David has allowed me to indulge my John August fantasy by asking, “Do you think there is any value in sending a script to TWO readers at once? Or… Using a reader, re-write, then use a different reader?”
As with anything in this scriptwriting malarkey, I think it’s principally down to the writer. I frequently use many readers at the same time on the same draft, because I’m a big fan of the Power of Three method. The way I see it, one reader might freak you out with a suggestion or observation (particularly story or structure-wise) two or even three others might NOT make – so what was a concern suddenly pales into insignificance.
A great example of this concerned a thriller spec I was polishing recently: I sent to four readers, all at the same time. One got back to me immediately with a damning report: he thought the story didn’t work, he thought the characters weren’t empathetic enough, the works – and he justified his reasoning well. But THREE other readers gave the story and characters the thumbs up. Suddenly I don’t need to freak anymore: maybe he just DIDN’T LIKE the story or characters. Readers have their own opinions too (and rightly so). We all forget readers might not *like* a script, just like they might not *like* a movie, no matter how good it is and/or whether other people like it.
But there’s also the point it can depend on the draft and where it is on the “rewrite scale”. Personally, I don’t tend to send very early drafts to multiple readers. I tend to send to one, trusted reader who can help me iron out the obvious stuff first – the lost opportunities in the plot, contradictory characterisation, dodgy dialogue, etc. We know, deep down, what our early drafts’ problems are – but we’re too close to the work, so we need someone to gently shove us in the right direction; I’m lucky in that I have several friends who I can rely on to help with this though. After this stage, I then start paying readers (and I DO get paid-for reads) for the more polished drafts, which I then compare and contrast with others’ viewpoints on Po3.
So really: I’m afraid it just depends on your POV. I have Bang2writers who like to send work to me from the very first draft; others like to get Po3 and other peer feedback before paying someone like me to give the draft a going over. Similarly I know others who do the same as I do.
What do you do?
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