Paul wrote in with a question:
I frequent a peer review site that ranks screenplays based on reader opinion. I've maintained a top five ranking for ten months now. I won free professional coverage from the site and it was a consider with strong potential for recommend if specific revisions were made. I made a lot of suggested revisions... a lot. Then I paid for more coverage from another service and it was a blatant pass with criticism about everything from character development to plot to writing style to structure, etc. In the end, my question is: do I take a chance and send it out? I thought it was close to being ready, but that last opinion really stuck it to me.
I'm sure this is something a lot of writers wonder about and it is a tough question. On one hand, we're so close to our own work that it's often essential that we have someone with fresh eyes look at at and give us an idea of what the work looks like objectively. On the other hand, the same work can provoke a wide range of opinions from people. A script some people might think is great might not click for other readers for some reason.
But that's just the nature of the beast. Even if you got glowing remarks from that last reviewer, I can probably guarantee that somewhere, someone who reads your script isn't going to love it. If you've given this to several readers who seem to know what they're talking about and most of them think it's ready, odds are it's ready.
But my question would be: do the critiques of the script make sense to you? When you see the problems that reader had with the screenplay, is your gut instinct, "Oh yeah, I can see that" or is it "This guy doesn't see the ideal version of this script the same way I see the ideal version" If it's the latter, it could mean that he's just not a fan of your take on the story - or it could mean that you had trouble translating your intentions to paper.
My own feeling is: if the notes you're given spark ideas that you think can make the script better, there's no reason not to implement them. However, if implementing pushes you in a direction that you're not fully committed to, maybe it's better to just take a stand on your vision and succeed or fail on those merits.
Ideally, you'd be able to send out your script with the conviction that it represents you well. At the very least, you should never feel like you have to apologize for or explain the script. You'll know you're ready when someone tells you "PASS" and you're able to simply say, "Thanks for your time." If your gut is, "Well, I know I just need to make this character more active," or "The second act is a little confusing but I can fix that" or any other apologizes, your writing probably wasn't ready in the first place.
A lot of industry pros will only give you one shot. Can you objectively look at that script and be at peace with this being your single chance?
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