Good Friday Evening:
I wanted to pass along an email I received from Jeff yesterday. Please read below.
Please forward this note to all PSA members, and not just who attended the class on June 30th.
***** SCRIPT SERVICES FROM JEFF SCHIMMEL WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AFTER 7/31 *****
I appreciate the kind words in your most recent email to PSA members. Yes, I care about your members having the best possible opportunity to have their scripts completed at a level of quality that would pass studio muster in L.A.
Based on what I've seen, none of them are ready - but some of them are definitely very close.
And yes, when I give a writer notes on their story or script, they are meant to not just point out trouble areas, but to actually provide suggestions on how to improve the story or script. Books can tell you how to write, but books can't read a script and clearly communicate what's wrong.
As for writing a script that is devoid of errors in spelling, punctuation, and format, I think I made my point at the class, where I planted 226 mistakes in a script that was just a little over 2 pages long - and yet most writers found an average of only 60. The high score was 107. The bottom line is that writers who can't spot mistakes in a sample script are incapable of spotting mistakes in their own scripts. Unfortunately, studio and agency readers are trained to zero in on every error - and an amateurish script will be tossed into the garbage if infractions are discovered.
Anyone in that class who hopes to be taken seriously as a writer, and who plans to have their screenplay treated as a professional effort, better learn now. Nobody in that class is ready. Of course, beginning writers always tell me that their story is so awesome, a reader will ignore mistakes and a studio will pay to have someone fix it later. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality of the situation is simply this: no they won't. Once a reader concludes that you aren't very good at putting words down in writing, your chances of impressing them are zero.
I can offer my assistance, but I can't force anyone to take advantage of it. I can warn people against spending another 3 or 6 or 12 months writing a script that has major story defects and structural problems, but if they want to ignore the cautionary tales, that's their choice. I just hate to see people foolishly invest their time into a script that was already on the wrong path starting in the outlining stage, if it is outlined at all.
I've now had consultations, both in person and on the phone, with a dozen PSA group members. I've included some of their testimonial comments below. PLEASE READ THEM.
Some of the writers I've consulted with have great stories. Some have good structure. Some have crisp dialogue. Some have very marketable concepts. But none of them have all of these components in the same script! This is common, even with more experienced writers. They pick up different skills at various speeds. Think of it as a golfer who can drive the ball 300 yards, but can't putt 3 feet to save his life.
The good news is, they are all a lot farther down the right track now than they were before.
As you know, the Writers Store in Los Angeles charges $5.00 per page just for proofreading a script. That doesn't even include any type of script analysis! One of the people in Phoenix who had me analyze a script had already paid someone else (a lot) to proofread their script - and it was still full of mistakes. I stopped counting after a few hundred, and that's not an exaggeration.
I'm making this offer one last time. The prices have gone up, since I made the original offer good for one day only. Those who acted on that offer were rewarded with an even greater discount.
Proofreading a 105 page screenplay: $250.00 (It was $150.00 last week, and is $525 at the Writers Store. Do the math. Another major difference is that when I read your script, every error is corrected - unlike some other places.)
Script/Story Analysis, including telephone conference: $175.00 (It was $125.00 last week.)
One last thing, and it's important. I'm always looking for a great script. If I find one, I have the personal contacts to get it read at agencies, production companies, and studios. If I find one that needs some help, but is very close, I will occasionally partner with another writer and do a draft as a team.
If any of your members have a project like that, I'll listen. However, the script has to be intriguing - and it also has to have a real story, proper structure, and less than 1,000 mistakes in Act One.
Jeff's consultation was a clear and confident 10. He was thoroughly engaged in the story, the characters and structure. For once I feel validated in the direction of my concept, DWELLERS. The feedback Jeff provided is easily adaptable and having his level of input is invaluable. (Group Member Art Massanet)
On a scale of 1 to 10, how valuable was Jeff's story analysis? 10. My brain has been popping like microwave popcorn on different angles and directions for my script. Was it explained well? 10. Clear as crystal! Jeff jumped into the script like he helped write it - pinpointed the exact area to focus on and why. How confident do I feel that I will be able to implement Jeff's notes? 10. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. Do I think the writing process will be easier as result of having this consultation? 25+. (Group Member Sally McGillis)
Thirty minutes of talking to Jeff opened my eyes more than any 300-page book I've read. I am in the process of implementing his notes and I've never felt more confident about my writing. (Group Member Eli Godfrey)
On a scale of 1-10, I give Jeff a 10. He has helped me a lot with the concept of my script. The writing process is a challenge. However, it can now be done correctly. (Group Member John Koop)
Jeff proved to me within 5 minutes after hitting that scary "send" button, that my script was nowhere near as ready as I thought it was. It was eye-opening and gratefully received. As for feeling confident and able to implement Jeff's notes? You bet. (Group Member Roxanne Ruane)
I believe that Jeff could be a great mentor for me during my screenplay-revision process. His honesty and professional perspective has helped me so much already. (Group Member Wendy Craft)
The story analysis I received from Jeff was invaluable. He made immediate recommendations that I needed to implement in order to create a better flow and more emotional impact in the story. There are "script doctors" out there that have never had anything produced, yet are charging upwards of $400 for one 90 minute face to face. (Group Member Chris Sullivan)