Paying it forward…
My first television staff job was as a story editor on the short-lived sitcom The Family Man. When executive producer Michael Warren hired me, he offered me a sage piece of advice: “I’m leaving the door open behind me for you. Do the same thing for someone else someday.”
That’s been my credo for three-plus decades in Hollywood. I have had many opportunities to “pay it forward,” and there are dozens of screen-and-television-writers who will back me up on that, including several who have been produced or are working on network shows.
However, for several reasons outlined below, I have had to STOP offering those services on a strictly pro bono basis because:
- It’s easy to tick people off when you can’t get back to them for a year.
- The stack got too big to manage and my wife moved a bulldozer into my office one day while I was away on a film shoot.
- I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and according to him, I am a 10,000-hour man which means some people might consider me an expert at what I do.
- What I do is the art of Story, and it’s the only thing I know how to do, and those 10,000 hours (actually it’s more like 100,000 hours by now) and the accompanying expertise weren’t just handed to me. They required blood, sweat and tears on my part (much of which came from my wife and kids, and are part of the reason for my wife’s bulldozer).
- You can see my writing and producing credits here.
- Would you ask your doctor to operate on your brain for free?
With all that in mind, if you are a new or struggling screenwriter in need of help, I invite you to check out the script consulting services below and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
I will be providing a lot of free tools, tips and training to screenwriters in front of the “paywall” on this site. Here, behind the “paywall” is where the inkjet meets the 20-lb bond. If this approach offends you, I apologize in advance and wish Godspeed on your project. These rates are very competitive with other script coaches, most of whom are not “produced” writers — which is a distinctive of what I’m offering. Only “produced” screenwriters who have been in the trenches of actual production on their screenplays will be reading your script.
As my schedule permits, and on a select basis, I will read your script and meet with you privately, either in person or by phone, to give you my detailed feedback. This would include my actual notes in your script, and any ideas for improving the story, characterizations, plot and dialogue.
It usually takes me a few days to read your script and synthesize my thoughts into notes that will be constructive. And when we meet, or talk by phone, we need to be prepared to spend at least three hours together.
For feature-length scripts, this service runs: $1,250
For television scripts (1-hour drama): $750
For Sitcom scripts (half-hour comedy): $500
For script treatments (over 20 pages): $500
For script treatments (under 20 pages): $250
A few qualifiers:
- If I am not available to read your script on a timely basis, I can pull in a qualified, “produced” screenwriter to be your personal coach.
- If you send me a 250-page screenplay, the price will be higher. These days, the rule of thumb on screenplay-length is 110 pages.
- I realize this is an expensive service. I can provide you privately with a few referrals of other writers who have benefitted from my help.
Studio/Agency Style Script Coverage
All studios, networks and talent agencies have “readers” who prepare short script analysis reports to determine whether a script is commercially viable. These reports briefly summarize the story, and provide commentary on “the good, the bad and the ugly” in a script.
I have several trained readers available to me who can prepare these reports for your benefit. Coverage reports are a good, cost-effective alternative to private coaching and are a helpful first step in determining if your idea is commercial, has merit and is worth pursuing. These reports are usually no more than 2-3 pages in length. Although in this process, I won’t be reading your script myself, I will personally review the reports before they are sent to you so I can provide some of my own comments on your project’s viability.
For feature-length scripts, this service runs: $300
For television scripts (1-hour): $225
For Sitcom scripts (half-hour): $200
For script treatments (over 20 pages): $175
For script treatments (under 20 pages): $125
For further questions about any of these services, please contact me at: email@example.com