Should you Listen to Online Screenwriting Experts?

“If all you get is one nugget of information that helps you improve in some way, it was worth the price, wasn’t it?”

 

People all over the internet continue to express strong opinions on story structure, formatting, and screenwriting in general. But when those opinions turn into hostility towards differing screenwriting processes, they can potentially do more harm than good. 

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In this Script Magazine article, author Jeanne Veillette Bowerman defends online screenwriting resources and script consultants as valid ways of improving upon your craft. The real question is which sources do you turn to, and how much of their advice do you apply to your own work?  

 

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2 Responses to “Should you Listen to Online Screenwriting Experts?”

  1. Frank Friedlander Says:

    April 6th, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I’ve learned an awful lot from online experts, as well as “online experts,” if you take my meaning. I’ve also learned that there’s little advice more valuable than that given by a complete stranger with nothing to lose or gain. To elaborate, often, the professional coverage services will over sugar coat for the sake of business. Others will keep giving you tips to improve your piece and resubmit for a fee. Friends and family will do the same to avoid hurting your feelings. And really, a screenplay is not the type of work that those unfamiliar can properly analyze. My not quite expert advice on accepting expert advice is as follows:

    1. When it comes to structure and technical advice, most of it is universal. Even if you use screenwriting software, and who doesn’t these days, it’s not fail proof.

    2. When it comes to creative and vision related advice, take it with a grain of salt. Structure can be taught. But when it comes to creativity, you have it or you don’t. When it comes to structure, there’s a right and a wrong. When it comes to creative, that’s not the case. Art is relative; one man’s garbage is another man’s masterpiece. And really, it’s impossible to tell what’s what until completion. It’s one thing to take all advice into consideration, but very much another to completely alter your vision because someone said so. Believe me. One script I have in this very contest I’ve gotten advice from since entering. So I made some major changes to the point that it became barely recognizeable from the original. Guess what; as we speak, I’m awaiting to hear whether that script moves on from the semi-finals. Luckily, I still have a copy of that original.

    3. IMHO, the most important; have thick skin. There are those who are going to be less than gentle with their critique. They’re going to make you want to curl up in the corner and never write again. Some people will do just that. But a true writer will lick that wounds and put the advice to use. The bottom kin is that how the advice is worded is irrelevant. What matters is the content, and what you chose to do with it.

  2. Dalon6 Says:

    October 17th, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Frank, you are truly an online expert!

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