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  • Writer's pictureLukas Kendall

Public Feedback

I want to use this blog for something I haven’t seen done before (except maybe on Scriptshadow): public feedback for scripts.

There are two obvious reasons why this is not done:

  1. Liability. It sets us up for all kinds of, “You/they stole my idea!” To that end, I’m using a legal release form to accept material...but still, I’m worried.

  2. Hurt Feelings. This will necessarily involve a lot of criticism and some people don’t take that very well—just as some people don’t give it very well.

But there’s a huge reason why I think it’s a GOOD idea—namely that people desperately want to sell their scripts and in the absence of useful feedback, the Internet is filled with terrible advice if not outright scam artists.

The following things are all true, to me anyway:

People Are Dicks to Amateur Writers: Contests take their money. Managers and producers ghost them. Even other writers ghost them. Gatekeepers mock them on Twitter.

I remember when I was learning to write. All I really wanted was for somebody not to be a dick about my story. Is that too much to ask?

Anybody who is taking time to write a screenplay is trying to be creative and express themselves. I think that’s great! You’re putting something of their hearts and minds onto the page and nobody takes the time to just say, good for you—without also sticking their hand out and asking for $70 for a consultation or a course or some other useless bullshit.

Almost All “Services” Are Worthless: Contests, coverage, the Black List, “access programs,” courses—they are for-profit ventures. Because the film/TV industry is contracting in 2024, there are more pros than ever slumming for amateur money in order to pay for their one-bedroom in Van Nuys. It’s pathetic.

Now, I’m a capitalist. I’m an entrepreneur. I believe in work! But it has to be honorable. When I make money, I want to offer something that’s valuable.

(I know there are lots of honorable people who are coaches or consultants or whatever, and I have to cover my ass because I’m sure I’ll cross paths with them. Now I can say, “Oh, I didn’t mean you.”)

Almost All Amateur Scripts Have No Professional Value: This is where it gets painful. I think of the tens of thousands of people writing their screenplay—and I just told you a few paragraphs ago how much I feel for them—but the sad truth is that very few are going to be able to reach a professional level.

Why? Well, that’s what I’d like to try to teach in this blog.

Apples and Oranges: Amateur scripts are apples, pro scripts are oranges. From concept to character to dialogue to the human behavior, they are just very different.

The process of growing from an amateur to a professional isn’t a matter of revising your script until it goes from an apple to an orange. (In a few cases, it might be.) It’s a matter of internalizing the ways in which pro scripts are different, and recasting your creativity so that you create oranges, not apples.

It’s very hard, and takes a long time to learn.

It is not taught for two main reasons:

  1. Teachers Don’t Know How to Teach It Anyway.

  2. The Contest/Coverage/Teaching Industry Is Corrupt.

It’s really the second one: all of those companies are set up to make money. If they told the truth—“nobody will ever buy your script”—they will lose your business!

So they string people along and take their money and give them a 6 on the Black List and a badge on their Coverfly page...and I’m sure if I did that too, I could make a lot of money.

But I can’t do that. It’s not who I am.

If I could make this blog (and podcast) big enough to make ad money—I would definitely do that. But I can’t use that as a goal.

What I can do is show you, if you give me an apple, what the orange version would be.

And instead of doing it in the abstract, and talking about inciting incidents and act breaks and all that jargon, it’s way better to do it with the specific.

But I have to do this in a very gentle way so that I’m not making anybody feel like shit, or mocked, or small. Because I hate that.

I know people are out there, please read my script, and who do I write to, and why don’t they write back?

If you’re brave enough and determined enough, I will do my best to help. But we’ll have to figure it out, together.

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