SCRIPT CONSULTING

I’ve been critiquing scripts for money for around twenty years.

In all that time, I’ve gotten one script that was remotely close to being agent-ready. Writing a screenplay is that difficult. Because finding a producer or agent to agree to read your work happens about as often as being struck by lighting while being eaten by a shark, you better not waste that chance. If you don’t have a team of friends who can give excellent notes, I don’t know what else you can do but pay someone.

I am not in the “encourage ’em and string ’em along and squeeze more money out of them” business. I’m in the business of giving masses of notes that will propel you into a helpful rewrite.

I charge $1,000.
It’s a ton of money, but you get plenty of bang for that buck.

You mail me 1.) a self-addressed, stamped envelope, 2.) a one line outline of your script (see Chapter 24 of my book for details), and 3.) a hard copy of the script with “End of Act I”, “Midpoint” and “End of Act II” written on the appropriate pages.

I read the screenplay and write notes all over it. I read it a second time and write on it in different color ink. It’s like having a writing partner go over your script with a fine toothed comb… a sea of red and blue ink.

Then I read it again. This time, I dictate notes to a digital recorder… generally 45+ minutes of thoughts and suggestions. One client transcribed them, and it was c. 20 single spaced pages.
I email you those files and snail-mail the script.
After you’ve digested all the notes, we’ll talk and I’ll answer questions.

Over the past twenty years, my clients have been thrilled with the level of detail and overall helpfulness of the notes.

The key to the process is to repeatedly do the Your Screenplay Sucks! checklist before sending me your script. Then, I can concentrate on character and story, not lower brain function hints like “don’t have character names that rhyme,” etc.

I look forward to helping you with your writing.

will at willakers dot com

My book goes to the Nicholl Award ceremony!

My book goes to the Nicholl Award ceremony!

44 responses to “SCRIPT CONSULTING

  1. That sounds really good, but I don’t have $700 right now.

    I do have the first ten scenes of “Something Gray” on my website (www.TotallyWriteousCopy.com) under SAMPLES.

    Can I get a free read and your comments to nudge me closer to the $700 fee? 🙂

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I wish I had time to give folks a free read and a nudge. I wish, I wish… Meanwhile, read my book and apply it to your script. In theory there will be quite a few things that will hit home. At least, if the people who email me are telling the truth, that’s the case. The book is $20, less at Amazon. So, it’s a bargain compared to the personal notes. Good luck!

  2. Thanks…I’m afixin’ ta; read it. Enjoyed the excerpts on Amazon.

  3. Great book. Very useful. Cannot find directions or suggestions for special effects/animations. How does one format correctly a scene where from a Nebula emerges the CHARACTER in a special effect.
    I’ll complete the rewrite and surely send to you.
    Thanks

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Lon,

      I’m afraid I don’t know. I don’t write for animation. I have to assume though, that you’d do it just like a regular feature film. Just make sure what is happening is crystal clear. Not just to you, but to the uninitiated reader… Good luck!

      Will

      • Will,
        I am nearing a draft of the script I plan sending you. I noticed my earlier question was not clear. The script is not animation but has several animated scenes. How are they formatted? As slug lines?
        I’d like a clearer understanding of the work you will do before I send $720.
        The $700 for your work and the $20 for the endorsement. I am dedicated to getting this film released.
        Thanks
        Lon

      • Lon Van Eaton

        Will, One formatting issue in Final Draft. Elements Shot Paragraph Space Before 2. Is 2? correct or should it be 1?

        Best, Lon

        Lon Van Eaton President – Imagine a Better World, Inc

        http://www.imagineabetterworld.com http://www.lonvaneaton.com

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        Lon,
        It should be 2 spaces above the slug line.
        Unless.
        It’s after FADE OUT:
        and then it’s 1
        and after DISSOLVE TO: or CUT TO:
        then it’s 1
        everywhere else, it’s 2 spaces above the slug line.

        Hope that clears it up.
        Will

      • yourscreenplaysucks

        It’s $700 for the notes. Not $720.
        I’d say, in a slug line…

        INT. DAVE’S OFFICE

        Dave has a cigarette.

        ANIMATION EXT. DAVE’S BACK YARD

        Sally flies in on a magic carpet.

        INT. DAVE’S OFFICE

        Dave looks outside, surprised.

        [the word ANIMATION is underlined, but I can’t do it with this blog, for some reason.]
        At least that’s how I would do it, but check some scripts to make sure. I’m not an animation guy. What I suggest seems to be clear, and generally that’s enough.

  4. Hanna

    Hi Will,

    I have a random question and I am sorry for that. Anyways someone sent me his script and wants me to give him some ideas . It’s a short (6 pages long) and adopted from something esle . To be honest it absoultly sucks. The writer misses the whole ponit of the original idea, and actually has no clear picture of what is going on in his script , it’s not just a few errors that I can tell him to fix( ironicly the whole narrative structure and and chracters) and charge him for that (if he even accepts), or should I rewrite the whole thing. If I say what is wrong with the script I know he’s not goinig to pay me anything, casue he thinks these are just my ideas and every one has ideas! So he can use them for his script without any credit but I think its unfair.On the other hand I can not pass, I need this person for his connections and maybe a AD job in this film.
    Thank you in advance for your time.
    Hanna

  5. Jade

    Okay I’m sure it’s worth it…but $700?!!! Doh! I don’t currently have that kind of money as I have not robbed any banks lately. Would you consider looking at the first 20 pages for more a affordable sum? 🙂

    • SA CARPENTER

      Ms. Jade,

      Don’t dispair. I was out of work for 3 years and can appreciate your frustration. I did complete a script and found Mr. Akers book, “Your Screenplay Sucks” beneficial. He’ll make you work, but its worth it. My script is really tight according to some local writers who have looked at it. Mr. Akers recommendations helped alot.

      I can assure you of this much, if I can do it, anybody can!

      SA CARPENTER

  6. I am a tv director working on my first feature, I am collaborating with a professional script writer in Egypt because it’s a local story. I read Will’s book to be able to give a professional view on what is being written. The book was of great help. When I found out that Will consults and gives notes, I went trough the trouble of translating the whole script from Arabic to English. The comments and notes were absolutely great, worth every penny if not more. The audio commentary was amazing because it gives you clues on how to fix the story and characters with inspiring examples from real life and scenes from movies…How and when to add tension, remove scenes or even characters…the introduction of a character…the agent of change…the ending…the list is endless. The comments opened my eyes to limitless possibilities, taking the script to a whole different level. Will, thank you and i am happy to find you. So all of you out there who think the fee is a lot think again.
    Omar.

  7. Jade

    You drive a hard bargain Akers! Where should I send my check? I didn’t see an address listed.

  8. Juliusz Szwedkowicz

    Dear Mr Akers. I have read your book twice. The best for troubleshooting.
    Some chapters four or five times. Quick question: What is the “Inciting
    Incident” in “Chinatown”. The visit of phoney Mrs.Mulwray ? Good news:
    I got 700$ dollars. Bad news: my script is not ready. Please be patient
    and THANK YOU! for you book. Without it I wouldn’t even know where
    the f*** to start.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Juliusz,
      re: CHINATOWN. I think what I have in the book is wrong. Ooops.
      I would say that the fake Mrs. Mulwray is part of Gittes’s ordinary world. It seems like a regular case on a regular day. Then, WHAMMO, the world gets tipped on its edge when the REAL Mrs. Mulwray shows up. That’s the inciting incident, as it kicks Gitte’s world off its foundation and gets the real story started. He investigates and investigates and then Mr. Mulwray turns up dead. That is the end of Act I.
      re: your writing.
      Stay with it. The longer you wait to send me your script, the better my criticism will be because you’ll have thoroughly done the book’s checklist and I won’t waste time with silly mistakes.
      Very pleased you are finding the book useful!
      Enjoy your writing!

  9. Julius

    Mr Akers,
    re:CHINATOWN. This is exactly what I thought and It was bothering me.
    Thank you for clarifying.
    Many thanx Julius

  10. I used Will for notes on my script and he wanted me to tell the “real” story not the sugar coated version I sent him. I spent a couple of months on the rewrite and it was gut wrenching for me but so worth it. I just placed as a finalist in the 2013 Tennessee Screenwriter Contest and I have to thank Will for challenging me to get to the heart of the story. His services are well worth it!!
    Joni Bryan

  11. H8ta

    Do you really, truly, think you”re worth 700 bucks? Hahahaaaa…haaaaa!!!

    I enjoyed your book, but don’t take the Pi$$, old sock!

    Dear writers, NEVER pay this sort of money for someone to read your script. NEVER. EVER. You will feel dirty and abused by the end of it, and there is only so much wire-wool can do to scrub that feeling away.

    The horror!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      How do you know my notes aren’t worth $750? How do you know all writers will feel dirty and abused after getting notes from someone they paid? Who do you give your work to for criticism? Are they working professional writers?

      I’m sure there are scam artists out there bilking people out of money.
      I am also aware that in fifteen years of doing this for money, I’ve never read a client’s script that was ready to send to an agent or a producer.

    • Scott Wallace

      I paid a script editor $5577 to edit my script. It was an education, and I don’t mean an education in feeling dirty and abused. Worth every cent.

  12. Missy

    I can’t afford $700 but I was hoping you might be able to give out some advice or maybe you could write an entry on writing a Thriller screenplay. It’s my first attempt and I’m going in blind.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I don’t have anything to say, specifically, about thrillers… other than to watch five or ten of them and write down (briefly) what happens in each scene. That will get you on the right track. Look at John Truby’s website. I would imagine he has written about thrillers. He’s the Genre King. He just mentioned thrillers in his piece about CAPTAIN PHILLIPS…

  13. Toggle master

    Great book, very helpful. Can you suggest any contests whose winners have gone on to success?

    Thank you.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Glad you like it. Glad you found it helpful. The Nicholl is the #1 contest. Fade In: is also a superb one. Their winners always get agents and many get produced. The Chesterfield, if it still exists, was a fabulous one. Writers On The Verge is really worth it, too.

  14. Josh

    Loved the book! So has the price changed to 1000 dollars? Im assuming it has and that the other comments about 750 are old.

    Thank You!

  15. Toggle Master

    Hello,
    I’m a fan of your book, it is inspiring and to the point. I have been saving for a script consultation for several months. Can you give a reason for a 43% mark up in your services? Perhaps your services have rendered success and you feel the large mark up is justified. However, the discrepancy between earlier comments questioning the original price coming directly after the stated hike, in addition to the brief confirmation of the price change with no explanation at the end of the thread, appears questionable. Without a reason why you rose your fee, it seems that you may be gold bricking a particularly powerless and hopeful part of your fan base. If you feel the change in price is apt, then tell us why. I’d still be willing to pay the $1000, but not without clarification for the increase.

    Thank you,
    Toggle Master

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Sorry for the delayed reply. I raised the price for two reasons, one because I felt a client winning a national contest justified it, and because I wanted less consulting work and more time for my own writing. Very pleased you like the book. I hope you find it helpful. Hope that answered your question.

  16. Op

    Not sure if I’m missing it on site. How exactly do we contact you for script consulting and what is the address we send it to?

  17. Lein

    I planned on getting script consulting in roughly a month. How does the process work? Could you email me the address we mail it to and the details.

  18. Steven Craig Moss

    Do you offer consultation for a spec Pilot?
    ALSO:
    I have never seen anyone ask a Dentist for a free root canal procedure…
    I have never heard of a Doctor stopping by to give a quick free colonoscopy…
    No one would dare ask. Yet for some reason when it comes to writing, everyone wants a freebie, or everybody wants the singer to come to the family BBQ a sing a quick ditty for free. I think its rude and insulting. I appreciate your dedication to your craft and your career. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go ask the guy at the car wash to wash half of my Prius for free!

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      You got that right!

      I hope you got him to wash the driver’s side of the car, so it looks nice when you walk up to it.

      Yes, I consult on television pilots.

  19. Hello,

    Loved the book. I have actually written and directed a feature film that had a small cinema release in the UK and I’m planning on using the script consulting service in the next month or so for my next script. I’m based in the UK is it possible to send you the script via email as opposed to in the post?

    Thanks!

  20. Yeah I got your first reply and I replied to that but I dont think you got it. I just emailed you again.
    Mark

  21. Alex

    Do you do consulting for short film scripts? And if so, is the pricing still 1,000?
    Alex

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Heavens yes, I consult on short film scripts all the time. That’s what I do more than anything else — as I mostly critique scripts for my college students. More than anything else… other than go off to Europe and fail to answer comments on my website, which I don’t do all that often, but have in this case, I’m sorry to say. Excuse me for taking so long to get back to you. I’m home now and a tad more responsive.

      How long is your short script?

  22. One of the best things I have ever done is let you read my work. I respect both the honesty and humor I get with my notes, and I appreciate you pointing out not just the glaring mistakes, but the little pieces that all make up the larger puzzle. So I walk away with not a band-aid, but a major surgery complete on my script. Money well spent.

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