There are a lot of screenwriting groups out there, especially if you live in LA or NY. If you don’t, the internet makes it easy to trade scripts. It’s not about how many members. The larger groups rarely find their groove because too many writers rotate in and out. My group has been a steady five to six members for years. We’ve helped each other achieve levels of success in the industry. I’m proud of that.
The main thing is to learn to trust each other. Getting feedback puts you in a very vulnerable state. Let’s face it. Any criticism can sting. Executives in Hollywood don’t care about your feelings. You want another writer for feedback because they know what it’s like to get it. They know how to give it so you don’t become defensive and miss the point.
For me, it’s a three step process. If you think something is not working, explain why and offer a solution for the problem. I know if you’re not willing to think it through then it’s just an opinion and everyone has one. I have been lucky enough to be part of a group of writers who are willing to support each other.
Feedback lets you see HOW people are reading your script. That’s it. And if more than a few people are telling you the same thing, you can expect similar comments from the industry. Feedback is not an absolute. I have gone against my entire group on elements of my scripts. You get to choose. Don’t ever let feedback make you lose confidence in your story or your ability.
Next time I’ll talk about coverage services and contests.