Frequently asked questions
Will you rip me off?
No. We will send a receipt to acknowledge we are looking at your script. We always register our treatments and scripts at The Writers Guild of America in case we are working on a similar idea. It's always a good idea to register your script or treatment to protect yourself and only costs $20 a time. We prefer that you do as it saves this issue ever arising.
Will you be nice about my screenplay?
We will endeavour to give a balance of positive and negative constructive criticism. Finding out what works is as important as finding out what doesn't so we'll be sure to flag up what we like as well as what we think needs work. We certainly won't shy away from telling you how much work we think needs doing. That's the value of paying for this service rather than having your friends read it who might be polite no matter what they think.
How long will I have to wait?
We undertake to get the complete report back to you within seven days, but it may take less time. If through exceptional circumstances, we know it will take longer, we will let you know as soon as possible.
Can I request which "surgeon" reads my script?
No, at the moment the only way we can make our seven day guarantee and balance our existing workloads is to give scripts to whoever has time to read them. Sometimes one of us will say "this isn't my kind of thing - do you have time to read it?" but we try to assess each script on the basis of whether or not it achieves its own aims, rather than whether or not it is the kind of movie we would want to see?
Can I send you my TV movie / TV episode / Series bible /
screenplay treatment / theatre play / radio play / sit-com?
Yes, we will read and give notes on all of the above.
Can I send you my comedy sketches / stand up routine / short story
/ poetry / haiku / nonfiction / prose fiction / technical manuals /
conspiracy theories / diaries?
No, none of the above is suitable for the Script Surgeon service.
What is a spec script?
A script written with no deal in the table, and therefore no guarantee anyone will buy it, but with the time and the freedom for the writer(s) to write whatever they want.
What is writing in development?
The opposite of writing on spec - writing (or rewriting) as part of a contract between you and a studio or production company. The upside is you're getting paid (yay!). The downside is you have to write to the time and specifications dictated by your paymasters, and you may get less for the script than you might have in the open market.
How do I know that the studio I send my script or treatment to won't rip off my idea?
Answer 1, because you registered it. Answer 2, because there's literally nobody in the world who they can pay less than you to write it for them.
Hey - I sold a script and now they want rewrites!
Yes, this is normal. Include as many notes as you possibly can with grace and good humour and look for ways to turn the note into an opportunity to improve the script. If you are certain that this one note is going to rip the heart out of your story, then dig your heels in and fight for it. Anything less than that, take the note.
Hey - I sold a script and now someone else is rewriting it!
Yes, this is normal. Get used to it, and hope that the new writer has some sympathy with the material and will bring something of themselves to enhance and strengthen it. Do the same when you are offered someone else's screenplay for rewriting.
Have more questions? Let us know.