Screenwriting : Script Consultation by Andrea Celis

Andrea Celis

Script Consultation

So, I´m an amateur when it comes to screenwriting. I am also nineteen years old and barely just starting writing my firsts scripts. I obviosuly cannot afford to pay a script consultant but I need to find a way to know if I´m making progress or if I´m any good at this, for that matter.

I showed my script to the people close to me but they´re not involved in the industry, so they can´t give me any professional feedback.

Does anyone have any alternatives? Or should I start looking for a job? Haha.

Anthony Moore

Post you loglines under your profile, then ask if anyone would like to read one. You can also ask other screenwriters in your network if they would be willing to check one out. You don't have to pay for a professional read, just find someone who knows more than you.

Andrea Celis

Anothy, I have no experience with loglines. Do you think you could give me an example of what you´re talking about?

Pierre Langenegger

Andrea, I could have a look at a few pages for you if you like. Connect with me and we can take it from there.

Craig D Griffiths

Don’t pay a consultant yet (perhaps ever).

YouTube has heaps to watch and learn.

Read scripts from movies you love. Watch films scene by scene. Then think what the scene was doing, why it was there and how did the achieve what they achieved.

Andrea Celis

Pierre, that would be wonderful, thank you°

Rob Jones

You can try posting portions on Reddit's screenwriting sub. If it's a finished script you can get good feedback for free on Zoetrope, coverflyx, Reddit, talentville,

Christine Capone

Hi Andrea, do a search on the internet for samples of log lines. Check out IMDB as well and look at the log lines for movies that are in the same genre as what you are writing just to get an idea. A log line states who the protagonist is, the antagonist, the goal and the obstacles the protag faces in reaching that goal and it should be one sentence in length. Hope that helps : )

Andrea Celis

Thank you, Rob!

Andrea Celis

That´s a great suggestion, thank you, Christine!

Christine Capone

Andrea I just realized I was referring to someone else's comment re: log lines. Sorry about that. If you want anyone to look over your script, make sure it's someone you have researched and posting on here is good as well. Maybe sign up for a pitch : )

Craig D Griffiths

The offer I make anyone talking loglines. Contact me and I’ll send you my book.

Logline: the first step in selling your spec script https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07NFBVHGZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_CRWBDbT6YMD4C

Imo Wimana Chadband

Hi Andrea, glad to see you interacting and trying to learn the craft. That's the spirit! It seems you're now basically starting to learn the ins and outs of the craft, I suggest you read a couple scripts and get a feel of the format and how they're written. That's how I started at least, it teaches you a lot and may help clarify some basics to start out.

Being here and reading posts in the forum helps a lot too, a lot of wisdom is shared. Also, you seem really interested in learning the craft and trying to make leeway, that drive is noticed. If you're really serious about moving forward, I can take a look at some pages of your script. I'm in no way all knowing, but I can pass on the knowledge that others took the time to pass on to me. Send me a message when you're ready.

Nancy Fulton

Checkout wescreenplay.com. You can purchase screenplay coverage pretty cheaply from folks who do it all the time. If you specifically request feedback from folks who have a backgrounding developing the kind of projects you are writing for (i.e. worked for producers who do horror films, etc) you can get pretty targeted coverage.

Andrea Celis

Imo, thank you for the words of encouragement! I plan to learn everything there is to know about the craft and live off of it eventually. I can't think of anything else I love more than movies and writing.

I'm so grateful for the offer and I would appreciate it terribly but I don't want to bother you if you have a busy schedule!

Andrea Celis

Thank you, Nancy!

Nathan Smith

Check out the area around you for writers groups as well. There are also some online ones you can join for free too.

Andrea Celis

Thank you! Could you share some links with me? Because I've looked for online groups but I can't find any good ones.

Nikolay Kryazhov

Send it to me at nikodekoso@gmail.com (do not send final draft, just pdf) next week I have a time. If you nineteen years old and barely just starting writing my firsts script, you HAVE TO read first The "Cherry Orchard" You may do it here: https://www.weblitera.com/book/?id=294&lng=1&l=ru

Julia Petrisor

Andrea Celis as usual, I'm chiming in with pretty much what everyone else has said - of course, definitely connect with other starting out screenwriters. Read the recommended books (there are lots - I like Screenwriter's Bible, Save the Cat, Story), definitely read a lot of screenplays, get into a screenwriting Meetup or even a local course to your area. BUT, in terms of finding readers, you'd be surprised at how helpful it is to pair up with another writer, even if you're both starting out. In my opinion, if you can find just one other writer in a similar position to yourself you will both benefit from reading each other's work/ spurring each other on. (my only caveat would be to ensure that he person you pair up with is as hungry to learn craft as you are, so that you're always moving each other forward). Definitely no need to pay people to read.

John Ellis

The best way to get started is to watch movies that are similar to what you want to write, and follow along with the screenplay. A great resource for downloading top scripts:

https://www.scriptreaderpro.com/best-screenplays-to-read/

Pairing with a screenplay group or person is okay, but if they're at the same level, you might fall into both of you making the same mistakes and not knowing it. From among the poster here, I'd take them up on their offers to read your script - if they're more experienced than you.

Dan MaxXx

I’m going against the mob and say go get a job, a industry job, work with people who write for a living, make movies and tv shows. With a little $$, you can be selective and weed out the field. Don’t audition for business. Business auditions for you. Good Luck.

Karen Stark

You could check to see what's available in your area. There may be writers groups, government ran programs, even studios that you can get work experience at. Because when you understand the industry you understand your own part in it better. If you offer you time on a work to learn basis, you might find you soon get some paid work through it, which is always a bonus. Aside from that, reading scripts and watching movies help to develop an understanding. Reading books that explain structure help you better formulate good plots within the format of Screenplays. A screenwriting writers group would be good next step or a class. YouTube really helps if those aren't available to you though. When your works ready you'll know. You can also enter competitions and maybe get feedback through those.

Amber Greenlee

Syd Field's Screenplay is an excellent book to start reading to see the basic structure of things. It's like a textbook for screenplays. Once you know how to set up a story using his method you can break that format. There's also a book called Save the Cat that a lot of screenwriters right now are using as a bible. For me, that book lays out a story too formulaically but everyone has different methods and opinions on writing. Check it out. It might be for you.

Next, write! Write! Write!

Push out pages. Write when you're inspired, when you're not. Working writers have to write a lot when they're uninspired. Not all of these pages will be good. That's okay. That's why you have drafts and edit it down. Read and Re-read your own stuff. Read it out loud to see how it sounds.

You can use celtx.com and register for a free account to write your screenplays and store them. There are also a lot of great tools if you decide to pay for the pro package with them.

You're nineteen and you're asking the right questions. You're the perfect age for internships at studios (WATCH OUT for the unpaid kind). When I was your age, I cold-called my first job in movies which was an internship on these cute little shorts involving puppets. I learned a lot and it lead to other great things. If you want to write, write! If you want to make movies, you have Youtube before you to put it out there if there's nothing else.

The world is your oyster. :)

Jeff Lewis

if you want to write movie scripts there is a free template you can down load celtx is what its called all you need to start out writing your scripts

Bill Albert

Is there a local university you could take a screenwriting class in? Even if it's just the one class it'll give you a chance to meet with people in the same situation.

Patricia M Bates

Trebly is an amazing resource for doing the writing, it does formatting and is in my humble opinion as good as celtx

Dan Guardino

Andrea. Pierre Langenegger volunteered to read a few pages and I strongly suggest you take him up on that because he knows his stuff.

Tennyson Stead

Personally, I'd suggest simply writing five screenplays before you even worry about it. Build some basic writing habits. Get good at starting and finishing screenplays. Build some security with the process itself. At that point, you'll be in a good place to start implementing the advice of others - and to better judge whether that's the right advice for you.

Sam Borowski

Andrea, I've guided a lot of young writers. And, I might be able to put together an affordable package. If nothing else I am sure I can give you some worthwhile free advice on the career. Reach out to me. I also advise you check every person out on IMDb before hearing their advice. See what they've done, what's their history and who they've worked with.

Diane Meyer

Well a job will pay for screenwriting courses from www.screenwritingu.com and you can write screenplays in your spare time. Find some free to read screenplays online - that is a really big deal if you want to be a screenwriter.. Maybe someone here can tell you the links.

Debbie Croysdale

@Andrea Follow your passion. Some say study, some say get a job. My two cents is do both. There are excellent FREE scriptwriting tips on net plus as @Dan MaX suggested get a job in the field you are passionate about, its a wheels within wheels situation, the servant may become the master. Many successful people have been students, interns or employees in whatever field they wish to follow. Some my past screenwriting teachers do not charge for social network interaction with regards certain content. Scott Myers @intothestory has about 15 free screenwriting PDF’s which are very user friendly. John Truby has public videos and Linda Aronson will email you updates if sign up. Jurgen Wolff has a few interactive websites he does not charge for.

Andrea Celis

Thank you, everyone!

Cumberlain Rattlesnake

Go to Scriptrevolution, read hundreds of scripts and then experience will happen

Renuka Singh

Hi Andrea. You can try Coverfly's 'Peer to Peer Script Notes Exchange' https://www.coverfly.com/x/

Maló Polite Xavier

@Andrea Cellis I think there's a difference between knowing how to master a good logline and knowing what logline is, same as for synopsis.

Going to your question actually I would suggest you to read read read, but read as many screenplays as possible preferably of different genres as it will help you define your own path, specification (I will send the link for script download in your inbox). Myself before I could get the opportunity to study writing I used to watch workshops in YouTube, listen to podcast, Writers interviews as it help hearing from their experience.

Another point is, though there's a difference between writing a screenplay and crafting a novel I would still tell you that to give your project to someone who is not involved in the writing industry he/she will probably tell you to go finding a day job which may not be what you'd like to hear and yet you may not hear from one who is in the industry as they (respect beginners) mostly pay much attention on the content rather than the mass that may've constructed the story on the page we all know that scripts can be polished but if you quit it no one else will deliver your voice to the audience and if it is really your dream to become a Writer then this would be a coward decision.

Last point is, writing isn't something you learn today and tomorrow you're ready to deliver a clean page nop, nor to start your drafts this year and the next you have it on the producers hand to be filmed nop, I would dare to say that Writers write to sell their projects but still they definitely don't write because they sell them. Writing takes time the older you get putting ideas on the page the better you get to deliver a good tast to the audience.

My dear keep writing writing and writing while on the other hand your read read read produced screenplays. Myself I've grown to love reading produced screenplays than the movie per se. Keep writing and The Rest Will Follow.

Remember while the difficulty takes time the impossible just takes a little longer.

Lou Barone

Read John Truby: Or Google him. He explains Loglines in detail.

Rachel Paul

If you send me your best 5-10 pg scene I can give you at least my opinion to take or leave...

KC Allen

Everyone here is right. Learn to use screenwriting software, read the books, join online communities like The Script Lab and others, but also once you’ve done those things, practice your craft. I started by writing short scripts for NYC Midnight’s short screenplay contests. An entry fee gets you a weekend to write a few pages with several elements they attach, like genre, props, etc. Once everything is done, NYCM will send you feedback from 2 or 3 judges. It’s generally pretty decent feedback; I’ve only gotten one judge that really improperly reviewed my script. It’s a great way to force yourself to write AND get the feedback you desire.

James Robert

Advice to read as many screenplays as you can I think is very helpful. The more you read the more of an innate sense of what works and what doesn't you will build. Watching the corresponding films of the screenplays you are reading is also a great way to see what translates well from the page to the screen. I know you don't want to pay too much over the odds but it is also worth paying for coverage when you feel you are ready to share your script. That professional feedback can be vital. Try having a look at Industrial Scripts, https://industrialscripts.com/. There are also loads of great resources out there online for finding out about stuff like loglines and software etc, all you need to do is a quick google. That stuff is easy, it's the actual writing that is the hard part and practice and persistence is the best way forward there!

Joanne Butcher

Also, I would recommend getting a job, in the industry or not. I prefer the idea of earning money and paying the bills and not worrying about if your writing takes a year or two to start earning for you.

Mike Stork

Are you using a script writing program? I use Final Draft but it costs $. Not sure of your price range. I’m also writing my first ever screenplay after writing books and poems before so this is a new format for me. I’ve been working on this for three and a half years. Just when I think I’m done it demands more from me lol.

Djv Murphy

Never start a sentence wit "So"!

Nikolay Kryazhov

Hi Guys! "The Stage 32" every single day email me proposals to submit my script for review. May I ask you something? The question is: Do you really think is it a good idea to send them a screenplay for review? What is a point? Do these people just want to earn $ 49 to review my script, or they collect ideas for personal use? I don't have experience in The USA. In Russia it can be very bad idea to submit your work for reviews to somebody. What is your suggestion or experience about?

Djv Murphy

Do they have copy write laws in your area.....if not you can copywrite the script here in the USA See this site: https://info.legalzoom.com/copyright-book-internationally-22786.html Also see this site:

https://www.copyright.gov/about/ Once you have paid a small fee and secured your copywrite then you can protect your writings.

Erick Jimenez

That is a good start in showing your friends or family members because they are for the most part the people who are going to watch your film. I did the same thing by asking fellow classmates whether we are close or not to read my script. Every single person that read my script liked it and gave constructed criticism even if they do not have a general idea of how a script is supposed to look like. The feedback i got was about my story that is the most important thing you want to be good at. It does not matter how good your script format is if your story is garbage.

I am also an amateur screenwriter and am 22 years old. I have submitted my scripts to screenplay competition price range from $25-120 but I did not go too far in the competition. But I did get positive feedback from a judge he said " It's a great story about how things could change in a minute! It has a pretty strong premise, and the story is very promising, well done!" then he went to give me suggestion on how to improve my script. The jury member suggestion help me a lot in improving my script and I know I did not pay for my script to be reviews and receive feedback, plus the script that the jury read were not the original script I submitted so this person took the time to read the updated scripts instead of the one I actually paid to be looked at.

I would suggest to submit your script to screenplay competition at least start with the ones that charge less than $100 for your script to be review by a judge and provide a 1 to 2 page review of your script to just submit your script to the competition without the feedback. Regardless if your scripts move one to the semi-finalist of finalist, you might get lucky like i did and someone will give you feedback even if you did not pay for it.

I would also suggest using LinkedIn to connect with other writers, producers, directors, composer, graphic designer etc. I have been using it and have connected with a lot of people in a short amount of time. I learn how to communicate my idea and generally most people like my idea and what to meet up in person or by phone to learn more about my idea. Of course I have made mistake in losing connection but you live and learn and now I have someone else who is instead in my idea and I (hopefully) will have a video conference with a financial adviser next Monday and see why she is interested in my project and see what comes out from that.

Hope this helps.

Michael Dorr

Even if people close to you aren't involved in the industry, they can still be good gauges for your writing. I know a ton of people here will disagree with me, and some in very nasty ways (they've done it before), but showing it to friends and family isn't a terrible idea. To say they can't be a fair gauge to some extent is to insult your audience's intelligence. It'd be like saying "well you're not in the industry, so you clearly can't tell if this is quality". What exactly makes someone in the industry more qualified to judge the quality anyways? Critics in the industry are worthless compared to the audience. Doesn't matter what a bunch of snooty critics with their hands in the studio's pockets think. If your audience doesn't like it, you're out already.

Let me put it a few ways. First of all, there's two sides that matter when it comes to your writing.

#1 - Are you able to convey the story well? Script writing is all about telling a story, similar to a book, albeit not quite the same. In a book you have no limits for length or detail you can write. In a script, you have to work within the confines of how long the episode or film will run between dialogue and action, and of course the costs for filming.

#2 - How well does your audience receive the idea and story? Show it to a lot of people. If you're consistently getting about the same feedback from people, you've got a fair gauge of how well you're doing. The more people the better, too.

#3 - Is the idea feasible, and could it turn a profit? This is where someone outside of the industry isn't helpful. If your idea and script is good but producing it would be extremely expensive or simply very tedious, it won't get off the ground.

In any case, if you ever need anyone to talk to about all of this, I'm always willing to listen and give what advice I can.

A few more things, too. You have to ask yourself if this is really what you want to do. I started off going to school for Information Technology, and it bored me half to death. Started writing for the heck of it mostly because I was bored. Lo and behold, I felt like a fire was ignited and discovered my talent and love for storytelling. I took off from there, and now after a long time searching for information and slowly working at it, I'm really starting to get someplace. It's taken a long time and a lot of faith and research, but it's paying off.

Otherwise if writing and storytelling doesn't thrill and inspire you, perhaps you just need some more time to search for what you want to do. Whatever you do though, make sure you follow your heart. Too many people get into industries or jobs because they think they'll do well enough at them, or make tons of money. It should always be about what makes your heart truly happy.

Christine Capone

I totally agree with showing it to people who aren't in the industry because they are our audience and we have to see if they actually understand it. It has helped me tremendously. I have also shown my script to producers and their feedback has helped me as well. The producers I've sent it to have provided me with constructive criticism and worked with me on my script without having to be mean. I found a great mentor on this site!

Sam Borowski

You can certainly show it to people who are not in the industry - to see if, as audience members they get it. HOWEVER< friends and family are NOT the best judges. Also, for instance, if you have an exploitation movie that is in the vein of Quentin Tarantino, does that potential audience member like Tarantino's talky and violent films? If you have a horror script, are they fans of horror? Or classic horror, such as the Universal Monsters? Or 1980s slasher films? Also, do they know how to read a script? Or will the slug lines and other terms bother them? These are questions that have to be asked before just handing your script over to the lady next door. Also, by showing it to real producers, they can give you constructive criticism on everything from story, to what this film might be rated, to what actors are right, to how expensive would it cost to make. They can help give you a blueprint for success, if you will. Check out the producer on IMDb and see what he or her has made? What actors they've worked with? What budgets they've worked in? And, determine how helpful their advice can be. You should want filmmakers - ie producers, directors, even other writers - with a lot more experience than you to read it. Their suggestions can be priceless. ;) Also, have the script copyright in tact and register with the WGA East or West before you do those things. Break Legs! GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH! <3

Christine Capone

Well Sam I wouldn't give my script to the person next door : ) I didn't have friends read it nor family members. I gave it to someone who is a movie buff and who is also someone who loves to read about a variety of different topics. His advice was valuable and really helped me see my script from a different angle. He said my screenplay read more like a tv series and that I had too many characters, some unnecessary. So I revised it. Then a producer read it and said by page 50 he got bored. So I revised it again. haha. It's ongoing as you know.

Sam Borowski

Christine, sounds like you prequalified your non-industry reader and gave to a true movie buff. I can see how that would be helpful. And, I think it's great you listened to the advice of an experienced producer and were willing to keep revising it. In the long run, I think you'll see that it will be worth it. And, as I say to everyone, depending on costly your script is, don't necessarily shun going the indie route. MANY NAME ACTORS and PRODUCERS are willing to work on Indie Films. And with all the art-house theaters, online and DVD and BLU-RAY still around, there certainly is an audience for them. You'd be surprised how far any Indie can go these days. Anyway, glad to see you are so open and working so hard! Keep On Going! GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH! <3

Dan MaxXx

Sam Borowski Sam is right. Can't do the big Hollywood stuff without doing the small stuff first - shorts, indie features, local stage plays - the small jobs that build experience. Very few folks jump immediately to the pro league and begin working with established folks in front and behind camera. It's usually your own tribe doing your own stuff and if you're a special writer, they (Reps, SAG Actors, filmmakers) will want to work with you.

Sam Borowski

Dan, Absolutely correct. In fact it was my cousin, Danny Aiello, the Oscar-Nominated actor, who convinced me to do a short years ago. I wouldn't listen. Then, finally, I relented, and the short played in some major festivals, won some Awards and we qualified for the Oscars. Shortly after, I was offered a chance to direct and produce another feature film - this one, by far, had been my greatest budget to date. That was nine years ago. Never looked back. We Live and We Learn.

Staton Rabin

I'm a screenwriter and also a longtime freelance story analyst. If you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay, and can't afford the services of a qualified script analyst, many screenwriting contests offer at least some kind of minimal feedback from the script reader (most of whom are pros) included as part of the contest entry fee-- though in many cases you will be waiting a long time for the feedback. Look for reputable contests to enter that offer feedback at no additional charge and have "access"/introductions to film producers or managers as the prize. Some contests offer pro mentorship to the winners. If you live near a university and can enroll in a screenwriting class there, the teacher will presumably give you feedback on any pages you're permitted to read in class-- and your fellow students may provide feedback as well. If you can afford it, taking a screenwriting class taught by a qualified teacher has many benefits. In addition, a key skill for any writer is being able to assess the quality of your own work. One way to begin to learn how to do that is to read lots of great screenplays that got produced and were successful, profitable films and also seeing the movies made from those scripts. Watching great movies and studying them like a scientist to see what makes them tick is also important. Naturally, screenwriters should always have a "day job", and that's the first order of business. Having financial stability is essential to any career in the arts. As a story analyst and screenwriting contest judge I can tell you that scripts written by aspiring writers and pros are getting better and better. So it's important to really learn your craft, get good feedback, rewrite (but only if the advice you received and your own instincts are both correct), and always assume that you have to give a script your absolute best effort-- because others will. Learning how to come up with a structurally viable concept or logline for your film, and making absolutely sure that it works before starting to write your script, is a crucial first step in the process. The concept or logline must be structurally sound and compelling (and, preferably, have at least some commercial appeal, though this is not mandatory), because if it's not working the screenplay won't work either. It can save tons of time for a writer if they never embark on a script until the logline is perfect, and a good story analyst can tell almost as much from a one or two-sentence logline as they can from reading and evaluating the screenplay based on it. Keep writing, and best wishes in your quest.

Eric WC Harmon

I totally understand wanting to hear someone validate what you’re working on. Especially if you tend to be inherently good at things, it can be frustrating in something like screen writing where anyone reading your work is looking for flaws. That being said, try not to put so much pressure on yourself. You’re 19 and you said you’re new to writing scripts. This isn’t like writing for any other media. Read as many scripts as you can and study them. I’d be happy to take a look at your work

Patrick Peter

Hi Andrea, screenwriting is fun. When I say is fun, I mean it gives you free room to create what you feel. But before you begin writing, I advice you to learn the rules, first thing. Sharing with you how I began.

Here you have the rules and formats: https://www.storysense.com/format/transitions.htm.

When you have that at fingertips:

Go ahead and read produced scripts as much as you can, most especially award winning. You'll be surprised how good you will be!

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