What we're about
This group is for people aiming to become film or TV screenwriters.
We typically have discussion meetings twice per month, with one devoted to Feature scripts and one devoted to TV scripts. We meet to provide feedback on a completed script written by one of our members, which we all download and read before the meeting. The other purpose of the group is networking with other writers.
Presenters are charged a nominal fee ($8 per Feature script, $4 per TV script) to have their script discussed at a meeting. This is purely to cover the cost of the Organizer dues (~$180/year) charged by Meetup to run the group. To be clear, there is NO charge to join the group OR to attend a meeting (unless you are presenting).
A note about sharing scripts: Scripts being discussed by the group are made for download to all group members for at least a week. It should go without saying that if you read someone else's script you should not copy their ideas or work, nor should you share them with others without the author's permission. We strongly believe it is more important to get our work out there, and to receive feedback, than to worry about someone stealing our ideas or scripts, but if you are at all concerned with this then - while you are still very welcome to attend our meetings - you can simply choose not to have your work discussed by the group. It is also a good practice to copyright your scripts (with e.g. the US Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/)) before sending them anywhere.
Please note: Only people who have attended at least two *discussion* meetings in the past 3 months can submit their scripts for discussion by emailing Claire Newman [TV scripts] or Michael Riedel & Trent Russ [film scripts] via the website. This is partly out of fairness, and partly so you know what to expect when you receive feedback at a meeting. How soon your script is discussed depends on the queue ahead of you.
Here's how a typical meeting works:
• We go around the room, introducing ourselves and saying (briefly) what kind of scripts we write. This is a good time for the presenters to briefly say what they aiming for with their scripts.
• We next start off the feedback by going around the room again and saying something (general or specific) that we really liked about the script :-)
• NEW We then go around the room one more time, and briefly describe the main issue we had with the script. The idea here is to prevent the most forceful speakers from dominating ;) It gives the presenter an idea of the biggest issues, and also lets the moderator know who to call on during later discussions.
• We then open the floor for general feedback, although the moderator may guide the group to start with the main issues just raised. You don't have to wait to be called on, but please avoid talking over others. Conversely, if you find it difficult to break in you can raise your hand and the moderator will call on you.
• We avoid talking about things like formatting or punctuation, grammar, spelling etc. (unless it's a very general, brief comment) and try instead to focus on big picture comments (e.g. structure, plot, character, tone, etc.) before getting down to more detailed comments (e.g. jokes, specific dialogue, etc.).
• We encourage people to give feedback respectfully and not play to the audience or poke fun at something the writer did. However, please note the discussion does tend to evolve organically and enthusiastically!
• We require writers to attend 2 recent meetings before presenting their script partly so that they are aware of how the group operates and can decide if it suits them (or not).
• Particularly if the group is large, there can be a large amount of feedback delivered in a short time by many different people with different perspectives, which can be a little overwhelming for the author trying to keep track of it all. So, when you present your script (particularly if it's a large group), please feel free to bring a recording device and/or to ask people to slow down and repeat themselves!!
There are no fees other than the nominal fee to present, and you will NOT be solicited to attend fee-paying seminars or buy script editing services, although free/cheap events may be posted on the message board.
All we ask is that when you RSVP 'yes' you commit to downloading and reading the entire script we'll be discussing ahead of time. We won't be reading any of the script during the meeting, so if you haven't read it in advance you'll find it difficult to participate fully on the day.
Basically: if you're serious about becoming a professional screenwriter, and are willing to provide others with feedback in exchange for getting feedback on your own scripts, then this group is for you!