Friday, July 6, 2012

Script Reads & Feedback

It’s been an interesting couple of months – I have become quite popular with local writers asking me to read scripts and give feedback. Everything from features to television pilots to lots and lots of shorts. It’s flattering and I enjoy doing it but it’s also time consuming to do properly and I generally prefer to give feedback in person rather than written notes. Invariably those feedback sessions will last for 2-3 hours at a minimum.

When you factor in the reading time (each script at least twice); thinking about and analysing the screenplay and ordering my notes in a usable format; then the discussion and any follow up; it is a big chunk of time away from writing my own material.

I have occasionally been paid to do this sort of work but usually it is for the price of a coffee and a hearty thank you. Alas, my circumstances have changed and money has now become a concern where it hasn’t been for some time. It’s also a skill that has value… so where does that leave us?

The Australian Writers’ Guild rates for “freelance script assessment” are $51.40 an hour or not less than $411.20 per feature script, television pilot or theatre piece for a reader's report. I mention this to illustrate what the industry rate is for what presumably would be an experienced writer (full AWG member) to undertake this task. Now, I’m not suggesting this is the rate I would charge nor does it cover short film scripts.

What I am saying is that if you value my feedback and want me to read your script then make me an offer. I can’t afford to do it for gratis anymore.

Part of the struggle of being a creative person in Perth is deriving an income from your craft, whether that is as a writer, actor, director or any of the many other specialist roles in the film industry. My value is in my ability to write and to analyse script structure and visual stories.

With a professional transaction also comes guaranteed timelines whereas now, with my workload, I cannot make any commitment on turnaround times to get to the pile of scripts I have been sent.

I have already said I will charge to write monologues or show reel scenes as, again, this is the generation of a product with inherent value.

If you are interested and have a script you would like my feedback on then please contact me at to discuss further. If you have received feedback from me before and would be so kind as to offer a testimonial to the usefulness of my services, that would be greatly appreciated.

Happy writing!

Richard Hyde

ps The only exception I would add is where I choose to undertake a mentoring role which I am currently doing with a young writer. That's all about giving a little something back and hopefully helping the next generation tell good stories in their own distinctive voice.