Adrian Mead, screenwriter, with Part III of a four-part series on how to sell screen rights.
By JJ Marsh
Adrian continues on the Power of 3...
Now that you have your notes from 3 sources as a result of the Power Of 3 method, you cross check them against your script.
Plan what you need to rewrite.
Print it out and re-read.
Tinker a bit.
Now stick the script in a drawer and ignore it for a month.
One month later take it out and read it.
You will immediately have lots of stuff you want to rewrite. Instead make notes.
Now you repeat the whole process again.
Find three new people.
Teach them how to give feedback.
Get notes and rewrite.
Print it out. Tinker.
Put in the drawer for a month.
The whole feedback process involves you doing this three times 3×3. Three lots of feedback three times. The Power Of 3!
Of course in some cases you will be working to a deadline to enter a competition or scheme. If you do a shortened version of this method, such as less time between new drafts, it is vitally important that you do not also cut corners with the number of sources of feedback. Remember 3×3. It works!
WHY “ADVICE” IS BAD
Don’t let your feedback people start telling you how to rewrite your script. That’s not what you want out of the process at this stage. What you will end up with is three people’s versions of what THEY would write. This is about you figuring out the story you want to write and working to make sure you are telling it the clearest way possible. It also requires much less work to write questions rather than coming up with solutions. As a result you get quick feedback and people don’t feel put off doing it again. The Power 3 method helps you to build up a circle of people you can rely on.
REMEMBER: DON’T TRY AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS DURING THE FEEDBACK SESSION, JUST WRITE THEM DOWN.
Using “The Power Of 3” gives –
1. A massive boost to the quality of script that you are going to send out.
2. It actually speeds up the development process because you aren’t struggling on your own, half-tinkering and losing enthusiasm about your work.
3. It teaches you to work with feedback, act professionally in a meeting and handle notes.
I have been amazed how rapidly people’s work and skills have improved when they have employed this process.
Join a writers group, an online forum or contact some screenwriting bloggers. There are lots of them out there employing this method already. Google Adrian Mead Power Of 3 and you will find lots of positive folk to swap scripts with.
So after this my script is ready to send out? No. First you need to send some small token of thanks to your long distance feedback people and ensure you give them fast turnaround on their work.
Next you need to do a dummy run and test that your script is watertight. It’s time now to consider using a professional script feedback service.
PROFESSIONAL SCRIPT FEEDBACK SERVICES
These vary widely in price and quality. For a fee someone claiming to be a trained professional script reader or editor will give varying levels of feedback on your script. There are different options to choose. The more in depth and extensive the notes the greater the fee. I use two for each script in order to cross-reference the notes with my own and my business partner. The following organisations and individuals have been widely recommended:
Script Factory www.scriptfactory.co.uk
I find it useful to get a US take on the script with some film projects that are being aimed at an international market. However, the quality of reports has varied widely and as they are often considerably more expensive than the UK I am loath to recommend any American organisation at this time. There are many more individuals and organisations than the ones I have mentioned that also offer this service. Contact the company or individual direct and get background on the reader’s level of experience. Post some queries on writer’s forums and get recommendations and feedback from other writers about their experiences.
Use professional script-reading services when you have taken the script as far as you can by every other means. Sending in rough or under-developed drafts is just throwing money away. Once you have thoroughly utilised The Power Of 3 technique, received a couple of professional reports and done your rewrites your sample scripts should be ready to show the world
For practical examples on how to achieve all the above, download Making It As A Screenwriter from Adrian’s site – remember all proceeds go to Childline.
Look out for Part Four tomorrow!
formerly worked as a nightclub bouncer and a hairdresser before
stumbling upon the world of film and television. His writing credits
include ITV’s “The Last Detective” “Blue Dove” “Where The Heart Is”,
BBC’s “Paradise Heights”, “The Eustace Brothers”, “Waking The Dead” and
He’s also written for animation for the legendary
“Dennis & Gnasher” for Nine Network Australia and CBBC in the UK and
Iconicles for CBBC and ABC (Australia). He has directed episodes of MI
High (Series 7) and Eve (series 1 and 2) for CBBC.
People” was Adrian’s feature debut as writer director and went on to win
the BAFTA Scotland and Cineworld Audience Award and was also nominated
for Best Screenplay at the same awards.
His book Making It As A Screenwriter
launched in September 2008 and was hailed by leading industry
professionals as the definitive career guide for aspiring screenwriters.
For more useful, comprehensive and targeted information on selling to screen, Making It As A Screenwriter is available at www.meadkerr.com
proceeds go to ChildLine – the UK's free, 24-hour helpline for children
in distress or danger. Trained volunteer counsellors comfort, advise
and protect children and young people who may feel they have nowhere
else to turn. www.childline.org.uk
Images courtesy of Benjamin Balázs (Creative Commons)