Screenwriters, like all artists, are always looking for ways to improve their work. One of the best ways to do this is by getting script notes from someone who not only knows a good screenplay when they see one but who also knows the film industry.
Producer, writer, and actor Richard Kahan (Beacon 23, Outlander) is one of the high-level industry professionals that offers coverage through Coverfly Industry-Direct Notes. Coverfly recently got the chance to speak with him about the benefits of getting feedback on your script from a fellow screenwriter, as well as the importance of being a part of a writing community.
Check out the interview below and continue on to read our favorite takeaways.
Don't Be Afraid of Receiving Script Notes
First and foremost, be open to feedback. It can be difficult to hear negative things about your work, but it's important to remember that the goal is to make your screenplay the best it can be.
I think it's very natural to have that immediate reaction of like, "Oh, no, no! Don't change." If you don't care about what you're writing, you wouldn't have that reaction. So, I think that speaks to passion. And that's totally normal — I get that; everyone I know gets that. That being said, you know, your mind works differently than mine. Your life experience is different than mine. That's the beauty. In a TV writers room, when it's working well, it should be — everyone has different ages, different ethnicities, different backgrounds, different life experiences. You bring that to the page.
No screenplay is perfect and having other people read it, especially a professional, will open your eyes to its real potential. It's better to have a flawed screenplay that you're willing to revise than a "perfect" one that no one will ever read.
Should You Get Script Notes from a Fellow Screenwriter?
When writers consider receiving script notes, they naturally think of script consultants and professional script readers to send their work to. But, should they send their scripts to fellow screenwriters? Yes. Why? Because they not only understand story structure, character development, and other story elements but also the arduous experience of sitting down and actually crafting a story from a blank page. Kahan explains:
Working with other writers and getting notes from other writers, I think you're gonna get specificity. And that makes the job easier. Again, not to say the managers and execs can't give great notes, but I think when you are used to sitting down at the typewriter and bleeding, as the saying goes, you know — you're in it, you know what that's like — you're gonna give actionable notes.
The Value of Being in a Writing Community
There are many reasons to be a part of a writing community. For one, it can provide you with support and motivation when you need it most. Additionally, being part of a community can provide you with valuable feedback on your work so you can improve your craft and become a better writer. Kahan shares his experience of working with his own community of writers:
It's hugely valuable...to have that core group...especially when you're working in features, because you don't have that in a writers room. So to have that, from just a technical note standpoint, is huge. It's also networking...it's that support system. It's that group that can give you notes that you trust that you know have a different lived experience than you.