Sunday, September 21, 2008


All the experts today say people don't like to read anymore.

People want to watch or listen to stories instead of reading them, but thank goodness there are still avid readers out there.

Just look at Oprah's Book Club for proof of that -- or the NY Times Bestseller list -- people are reading.

What about in Hollywood? We've all heard that most execs and agents don't like to read. I think they do, but want to do it quickly. If you had six scripts to read over one weekend, would you want to read a 126 page script when a 95 page script might do the job? It may tell the story better when leaner. That's why all the script gurus tell us to write short narratives with shorter dialogue and leave lots of WHITE space on the page. Don't make the eyes work overtime!

This week I signed with a management company to distribute my script(s). They had one of my scripts covered and the feedback was genuinely helpful. I love readers who actually enjoy reading scripts and take the time to pay attention to detail -- and better yet -- to take the time to share it with you. And when 4 readers all agree on one element -- you know where your weakness is in the script and where your strengths are, but you first NEED that feedback.

So hats off to all you readers out there!

Thank you for curling up with my script and for reading each word with care. Then, taking the time to write a review with insight, reflection and care.

It really matters to writers.

We're writing to be read, after all.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Have you ever participated in a writer's group? I was in a weekly group right after Sept. 11th, 2001. As a matter of fact, the Manhattan apartment that six of us screenwriters met at each week overlooked the "pit" of the World Trade Center. The first few weeks of the group there was a burning metal smell coming through the windows -- and the smell of something similar to burning rubber -- and the busy sounds of generators and heavy equipment working non stop. It was a bird's eye view into hell on earth.

The group was fairly productive. We'd each submit 30 pages of our script every few weeks. The members of the group would read it as a PDF online and then come to the group with comments, suggestions, etc. We'd also cast it and read each script aloud. Depending on the reader/actor, we'd either cry, laugh or cringe. At the end of the reading, each person would give a verbal critique to the screenwriter. This was squirm time for most of us -- as another writer would start off positive (a rule we had) and then go negative -- suggesting we change this, change that, go in this direction, make your protagonist a man not a woman or vice versa... and before long, the writers would grow defensive, annoyed and sometimes hostile toward each other. It was kinda funny -- like a support group gone wild.

So yes, a writer's group can be a fabulous and productive experience if you crave feedback, maybe long to hear your words read aloud, or just want human interaction away from your computer. But beware, develop a thick skin and try not to take every comment personally. If you trust the members of the group, listen and rewrite accordingly, but always follow your instincts of what remains true for your story and your characters.

I'm glad I was a part of that unique group back in September of 2001. There are images and emotions that we shared in that downtown Manhattan apartment that will stay with me forever.