Screenwriting : The Wonderful World of Feedback by Tiffany Johnson

Tiffany Johnson

The Wonderful World of Feedback

With all the work and effort we put in as writers, I thought I might share my feelings on when one receives feedback:

What WE see as precious, sensitive, tortured writer souls:

Reader Comment: While we appreciate your effort for our contest we fell that it would be best that you stick to your day job (if you are lucky to have one, great, if not sucks for you!) as to not flood our dear and precious motion pictures industry with nonsense and deterioration of the integrity of our medium. This all of course based on your very obvious lack of skill. This read really was quite a waste of our time, (I’d much rather have my cat scratch me in the eyeballs and subsequently poor lemon juice in my eyes then to have to read this again). And I do believe that some years have been taken off of my life from reading it.

As a result we have BANNED you from any additional future entries.

The feedback ACTUALLY given:

Reader Comment: This was very well structured and has potential to be a very original and evocative script. Let’s focus on the villain’s backstory a bit more, and try to connect what turned him into the deranged person that he is (however quite entertaining I must say!) today. Each character in the story had a very unique voice and strong sense of character. A very enjoyable read. I would definitely look forward to the improvements in the future.

No? Maybe just me?

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Take contest feedback with a grain. What you received seems very general. I think you need more input to determine what the reader meant by This was very well structured and has potential to be a very original and evocative script.

Tiffany Johnson

Hey there Phillip this was a satirical joke for laughs to poke fun of writers being hyper sensitive. Cheers!

Claude Gagne

Nothing bugs me more than having someone, anyone taking advantage of writers trying to make a go at making it into the film business. They're everywhere. I would say 95% of them are there for the money. I entered one contest and received my answer. Because they advertise doesn't mean they're legit. Beware of the scammers.

Kiril Maksimoski

Learn to accept rejection. It's the part of the job.

CJ Walley

Great post, Tiffany Johnson. I'm sure all writers empathise with this feeling deep down, even if they don't admit it. Many people say, grow a thick skin but I actually think creatives need to remain as vulnerable and sensitive as they can get away with.

That said, we need to be careful we don't blame ourselves and our neuroticism too much. There's a lot of highly insensitive people out there (often peers) who get a kick out of giving creatives crushing feedback under the guise of tough love.

Tiffany Johnson

Kiril Maksimoski Lol. This is a satrical post. Satire, Humor. I know most of us are perpetually serious on here 24/7 to show we are all the creme'de'la creme. But I think it helps to have a personality and sense of humour in our industry. And not be so uptight every now and again. I never wrote anything about villans. Nor would I ever post actual private feedback on a public forum (just me and who does that?) But just as sensitive as writers can be (as I suggested above). When you get NO feedback and everything is super nice that's when you should actually worry.

Anthony Moore

If ten people read your script, you will get ten different opinions. If you have worked hard to learn the craft and put your heart and soul into a screenplay, then even if nine are negative, go with the tenth one.

Kiril Maksimoski

Tiffany Johnson I was refereeing in general. Some can ditch you politely other don't (those are more precious ones). Not receiving feedback at all is also common occurrence especially on cold pitches. Although we, writers usually tap each others shoulder It's unfortunate how many newbies actually quit after receiving only few dozen rejections. It would take couple more hundreds maybe before you hit the spot... now, that ain't funny for most, so I salute your cheeriness over it :)

WL Wright

lol Tiffany

Rosalind Winton

Tiffany, haaa haaa, brilliant, that would make a good sketch, the first time I received feedback, that's exactly how I felt until I read it through about 20 times and realised the feedback was actually really good, with great advice that made me a better writer :)

Geoff Wise

Tiffany, loved this post and other recent posts. As someone who's often in the position of giving the feedback, I worry about giving too much that could discourage the writer, not knowing if she/he will take it well. When I can, I try to make the feedback a conversation, so I know how to frame it. Everyone's busy, but it's a shame that most of these interactions are one-throw-over-the-fence, one-throw-back, slam, we're done.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy


Wall done!

Rutger Oosterhoff

Some interesting notes on how to win a screenwriting competition from "scriptfella": First ten pages of a screenplay revised:

Michael A Cantu

Loved this post! I will say this, I have experienced a very horrible review of my work, as a director, when I entered one of my first short films into a competition and they literally wrote back, "Why did you bother?" I was like, oh, everyone encounters a jerk now and then. For the most part, the reviews that I have received since then have been extremely insightful and helpful to the restructuring of the narratives that I have created. Plus, I've grown a much thicker skin and can laugh off statements like that.

CJ Walley

Yeah, directors get it tough. It's one thing to get critical feedback from a low rent reader via email, it's a whole other to get torn to shreds in the LA Times when there's your entire public reputation and someone's investment on the line.

Erick Freitas

You can't be a professional artist if you can't hear "you suck" 90% of the time.

Dan MaxXx

If you can’t write for a living, be a reader. Pays bills. Lots of MA/Lit college degree folks as Story Editors & Dev Exes.

Kiril Maksimoski

If no script sells in next 10 years, I'll be consider it as my last resort, Dan :) ...and having a second full time job aside...just in case.

Tiffany Johnson

Kiril Maksimoski I'll go out on a limb here and say that most successful screenwriters made it under 100 scripts. But if it takes someone that many, then so be it!

Dan Guardino

Tiffany. There is no magic number but people who did break in had an average of about nine screenplays under their belt when it happened. When I started out I didn't think my screenplays were any good so I set my goal at writing a dozen and if I didn't have any success by then I was going to throw in the towel.

As far as feedback goes I never paid or asked for feedback so I never got any.

Kiril Maksimoski

Tiffany, you're probably right. I was talking about enduring a large number of rejections or bad feedback's for that matter. Anyone made it over 100 or plus will likely see the light in the end of the tunnel. Writers should consider it a test to power of their will and the ability to adjust. After all, fortune favors the bold...endurable in this case :)

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