So What Did You Think? The Importance of Feedback in Screenwriting

Screenwriting guru Syd Field, suggests that “Whatever problem you might have, whether it’s one of Plot, Character or Structure, know that if you created the problem, then you can solve it” (Field,373:2003). This is true to an extent as it’s your story and your problem. But, I personally think that a problem can also be solved with the help from an outside point of view – feedback.

Feedback is extremely important when writing a screenplay. Frensham suggests “Ask a wide variety of people to read your screenplay, listen to their comments and if you find them perceptive and helpful, rewrite again incorporating some of their suggestions” (Frensham,226:2003). Whilst writing my dissertation, which was a 40 page screenplay. I received feedback from a number of people and the majority of the feedback I received was instrumental to me finishing my story. Feedback can offer a new direction and solve problems that you as the writer cannot seem to find the solution for yourself.

It really is vital to let others read what you have written. Especially when it’s your own original idea to start with. It may at first be incredibly hard to hear any kind of criticism about your screenplay but, in the long run and in time your really appreciate it.

Field suggests “Give your script to two friends, close friends, friends you can trust, friends who will tell you the truth, friends who are not afraid to tell you: ‘I hate it. What you’ve written is weak and unreal, the characters flat and one-dimensional, the story contrived and predictable’. Someone who will not be afraid to hurt your feelings” (Field,261:2003).

I was extremely happy with my final draft of my dissertation/screenplay, but it wouldn’t have been the same if not for the invaluable feedback that I received throughout my time writing it.

Field, S. 2003. The Definitive Guide to Screenwriting. Ebury Press: St Ives.Frensham, R. 2003. Teach Yourself Screenwriting. Hodder Education: London.


About tomrobinsonblog

I am a film student and budding journalist.
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