Screenwriting : What's the worst feedback you've received on a screenplay? by Zorrawa Emily Ann Jefferson

It's Introduce Yourself Weekend on Stage 32! Who are you? What have you been working on? We want to know! Head over to the Introduce Yourself Lounge and network with your fellow creatives - you never know when you'll make a connection that will change your career!

What's the worst feedback you've received on a screenplay?

Mine was that I'm not talented enough to be a real writer and My recent pitch rejection saying its like a kid wrote this. Sometimes I wonder why I keep writing since I get such cruel feedback ;/

Peter Dowd

It doesn't sound like they gave you very constructive feedback. Did they mean it felt like a kid wrote the pitch or the screenplay? I recently blew a live pitch pretty badly, waited 3 weeks to hear back that my idea was confusing. Just keep writing. Never stop writing and working on improving pitches, and scripts, scenes, dialogue, structure. Don't let someone make you feel like you should stop.

CJ Walley

Perhaps not the worst but certainly the most ironic. In 2013, I had a Black List reader slam one of my scripts due to the location. This year, I was less than ten miles down the road with production trailers and a stunt team.

All amateur screenwriters need to know this; the vast majority of people who want to give you feedback want to do it to knock you down and build themselves up. The sad thing is, most of us are so desperate for validation, we'll go as far as to pay to be insulted.

I can't tell you how many times I was told I was a bad writer before I broke in.

Here is an article I put together on feedback and how to determine if it's good quality or not.

Steven Michael

Don't take it personally, even when the critique is personal. Blow it off. Trust yourself, be true to who you are, and work diligently at the craft. Today's market seems to want simplicity and emotion. Write simply, and simply write.

Geoff Wise

I had a funny one on Blcklst -- it was obvious from the time stamps of downloading and review post that the reader had spent <65 minutes on the review, and had entirely missed some of the plot elements -- good news was that Blcklst agreed with me that the review was hasty and they gave me another one no charge.

Eric Sollars

I've gotten so much negative feedback I can't remember the last good feedback. My worst was the reader who asked me why I even took the trouble to write about a jerk. It's the way of the world.

Louis Tété

Receiving hard criticisms from someone who won important awards, who had many scripts went to production, who has been in the industry for so many years...in short from someone who can back it up is something i don't mind because that person knows what he/she's talking about. However receiving feedbacks from lil players is something i don't pay much attention. And CJ Walley is right, there're so few spots that if that person (reader) can take out of the race just for pleasure, he/she will.

Steve Sherman

There's a world full of frustrated screenwriters out there taking their lack of success out on others. Try to find the good in the work and point that out. Leave the rest to the experts.

Kay Luke

You ain't seen nothing yet!

I've never really got any bad feedback from a Reader, but from higher-ups and face to face, just to name a few, I've been asked how old I was when my mother dropped me on my head? Who the fuck told me I could write? and I was once told to pick up my check in the commissary because that's where I'd be working soon enough.

I try not to take it personally.

On the other hand, I've been chewed out for doing a job that was not up to expectations and had to rewrite lots of times, and that's what made me a Pro. The funny part is that the Producer is almost always right, and once I understood the pressure involved, I realized they were doing me a favor and being told to do it over-- even rudely-- was a vote of confidence in my ability.

John Ellis

Worst feedback? Silence.

Anthony Moore

One of my first screenplays. The reviewer said the protagonist wasn't doing anything. Things were happening around him but he wasn't an active participant. I changed the focus of the story from the scientist who saves the world to one of the antagonists who becomes an anti-hero and saves the scientist who saves the world. Worked wonders and won me a couple of contests.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

I've always taken feedback with a grain. Now I'm gluten free.

Steve Sherman

Leave the gun(bad) take the cannoli(good).

Donnalyn Vojta

"There are too many characters." My script had five! Two leads and three supporting. You just have to let poor feedback bounce off of you. Am I right, peeps?!

Pete Whiting

Had one my scripts in a comp that where it would be read by two readers who would give it a score and pending on average, it would progress to next round. One person gave it 8.5/10 and the other other reader gave it 4/10 saying "half way through script I went and made a cup of tea".

And another time I had a coverage reader state "submarine movies have been done before and yours was just above boring" - however my film was not set on a submarine except for 1 scene. I'll assume the reader never really read it properly.

And another time "your characters need work. It is clear you don't engage with people enough and need to get away from your computer for a while"

Steve Sherman

Hey Pete, I think we had the same reader.lol.

Phil Clarke

As a full-time professional script consultant and analyst (after years at the coal face of film and writing, I hasten to add) hearing such destructive, downright negative feedback saddens me. It makes me wish there was some regulatory body - but that's never going to happen.

Deano Jones

CJ your response just hit the nail on the head for me! Wrote a script and some guy said I’d like to give it a read... Anyway “Gave up after the first 9 pages” didn’t rate my writing etc ..... The same story was read by Jana Grazer who is married to Gavin Grazer (Brother of Brian Grazer) Jana had worked at Imagine entertainment as a script supervisor and she really liked my script.... So CJ is right ... There are nobodies who will try and knock you down to make their sad pathetic ego’s feel better ....

Always remember not everyone has the same taste and you can’t please everyone

Steve Sherman

Hey Phil, We screenwriters with no juice have to put up with that kind of action all the time. To quote a line from the Movie Hustle and Flow, "You know it's hard out here for a pimp".

David Whelan

Was working with a director/producer recently and they got a few reviews before we decided on final draft and one comment said English wasn't my first language. I tell ya the last two hours in work that day felt like days I was so annoyed.

Victor Titimas

So there are people who are harsh and cruel when giving feed-back not because of the script, but because it makes them feel good?:(

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In