Screenwriting : Would you keep on reading? by C. D-Broughton

Would you keep on reading?

Everyone's heard that the first 10 pages can make or break a script; if you've read your fair share, you'll likely have come across some that, for whatever the reason, you've wanted to stop reading after the first page. I dare say that many a Gate-keeper actually has put stuff down after page 1. Stage 32 shouldn't just be about networking but also in helping one another refine our work, so I'd be interested if anyone would like to partake in a Would You Keep on Reading? experiment. The idea is simple: we either swap pages or post them here (with moderators' permission), and then we either say what we liked about it and why we'd keep on reading, or what turned us off and why we stopped/wouldn't be too keen to read more. A logline and genre would accompany each set of pages (5 or 10), so if you don't, say, like comedy too much (like me), you could skip the read rather than hand out harsh notes. It's just an idea. I know that other forums have similar ideas, wherein users can completely rip each others' pages from behind a moniker, but Stage 32 members aren't hidden and this isn't solely about canned feedback on a scene or whatever, it's helping writers understand why their script is being put down, or, why a writer should have every confidence that it's good to market.

Elisabeth Meier

Carl, I think you can already do this under 'loglines' as you then don't place your complete script, but instead your pages you want to get feedback for. :)) Just do it!

Elisabeth Meier

Box, I know what you mean, have been there. Well, only take the feedback of those you know, the rest you ignore. Or you write the first comment and give the rules, tell who you want to give feedback. But I think there also is the danger of steeling ideas. Hence, you will have to ask people you know by email here and give a link to your file and ask for a serious review. This is how people contact and ask me for a review all the time since I'm here.

Anthony Cawood

I've got a bunch of my shorts posted up here that people have been kind enough to read and comment on, but I'd be more than happy to be part of such an experiment...

Anthony Cawood

@Bix - sorry was more responding to the OP suggestion of how the process would work, i.e. I'd be okay with trying the what page did I stop type of idea, happily do it on the site in public... you'd rather have one on one via email - each to thier own, I've got a couple of S32 members who I do just that with too ;-)

C. D-Broughton

Some good points and questions raised (as expected); here's what I had in mind and why: - we could post 10 pages in our own Loglines section, but without first forming a group, who would read the pages? If we had, say, 10 people and each agreed to read and comment on a minimum 3 sets of pages, with each member receiving a guaranteed 3 reviews minimum, we could get a better base to go on. After all, one person's comments may be subjective to taste; 5 people all saying why something does/doesn't work may be down to taste but also, most likely, a very valid point. - 10 pages because that's what everyone advises should be your most perfect. I think that every page should be as good as a writer can make it, but if you've not pulled someone in to some capacity in the first 10, what are the chances of that someone reading the other 80-110? Yes, 2 or 3 gives a good enough indication of a writer's level, but if you're signing up to this, you're probably thinking that you already have the technical and innate ability to start sending work out, so this is just a test run of your concept and opening. - since we'd be offering our opinion on the 10 pages and we're not hiding behind fake names, I feel that we could provide honest, constructive feedback. - the idea here is not to script swap. If two writers like one another's ideas and notes and want to do a full script exchange via e-mail, then that's down to them; reading and remarking on 90 pages requires commitment; 10, not so much. I figured that this would be more an educational thing for others to look at as well, so it's not just those participating who can learn, but everyone. That's why it's kind of an experiment. And yes, I'm sure that most of us have our own readers anyway, but this is something that could maybe catch on. At the moment, I see a lot of posts by writers who are asking for help - even if it's a fresh set of eyes. Right now we have the opportunity to help each other and learn/stay sharp in the process. If this leads to talented, insightful writers connecting to form priceless script-swap relationships, then all the better. (Apologies for the block of text; try though I did, I just could not get paragraph spaces to show between the bullet marks. I'd like to know how to fix that...)

C. D-Broughton

Let's try to get a minimum 10 writers then to begin with: I'm Carl and I'm IN.

Anthony Cawood

I'm Anthony, i'm in.

C. D-Broughton

Bix, I read your pages and posted in the available space for comments. I hope that you find the feedback useful, and be sure to remember that everything expressed is my opinion only - others may, for better or worse, feel otherwise.

C. D-Broughton

I'm off to bed now but shall try to get 10 pages posted tomorrow. I reckon it's best that we should notify one another of pages posted HERE, so that we can get the automatic notifications. Hopefully, others will join in also. Night, night.

Anthony Cawood

I've uploaded the first 20 or so pages of The Lost Reel... love to get some thoughts... I'm now off to read Iron Heel...

Anthony Cawood

@Bix, in the script comments is fine and thanks for taking a read.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

I'm Jean-Pierre, and I'm in. I love the idea. I'll get to you all tomorrow morning and post my own. I don't read other comments before I review, so you'll be getting my unbiased feedback.

Zach Rosenau

I've read commentary by people who judge scriptwriting competitions who often say that they read scripts where the first half or so of a script is so polished and un-put-down-able; just riveting, heart-pounding stuff. But then it cannot sustain itself through the second act and becomes glaringly less crafted piece with loads of errors and lazy writing and presents pages that clearly weren't looked over 100 time like their first 20-50. It's a bit Aesop-sy, but consistency has merit in and of itself. You don't want to go to the gym and only work on your left calf for a year and wind up looking ridiculous.

C. D-Broughton

Yes, it's true that sometimes, a writer can lose slack after a very tight start some way in (usually around the mid-point), but considering how everyone needs their first 10 to be strong as first impressions are so important, we're really only looking at them. Also, I hope that this thread will encourage other writers to join in, so that everyone can learn how to better give and take constructive criticism and fine-tune their work more objectively. I've seen a lot of posts inwhich writers ask for feedback of their entire script, but a single thread asking for opinions of the first 10 pages stands a much better chance of yielding results. For instance, I may not like someone's style or concept and not want to read through an entire script as promised, or, I may read something and think, "Wow, this is excellent, could I please read the rest?" The fiip side is that you may not like my notes and feel that I've judged your work too harshly and you don't want me to see any more. Nobody is doing this to only get one bicep pumped, show-boat their talent or put others down to inflate their own self-worth, but to interact with others and maybe expand our writing circles beyond the "Hey, thanks for adding me".

C. D-Broughton

I just wanted to add that whole point of giving feedback os not to ego-stroke anyone, but to try to suggest means to improve the work. Obviously, writing "Your script sucks" is never going to be acceptable, but to say, "I couldn't really get into it and here's why..." is what I, personally, would expect of anyone commenting on my pages. I'd much rather someone posted, "Your 40 year old divorcee speaks like a 12 year old," and have to evaluate if that's a valid point, than see my work rejected because of dialogue issues and never know why it was turned down. On a completely unrelated note: Anthony, I read your pages and posted comments there. Nice work.

C. D-Broughton

Yes, I've had an easy day... John, comments are on your page for Sarah Arizona. I have to say publicly, John, that those pages were pretty damn awesome.

Anthony Cawood

@Bix - thanks for the comments on my pages, really appreciated and made me smile as the script originally started with the RKO scene, but on the basis of other advice I moved it around... guess that proves the point about opinions ;-) You're right re the sluglines, mini slugs are something I rarely use but could and should learn to use more... about to flick through Trottier! Glad you'd read on too. @C.D. - Glad you liked and the pages flowed well for you, your kind words are very encouraging. Think you may be right re the opening page or two, was trying to stick the hook and establish the stakes early doors, maybe a little too early. I'll have a look at the Rieko introduction, was trying to get across that she was an uncomortable loner, which is why she's initially harsh with him but softens. Thanks again... Right time to read some more pages ;-)

C. D-Broughton

Anthony, Just remember that the Rieko comment is only my opinion. I can't stress that enough. I just uploaded the first 10 pages of The Beyonders - I'd like to know everything you don't like about it, no matter how petty you feel it is, so don't worry about hurting my feelings (although, I'm aware of the comma and then semi-colon on the first page; I just cut and pasted the 10 pages and accidentally clicked on the screen but didn't notice what I'd done until I read the pdf to check it (and then couldn't be bothered deleting the extra comma).

Anthony Cawood

No worries C.D totally understand... I'll be looking at The Beyonders shortly.

C. D-Broughton

I've had a few messages from writers who have asked if they can join in. YES, ABSOLUTELY. Just upload your first 10 pages and make a comment here, telling us that you have done so, and for which script, should you have loglines for more than one in your profile.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

I've gotten to Bix and Anthony's so far. Will get D-Broughton's and John's later tonight, or tomorrow. I posted my own script too.

Maurice Tyson

Great to make your acquaintance - it depends on a few factors. Character, development of the 1st act, narrative flow, etc.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

Sorry, "Olympians"

C. D-Broughton

Jean-Pierre, I read your pages and they're very well-executed. Thanks for putting them up (comments are under the logline).

Anthony Cawood

Jean-Pierre, will read and comment on Olympians tonight.

Michelle Hickey

Great idea would love to participate in the near future!!

Fiona Faith Ross

I would like to participate, too. Is it too late to ask any of you guys to read my first ten pages? I would be happy to read yours, but remember I am a newbie with no track record, so you will get my instinctive reaction rather than comments from experience. Mine is a first draft. Okay guys, my logline is up. I'd really appreciate your feedback.

Niksa Maric

I'll read it C.D- Broughton but who's the Gate-Keeper? Do you men a READER working for some production company or possible manager? Then again, how much he/she can actually get from first 3 or 10 pages? It's usually an introduction or TEASER of your story or script.

Niksa Maric

Sorry, which script are we reading and posted by whom?

C. D-Broughton

Niksa, To read, just scroll back up and see who's posted (myself, John, Anthony, Bix and Jean-Pierre) and they should all mention which script they posted pages for (viewable in the Loglines section of their profile). If you're posting pages, just go ahead and do it and then let us all know. Remember to mention which script you put up pages for, if you've more than one logline or have shorts/writing samples already up.

C. D-Broughton

Faith, Thanks for joining in. I'll try to read your pages tomorrow as I'm in the middle of something now. And there's nothing wrong with first drafts, as long as you've scanned them for typo's, because nobody wants to focus on spelling mistakes instead of what really matters.

Fiona Faith Ross

@C. D-Broughton Thank you for being so kind. I've uploaded the pages. I'll go up the list and read some others posted by the group, but again, it won't be until tomorrow now. P.S. I've not posted the synopsis. I have a synopsis but I've been tweaking, so it's back in rewrite land. BTW, for convenience, post your comments in the comments thread underneath the script, or you can message me. I don't mind which, whatever is easier for you.

C.m. Andino

Hi, I'm Ce and I'm in, if it's not too late. I've posted my screenplay "Broken Cowboy" and would love some feedback on the first ten pages. I guess I'll start at the top with the reading and work my way down the thread.

Niksa Maric

Okay, I haven't read anything yet, I was listening to Joey on Webinar. It' 1:29 AM, where I am. I have 4 pages, Script SCRIPTOR OPTIMUS. There's a good reason why I couldn't post more pages. So in about 12 hours from now I'll start reading.

Fiona Faith Ross

Hang on...I need sugar.

Anthony Cawood

@Ce - I went to read Broken Cowboy but when I clicked on 'Screenplay' it took me to a 404 Error page ;-( will read when fixed. Niksa, will try get to yours today too...

Harold Vandyke

I'd like to get in on this too, when I get a chance. Right now I'm headed out to see the latest Mad Max.

C. D-Broughton

How was the film, Harold? Faith, Have you taken down our pages? I kept on getting an "error page not found" message. On to the next one...

C. D-Broughton

Fiona, I'm really sorry for getting your name wrong (please forgive me). Ce, The link was broken - did you take the pages down?

Fiona Faith Ross

@Carl, So sorry, I took the file down this morning because @Anthony C gave me such good polishing tips, I'm going to give the pages a wash 'n brush up. I'll get the new version back up now. :) Thanks ever so. I need to continue reading the rest of the batch. I think I've commented on 4 or 5 scripts to date. Sometimes people call me by my second name. That's fine, no prob.

Fiona Faith Ross

@Carl Re: CODED, I've uploaded the latest version, with my revisions. **People, you'll need to scroll down, because I added more log lines. CODED is the one you want. It's now twelve pages, but I hope you will allow poetic licence for this exercise. @Anthony C was right that one conversation needed to be slower paced, and I've added a short scene, plus made the formatting corrections. Thanks also to @JohnHunter, who suggested I tighten the narrative. I have done some editing but may have to do more. I'll get to the other pieces of work, (as available) tonight. If you are posting any more of The Beyonders, or want more feedback, let us know. :) I'm kinda hooked on it.

C.m. Andino

I couldn't get the file to upload. Has anyone else had trouble uploading txt files? Anyway, I just ended up copying and pasting the screenplay. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Anthony Cawood

Ce... it could be cos you are loading a txt file. Why not a pdf?

C.m. Andino

It says it supports txt files. I am technologically challenged. Celtx export in txt format and I don't know how to do it any other way.

Niksa Maric

You can copy-paste text into Screenplay section but I suggest you convert it into PDF format.

Anthony Cawood

@Ce CeltX can convert to PDF, are you using the desktop version or the online version? Let me know and I'll drop you a note on how to do it.

Fiona Faith Ross

@Ce When you open your script in Celtx, next to the title is a box labelled Action. Click on it to open the drop down menu, and you'll see there is an option to print/PDF. I use Celtx online. Or let @Anthony walk you through it.

Harold Vandyke

C. D-B., the movie was great. Of course, I'm a gearhead, so anything with car chases in it... The film definitely leans more toward the Furiosa character being the lead, rather than Mad Max though.

C.m. Andino

Okay. I figured it out. PDF of Broken Cowboy now available. Thank you all for your patience.

Harold Vandyke

I went ahead and listed the first ten of Dennison House. If anyone is interested in the first ten of the other two loglines, let me know.

Fiona Faith Ross

@Harold I posted a comment on your thread for Dennison House. @Ce I also posted a comment under Broken Cowboy. Great title, btw.

Niksa Maric

C.M. I'm not seen anything. All 94 pages are blank. Anyone else has the same problem.

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