience and knowledge in the reviewer. I do appreciate everyone's suggestions and advice, as you are showing me just how many avenues there are for me to choose from. thank you.

Padma Narayanaswamy

In that case I suggest PHIL CLARKE, he has got a great resume . He has great credentials.He is also in stage 32, Above all he is prompt and helpful man.

Mark Souza

And I will point you to Pilar Alessandra http://www.onthepage.tv/2012/consultations/. She worked at Amblin Entertainment, was Senior Story Analyst at DreamWorks, and was the one who put "Saving Private Ryan on Spielberg's desk http://www.onthepage.tv/2012/biography/. I've had a consultation with her, and she is insightful. The most you will spend is $400, but there are other cheaper options. The caveat is she is very in demand and you may have to wait a few months. Good luck, no matter what you decide.

Laurie Ashbourne

Eric, it depends on what you're looking to get out of it. Are you looking for notes that will help you improve your script or are you looking for coverage that will have an influence to getting it in the right hands? If Dave is doing a page by page notes/ eval and his recommendations will actually get you somewhere, and you can afford it -- there's nothing wrong with the price. But if you're just looking for story help so that you can then improve it and pitch it etc. It's pretty steep. Many 'services' are out there for the buck, and will gladly stamp a script with a pass, rec, consider but it doesn't really mean anything and many, sadly, don't have the writer's best interest at heart. If you need more guidance feel free to reach out.

Howard Allen

I was rated No. 1 in a national survey and I don't charge that much. It's because I am a writer and producer and director as well, so I don't have to depend on Script Analysis to pay all the bills. The point is that it is possible to get professional help that is not what Studio types pay and still get more than fellow beginners sharing their critique with you online.

Howard Allen

Pilar is great. I have seen her at L.A. Screenwriter's Expos when I was there doing presentations as well. She is the real deal. She is like the development people I have as judges in my Contest Of Contest Winners.

Christopher Binder

Well hell I'll look at it and write up a critique for ya for free. But the next one will cost you $50 in advance.

Kevin Fukunaga

I don't know David Trottier, and his services might be great, but $500-$1000 sounds like a lot. I've got a short list of top readers on my site (as recommended to me by dozens of screenwriters who have used these analysts) - all of whom are much less expensive than what you're considering. If you're interested, you can see the list and descriptions of the readers, their services and backgrounds here: http://www.scriptsandscribes.com/script-coverage-services/ I'm not personally affiliated with any of them, but they're all former studio readers, development execs and/or story editors. They all come very highly recommended and offer a variety of services. EDIT: I just checked out the Stage 32 Happy Writers Coverage menu and while I can't vouch for their services personally, the fact that you can get read and covered by some legit managers and execs is pretty interesting. Best of luck!

Howard Allen

Check out my testimonials and rated No. 1 in national survey.

Andrew Penner

Honestly you're far better off spending the $100 dollars for a review and a couple months of hosting on the Blacklist. That way your script is in a place where it can be seen by people in the industry and if you get an unfavorable review you don't have to broadcast that. The website you linked to is charging a lot of money for a few pages of notes and a phone call from a guy with an unimpressive resume.

Pinar Tarhan

I'm currently hosting two scripts on The Blacklist. I used their review service for two different scripts. They tell you what's wrong with the script, what's right, offer their log line. It's one page. But it doesn't come with any suggestions on how you might go about improving it. Hosting one script per month is $ 25, and how much it will get read kind of depends on you getting stellar reviews (as in an average of 8/10 by the pro readers), and your tags. If you score one average review, and your tags (you tag the story with keywords to increase your chances of being found/read) aren't what people are searching for at the time, it may not help much. That said, I'll try one more review for each script and decide what's next from there.

Demiurgic Endeavors

I'm not sure if you're completely serious or baiting the sharks. I've paid for reviews on blcklst and tracking board b. I've also used spec scout and bluecat. Blcklst offers the least coverage. Basically you're paying for a ranking. If you get less than an 8 you basically wasted your money. Tracking board b is far more descriptive and you can opt for forum membership. Spec scout gives you the opinion of three reviewers. Although I know one reviewer glanced over my script because of the notes he gave. Bluecat gives short detailed notes. There's absolutely no reason for you to spend more than $400. I'm sure others who price their services above that amount will disagree. But unless their services guarantee a meeting offering a paid writing assignment my suggestion is research wisely.

Annina Lavee

The guy has a name and I'd say the price is pretty good.

Padma Narayanaswamy

Personally I feel that if you want to the script to be produced you should have a personal touch with the Producers or the readers of the production company should be impressed with the name . I am sure many are familiar with David Trottier. In that way you can be produced. Pl don't mistake me everybody including me will find our baby beautiful.

Lynn P. H. Adrian

Coverage prices depend on what you want. I have worked with three different people with varying degrees of success. Dave Trottier gave me 6/10 on my script (compared with all the scripts he has covered). Robert Flaxman was referred to me by a talent exec in Hollywood, Arthur McClen. Robert, per Arthur is "the best." He takes you line by line and yes--he is expensive $500.00 for the first ten pages. $1500 for a total screenplay coverage. (I stopped after the first ten pages--I had a problem with his style--but Arthur loves him). Linda Seger gave me a 4/10 (a few drafts later). I told her I was strapped she worked with me, she only works in checks, she called and we commiserated about Wisconsin (she's from Peshtigo). You will find the coverage expert who impels you to find your voice, to hone your page presentation, and who will give you the recommend you need to give your screenplay legs. Trust your process. I had my son-in-law's little brother tear me a new one on his coverage. And if it's not a good, not a great read, I need to work. Linda indicated that I need to have 5 people read it before I send it back. If there is anyone who would like to do an amateur coverage exchange, I'm in. Great thread. Thank you for the question Eric. Lynn

Howard Allen

I also got to know Linda Seger at L.A. Screenwriter's Expos when I was presenting too. She and I share the importance of working from the inside out first with our analysis clients. Outside in analysis can be formulaic and trivial. A writer's own process needs to be supported and honored because the characters and even the story are driven in the Subtext (my specialty as I started as a professional actor/director). Do Honor Your Own Process.

Mark Sanderson

I charge $250 and you get 5-10 pages of notes and a complete edit for format, typos etc. The cheap services will give you a summary that is no more than a few pages without detailed specifics. Do your homework when hiring a consultant and check their client testimonials, etc. Best advice, hire someone who has credits as a screenwriter and has been through the development process. Best of luck. Yes, Trotter is the man! His book is a must have for your book shelf.

Annina Lavee

Check out Howard Allen who's also a script doc--

Crystal Diane Stevens

I do script reads and can help you out, and if your genre isn't right for me, I know an excellent script reader if you need him instead. Please message me.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

If you're talking about Coverage... right here on Stage 32.

Danny Manus

I'd be happy to help as well. I charge $299 for basic notes (6-8 pages, plus grading sheet), $399 for Extensive Notes (8-10pgs). I run No BullScript Consulting and was ranked in the top 15 Cream of the Crop Script Consultants by Creative Screenwriting Magazine. I approach scripts a bit different because in addition to writing, I was also a development executive, so that's how I approach my clients work. Lots of good options on this site. But Linda Seger charges like $2000, so don't bother. But I wanted to make one important distinction - Coverage vs. Notes/Analysis. Coverage is a 3-4 page report that includes a synopsis and is usually written so no one else has to read the script. Notes are more detailed and are given so that everyone else will WANT to read the script. Happy to help or answer questions if you have any!

Howard Allen

Agree with Danny about Notes vs. Coverage. And I was rated No. 1 Cream Of The Crop in the same Creative Screenwriting National Survey and like Danny I don't charge an arm and a leg. Ask for my whole list of testimonials. I cannot reveal Prodcos who asked writers to ask for my advice too.

Danny Manus

Charging $500 for a review of 10 pages is obscene. I'd rewrite your 10 pages myself for less than that. I do a first act service for $100.

Howard Allen

I don't do first act service. No way to really help until I see what you are trying to do. I have done Diagnosis & Medication for completed Short Film scripts. We seem to be off topic of Eric Spark's original question?

James David Sullivan

I've had a course from Danny Manus before and some consulting from him. He does good work, his prices are reasonable, and he knows what he's doing.

Danny Manus

let me know where to send the check ;-)

James David Sullivan

Sshh! Don't mention money - the IRS is listening! ;-)

William B. Keller

Your best review is entering contests. If you place well or win, it's a good screenplay. If it never does well, you need to work on it.

Eric Sparks

Actually, William, I just entered the Search for New Blood screenwriting contest on here earlier today. :)

Kathaleen M. Brewer

I just found review services on this site under the Happy Writer's tab - for much, much less and done by film executives.

Howard Allen

Sometimes you get what you pay for and sometimes you get more. At http://scriptdoctor.com/ we were rated No. 1 in a national survey of screenwriters for script analysis. Some outfits charge a lot less but give a lot less. There is a big difference between Coverage of various kinds and what amounts to Story Notes-style diagnosis like we give (just look at the 3 kinds of feedback you get). Entrants into our Contest Of Contest Winners get highly valuable Coverage feedback from 2 professionals just for the entrance fee, for example. Some outfits give Lengthy coverage but on close examination, most of the feedback is boiler-plate generic nonsense. As a screenwriter myself, I worry about the sheer number of ways this business can take your money.

David Dogman Harvey

I'd enter a few screenwriting contest. Pay for the through evaluation. Compare the evaluators notes on your work. These people are trained and educated for this industry and are usually pretty sharp. They've helped me tremendously. It's cheaper and you'd get more then one opinion.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

I agree with David. Nicholl Fellowship and Page Award judges usually work for the industry or have a "script doctor/editor" background. I just got a critique back from a Page Award judge - eight pages and he gave reasons for each and every comment he made. (i.e. I learned a MONTAGE and a SERIES of SHOTS are not interchangeable.) I was also given several suggestions on how to improve the story's pacing. I missed the semi-finals by a few points, my lowest category score being the logline/premise. Well worth the money.

Howard Allen

At our Contest Of Contest Winners, it is all about the Evaluations for every entrant, which amount to more than $300 worth of development exec. story notes, more than it is about the scores, the points.

James Chalker

I'm really not trying to be a dick and I make no claim to be Dino De Laurentiis, Jr., but I just don't get it. David Trottier's IMDB page doesn't show any particularly impressive credits. He has two writing credits, a 1994 (apparently somewhat clever) Hercules video and a (fairly obscure) 2001 feature for which he was 1 of 3 writers. His only production credit on IMDB is the Hercules video. His biography looks impressive on it's face, but why isn't it reflected in the credits? It's certainly possible his comments can be helpful, but if he knows so much about screenwriting, why isn't he writing (or selling his own) screenplays? Again, it's possible I'm missing something here, but I really don't understand what you're going to get for your $500-1000. And while I focused on Mr. Trottier, I think this applies to many experts selling their services to screenwriters. Lots of people willing to take your money out there. Caveat emptor.

Padma Narayanaswamy

He has got a name and name always sells especially in the tinsel world.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

Is good "coverage" basically getting a good review by someone producers respect and whom they trust to make excellent judgement calls? In other words, they just "review" a script and tout it, but don't correct or make suggestions how to improve it?

Danny Manus

Yeah, basically. Along with a synopsis and a grading sheet.

Danny Manus

Again, I want to restate there is a big difference between Script Coverage and Script Analysis/Notes.

Howard Allen

Where are you from? In the industry there's a big difference between Coverage and Script Notes.

Danny Manus

I just said that ;-)

David Dogman Harvey

We're all not that technical. I'm old and this is new to me. I have problems with this and some of the jargon.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

i ya ya. So a writer needs a script doctor/editor first, then a reviewer/cover, then a manager, then maybe an agent, then a decent reader at a producer's office, all before anything really happens?? It's like in the end the script has become a hybrid of all these people.

Danny Manus

Actually, Kathaleen, you only need an editor if you are bad with spelling and grammar and can't do it yourself. But yes, youre going to get notes from everyone - peers, script consultants, a manager/agent, executives, the producers, the marketing dept, the director, the actors, the financiers, the line producer, and everyone else involved in making your movie. So if youre not open to notes, your script will never make it thru the process.

Donna S McCoy

Maybe entering a contest like Blue Cat would be cheaper.

Julie Basil Pierce

As a new screenwriter, I found working with a reputable script consultant after my first draft invaluable. The advice/edu/corrections over 4 revisions until it was polished ultimately cost less than a college course with the perks of an in depth focus on my story. Think of it as a professional soundboard for your project. I've made it part of my process.

David Dogman Harvey

I'm a new writer but did it for fun. People who could actually read a script loved my stories and thought they'd make good films. My motivation to make the effort towards selling a script is the two dreadful films I rented last nite. Just wish I could write this off as research.

Danny Manus

I am running a Summer Giveaway Special for another week still at No BullScript! Anyone who orders any Notes service before 8/17 will get a FREE Query Letter OR (just for Stage 32 members) a FREE Pitch Document Consultation and tweak (normally $75). So if you want to get your script ready but ALSO get your query or pitch document ready, THIS IS THE TIME! (I've helped about a half dozen stage 32 writers with their pitch docs already, and I've taken over 3000 pitches as an executive). Contact me or order today and mention this offer in your email!

Pinar Tarhan

I used the Blacklist, and it wasn't for me. Let me put it this way: the readers had some helpful notes, but the 50 dollars buy you a page of notes, which is not enough to give you all the help and suggestions you need. My script improved a lot more thanks to BlueCat Screenplay competitions' notes. For about 100 bucks, I entered in the competition, got feedback, resubmitted and got a second feedback on the improved version. I also used Coverage Ink and Stage 32's coverage services on the improved version, and got mixed results. (Consider with revisions (writer) and pass (script) - stage 32 vs. consider (writer) and consider with reservations (script) from - coverage Ink). This should show that if you can afford it, trying different good services gives you different perspectives and reactions. Now, I of course had a lot of questions about the comments, but Coverage Ink only allows a few short questions, and stage 32 coverage (the basic one) doesn't allow follow-ups. So I'm a bit divided on whether I should be pitching execs, or save a bit more and pitch/consult Coverage Ink and/or Stage 32 before. Just sharing my experience. I welcome your suggestions and tips :) And of course there's always this question: is the story the best version of the story you want to tell? I want to improve as much as possible, without changing the core of the story.

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