21 January, 2009

Script-reading Debate

Piers kicked it off with this:

"Paying a reader to give you notes on your script is like paying a prostitute to give you notes on your sexual technique.

Yes, they're a professional.
Yes, they're good at what they do.
And yes, if you're just starting out there's a case to be made that advice from someone who's been around the blocks a few times is going to help.

But in the long term, both of them have a vested interest in continuing to receive your custom. And that means two things.

One: You're never going to be told you're that bad
Two: You're never going to be told you're that good.

To keep your custom, they have to always see that there's room for improvement, while also approving of your current skills and grasp of technique. Especially the techniques that they happen to like."

Lucy responded with this:

"However, it's just as important to remember not everyone looks at feedback the same way. For some writers, just getting the time to get the words down on paper is an achievement in itself due to family or work commitments: they hate the thought of peer review, of "owing" feedback to anyone - it's added stress, so instead they prefer to pay for feedback and then it's all done and dusted. What's more, these busy people may just not have time to create their own writers' group or even attend one, especially if there are children in their lives. For others, they may have had a bad experience with peer review, so would rather not bother worrying about offending anyone, or again having to "owe" anyone. For some, it's just a case of good old fashioned personal preference: I know writers who would rather poke their eyes out than attend or form a writers' circle (these aren't wallflower newbies either, but highly successful writers, so it's no good saying they *should* otherwise they won't do well in the industry: they do.)

Targetting writers at the same level as yourself for feedback is a good tactic, but can only take you so far. Whilst a writer who works in the media and/or film industry might already have access to peers who know exactly what's hot and what's not, there's just as many people who write who don't. Sometimes these writers will want to pay for a reader who does nothing but read scripts so they can have access to what those people who already work in the industry might have for free."


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