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What Hollywood Script Readers Really Think About Your Screenplay

Getting a producer to read your script can be almost as daunting a challenge as getting beyond the blank page. But before you even think about a producer reading your script, you need to get your script past the script readers. Contrary to what you may believe, script readers want your script to be good because they want to read good scripts. Recently, Scott Myers of the Go Into the Story blog on The Black List stumbled into a late night Twitter conversation with The Bitter Script Reader, Nate Winslow, and Amanda Pendolino, three Hollywood script readers, and he captured their conversation for our educational purposes. Here are some of the highlights:

  • A “Recommend” is exceedingly rare. “Strong Consider” is usually the highest ranking a script reader will give a script.
  • Strong concept outweighs good structure for most production companies while agencies may put more weight on structure.
  • Readers tend to read scripts twice, once for the story and once for the synopsis.
  • Readers know if a script is bad by page 10 (or by page 1 if it is really bad).
  • Readers don’t just see characters in scripts; they see roles that A-list talent can play.
  • Aspiring screenwriters should write in the genre that best showcases their voice, but know that comedy, horror, thriller and action genres sell in Hollywood, while adult dramas don’t (unless they have an incredible lead role).

This Twitter conversation about script coverage reminded me of a download provided by the BlueCat Screenplay Competition newsletter in the fall that included several examples of actual script coverage from studios and production companies. You can download the PDF here to see how readers write script coverage.

You can follow Scott Myers, The Bitter Script Reader, Nate Winslow, Amanda Pendolino on Twitter for more of their insights.

To read all five parts (so far) of this Twitter conversation, check out the links below to Scott Myers’ Go Into the Story blog at The Black List:

Are you a current script reader? If so, what are your current recommendations to aspiring screenwriters?

Are you a screenwriter with experience going through the process of getting your script read by producers? Tell us your stories.

[Screenplay photo by Flickr user Joe in DC (CC)]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 83 COMMENTS

  • On a spec I’ve been working on for a number of years, the amount of contradictory notes drove me to the point of saying “screw it” and going back to the original idea I had and the original story line. So I sat down, rewrote it, and kept in mind the fact that I’d probably try and shoot this myself, raising funds through Kickstarter, and I got a CONSIDER from ScriptShark. You can read their entire review of the script here:

    Would this mean anything to a producer? I’m not sure. Script Shark does have some success with their Scouting Services, but that doesn’t really concern me at this point as I plan on filming this myself. But it was nice to get the positive notes.

  • Rev. Benjamin on 05.29.12 @ 1:32PM

    I had a “consider” on a feature for several months. My friend was interning at a reputable company, and may or may not have had a hand in it. Needless to say, despite a cavalcade of email and high hopes, nothing really came of it. His friends, the then-interns and now-hireds, say the exec is still “interested”. It can be taxing. I would say representation is probably the key… a key which I have yet to pick up at the, uh, key store.

  • “Are you a screenwriter with experience going through the process of getting your script read by producers?” God yes. I don’t have any cohesive thoughts on the matter, yet, but when I do I’ll certainly post…

    • The hardest part is taking one persons notes, who wont read it again, but did provide notes. Then you get notes from another producer, who gives you the complete and utter opposite notes. So all the stuff you took out, they tell you should’ve been there. It’s a real ball buster. How goes Man-Child?

      • Finishing a new draft this week. And yup: a lot of notes… all to consider, to discount, to interpret, to apply, to ignore.

        • I’d ignore most. Seriously. You know the story. Don’t try and make someone else’s version. I learned that the hard way. I’ve been working on this one for a really long time and going back to the story I wanted to tell has made all the difference. Well that and, nine years later, I’m a much better screenwriter.

          • yes..ignore. Unless someone slips you a gold nugget. And if
            it is a gold nugget you will know it right off.
            Otherwise steady as she goes. Better to go down on
            your own ship rather than a hodge-podge one that won’t float.

  • I used to work in development at two different studios, and wrote a lot of my own notes in addition to the notes we’d get back from readers. “Strong Consider” truly is about the best you could hope for with a spec script. If you’re submitting your work, just be aware that most readers on the studio side, when it comes to new talent, are looking for reasons to say “no”. They’ll say “no” if there’s spelling errors, weak character voices, too much DPs*, too few DPs, too short, too long…

    I’d suggest before you consider shopping something around, go through five to ten (literally) rewrites before you even show it to friends. Really put the script through the rounds, so not only tweaking dialog lines, but thinking through the structure, characters, beginning, ending, everything. If you can, keep your script under 100 pages, and if you don’t have something awesome happen by page 10 or even 5, put something awesome in.

    Christopher is spot on, the best genres to write for on spec are action, comedy, or horror/thriller, and the best way to get noticed is to either play with the genre in a new way (think something like THE CABIN IN THE WOODS) or to make it an exceptional genre piece (DRAG ME TO HELL). No matter what, remember that your main character/characters, in every scene, should have to overcome an obstacle to reach their goals – the idea being “For X, every day was like Y, until Z, and then $&#!!!” That’s the good ol’ cornerstone of drama.

    If you haven’t read the Tumblr, bookmark it and read all 1,000 tips – you’ll be a better writer once you finish!

    *directive paragraphs, not directors of photography in this case :-)

  • This whole discussion is absurd and always is. For starters, what are the qualifications of the readers? Do they have practical abilities as writers themselves? If not, what exactly is it that qualifies them as readers? If they’re so good at assessing either “quality” (whatever the hell that means in the movie business) or the market potential of scripts, might one ask why they’re still readers?

    The same questions can be asked of producers. How many of these people have the ability to actually improve a script and can prove it? How many have a proven record of predicting market performance based on scripts? Taking a producer’s notes seriously may or may not improve the chances of a sale to that producer, but that’s an entirely different matter.

    Note also that there’s a lot to be said for wrapping thing up at the second draft. A writer could easily spend years reworking a script that on no account will ever get produced anyway. This is particularly true in the case of material which doesn’t satisfying prevailing conventions. It may make far more sense to move on to another project.

    Imagine this kind of pandemonium, phony professionalism and lack of standards in any other field — say, medicine — and everyone would get sued for malpractice.

    • It’s called Art for a reason.

      It’s not science because there is no true answer. Which makes it so freaking hard. And you’re right to some extent. But 99.9% of all scripts out there suck. They suck before the person even typed FADE IN. they’re right, you can tell on page one if the script is going to be any good simply by the slug lines used, the descriptive action lines and the dialogue. It’s very easy to know when you’re in for a long, arduous read. It’s also true that you know when you’re in for a treat.

      But again, you’re right. It’s art. It’s all subjective.

      • Subjectivity ain’t the problem. There’s an element of fraud in business side of all the arts, but just try bluffing your way through a string quartet. Or try offering “notes” on a symphony if you don’t know a damn thing about music.

        And yet this goes on everyday in the movie business. It’s not that judgments are subjective. It’s that they’re uninformed, and that any inquiry into the abilities of the person in question would leave no uncertainty there.

        • Fair point, but I know plenty of people who can’t sing, or play music who offer plenty of thoughts and critiques on music. Why couldn’t you bluff your way through a string quarter? No ones asking you play, they’re asking for your opinion on it.

    • SamDEE~

      In my experience, most professional readers were also writers on the verge of selling their first script. They’d get on the payroll of a studio by writing coverage on a few standard scripts the studio has (unproduced) to see what each writer will say in terms of the concept, pacing and structure, dialogue, and characterization. Many scripts will go out to more than one reader – or at least a sharp intern or assistant, who often write coverage too.

      You’re right in that a writer shouldn’t spend too much time on rewrites – but I think taking three to five passes over your own work is a healthy number. Producers/studios will always have notes.

      And remember, for the bigger studios, it’s not about art, it’s about business – and although every studio has its bombs, for the most part they’re very good at making money.

      • There’s no question that the big studio are good making money, which is why it’s so important to distinguish issues of marketing from writing quality.

        From the writer’s point of view, what’s a “good script”? One which is defensible as a literary or dramatic work? A script which somebody with power thinks will make a lot of money? A formulaic but skillfully executed script?

        And in what sense is a re-write supposed to “make it better?” More marketable? More formulaic? More in conformance with the kind of screenwriting norms promulgated in “how-to” books? More accomplished literary execution, by novelistic standards? Greater secondary marketing opportunities (action figures, etc.)?

        It would help to be able to define all these standards, but of course that’s impossible, because it’s the movie business. Even narrowing the criteria for the indie world alone is impossible.

        • In terms of this post, what Hollywood readers look for, how marketable a script is and how well it’s written are hopelessly intertwined, and the readers will consider both. As a writer, your definition of a “good script” should likewise depend in part on your goals – is this a personal piece you want to self-produce? Or do you want to be a Nicholl Finalist? Do you want to sell your spec to Focus? Or 20th Century Fox?

          So far as the “how-to” books – they’re not bibles, but McKee, “How Not To Write a Screenplay”, and “Making a Good Script Great” will help you internalize good storytelling for the screen, including how to best structure the words on the page. If a script came across my desk with huge blocks of directive paragraphs or un-ending dialogue sequences, I knew the chances for the writer knowing engaging storytelling were nil. If a writer doesn’t know how to structure a screenplay, the chances are pretty good that they don’t know how to tell a good story, either.

          A pro writer knows the importance of rewriting as it helps you trim the narrative fat, tighten dialogue, focus on the themes, and keep things moving through the dreaded second act. I wouldn’t want the first draft of anything I wrote being seen by anyone but me. We’re not Paul Schrader writing TAXI DRIVER – and even he only pulled that off once :-)

          • I’m sorry, but what is the basis of your expertise? Nothing personal or untoward implied, but it’s a question which needs to be asked of anyone making these assertions.

            Would you, for example, be prepared to submit writing samples to any writer to whom you offered advice, as evidence of practical ability? Or a history of successful script interventions? Or an instance of spotting high potential missed by others? Or *any* compelling reason, other than job title, why you should be listened to?

            Again, nothing personal intended. You may be the greatest writer or screenplay analyst in existence for all I know. But once screenplay advice ventures beyond the question of how screenplays should be marketed, and what sells, there’s got to be some reason to believe the speaker.

          • That’s fair – I worked at two of the five major studios in LA and read hundreds, if not thousands, of scripts. I landed the first job, which usually went to people working in the industry for 5-10 years, because of my analytical abilities – I was able to discuss and dissect a produced movie of the VP’s with him, giving story notes and tweaks I would have suggested – and he said my notes corresponded with internal discussions they’d had with other studio heads and the film’s producers which, for various reasons, didn’t make it to the film (this was a film that grossed over $150m worldwide, and the A-list director had, more or less, final cut and say on the script). None of my work has been produced yet, and I’m far from the greatest writer ever, but I lived enough of the studio system to understand the thought process that goes into deciding whether an incoming script stays on the pile or goes in the trash. And before you ask – I’m not there any more because there were other things that interested me professionally, and it takes a very specific mentality to enjoy working in the studio system. It didn’t fit me, so I moved on :-)

            Choose to believe me or not (after all, I’m a block of text on a message board) – but anyone that has actually worked in the studio system would give very similar advice. If Koo wanted to vet me, I’d happily share some more of my experiences from that time in my life.

          • And some of that was left for improv.
            The scene w/ DeNiron and Shepard
            having coffee. Improved by the actors.
            You couldn’t write what they say.

        • Sam you seem particularly cynical and anti-Reader and/or script consultant – does this stem from a bad experience? If it did, then I’m sorry you had to go through that. No good reader or consultant would try to make someone else’s script their own – that’s just ego getting in the way on their part. A good story consultant when working with a writer identifies the story the writer wants and NEEDS to tell then works from there. It’s about getting under the skin of the story, figuring what’s in the writer’s heart and how best to get that passion onto the page.

          It is incorrect to assume that all readers are frustrated screenwriters and it is also an incorrect assumption that just because someone isn’t a successful screenwriter means they have no ability or right to provide feedback. I know many Readers and Story Consultants who have no desire to write themselves but are very, very good at story analysis. A building inspector can identify structural issues etc in a house but that doesn’t mean he is any less of a building inspector just because he cannot build a house himself.

          Your comments show a lack of understanding of an important and respected area of the the business. Are there bad readers and consultants out there? Absolutely. Just as there are people bad at their job in every kind of career.

          • Imagine that two doctors examine the same patient: one insists the subject is perfectly healthy and the other assures us he’s mortally ill. Upon further inquiry, we learn that neither doctor has any proven ability at diagnosis and indeed, neither is a doctor. This happens every day in the movie business, when it comes to evaluation of material. Or, to use your own analogy, a competent building inspector will have some proven ability in the matter. You likely wouldn’t hire an Ivy League MBA with no construction experience, as does the movie business.

            As for being “very, very good at story analysis” — well, I’m sorry, I don’t buy into that notion of competence, deriving (I would guess) from the screenwriting instruction industry? Indeed, isn’t it fair to say that Hollywood — as well as the indie film world — is proof positive that whatever mechanism is in play to get great writing to the screen isn’t quite working?

            At this point, the discussion typically goes off the rails, because industry proponents can point to high grosses as the ultimate proof, and it does the nay-sayers no good to point out that the writing in these films is laughably bad, by standards of literature or drama, or movies which are actually written.

            But never mind. The Emperor will always have clothes, when money, livelihoods and vanity are involved. There as some things which simply can’t be said in the business, and this is one of them.

    • Readers are the front line troops.
      They do the job no-one wants to do…READ.
      What are their qualifications..? None.
      They don’t need any.
      Hollywood is lucky to get anyone to sort garbage.
      Producers do not want to read scripts.
      That’s why they pay people to do it for them.

  • @ Sam You’re merely repeating the same argument over and over again. I’d very much like to know where your animosity comes from – I’ll ask again, have you personally had a bad experience with a Reader and/or Story Consultant? Also, have you ever given feedback on multiple scripts and how did the writer feel about your feedback? Were you able to help? I’ve heard all of your arguments before and they were all from people who did not like being told that their script was flawed. Perhaps these people made a bad selection of consultant for feedback but more probable, their script was indeed flawed.

    Readers are necessary as are consultants thanks to the sheer number of scripts being submitted. There has to be a filtration system in place especially when 99% of what is submitted is simply mediocre or bad. Screenwriting is not something that should be looked at like other artforms since it is merely a means to an end – it is a blueprint for the making of a movie. It is one step in a very long journey. What do you suggest writers do if not submit their screenplays for feedback from their peers? Are writers supposed to just keep writing in the dark in their writer’s bubble hoping that they somehow stumble upon brilliance? This is screenwriting we’re talking about, not novel writing where there are far fewer rules at play and where writers are far more free to break the rules and experiment.

    • You’ve made my case here far better than I could so myself. By your own account, the industry regards screenwriting as sub-literary: at most, a blue-print of a future project, which must take a form familiar to the industry’s business people, and where there’s little or no room for experiments, innovation, or any approach which disturbs received notions of what a screenplay is supposed to do — standards based at least in part (this is me talking now) in the screenwriting instruction industry, the very one ruled by persons who make their living telling other people how to do what they themselves can’t (earn a living as a screenwriter), but which non-writers in the industry accept as gospel.

      This could be seen as neither good nor bad (as has been pointed out, Hollywood is about business, not art) but fortunately for me, there’s a big irony coming up: Hollywood’s most prestigious and lauded projects invariably start their lives as literary works — the kind of stuff which allows for exactly those qualities you explain are not wanted or even permitted of screenplays.

      In other words, the narrative work of the most admired movies is usually done by novelists or is based in “real life”, which fortunately doesn’t have follow Syd Field rules of screenplay construction.

      What does the literary basis of so much prestigious Hollywood tell us? That screenplays aren’t novels, but should be written novelists? That the screenwriting medium is so hobbled by industry expectations that a decent screenplay, in this industry, has to start life in some other medium, untainted by industry expectations, to have any hopes of getting through? Or simply that the mechanical requirements of the form are so easy to fulfill, that the “writers” drawn to it never actually master a narrative medium, the way even a mediocre novelist is forced to do?

      We could draw on theater analogies as well — if you want artful dialogue, don’t go to a screenwriter today, look to the theater. But I think we’ve gone on long enough.

      @Joe Sugo, and “Being John Malkovich” — it’s easy enough to see 3 act structure after the fact, but that like saying that a piece of string has beginning a middle and an end. You can impose a 3-act structure on any coherent narrative, but that would hardly seem to be the way Kaufman conceived or executed the script.

  • Put the comments here together with the Charlie Kaufmann address and the Scott Myers competition, and it’s a laugh.

    Here we have Scott Myers, one of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters, offering a mentoring program, but with a catch. It’s only for screenwriters determined to write the kind of movies Hollywood is currently financing. Meanwhile, the industry’s most admired screenwriter, Charlie Kaufmann, apparently wouldn’t qualify for his colleague’s mentoring program, if an earlier version of himself could even be prevailed upon to try, despising the approach as he does.

    And just above, we have samDEE fending off the outraged professionals. Who’s right? Maybe it’s a matter of picking your poison. Love Scott Myers type movies? Then you found your man, and the industry, with its plot points, 3-acts and “very, very skilled story analysts” makes sense. But if you’re looking for something else, or something more, you’re likely to find the whole thing a bit wanting and not quite persuaded that it’s a wonderful industry full of skilled writers and readers.

    • Hahaha, I’m Minnesotan by birth, I’m incapable of anything approaching outrage!

      I don’t recall ever defending the Hollywood system as “wonderful” or “full of skill” – that’s in part why I decided to leave – but was merely trying to throw in my two cents, as someone who has intimate first-hand knowledge of how the studio system works, how to give yourself the best chances of standing out to a Hollywood script reader, the topic of this post. Anyone that’s worked in the industry would readily agree it is far from perfect, but anyone that’s worked in the industry would also know how many truly awful and mediocre screenplays there are out there. I write that with zero emotion – that’s just how it is.

      Also, everyone that is working within that system would *kill* to be the person to discover the next Charlie Kaufman. For example, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH is vibrant, funny, and wildly original – and it actually follows those dreaded plot points and basic three act structure (although it’s really closer to a more European five act structure). If you haven’t read it, check it out – it moves fast, it’s constantly raising the stakes scene to scene, and the characters are all very well defined.

      Ultimately, of course there’s no precise proven formula, but in terms of this discussion, there’s a lot you can do to make a script more appealing to those who would finance it through the studio system. Everyone’s free to write what they want, not everything fits the typical studio model. Well-written stuff that’s not TRANSFORMERS can still find an audience at Sundance, or Cannes, or be big in Japan, or have a huge following online. To each their own. Good luck with whatever that may be, whether your goal is to build a house, inspect a house, or make a pillow fort in the living room.

      • Forgive me, I just *have* to put my two cents in here, and then I’m through, promise.

        You’re no doubt right that every reader and producers in Hollywood would just LOVE to discover the next Charlie Kaufman. There’s one difficulty, however. The next Charlie Kaufman, like the old one, will present a script which nobody thinks will ever get made. And for every reader who likes it, three will be flummoxed. And nobody will risk his or her career on some unknown anomalous screenwriter who breaks all the rules and rejects received wisdom, when it’s so much easier to pass.

        In other words, every producer in America is looking for original material — as long as it resembles other movies he’s seen in the last year and doesn’t challenge prevailing conventions. Then bring it on!

        • We should all aspire to prove the three flummoxed readers wrong :-)

          Let’s hit the keys elsewhere, folks. Scripts won’t write themselves in comment sections.

      • yeahwhatever on 06.11.12 @ 10:45PM

        being john malkovitch sucked. seriously that movie was boring and the only reason it sold was the “walk in another man’s shoes” gimmick it sold. just another turd of the 99% that managed to get through.

    • Oh, and for real – regardless of what type of film you want to write, you should spend some time at – it’s full of great insights that’ll make you a better writer regardless of the genre or scope of your work.

  • I have to put my final 2 cents in here too… Sam is talking about well-trodden, formulaic (now there’s a dirty word!) storytelling in Hollywood as though Hollywood is the culprit in all of this. It shows a basic lack of understanding of story because Hollywood is merely following the tried and true formula (eek, such vulgarity!) of story that has been in existence for centuries.

    Hollywood did not invent the three act structure. The hero’s journey has been around for centuries and there’s a reason for it. Go read Beowolf or Gilgamesh (the first “man against the monster” story and the first “buddy story”) .

    • nonnarrativeheritic on 05.31.12 @ 3:30PM

      It’s been a few years since I looked at either Beowulf or Gilgamesh, but if memory serves, they’re not likely to find approval among today’s screenwriters gurus — deathly slow pacing, unresolved conflicts, unclear plot points, lack of character arcs, no growth, etc.

      This isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with 3-act structure, only that “3-act structure” is a funny way to describe a medium which is expected to deliver constant stimulation, numerous climaxes, and more changes in scene and personnel within a 10 minute period than a lifetime of 3-act plays which have 3-acts thanks to dramaturgical constraints not present in cinem. If this sounds a little too utilitarian, consider that 1-hour network TV dramas typically have 6 acts, one for each commercial break, but nobody insists that all drama must therefore have 6 acts.

      The “hero’s journey” thing is another chestnut we might be better off not roasting.

      Anyway, this kind of talk may be common in Hollywood (and did we forget “structure”?, even if, according to Donald Kaufman, “mom is reallygreat at “structure”) but we know what Charlie Kaufman thinks about it. He’s probably not alone, even in Hollywood.

  • MARK THOMAS on 05.31.12 @ 6:21PM

    This was b.s. attitude from day 1 when i was in film school…and still am, now that i’m out and knocking on doors.

    We all did covreage for script while going after our MFAs; making our student films; working on others, etc.
    I was one of the few who took it seriously…being a writer first and foremost, as opposed to getting in the studio system on whatever ledge I could…before I backstabbed my way to the top and took credit for work I’d never do.

    That didn’t mean that the bulk of the scripts I did coverage on weren’t good. They weren’t.
    In a strong MFA screenwriting program; you’re forced to listen to criticism from your teacher, classmates, etc.

    Writers on the outside, trying to break in, unless they’re serious — DO NOT WANT CRITCISM

    I don’t believe in dealing with readers or script consultant anymore…because the bulk of them are scam artists; don’t like reading anything in the first place, etc.

    And can do absolutely nothing to open a door for me…even with a realy, realy good script.
    They’re main interest is not discover scripts worth being made into movies.

    Their career advancement is really based on: saying…NO. To everything.

    Now…the readers Scott mentioned are solid and the real deal.

    But again, I only use them just to get an overall BEAT SHEET – NOTE INFO on my script.
    More or less…to see if i’ve missed anything before I got into my final drafts.

    Especially when I’m working on multiple projects at the same time.

    I’ve learned…not to expect my success as a writer first — director second — producer in my own start up — to come from the ops and hands of a script reader.

    This is all on me. I can get solid, real criticism from experts elsewhere outside the “reader” system.

  • @samDEE

    Man, I like what you’re saying and there is a LOT of truth in there :)

    Am a producer and seldom read scripts unless there is a very well writen synopsis or story with posibilities. I don’t care about structure, spellings and all those things many people are hung up in this industry. I know how to write and fix things if I like the story. We all know nothing is ever made without some changes in a script.

    My first feature I spent nine months writing it, polishing it and it was crap. That was 40 years ago. Recently I wrote a feature draft over the weekend and I like it as is. Sure, there will be some changes and tweeks but nothing major before ready to shoot.

    • yeahwhatever on 06.11.12 @ 10:50PM

      truth in what? bitching about the system? oh well, what are you going to do, write the best you can and resubmit it every month or so as the exec’s get switched out.

  • yeahwhatever on 06.11.12 @ 10:53PM

    Im not a writer, never wrote a word in my life, in fact this is my first time writing, so im gonna give me highly experienced opinion on the matter, go fuck yourself, lol, no really, cause the only way you’re gonna be ready for the assraping your script is gonna get should it ever get optioned is to practice first in the shower.

  • You know in life there are always difficulties in life am a story writer and also an actor looking for a producer and also don’t know how to come about it,have face many challeges both that doesn’t mean I should lose faith cause I know what I have and what am gonna offer to the industry if yoy give up easily then that your fault then,as for me am gonna figjt it to the end cause I have everything to give to this industry and am not quiting now god help me

  • Have done this before and I gonna do it again but u people should know this,when u are about to give up that’s when success is near I will not give cause I know what ihave to give to the industry

  • I think the questions posed on this thread are not only valid, but remain largely unanswered. Exactly what constitutes a “good” screenplay reader?
    I was once a songwriter in my younger years, and I lived in a remote area of the country where there was not much opportunity to get heard. There were a couple of fairly prominent songwriters who happened upon my work and, long story short, they helped themselves to my songs. They rewrote a stanza here and there, but they were my songs. They didn’t end up on the top 40, but they got recorded and I got nothing.
    The same songs that weren’t ‘good enough to publish’ were apparently still good enough to steal.
    The moral of the story?
    Stop beating yourself up and take the criticism with a grain of salt. If you know in your heart your screenplay is a great story, then it probably is. Just tell the damn thing and someone will get it.
    Fast forward thirty years, and I’m writing a screenplay that I truly believe in. If a particular ‘reader’ doesn’t get it, piss on them. I’ll stay the course.

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