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Writers Group Meeting 005

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The Midpen Media Center

900 San Antonio Road

Palo Alto, CA 94303

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Our mission is simple: To become better screenwriters.

Who are we?

We are people passionate about the craft of screenwriting. We meet to share our work, give and gather feedback, learn from each other, find friends and collaborators, and stay motivated and encouraged on a long journey of preparing a script. No previous writing experience required.

Our meetings are based on highly successful model used in Scary Cow (scarycow.com) community.

What kind of scripts do we read?

Any style, any genre! However, the scripts should be written for visual medium (Film / TV / Web series) and should never be longer than 15-20 pages. Incomplete scripts, or extracts from feature film scripts are allowed.

What happens at the meetings?

  • Before the meeting, all scripts in the agenda are shared with attendees to review.

  • At the start of the meeting, all attendees briefly introduce themselves. Then, the script reading begins!

    • The group reads the script aloud, beginning to end. The author of the script is not allowed to interfere once the reading begins.

    • Group members exchange opinions on the script - what they liked, and what needs improvement. The author is not allowed to participate in the discussion.

    • After all comments are provided, the author talks about the script, asks clarifying questions and addresses the comments.

Can I submit my script for discussion?

Absolutely!

  1. Make sure the script (or extract) is at most 20 pages long (15 is better), uses standard script formatting rules (consider using screenwriting software) and file format is sane (e.g. PDF).

  2. Send the script to Alexey (vonosmas@scarycow.com) in advance. Note that your script will be published online and shared with all the attendees 48 hours before the meeting.

  3. Scripts are considered on “first sent - first read” basis. If you send an updated version, it’s considered a new script and goes to the end of the queue.

  4. On a meeting, we rarely read more than 4-5 scripts. If your script didn’t make the list, it will be read at the next meeting.

How do I give feedback, or evaluate another scripts?

Reviewers have different styles of providing commentary and differing areas of emphasis, but in general, these are some of the questions you may consider in assessing scripts:

  • What did you enjoy about the script?

  • What do you think was the script's premise or theme? How well was this evident?

  • Was there any place where you lost interest or got bored?

  • Was there any aspect of the plot that was unclear to you?

  • Was the story believable?

  • Were you ever "ahead" of the story? When? Did you guess the ending?

  • Did you care about the lead characters? Were there any characters you disliked or found cliched? Why?

  • Do the characters have distinctive voices? Is the dialogue realistic? Do you have a favorite line?

  • Is there enough conflict? Would you describe this script as a "page-turner" or a "slow read"?

  • Is the structure of the story effective and well balanced?

  • Was the setting compelling?

  • Was there anything you thought was heavy-handed or overdone about the script?

  • What scenes provoked the biggest emotional responses?

  • In your opinion, what one change would most benefit this script?

Note the following:

  • Be courteous and treat your fellow writers with the same respect you would like extended to you.

  • Critiques must focus on the writing techniques used and not on the writer.

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The Midpen Media Center

900 San Antonio Road

Palo Alto, CA 94303

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