Is Feedback Destroying Your Work?
By Jacob Krueger
When I finished my first screenplay, I did what any self-respecting screenwriter does. I sent it to my mom. She read the script, and called me gushing with pride. For about half an hour, my mom waxed poetic about every nuance of the script: the story, the imagery, the profound metaphorical qualities. She only had one question. Even though it all “worked”, she was a little bit confused about why the characters were saying certain dialogue to each other… “EXT. STREET – DAY” for example.
That was when I realized I was in trouble. She thought the slug lines were dialogue that the characters were speaking them to each other. And she loved me so much, she actually enjoyed it!
Good Notes And Bad Notes
As good as it feels to receive praise (and sometimes even helpful advice) about our scripts, we have to be extremely careful about who we take feedback from. Very few people actually know how to write a script that works. And though I like to tease my mom, the truth is that much worse notes have been given by countless screenwriting teachers, development executives, and well-meaning professional writers. Whether it comes from a big time producer or a loving family member, it’s fairly easy for writers to recognize an obviously bad note. It’s the helpful ones that are truly dangerous.
As Writers, We Desperately Need Feedback On Our Work.
But when writers try to solve each other’s scripts, they usually end up doing more harm than good. Over the next week, I’ll be adding a series of posts about how to give feedback, not only for other writers, but also for yourself. Make sure to come back and check them out.