Thursday, 20 April 2017


There is a saying that "ignorance is bliss." Well, there's no room for ignorance in screenplays.

Screenplays require a large amount of structure and depth to have the intricacies necessary to maintain the immersion of the audience. There is so much content out there that if what you're making cannot hold someone's attention, they most likely will not give you the benefit of the doubt and finish watching your movie, or show.

When one's craft becomes their job, feedback is constant: from clients, from execs, from mentors, and so on.

The best / fastest way for us to know whether or not a script is working is to obtain as much outside information as possible. From there, J and I will mine the responses for consistencies, to remove the subjective aspect. Consistent notes lead us to the holes that can emerge when one is so intimate with the material.

Like trying to edit ones own grammar and spelling, the brain will usually fix it for you because it knows what you meant. So too will our brains skip over any story points that might need to be addressed because maybe it was in an earlier draft (but has since been cut) or perhaps we were blind to it in the first place.

As such, our work gets stronger with feedback. Even just working as a team, I find that the first draft sent out to friendlies (not the first draft written, but the first draft sent) is more polished than the ones I write on my own. J and I don't always agree, we don't always find perfection but hammering out those sticking points, between us, is what boils down to sending good copy.

As one of our mentors stated, "You only get one chance for a first read."

I read recently that Pixar has a room displaying their projects and anyone, anyone, whether you're a new hire or have been with the business for years, no matter who you are you can give feedback. In this way, they hammer out details from within, before they release it to the world.

From this webpage** Essentially Pixar pursues a policy of honesty and mutual trust for one another, and in turn that allows their people to be open about whether a project is working or not working. The fear of offending someone who has worked hard on something is replaced by the fear of not making the best possible movie they can.

I am always hoping to do the best possible work that I can (and J works this way too). So, feel free to send me constructive criticism: on this post, on my work, on anything.

As a rule, I welcome feedback.

- M

*M, Looking for patterns in notes is some of the best advice I have ever received. Working through notes with you is such a joy. - J

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Maira Gall