Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

Are Script Consultants Valuable? This Screenwriter Says Yes, and Here’s Why

Depending on where you’re at in your screenwriting craft, you may have considered hiring a script consultant. Also called script doctors or script coverage (with varying definitions of what, exactly, each provides), these varying screenwriting consultants could be a valuable tool if you know how to use them. I wrote a blog about the topic where you can learn more, including pointers about the best way to choose a consultant that’s right for you.

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In it, I cover:

  • When you should hire a script consultant

  • What to look for in a script consultant

  • What a current screenplay consultant says about hiring screenplay help

If you’re on the fence about consultants and you’ve got about a minute, watch this interview with screenwriter Jeanne V. Bowerman. She explains how she used consultants early in her career. With a career like hers - she’s now an executive and editor-in-chief for Pipeline Media Group and was formerly editor-in-chief at Script Mag, senior editor at Writer’s Digest, and founded ScriptChat - she’s someone you can trust! Watch and learn.

“Script consultants get a bad rap," Bowerman began.

Jeanne V. Bowerman

And that could be because there are bad screenplay consultants out there who are in it for the money and not necessarily the betterment of your script. Make sure you know what to look for in any writing consultant that you hire to take your screenplay – or writing skills – to the next level.

"I used them in the beginning, more, of my writing career," she continued. "I didn’t go to film school. I went to Cornell Hotel school. And I owned a hotel and restaurant for 15 years, and I wasn’t a trained writer."

Her hiring of script consultants early on in her career is exactly what Los Angeles script consultant Danny Manus would recommend. He says it’s best to have help sooner instead of later, to put you on the right path and save you time and energy later on. He tells screenwriters to ask themselves these three questions before deciding if they need screenwriting help.

"I always viewed script consultants the same way I would look at a tutor for one of my kids for a class that they might be struggling in. I would choose ones that had great reputations, really good testimonials. I also think it’s really great to learn how to take notes. They teach you and train you how to take notes, and that is a huge part of the job of screenwriting, is learning how to say ‘oh, I hear what you’re saying. I’ll think about that,’ and then adjust to make the changes and make the story better. So, I think they’re really good practice for working with producers and also just helping you elevate your craft. I think when you find a really good one, they can be invaluable, and you can learn a lot from them.”

So, are script consultants worth it? In the end, only you can decide based on where you’re at in developing your craft and your screenplay. But we all get by with a little help from our friends!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help,

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