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  That Final Polish -- Can a Script Coach Help?
by Lenore Wright

One of the most important questions aspiring screenwriters should ask themselves is this: How do I make my sample script as professional as possible?

Writing a screenplay is the first step to becoming a screenwriter; but it's the rewriting that separates the pros from the amateurs.

There is no shortcut. Do what the pros do. Present a story that involves us and connects us to a hero that captivates us and with whom we can identify. Then rewrite, rewrite and rewrite some more with the benefit of reliable, experienced feedback.

Generating Quality Feedback

All writers need feedback, even experienced writers. Working screenwriters get professional feedback all the time from agents, managers, producers and writer friends.

How do unproduced screenwriters generate professional feedback?

~ Cultivate a network of writing pros.
~ Rely on film school professors or friends with experience in the business.
~ Join a craft workshop or workign writers group.
~ Enter contests that feature feedback.
~ Or hire an experienced script coach.

How Script Coaches Work

Script coaches take workshop techniques to the next level - the marketplace. Services vary among the individual coaches, but most include extensive script notes, phone conferences, and sometimes personal industry referrals.

Is it worthwhile? Script coaches can be expensive, but if your coach has legitimate industry credentials, they can become the professional referral all aspiring screenwriters need.

Popular Script Coaches To Check Out

--> Michael Hauge

Michael is the author of one of the best-selling books on screenwriting: WRITING SCREENPLAYS THAT SELL. In addition, Michael has two decades of experience as a successful writer and script consultant. He offers two-day intensive screenwriting seminars throughout the US, Canada and England.

For script consultation and seminar details--->

For a preview of Michael's coaching technique -->

---> Kate Wright

Since 1995, Kate Wright has been a screenwriting professor at UCLA. Hundreds of successful writers have taken her popular course - Writing the Million Dollar Script. Kate has a decade of experience as a film and television executive at Interscope Communications where she worked with some of the finest writers in the industry. She had the extraordinary good fortune to work with the legendary Tennessee Williams; and she collaborated (as producer) with Pulitzer Prize winning actor-writer Jason Miller to win Interscope's first Emmy!

For script consultation information --->

Interview with Kate --->

---> Write Movies: www.writemovies.com

The consultants for this site are well-known industry insiders: manager Alex Ross, screenwriter David Newman, and film exec/producer Peter Saphier. Writers choose the staff member they want to read their script - there is a sliding pay scale. Scripts which receive a high recommendation are then managed and marketed by Alex Ross, who discovered screenwriter Andrew Niccol ("The Truman Show").

---> The Screenwriters Room: www.screenwritersroom.com

Experienced film executives, Kathleen Hannon and Ann Zalid, help screenwriters break into the business. They offer script notes, phone conferences, face-to-face meetings and industry referrals if they recommend your script.

---> The Writer's Guild Mentors Program: www.wga.org/mentors

This completely free service is provided by experienced Writer's Guild members. Aspiring writers visit the Guild's website and choose from the mentors who have volunteered. The mentors are listed by writing genre and work experience. The aspiring writer corresponds privately with the chosen mentor to discuss writing and script marketing issues. Please DON'T ask them to find you an agent!

---> The Screenwriting Center: www.davetrottier.com

Dave Trottier has decades of experience as a screenwriter and screenplay coach. Many writers he's coached have gone on to win major script contests and establish successful screenwriting careers. Dave is the author of "The Screenwriters Bible" - one of the best-selling guides to writing and selling a script.

---> W. C. Martell: www.ScriptSecrets.com

If you have an action script that needs feedback, this well-respected screenwriter has the experience and the expertise you need.

---> Tracy Keenan Wynn: www.rx4scripts.com

Tracy offers excellent writing experience and coaching credentials, especially for character-drive stories. His award-winning scripts have
impressed writers for decades: The Autobiography of Jane Pittman, The Longest Yard, The Deep, The Drowning Pool, and Quigley Down Under. Serious, dedicated writers only!

How To Choose A Script Coach

~ Check credentials thoroughly. Look for extensive industry experience and current film community contacts.

~ Get references. Investigate the recommendations given by their clients. If you belong to a screenwriters networking group (and you should!) ask your peers about their experiences with script coaches.

~ Be clear which services you are choosing and how much each service will cost.

~ DON'T send them a first draft screenplay. This is not a writer's workshop. Send them a polished script you believe is ready for market. Let them help you take it to the next level.

~ Many coaches offer reduced fees for resubmitting scripts. This can be worthwhile if your next draft is significantly improved.

Follow these guidelines as you research and evaluate the services script coaches offer. The decision to take advantage of these services and the specific coach you select are very personal decisions, ones only you can make. You don't have to hire a script coach; but you do need some form of professional feedback!

Good luck!

Lenore Wright has 15 years experience writing and selling screenplays in Los Angeles and New York.

For a tutorial on how to write a bomb-proof logline for your script --->

For more free marketing tips and tools SUBSCRIBE to Script Market News. Send a blank email --->

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