Monday, October 16, 2006


There is a script evaluation service that I have been recommended to numerous times. The first time was in 1999 when I submitted my script to a very well-known production company. The development person there said "call Script Shark" and let them help you polish this script to make it more marketable. I talked to someone at Script Shark then, but never went as far as to use their service.

As aspiring or working writers, we're easy targets. Everyone has a software program, how-to book or DVD that will help us sell scripts. Some are helpful, but we can spend a lot of dough and still flounder. I advise going to your local library for FREE books on screenwriting (if they don't have a new one, sometimes you can order it from a bigger branch), search Ebay for cheaper, used scriptwriting software, scripts, DVDs, etc. Try not to make giving money to others your second career goal. You should be writing scripts not checks.

Back to Script Shark -- my agent recommended I try them regarding my sports drama script. The service for an evaulation and extensive development notes (like the studios would give you) costs $350.00. Ouch. Why pay that? Well, sometimes you've written the best draft you can (at the time) and need an objective, professional opinion to truthfully tell you where your strengths and weaknesses are in the script. Don't pay for it unless you're submitting your BEST work to them. I procrastinated (hating to dish out that kinda cash) but finally sent the script and check in.

I got the notes back (online) and they were terrific. Right on the money. And what I really liked is that the reviewer (anonymous name, just initials offered, but you can look up the person's credentials on their webpage wasn't out for blood, but out to truly improve the material and help "the author". It was well, well worth the $350 bucks. The script was professionally reviewed, with detailed coverage, and then the notes for development offered concrete tips to make the next draft stronger and more marketable.

There are a million script evaluation people and companies in LA and NY. Many former studio readers do this on the side. So if you're going to use one of these services, do some research. Ask them for a sample of a previous evaluation to see their style, ask who will review the material and their credentials, ask exactly what you will get for your money and how soon (don't wait more than a month or so), and what connections they have in the business. Script Shark will post your improved spec script through their website to professionals in the business.

You can also ask friends to read your script, but how objective and in tune are they about the biz and the writing skills you need to sell a script? So I say consider spending your hard earned cash on your writing, but do it cautiously and with research. There are some great services out there, but select wisely.

Now I have to take my notes and see where and how I can improve my sports script. Back to the computer. It never ends, does it?

As John Grisham just said on The Charlie Rose Show, "if you're not writing at least a page a day, you're not a writer." So let's all get busy.