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Talentville Bar & Grill : Ask the Expert
When is a script ready to roll?

Jen Bieser
Posted February 5, 2015 9:08 AM

I just finished my first script. I like it - in fact I like it a lot and I think it is done. I am anxious to get it out there for contests and on the market. And I am also mentally ready to let it go. I have already started another one and would like to move on. 

So how do I know that it is really ready to go and that I am just not being over zealous? 

Ben Cahan
Posted February 5, 2015 9:17 AM

The fact is that all of us who write tend to fall in love with our stories, and we end up losing some objectivity to the material.  I find that even with scripts I find and develop with members, read something enough times and is will sound great to us whether that is objectively true or not.

So, it is about objective opinions, whether through member reviews or Professional coverage.  For me, I always get pro coverage before I send anything out, just to get fresh eyes on the script from someone who reads scripts for a living, and that almost always points out areas I may have glossed over, be it plot issues or character issues or emotional resonance.

Get the script covered, purchase a few member reviews, then look at them all to see if folks are relating to your story as you see it, or if a pattern of criticism points out some areas that might still need more elbow grease.

Ben Cahan

Jen Bieser
Posted February 5, 2015 12:32 PM

Thanks Ben,

You're right. I think it's time for some professional coverage.

Jay Stagnitto
Posted February 5, 2015 2:15 PM

Jen, if you have some TV dollars stockpiled, use that source first before spending real money on a script. If some of the more talented and thorough peer reviewers on this site get a hold of your script, they may point out things that Pro coverage would and it would only cost you TV bucks. I would get a few peer reviews and see if there are common themes across all of them and then decide if those changes serve your story or not. If this is an earlier draft, then I doubly recommend some peer reviews first. But, that is just my humble opinon and I would never outright discourage a fellow writer from getting professional coverage. I just know, from experince, that if your script needs more work, even if you can't see it, it can feel like a waste of money to buy coverage on a script that needs more elbow grease rather then a brighter polish.

Lisa Weiss
Posted October 5, 2021 2:10 PM

I have three scripts that I've rewritten over fifteen times over the years and had them reviewed by many readers. They have said my scripts are solid, marketable, fresh, and unique.

My Drama placed in the quarterfinals of a well-known medium-sized contest, waiting to see if it advances. A few years ago, it was a semifinalist, and it received multiple 7's on the Black List. I got more notes since the last review and rewrote it.

My Sci-Fi made the quarterfinals of a top, well-known contest last year. I received more notes, rewrote it, pretty much the same draft, and entered them into a handful of contests. Unfortunately, they have not reached the quarterfinals.

What should I do? How do you know when they are ready to be marketed? I don't want to rewrite them forever and not send the scripts out; at the same time, I don't want to get rejected if issues exist. I am happy with the way they came out.

I have another script that I have written three drafts. I received three sets of notes. Two readers thought it was getting closer but needed more chiseling, a focused rewrite. Another reader said it needed a polish and that he was engaged the entire read. Should I send it or keep rewriting it? I am proud of it.