Getting Someone to Read Your Screenplay

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I wrote an article a little while ago about getting someone to read your screenplay, and I got some great advice from a reader in the comments section.

Basically, I sent my screenplay off to someone for notes and they never read it. So I was trying to figure out a good way to remind them about it.  You can read that article HERE.

However, a reader had some suggestions on why my approach was a bad idea. I think it’s an important note, not just in asking people to read your screenplay, but in general having confidence as a new writer.  Enjoy.

If I may leave my two cents here “ they aren’t reading your pilot because you told them twice in a row that they didn’t have to and that it didn’t matter to you if they did. And now you are about to tell them for a third time.

Both communications make it clear, literally, that there’s no rush. Clearly, you don’t consider yourself worth reading, as far as the communication is concerned. When you say you refuse to move forward with rewrites but also say AGAIN, no rush, this says that it’s is a project that I’ll tinker on if I hear your feedback, but if I don’t, or until I do, I’m working on other things. If I have no sense of urgency to get back to you, I wont. If you tell me over and over that your work isn’t good enough to drop everything for, then I won’t. That’ how humans are wired.

Then, you follow up by saying “I want to make sure you got my submission.” No, you don’t. You want to know if they read it. So ask them. If they truly didn’t get it, and are interested in receiving it, they will tell you so.

Long story short, you are so far from trying to make sure you aren’t annoying them that you throw yourself in the wastebasket preemptively. Rejecting yourself before they can.

Try this: I’m working on a new pilot and would love your feedback in particular before I begin rewrites. I’ll be starting rewrites in thirty days, so if you are too busy to take a look, I understand and will move forward. (If you are unwilling, I understand that as well, of course.) I know you probably have a full schedule already, so I appreciate any feedback. Best, —“

Followup (forward the original send and add your followup to the top: “Hi X. I sent you a copy of my draft pilot a couple weeks ago (see below for details). I have just a couple weeks left before I begin rewrites and turn in the final script. I just want to follow up to see if you are willing or able to provide any feedback, but also know that I respect your workload and schedule. Warmly, —“

If they don’t get back to you, start the rewrites. Move forward.

I’m not telling you how to be a writer here; my intent is on the words you use that shortchange yourself in those emails.

State clearly what you want from them. Make it clear that you respect their workload and schedule. Set a reasonable deadline for response (a couple weeks or more). Be respectful in tone but don’t put yourself on the bottom. If you don’t hear back within your deadline, move on.

Hope this helps!

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