7 WAYS TO DEAL WITH FEEDBACK – 17th JANUARY 2012

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Tally so far: 32 scenes, 16 pages in 17 days…  Pretty Good!

HOW TO DEAL WITH FEEDBACK

Dealing with feedback is tough – especially when you’re mid-draft.

I recently asked for feedback from a producer I like and respect and, an hour later, left, feeling like a sprinkler – full of holes.  Or maybe that was my story?   The following morning I was writing again, having processed the comments, knowing what I had to do to move on and grateful someone had taken the time to think about and be honest with me about my treatment.

Here are some ideas on how to deal with feedback on your script or treatment:

1)   LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

Choose someone you like and trust and preferably someone who knows you and your work. A friendly script editor or producer can be your best ally in getting a project ready for market.

2)   DON’T GO IN TOO SOON – DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE.

Work hard on your project – don’t send it to your reader until you have something that has a shape, a tone and a clear character arc that they can react to. But don’t hang onto it too long. Better to know sooner rather than later how your story is coming across and where it sits in the current market. So you can adjust it as you go.

3)   LISTEN.

We often remember what we want to hear and disregard the rest.  Ask questions to clarify exactly what’s being said. Make notes during the meeting or straight afterwards and make sure you address everything – how you do that is up to you.

4)   TALK IT OUT.

Find a friend who’s a writer or script editor and talk through the points raised. Don’t just ask for sympathy or launch into a defence of your script. A proper debrief will help you start to process the notes without obsessing. Then take the evening off. You’ve earned it!

5)   SLEEP ON IT.

I woke up next morning and carried on writing. I finished my daily scene target and then resolved to go back to my treatment and address the issues raised.

6)   ADDRESS EVERYTHING

This goes for your rewrite and in your marketing strategy. The best kind of advice is both creative and market aware so re-think your target producers, audience and budget as well as your story and characters if that’s what it takes to get your movie made.  Don’t hang onto stuff that isn’t working for you.

7)   DON’T GIVE UP

Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell we all know how many hours of ball practice it takes to become a world-class tennis player. Why should writing a screenplay be any different? Put in the time, listen to your feedback gurus, and remember your reason for wanting to write this story in the first place – and for wanting to make it better.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given on a script? And did you take it? Leave a comment below or tweet a reply to emlin32 on Twitter.

Happy writing and may you have many truthful readers.

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