Never send out material before it’s ready.
We’ve all done it. We’re all eager to send out the new script we just finished because we’re excited and think it’s the bomb. Funny thing is, all writers suffer from the same tunnel vision. None of us have the ability to accurately see the quality – or lack thereof – in our own writing.
And so what happens when we send something out too soon? Open shoe, insert gun… or any other mixed metaphor.
Sometimes we look at that particular script later on and realize all of the areas that weren’t up to snuff and kick ourselves in the heinie for not fixing the fixable. Sometimes we never realize it. (Hey, if we were great at being objective about our own work, we’d create perfect scripts from the get-go, right?)
So do yourself a favor, and only send out material you are reasonably sure is ready.
Apart from script analysis/coverage services — we’re pretty sure you know about those, since you’re on our blog — how can you achieve that?
The first option, of course, is utilizing your screenwriting friends. Do a script exchange, whereby you give each other notes on your latest material.
Another option is to join a writer’s group. That has a couple of additional benefits apart from getting feedback. It helps you with networking, and it holds you accountable since you have to produce pages every week. (And if you don’t know why that is important, check out last week’s blog entry: Aim for two new pieces of material per year – especially if you want to keep your representation)
Lastly, a professional screenwriting class is a great place to push your craft forward and get feedback on your work. The UCLA Professional Program, to name just one example, has not only been a boon to many writers, it has also launched several careers. And there are many other worthwhile (and less expensive) writing programs – don’t forget to check your local community college.
Remember, you only get one chance to make a good impression and you don’t want to burn any bridges. When you get consistent considers in coverage, or when friends are excited about your script and volunteer to help you – then you know you’re ready to go. Remember, 20-plus drafts is not uncommon. In fact, it’s the rule more than the exception.
With that in mind, buckle up and get to work so you can wow them!