Story and Plot - Script Development
Story and Plot
Screenwriting Classes in Texas, Los Angeles and Online
SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT AND PRIVATE COACHING
SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT AND PRIVATE COACHING
After repeated requests, I am now offering script development services as well as private coaching.

I was hesitant to offer this work at first, but then I remembered I was initially hesitant to teach so many years ago as well. And for the same reason. The truth is, there are far too many unqualified people charging indefensible rates for these sorts of things. I never wanted to be seen as one of those hucksters. But, just as I eventually understood about my teaching, I am very good at this, I enjoy it, and as both an experienced teacher and a working professional screenwriter, I offer a unique perspective that most others simply cannot match.

That being said, I still think the classes are a better over-all deal and I recommend those instead. It is less expensive, we cover the same topics, and you will ultimately get so much out of that shared, communal environment.

But if for whatever reason the classes don’t work for you, you can still engage me in some of the following ways:
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  • Improving The Read - $195
    With Improving The Read I will read 25 pages of your script and focus my notes on improving the quality of your script’s “read.” This includes scene construction, your voice, dramatic momentum and the execution of the all-important action lines. How a script “reads” is one of the biggest differences between the pros and those aspiring to be pros and this service is designed to close that gap.

    This is, frankly, one of the most important and valuable services
    I provide.

    Improving The Read will focus less on story structure and more on the exact words on the page and their specific effect on the reader. As far as bang for your buck, I think this one is pretty spectacular.

    WHAT YOU GET:

    - I will read the first 25 pages of your feature script or TV pilot.
    - Page notes on those 25 pages.
    - 1 page summary reaction.
    - 30 minute (or longer) phone call or video call to discuss.
    - Worksheets I have developed over time to help you improve the read.
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  • Outline/Treatment Analysis - $195
    If you were wise enough to write an outline or treatment for your script before you started writing, this is a good way to make sure you're working in the right direction.

    What I am looking for in an outline is 40-50 clear story beats. These can be in a prose format (a treatment) or in detailed list form (an outline.)

    My general rule is that I write a beat sheet for myself, an outline for internal communications (producers, executives) and a treatment for external readers (because I'm trying to sell the darn thing.)

    The analysis and subsequent notes will cover story, structure, characters and commercial viability. Basically everything.

    WHAT YOU GET:

    - I will carefully read your outline or treatment (max 15 pages - honestly, it shouldn't be that long anyway.)
    - A summary (1 page) reaction
    - Broad stroke notes
    in outline form.
    - 30-45 minute phone or video discussion (longer if necessary) to clarify and outline next steps.

    HINT: A great way to outline your script is to imagine a screenplay with all the dialogue removed. Instead of what would normally be the actions lines, imagine just a summary of the scene instead. You would then have an "outline" of your script. (This is one way to do it, there is no consensus in Hollywood about what makes or doesn't make an outline.)
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  • Full Script Analysis - $495
    This is the fairly traditional script analysis that most screenwriters are familiar with. It is a careful reading of your script and my written and verbal thoughts of how to improve it.

    Now, while the service is somewhat traditional, my approach is not. I have been a professional writer since 1996. I know what it is like to get notes that are basically, “If I had written this, I would have done this...”

    Those notes are unhelpful at best, and insulting at worst. Those notes do not interest me.

    What interest me is helping you better achieve what you are trying to achieve. So first, we have to kind of figure that out. This requires a conversation. And because most of my notes will be based on that conversation, detailed written notes are difficult to do (not to mention incredibly time-consuming) before that. So those 8 pages of detailed notes about what I would have done if I had written it, but you didn’t do when you did? I don’t do those.

    Instead, we’re going to talk, and you’re going to be writing down a lot of notes when we do. You will have a very clear road map to get to that next level, and it will be focused on better telling the story you were passionate about telling in the first place.

    This sort of thing is not for the timid. It is an honest, professional level critique. The analysis and subsequent development notes cover story, structure, characters, quality of the read and commercial viability. Basically everything.

    WHAT YOU GET:

    - I will carefully read your (max 120 page) script.
    - A summary (1 page) reaction
    - Broad stroke notes
    in outline form.
    - Page notes throughout the script.
    - 60-90 minute phone or video discussion (longer if necessary) to clarify and outline next steps for your project.

    The most productive notes will be in our 60-90 minute discussion. I enjoy these discussions and because they actually include the writer’s input, they are far more beneficial than detailed written notes that take too much time.

    This process, with the vast majority of the notes stemming from the discussion, is what allows me to offer this service. It is everything I love about the development process, which means you will get me at my absolute best.
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  • Concept to Outline - $1195
    With Concept to Outline you are getting my help BEFORE you start writing. This can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort by keeping you from going down the wrong 6-18 month path. We will discuss what your goals are for the project and whether the story concept you have in mind will actually move you towards that goal. Once a story concept is agreed upon, I will take you through the exact same process I take my own projects before I start writing, whether I am doing it on spec or on a paid assignment.

    This process usually includes three or four meetings as we move from concept to logline, to act breakdown, to beat sheet and to the ultimate goal of a 10-12 page, scene-by-scene outline of your project that you can then go write.

    WHAT YOU GET:

    - Initial Consultation ($100)

    This will be a phone call or video conference where we discuss one to three story ideas and their viability for your stated goals (script sale, career advancement, independent feature, DIY feature). If we both agree there is a viable project idea, we move on to the full service. If not, you are only out the $100 consultation fee but hopefully have learned quite a bit about why certain ideas are worth pursuing while others are not. And, of course, we can always do it again.

    - Full Concept to Outline Service - ($1095)

    This is less tangible than some of the other services because there is so much back and forth. But the goal here is get you to make the big, important decisions up front that will continually make each subsequent decision easier and easier.
    - You will lock in a log line, a story, the dramatic question and identify each story beat at the end of each of act.
    - Identify the “great scenes” that your story idea can and should produce.
    - Identify themes, supporting characters and subplots that deepen and enrich the primary story.
    - Integrate these elements into a beat sheet.
    - Write a full 10-12 page outline of the script that is then ready to be written.

    I can usually be as flexible as you need me to be, but it’s usually beneficial to talk or meet at consistent intervals. There are at least three extensive conversations, sometimes more. While there will LOTS of discussion in those meetings, the hard work is done by you in between them.

    This process is time consuming for both of us and expensive for you, so please do not hesitate to
    email me with any questions.
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  • General Consultation - $100/Hour
    This is a general consultation billed by the hour. You can ask and we can talk about whatever specifics you want. How to get started on a project, how to solve a certain challenge, what makes a good idea, etc… We can even talk about Cougar football but I probably won't charge you for that. This time is yours and we can do with it whatever you want.

    One thing that I discourage you from asking is, "How do I break in to the business?"

    There just isn't any one answer to this and none of them are sure-fire. My reply is almost always, "Work on writing a phenomenal script first.
    Then worry about what comes after."

    The phenomenal script is the hard part. Really.
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