Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thoughts on Emily Blake's "How I lost my faith in Scriptshadow."

Emily Blake dropped a helluva post on her blog yesterday, entitled "The Scriptshadow: How I lost my faith in Carson Reeves."  It's an incredibly well-written editorial that pretty much hits on a lot of the recent incidents that should give even former supporters of Carson Reeves pause.  Her post is coming from the perspective of someone who used to support and - I believe - even defend Carson Reeves's practices and that makes her revulsion at what the site has become that much more potent.

For her, the sea change came after Carson's efforts to promote The Disciple Program landed its writer representation. 

Suddenly, his cost for notes went up and up until he was charging $1,000 a pop. The ONLY reason you'd pay that much for notes is that you think he will pass your script onto his contacts. (As a contrast, the well-respected Screenplay Mechanic's MAX price is $325.) 

Then it started to feel like Carson was the one who made The Disciple Program happen. He posted entries less about Tyler's success and more about his own genius in finding a great script, as if this was somehow a really amazing skill, more amazing than actually writing the script. I'm pretty sure Marceca would have been found eventually, by someone. 

Carson's tweets became more and more self-serving, until they started to make me uncomfortable.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I've had my issues with how Carson operates. Following John August's posts about Scriptshadow, I realized that there were unintended consequences to what Carson does.  In fact, I wrote not one, but two posts about it.

That's one argument against him - that he harms working writers.  And yes, if you dig through the history, you CAN find working writers attesting to how the site made difficult for them.  Had John August not removed all the comments from his site, you could read an account from one writer of how an SS review torpedoed a pending deal. (Anyone know how to retrieve that somehow?)

[Update: someone did know how.  Check out comment 100 here by Michael Gilvary and comment 44 by "Working Writer" might also be of interest too.]

There's also this testimony from Marianne Wibberly. Screenwriter Gary Whitta talks about feeling violated by an unauthorized review. And someone posting on Done Deal Pro claiming to be an agent talks about a deal directly going south because of Scriptshadow reviews.

Other pros have weighed in on these two threads on Done Deal Pro.  PLENTY of pros have spoken out about how Scriptshadow makes their livelihoods difficult and how the dissemination and review of their intellectual property hurts them.  So know this - I do not recognize the validity of any counterarguement that says "I don't believe these reviews and script leaks hurt anyone."  Multiple people actually working in the industry at various levels have told you it does.  Accept it. 

But you know what? I'm gonna make it easy.  You can completely ignore that arguement.  There are plenty of other completely independent reasons why people in the business are not fans of Scriptshadow.

If you've read my blog for a while, you'll know I'm not a fan of people who charge insanely high fees for "coverage" while using the promise of access as bait.  Well, Carson charges $1000 for a few pages of coverage, promising to push the script out to his contacts if he likes it.  No one's notes are worth that much.  And it may be your money to spend, but this is a clear demonstration of Carson's credibility lapse.  Talk to any produced writer and they'll tell you you're a fool to pay that much for feedback (Justin Marks, Geoff LaTulippe and F. Scott Frazier are among those who have said so on Twitter) and only an unscrupulous opportunist would conduct themselves in such a manner.

But forget that too.  Remember all my posts about slimy "Producers in Name Only" who just want to attach themselves to your work and ride your coattails?  Scriptshadow wrote a post where he proudly declared he wanted to do just that.

Seriously, read that whole post.  I want you to look at that through the eyes of an industry professional.  Not only does Carson imply that being a producer is easy, but he flat out admits that he doesn't know what a producer does, then reveals his grand plan is to hook up with a bigger producer and take advantage of their hard work.

More than anything else, that post utterly destroys any credibility that Carson Reeves could hope to have in the industry.  It reveals him as a poser who knows nothing about what he's trying to do, all while arrogantly declaring it'll be easy for him.  He might as well have written a blog about how he planned on playing in the Super Bowl, so long as Tim Tebow took him under his wing.

Let's not forget that his notes service continued to be active even after this declaration.  This now made Carson Reeves a producer who was charging for notes.  That's one of the first things aspiring writers are told - "No reputable producer charges for access or notes."  It's incredibly unethical, as it would be if Jerry Bruckheimer ran a service where he'd read your script and give you notes for $1000.

No one who considers themselves a professional would ever do business with a "producer" who represents himself in that manner.  And then he doubled down on that last week by posting about how he'd gotten an early look at a script that was circulating town and thought it was brilliant.  This is exactly what he said:

Really hoping something good comes of it. And if not, well, that's not so bad either. Maybe then I'll be able to convince Todd to let me jump on board. This is the kind of franchise potential project producers dream of. I want to be involved! :) :) :) 

So he basically roots for this script to fail when it goes out wide so that he can attach himself as producer.  But why?  Just because he happened to look at it first?  What does he bring to the table?
You'd never see a post like that from Jon Landau or Jerry Bruckheimer.  But that's a bad analogy anyway - their attachment actually adds value to the package. Aspiring screenwriters - this is not a guy who can help your script by being attached to it.

I reiterate - no one in this town with any real power or professionalism would risk their reputation by pairing up with a guy who acts like that.

Which brings me to "The Industry Contest, presented by The Tracking Board and Scriptshadow."

Tracking Board has just announced their partnership with Carson Reeves for yet another opportunity for writers to separate themselves from their hard-earned cash for a shot at "breaking in."  Full details have yet to be announced, but considering the many concerns about Scriptshadow's professional credibility, I'd be wary of any competition that uses a partnership with him as a selling point.

Most of you who are active in the screenwriting blogosphere are probably aware that the Scriptshadow debate has been a fairly persistant one in recent months - on Twitter, on message boards and on blogs.  It's unlikely that someone could be active in the screenwriting community on the internet and not be aware of this.  Ergo, unless they are completely oblivious, Tracking Board should have had an inkling of this.

And if they aren't oblivious, then they partnered with him in full awareness of the many ethical concerns and debate about Carson, his notes service, and his producing aspirations.  It's worrying to me that none of that gave these so-called "professionals" pause, for it means that those legitimate concerns either meant nothing to them, or they were banking on people not raising those concerns.

Or to put it the way The Daily Show would - it seems that Tracking Board is either evil (for pairing up with someone who has huge ethical issues attached to them) or stupid (for not being aware of said issues.)

Other people have pointed out another concern with Carson's attachement.  What assurances does any writer submitting to this contest have that their script won't end up on one of Carson's "super-secret mailing lists?"  He sends out a weekly email with links to scripts he intends to review, as well as other desired scripts around town.

Let's say the next Tyler Marceca happens to submit to this Tracking Board competition.  Heck, maybe the script doesn't win, but somehow it manages to get some heat around town thanks to the writer passing it to the right person.  So it's the hottest spec in town, sells for six figures... and Carson Reeves has a PDF of it sitting in his hard drive.

How fast do you think he'd push that script out to his newsletter?  Does anyone think he wouldn't review it for his site?  It would be entirely consistent with his past behavior to do so.

There's too much potential impropriety here.  Which is why I'm urging that so long as Scriptshadow is attached to this contest, you're better off avoiding it.

Scriptshadow no longer has the luxury of sticking his head in the sand and waiting for this storm to pass.  His own words have left him more vulnerable than any attack from a John August or other blogger.  This is not an operation that any reputable industry pro would want to do business with, and it is not to your benefit to associate yourself with such an individual.


  1. Scriptshadow provides the invaluable opportunity to analyze, discuss, and learn from the latest scripts in Hollywood with its daily reviews and passionate forum feedback.

    All for free.

    I've learned more from reading and discussing scripts on Scriptshadow than from years of screenwriting books and courses (including the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA)

    I'd encourage anyone reading this post to Ignore the baying lynch mob and be smart enough to differentiate between Carson the man and the incredible free learning opportunity his website offers to aspiring screenwriters.

    Repped writers get to read the latest scripts in Hollywood so they can instantly make changes to what they're working on if need be. Yet people who are already in the door like Emily Blake want to close that door behind them and deprive unrepped writers of the same knowledge base, or want to point you to tracking boards where you have to pay high annual fees.

    Meanwhile participation in Scriptshadow is free.

    As an aspiring screenwriter, understand that the interests of people like Emily Blake and other repped and working screenwriters are NOT your interests.

    Let the idle bloggers chatter. It's just white noise.

    Focus instead on analyzing and writing scripts.


    1. "If I've just sold a script, why the hell would I want it judged by a bunch of amateurs on a blog?" - JakeBarnes12

      Your words. You know what you're doing is wrong, but you continue to do it anyway. How can you call this a lynch mob when you know it's writers who are justifiably pissed off?

      Also, after the above examples, how can you continue to call Scriptshadow white noise? It gives ammo for people to say no. If you don't believe me look at Rian Johnson's tweets about it -- "He [Carson Reeves] became known for posting reviews like this of scripts that were still in the development process. If this review had been posted while we were still trying to get cast and financing together it would have spread like wildfire and it very likely would have derailed our movie."

    2. Well played, M3! Can't believe I forgot to use Johnson's quotes.

    3. Forgive me if this is a simple question, but it is sincere.

      How exactly is what Carson does in reviewing scripts that have sold different than if a film critic reviews a movie that has been made?

      The same argument about bad reviews potentially being bad for business could be made of film critics. E.g., by slamming a film like, say, Green Lantern, Roger Ebert makes it less likely that a sequel will be made. In some ways, this "hurts" the potential screenwriter, director, stars, and entire crew who would have been employed in making a sequel. So by this reasoning, a Roger Ebert potentially hurts filmmakers as much as a script reviewer potentially hurts screenwriters. So why not come down on movie reviewers?

      And let's remember: Roger Ebert is not a professional filmmaker. He wrote one script. How does that make him an authority over film, any more than Carson is an authority over scripts? And Ebert is just the most established. There are countless film reviewers who are no more than kids barely out of journalism school. What are their credentials for deciding which films are good? How dare they try to diminish the box office profits and therefore the livelihood of filmmakers?

      If we accept film reviewers, we are hypocritical if we don't accept script reviewers.

    4. Incredibly flawed analogy. A movie is finished. It's a completed work that has been released by its makers for public consumption.

      An unproduced screenplay has not. Reviewing that is more akin to sneaking into the first read-through of THE BOOK OF MORMON and publishing a detailed and unauthorized review while the creators were still developing the material.

    5. I had a similar question not long ago - but if it's being sent around to producers, isn't it finished? It took me a while to understand the distinction.

      It's ready to be seen by PRODUCERS, people who are deciding if it can be a film. It is still not meant to be seen by the general public, who will analyze not with an eye to production, but as a production in and of itself. And the draft that is sent to producers is almost never the draft that will be shot.

  2. And again, the only defense is "But it's not fair! I want it!"

  3. This is a great discussion.

    But I do feel little bad for Carson. He's done a lot of work reviewing so many scripts, and really built a cool community of people discussing screenwriting.

    Do you (Emily and BSR) think he could ever be redeemed, say, if he just reviewed produced scripts, or all amateur scripts?

    1. Absolutely. I think if Carson stopped charging for notes and started acting like an actual producer, or if he gave up the idea of producing, and if he stopped reviewing in-development scripts, he'd be just another businessman in Hollywood. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is, whenever these issues are raised, he shrugs it off and pretends the problem doesn't exist.

    2. Emily is probably right, though it would have been a lot easier for him to do that had he not written that producer post.

    3. Wow, I just read that producer post. He should delete it immediately. There's a fine line between an honest post and a display of ignorance...okay, it's not that fine.

      Is it just me, or is he confusing "producer" with "agent?" Literary agents find material and then sell it. Or, as Emily suggested, managers do this too, and also work with writers. I'm sure some producers rely on just finding work, but the good ones do 1,000 other things as well...

      The irony is, that post will probably lose him jobs just as his script postings have hurt screenwriters.

    4. @ERIC M - Also, an Agent CAN'T produce, but a Manger can. What he's doing is essentially "managing", but he claims he doesn't want to "manage".

      You can't have your cake, and it eat too, Carson. Certainly not in this case.

    5. I think he's confusing "Producer" with "Development Executive" or someone at a production company who works with a team (which most likely includes the eventual producer(s)) to take in properties and develop them into scripts and develop those scripts into movies.

      I developed a script (that's now out on the town) at a production company (that until just recently at a 1st look deal at a major studio) where the producer allowed a Creative Executive and a talented assistant to provide notes on the script...some he agreed with, more he did not.

      But again, the Producer was directing the script's development with an eye toward budget, production, directors, actors, financiers, marketability, foreign markets, distribution, etc. He's now actively working to package the script and woo financiers...with the plan to "produce" the film as it continues this process and hopefully goes into production, post-production and exhibition.

      Somehow Carson thinks just developing a script and its story is somehow equivalent to a Producer. It's not. This is a job for a CE or someone at a production company who plays a specific and limited role in Development, but still works with/for a producer in ushering those projects to production.

      It seems to me that Carson wants to use his talents to develop screenplays in his new production company and get them to be as good as The Disciple Program is...and then take it out on the town, forcing interested buyers to give him a Producer credit without him having to actually "produce" beyond developing the script. Why?

      Money. Credits. And to bask in that spotlight he got when he "discovered" Tyler Marceca's script.

      It's part producer, manager, development executive in this Frankensteined role that DOESN'T EXIST in Hollywood for a reason.

      I too have soured to Scriptshadow.


  4. Yes, M3, I stand by my quote. If I'd just sold a screenplay, I wouldn't want it reviewed by a bunch of amateurs. What possible benefit would it be to me?

    But I haven't just sold a screenplay. And engaging in discussions of the latest scripts in Hollywood is of great benefit to me and thousands of other unrepped writers. We can come to an unproduced script fresh and we can also monitor what is currently selling in Hollywood. Doubly advantageous.

    Meanwhile Emily had no problem using Scriptshadow for feedback and publicity when she was an unrepped writer, even though she knew full well that we publicly discuss and critique in development scripts. Yet now she's repped and her own work might be discussed she suddenly develops a conscience about this practice.

    Some might call that hypocritical.

    I just think she's a realist and good luck to her.

    By the way, it's not Scriptshadow that's white noise, it's bloggers like Emily and Bitter here who get a fraction of the hits and comments that Carson gets daily. If you can't replicate the success, attack it and ride the publicity.

    Again, I can't fault their chutzpah, though I personally would feel bad about attacking a man whose site helped my career as Emily is doing. I guess loyalty, even to someone who goes on to disappoint you, is not in her playbook.

    Meanwhile myself and other committed writers at Scriptshadow will work through the white noise and continue to read, discuss, and learn from the latest Hollywood scripts.

    1. Let me be perfectly clear: Carson is not responsible for where I am in my career. I am. And I will be the one responsible for my own future success.

      If any site deserves credit, it's DDP.

      I voluntarily submitted my amateur work to him and got notes on ten pages. I occasionally commented on posts, usually about amateur work. I did not have a script in development posted against my knowledge or consent. There is no hypocrisy there.

    2. A. I want no part of whatever "success" you believe Carson to have achieved.

      B. I would never attack an innocent party just for blog hits. If I was looking to get massive hit everyday, I'd just write four posts a day about Joss Whedon and let Whedonesque drive traffic over here.

      C. Plenty of people without blogs have raised the same issues Emily and I have.

    3. JAKE! Don't you understand that you may not have the benefit of selling your screenplay if you're reviewed on SS website?! He may pan a script that the town is reading and alter opinions entirely.

      If my script is doing rounds and comes to a halt because someone reviewed it, I will freak. I can't even imagine how upset I'd be if my friend told someone else about a script I wrote.

      He should be reviewing PRODUCED scripts only, offering his notes business or whatever, and blogging about screenwriting. But reviewing unproduced scripts is only good for the demons in development hell.

    4. Jake, this is a summary of your entire argument:

      "All of Scriptshadow's dubious business practices aside, his blog is amazing and I get to read all the in-development scripts I want that he sends out and the community is amazing! Until I get representation, at which point, fuck the community, they're not allowed anywhere near my work."

      You have no respect for writers. You're selfish. Period.


    5. But Emily has done the exact same thing, Brian.

      Is she selfish too?

    6. Emily has admitted many times that her retraction of support for the practice came the more she learned about how it was detrimental to writers. Without the knowledge, she didn't see the issue. With the knowledge, she sees the issue.

      You see the issue, too, because you don't want any of your to-be-repped material in the hands of the community you're trying to defend while unrepped with such vigor.

      Again, you have no respect for writers.


    7. "...her retraction of support for the practice came the more she learned about how it was detrimental to writers. Without the knowledge, she didn't see the issue. With the knowledge, she sees the issue."

      Funny how that "knowledge" came when she got repped and she then saw Scriptshadow as a threat," isn't it, Brian?

      But no matter. She has nice naive young men like you to support her.

      By the way, Brian, if you'd like to read in-development scripts like Emily does for free, that'll be $79 per year over at The Tracking Board.

      They take both Visa and Mastercard.

    8. This is the point where I enter the mindset I tweeted about earlier, in which I'm "done with trying to rationalize with irrationality. I'd rather just swear a lot."

      What the fuck are you even trying to say at this point? YOU AGREE WITH WHAT SHE HAS SAID. YOU HAVE SAID SO YOURSELF.

      The only difference is, you understand the reasons while still in the position taking your first steps into a hopeful professional career, so you're in a key position to act based on knowledge we wished we had previously.

      The way you are proud to choose to act is to say "I want to milk all of the shit I get from Carson's work for as long as possible until I'm through the first door, and after that, Carson and those amateur flunkies better not go anywhere near my shit."

      Your cutesy little nipping-at-the-heels statements that border on intentionally inflammatory don't excuse the fact that YOU ADMITTEDLY AGREE WITH EMILY'S POST, but you only want to actively agree with it when it directly affects you. Otherwise, fuck other writers, fuck writers who are in positions to have more experience with these matters than you, only your wishes are what matter. It's pathetic.

  5. Bitter, excellent article!

  6. @Curious.

    Your analogy has some weight, though Bitter is also right to a point.

    But to pursue your case, Curious, a movie like Green Lantern is, in fact, not really finished since it has been conceived as the start of a three-movie franchise. While there is little proof that a couple of hundred people on Scriptshadow can sink a script, a national critic like Roger Ebert is read and trusted by HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS if not MILLIONS of moviegoers.

    When he says a movie sucks (and is backed up by almost every other critic of renown) can't the case be made that he has affected the box office of the movie, stripping the studios of millions, and also torpedoed the potential sequels?

    So yes, the studios would love to get around people like Ebert. They try to do that at times by not press showing movies which they know suck.

    So the solution is of course to shoot the critics.

    Or, um, make better movies.

    And write better scripts.

    So your script is going round town but it's garbage? It's sold, but it's a piece of shit? As a regular reviewer there, I WISH Scriptshadow had the power to kill it before it polluted the malls of America.

    Sadly that's not the case, or happens so rarely, and to godawful dross, that it doesn't begin to outweigh the educational benefits that Scriptshadow offers to aspiring writers.

  7. @ Emily.

    See, you can't have it both ways. Either Scriptshadow has the power to make or break scripts, or it's kinda obscure and no one really notices it.

    If it's kinda obscure, then you don't owe Carson a damn thing. But then, you shouldn't worry about a few amateurs geeking out over scripts in their little corner of the internet.

    Or it's read by producers, agents, etc. in Hollywood and carries some weight. That would make a negative review there more damaging.

    But it also means that getting a full review (even of ten pages, and even an overall negative one) from Carson raised your profile.

    And then there's what you call notes on ten pages.

    You got TWO HUNDRED AND SIXY-SEVEN comments on your ten pages. Suggestions, critiques, changes. Sure, some of it's going to be irrelevant, or just plain bad advice. But some of it's going to be helpful.

    Even taking into account repeat commenters, that's over TWO HUNRED people who took the time to read your ten pages, think about them, and give their honest advice. What about THAT community which you're now stabbing in the back?

    When you won the contest, Carson wrote "She's now working on rewriting "Nice Girls Don't Kill," incorporating some of the notes you gave her on the First Ten Pages."

    Now maybe that's just spin from Carson, or maybe you actually told him that.

    But the site helped you, Emily. It gave you publicity. Carson gave you a review of those ten pages. Several hundred of us took time out of our busy days to comment. And by all accounts you used some of that advice to improve those first ten pages.

    So you accepted the publicity. You accepted the "front page" exposure. You accepted the feedback.

    All from people you knew to be engaged in practices you now find repugnant.

    If you were still unrepped and had a change of heart, hey, that's a principled stand. But you did then what was in your best interest and now that you perceive ScriptShadow as a threat, you grow a conscience.

    You're protecting your best interests. That's great.

    So are we.

    Just don't try to clothe your self-interest in your new-found concern for "the community."

    1. So everyone who ever gave you notes is not only responsible for any success you might have, but also immune from criticism forever, no matter what they do? If that's your theory, then I suppose every screenwriter that ever lived is a hypocrite.

      I appreciated the notes I got in that thread, and I said so. But I've gotten notes from many people, all of whom helped me out, none of whom are directly responsible for my success. You think notes - no matter how many - on ten pages of one script that has not yet been sent out is the reason I'm repped and getting meetings?

      I've given notes to many people. I hope they helped. But I don't consider myself responsible for their success.

      I'll tell you the moment I really started to have problems with Carson: When he started taking full credit for Tyler Marceca. Tyler is the reason for Tyler's success. He got a lot of help along the way, but HE wrote the script, not Carson.

    2. @Jake

      Your argument is simply wrong. There is a huge distinction between Emily voluntarily submitting her pages and receiving feedback and having a full script, without her permission, distributed to a mailing list and reviewed online in a public setting.

      I run a weekly screenwriters group. A writer can share whatever they want in group and we can offer whatever feedback we want. But I would not send out a script (or pages) of theirs to other folks without them okaying it first. Furthermore, if a writer takes the notes from any of us in group and makes their script better then that is a success for all. The writer wins and the group served it's purpose. As a writer, I am grateful for thoughtful feedback but I don't think that means my loyalty must remain blind to any shenanigans the notegiver may be part of.

      You want to read and discuss scripts that are in various stages of development. I get that. I agree that there is a benefit in reading the latest script to sell but there are ways to do that without making a public spectacle of those scripts. Also, grab every script you have access to right now, every single one. There are more scripts that you could spend the rest of the day downloading than you could ever read. And you won't be behind the curve because you aren't able to get your hands on the latest Emily Blake script that sells for a million bucks. You'll just be upset because you can't have it.

    3. When SS was useful to you, you had no criticisms.

      Now you see it as a threat to your work, you attack it.

      All in the name of protecting "the community."


    4. I don't see it that way. I think SS can be useful and has been useful to me personally. But I think Bitter shares a pretty straight forward set of reasons as to why SS should rethink his business model.

      The SS producer post is just idiotic. If you have ever produced even a short film you would know that is a job that requires a great deal of work and, as has been pointed out already, for those producers who add little more than their name to a project, they bring something very valuable to the table.

      I admire the ambition SS has and he has successfully built a real community. There is value there. But I have to admit when the Black List launched it's new service, I couldn't help but wonder how long it would be before SS leaked a script from there online. That would be bad.

    5. Um, Dane, sorry, man; this system was messed up.

      I wasn't replying to you but to Emily.

  8. That's the point. Forget the notes: you're paying 1,000 $ for some suppossed 'contacts' Carson claims he has and you have to believe him. You're paying for the privilege of being read by the right people. You're paying for the perk of having a foot in the castle. So what is the difference with the current system based on who you know and who can help you? With a price, of course.

  9. Wow. Having read that producer post, I am absolutely shocked that this guy has any following at all. Why any would look for reviews / insights from someone who has no appreciation or understanding of the business is beyond me.

    Regardless of what this guy's intentions were, he has become a parasite. Any time you have a community / group of people with hopes and aspirations, there will always been those willing to ruthlessly feed off them for their own gain.

  10. If someone is insane enough (or insanely wealthy enough) to pay $1,000 for notes than by all means go right ahead.

    As far as reviewing spec scripts and scripts in development (without the writer's consent), it's just plain wrong.

    I was a big fan of Scriptshadow when I first dipped my toes into the online screenwriting community. I still read his articles and the Amatuer Friday reviews. But a few months ago it became clear to me that what he does with pro scripts is wrong.

    Would you want someone to take your spec and review it on the internet without clearing it with you first?

  11. Also. Comparing what Roger Ebert reviewing a finished film to someone with no credentials reviewing a work-in-progress draft is ridiculous. It's more like a food critic eating a pile of raw meat to decide if a burger place is good.

  12. If I had $1000 to throw at something like script notes I'd just forget the whole screenwriting thing and enjoy and early retirement.

  13. Does anyone know if Carson ever gets requests from writers or owners of scripts to remove reviews from his site? If so, does he comply?

    1. He complies with such requests but usually one the review and the script links are out there, the damage has been done.

      The stand-up thing for Carson to do would be to ask permission before disseminating the script and writing its review.

    2. Yeah, that would be the stand-up thing to do.

  14. Awright, people, I'm outta here. One time only, we've had our coffee shop talk.

    You do what you do best trying to stop guys like me.

    But there's a flip side to that coin. What if you got me boxed in and I gotta put you down?

    'Cause no matter what, you will not get in my way.

    Now that we been face to face, I would not feel good about that.

    But I won't hesitate.

    Not for one second.

    Any of you mothers could write dialogue like that, you wouldn't be sh*ttin' your pants about a little public scrutiny.

    Peace. :)

  15. I have a feeling the reviewing of pro scripts will all be over when a powerhouse studio or A-lister slaps a lawsuit on him for distribution of copyrighted material w/o consent. Not that it would hold up in court, but it would be enough to scare him... that or someone loses a huge deal and finds him in an alley somewhere, and gives him a piece of their mind/fist. His blog has definitely been sketchy lately. Ive been a reader since 2009 off and on but am getting tired of the way he conducts himself. He recently just took twenty loglines from people trying to get read and blasted them on how terrible they are to his entire followers. Thats rough for people trying to get read... Anyway, to each his own...

    1. Yeah, I was one of those people. Luckily for me, it's one of three scripts I have so it's not like I put all my eggs in one basket.

      Plus I received good reviews on that script from people who actually read it in its entirety (and gave good suggestions on how to improve it mixed with a few of my own), so i'm not worried at all if people are gonna think its garbage. I'm too confident in myself. It's all about getting the right person to read my stuff, luckily I do have a few contacts.

  16. I'm pretty sure Tracking Board is just trying to reach out to the legions of amateur writers who follow him to get more numbers for their contest. They need to come out and say that though, otherwise it seems like he's going to attach himself to the winner or something nefarious. It's amazing to me that he has any followers at all, personally. The "I want to be a producer, someone tell me how, unless it's hard" blog post was hilarious.

    1. Even if that was their rationale, it is colossally misguided and wrong-headed. Whoever at Tracking Board made that call probably regrets it now.

    2. Zak does coverage for the tracking board, so take anything he has to say on this matter with a grain of salt.

    3. A lot of people have done coverage for them. It's freelance, and a separate entity from the site or the contest. Coverage readers are like the burger flippers of the movie industry. And I was agreeing that they need to come out and say what their relationship with him is for the contest, I don't know what exactly I said that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

  17. First time responder -- I have had some dealings with Carson over the last couple of months. It would seem to me, he, like all of us in some fashion, is also trying to 'break in'. I found it interesting you actually had a link for Nathan Zoebl -


    I was the guy who handed Carson Nathan Zoebl's script in the first place, only because I had read and reviewed it at Zoetrope. So, to me, he does do some good, he does seem to recognize talent. He has some pull in the Industry as seen by Disciple Program and now Keeping Time/Nathan signing with WME. IMHO -- if a person doesn't want Carson to review a script, don't give him permission. Simple as that. If there is a script out that I own and think has a 'shot', my first inclination would be to put it on the Black List, get Carson a read,and give two other 'industry' people whom I have had the pleasure of speaking with over the last year a read/copy. All this stuff about stealing and proprietary property - I can see why a person would not want their spec reviewed while it is making the rounds. Don't give him your permission. He doesn't post unless he has permission (which is something probably pushed by Mr. Bitter here couple of years ago). We, and I say this collectively as a newbie writer who doesn't have a pot to piss in, are all trying to achieve that goal of creating films. Whether you like Carson or not, you have to admit there is some benefit to his site. And, his is not the only site that gives insider tips on how to write a movie. Mr. Bitter can attest to that! Peace out people - we am all in this together!

    1. My understanding is that Carson still does NOT ask for permission before posting pro scripts. He does comply with requests to take down a script after he has already posted it. However, there is a world of difference between those two things.

    2. This is correct. And if he really was as connected as he depicts himself, contacting those writers first should not be difficult for him.

      But he actively tries to keep his mailing list a secret, even admonishing his subscribers NOT to discuss it publicly - because he knows he's in the wrong.

  18. I read scriptshadow, I never got the impression the siterunner was particularly high up in the industry (actually kinda the opposite) though, which meant I kinda view it as a bunch of amateurs talking to each other trying to figure out how to be pro.

    Not that he shouldn't listen to the criticism of his new business ventures etc etc.

  19. All of the ScriptShadow stuff aside...I'm sure "Jake Barnes" is some kind of pseudonym, but based on his last post especially, I'm actively looking forward to him never having a career as a screenwriter.

  20. Another SS script taken down Wednesday -- after it got less than 40 comments, which may be a sign of things to come.

    It bewilders me that sheer publicity and (I'll admit it) nerve can get somebody like Sdae/Seveer as far as he's gotten. Absent apparent talent, absent real connections, absent ethics (of course), absent anything resembling a real plan. It's like watching an avalanche of shit just getting bigger and bigger.

    I got out of the way of the shit-avalanche late, when Seveer Nosrac put up his "producer"'s shingle. Up until then, at ScriptShadow, I faithfully commented and covered at least one linked script a week (under the Jack Dawe/jackafka nomer). I defended him on various blogs, and even made use of the script services (back before it was 1000 bucks a pop). I've found better coverage, even at the supposedly cheap rate I was paying, but I kept going back because I thought it might get me an "in" to Amateur friday coverage. No such luck.

    Anyway, now I try to attend to my writing and make as few comments as possible. And don't get distracted by shitstorms like the current imbroglio over Seveer's borderline-illegal activities.

    If you want to read more on the controversy, featuring lucid arguments by a Carson defender, check out --http://www.moviebytes.com/messageboard.cfm

  21. I feel like Carson started out Robin Hood, with a pitch like "insiders get to read this stuff and learn from it, so let's do it too!" He often referred to himself as being someone honestly trying to learn how to write better by studying the scripts currently selling. With (hefty) reservations, I could understand that. He was stealing (he had no right to post those scripts) but for reasons I could just about empathise with.

    BUT --

    At some point Robin became the Sheriff. With his jacked-up fees and his attempts to attach himself to projects as a PINO, suddenly it looked like Carson was no longer trying to learn to be a better writer, or even to help writers... rather, he was paying his rent by stoking the hopes of outsiders with overblown talk of his influence.

    Thing is, if Carson had only ever reviewed produced movies, then he'd have been nothing special. It was only the fact that unproduced scripts were harder to get hold of, and that he was prepared to post them (ethics be damned) that gave him his original USP. Today he's profitting from attention originally earned by doing something that hurts writers. Which is what makes him a douchebag.