I’ve lost count as to how many people have given me feedback on my scripts.
From a well-established working actor and producer who’s been in Daredevil and two of the CSI shows (among other shows and features) to friends to coverage given as part of a competition to hiring three coverage companies, I’ve sampled the field.
And one thing is evident: Nobody sees the same thing. At all.
The established working actor and producer LOVED the concept of KUSHY’S. He called it “brilliant” and “refreshing.” A friend of mine who went to college in Kansas for media studies laughed his ass off at the major jokes in it. One production company said they loved it and could make it, but they were booked solid for the next 6 months (which they were and are; they have two movies with “big names” in production as of this writing and one TV show on a streaming service).
On the other hand, I’ve gotten coverage from others who’ve completely missed the jokes and absurdity of scenes in FALLING OUT and Kushy’s.
For example, one person, a festival organizer, indicated he didn’t understand the humor and irony in a Buddhist being overjoyed that his parents are dead and was left an inheritance. He also completely missed the multitude of times the character was mentioned as bisexual and repeatedly stated the character is gay.
In this instance, I went back to see if I could make them any more obvious. I didn’t see how, but in the process I realized there were two spots that did, in fact, need reworking in order to make sense. These are areas the reviewer missed, but in going back to see what he didn’t get and if I could do something with it, I discovered scenes that could be improved… I even added two more jokes.
I’ve also received feedback stating the scenes in Kushy’s were “perfect” and of good length, the visual jokes were outstanding, and the idea is very marketable, BUT the dialogue needed work, as did character development.
The take away for all those starting out: Coverage is purely subjective. There’s no hard and fast, objective rubric for it. Some people won’t understand some jokes, or will get easily confused about sexuality or think the characters are well-developed. Others will love the jokes, understand the sexuality and think the characters are developed adequately.
We see thousands of shows and movies come and go each year. Some are horrible and you wonder how they got produced at all. Others are surprise hits.
Nobody who reads your script knows for sure WHAT will work. They only know what they like and think.
It’s a numbers game.
From every single letter of coverage I’ve gotten, I’ve found something in it that was helpful, though. Remember that.
So when you get feedback, remember, it’s just someone’s opinion. Not everyone likes or understands LGBTQ characters. Not everyone understands or likes comedy or horror or whatever you’re writing. But EVERYONE has some kind of feedback you can use. You just have to be open to seeing it.
Go forth and write!