I follow a lot of screenwriters and lit managers on Twitter. I’d encourage you to do the same. Many of them offer great tips for your writing, as well as post links to articles they write on their blogs (if they have one). Today an article from Emily Blake popped up in my Twitter feed: “The Scriptshadow: How I lost my faith in Carson Reeves.”
Emily writes an interesting article about her views on the Scriptshadow website, and it’s owner, Carson Reeves. Like Emily, I found Scriptshadow for the same reason she did, I was looking to get my hands on some screenplays, as well as find a community to talk about them.
I came to the game late, after he had to remove the scripts he used to post to the site directly, but I still enjoyed reading his reviews every day. I’d spend time at work looking at the comments, and chiming in when I could. Carson even reviewed one of my own screenplays for amateur Friday. I thought Scriptshadow was pretty awesome.
However, as time went on and I started to follow more industry people on Twitter, I began to see a different view point, the view point of actual professionals. Some simply tolerated Scriptshadow. Others were angry with what Carson was doing. Others actively railed against him and the site.
I now had a completely different perspective on what the Scriptshadow website was doing. I didn’t agree with all the other people’s comments, but I could definately see their view point. Then…
…came The Disciple Program. This is a script written by the talented Tyler Marceca. Marceca submitted this script to Carson after already winning one high profile contest, and Carson sent it to his contacts.
I remember when this blew up. I “covered” it on my site. I read the script. I even shared it with a few people. I thought this was really awesome. But as Emily writes, a more questionable future for Scriptshadow and Carson was revealed:
Carson’s tweets became more and more self-serving, until they started to make me uncomfortable.
Then came this post about Carson wanting to become a producer, but not being entirely sure about what a producer does. His conclusion is that he should find a script and a producer with a big name and a bank account and attach Carson’s name to the project.
The tweets Emily mentions cascaded into back and forth conversations with at least one person I know personally. It did not go well for Carson, but it wasn’t a horrible train wreck either. If anything, it looked like a learning experience for someone who was trying to find their place in “the business” and took some licks to get the right perspective.
But a little while after this whole thing went down, I started to read about what Carson charged for “notes” on scripts. I didn’t know he offered this service, and I don’t have an opinion on it either way, but many people speak passionatley about why this is bad. Emily had this to say:
Let me be perfectly clear, and if you get nothing else out of this long post, remember this: Any producer who charges for notes is not someone with whom you want to be in business. Real producers make their money by making movies.
This is something I’ve heard Craig Mazin say on his screenwriting podcast “Scriptnotes” many times. I’ve also seen a version of that sentiment stated a bunch of times on Twitter by other industry professionals.
Anyway, you should give Emily’s post a read. It’s insightful an well written, and if your familiar with Scriptshadow, you’ll likely find some things you agree with, and some things you don’t. Just like Carson’s own reviews.