Consultants & Classes
ScriptGuyWho is SCRIPTGUY?
Ever since I was a kid, I've lived for the movies. I've been lucky enough to turn that infatuation into a career I love. For the past decade, I've worked as a story analyst, development executive and private script consultant for companies like The Sundance Institute, Forward Pass and FilmColony and A-list writers, directors and actors like Al Pacino, Andrew Niccol and Michael Mann. I'm also a working writer who's had several scripts optioned (one with Al Pacino to star), so I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence. When I read a script, I don't see a product. I see someone's dream, which they slaved over for months and maybe years.
As a script consultant, I've always had a very simple philosophy: My job is not to dictate the story I decide you should have written. My job is to find the essential story you were already attempting to tell. Plato believed the chair you're sitting on is only one version of the ideal chair that exists in one's mind. He would have made a hell of a script doctor! You began with an ideal version of your script in mind, but that may not be what ended up on the page. That's where I come in. That ideal script, the one your screenplay already contains somewhere within its pages, is our ultimate goal. I'm not here to change your screenplay. I'm here to help you find it.
"Leo is the best in the business. He has provided truly creative insights
into my work. More than just the ability to take a script apart, he actually
has ideas for putting it back together. Knowing Leo, he probably even has
a suggestion for improving this quote."
-- Andrew Niccol
The Truman Show, Gattaca, Lord of War
"Leo is an exceptional script consultant whose inspired story notes invariably
improve the screenplays you give him."
-- Mike Marcus
Former COO of MGM Pictures, Producer
Get Shorty, Good Morning Vietnam
"Leo's notes, in style and substance, are without question the most insightful,
constructive, and thought provoking I have received on any of my projects.
He has worked with me on two projects including the most recent film, which
I wrote and will be directing. I can safely say that I will never write a
script and/or direct a project without first having Leo read and provide notes
-- he is the ultimate collaborative story consultant."
-- Jeremy Stein
Jack & Addie
I am the only person who will analyze your screenplay. Many script consultant companies offer notes churned out by vague, unidentified groups of producers, agents and creative executives, most of whom are business people first and story experts last. The formulaic story notes they provide won't answer the specific narrative problems of your screenplay.
I come at your script from a different perspective. I'm a writer and I see your screenplay through a writer's eyes. Secondly, I've worked for small but high profile companies where the quality of the scripts was more important than the quantity. Instead of reading hundreds of scripts per month, I provided detailed, in-depth story notes for a far smaller number of greenlit, A-list screenplays. More importantly, that was my only job at these companies; reading and improving scripts as opposed to selling them. Don't misunderstand me. Films don't get made unless extremely talented people package and sell them. But you have to have something worth selling first. You have to have a great script. That's where I can help.
Industry standard "coverage" with an extra page of comments. Includes a details page, one page synopsis and two pages of comments. 4 pages.
Price - $130
An in-depth, comprehensive analysis of your entire screenplay, offering narrative strategies and solutions to help you realize your ideal script. No synopsis or details page for padding either. Just solid notes. 6 to 8 pages or more. I know I'm done when I stop writing.
Price - $250
If I've read an earlier draft, I offer discount coverage on your rewrite. A details page and two pages of comments. No synopsis, but the comments cover the rewrite's key changes and discuss how they affect, for better or worse, the overall story. 3 pages.
Price - $80
Rewrite Story Notes
If I've provided story notes on an earlier draft, I offer discount notes for your rewrite. The rewrite notes thoroughly analyze all of the changes and provide fresh ideas for further improvement of the script. 3 to 5 pages.
Price - $150
5 to 7 business days turnaround, but often quicker on coverages. Add $40 for a RUSH delivery (within 4 days.)
If I give your script a recommend, I'll pass it on to industry contacts free of charge, if you like. No guarantees, but free networking never hurts.
*I don't offer one-on-one consultations in person or over the phone because, frankly, I'm not nearly as objective when I hear a fellow writer's hopeful voice. I'm far more honest on the page, which is what you really need.
For further details regarding payment through Paypal and getting your script to me, visit www.scriptguy.com
Tools of the Trade:
Story by Robert McKee. The industry has turned McKee's guideline "paradigms" into blindly followed commandments, but there is no question that he is the master of story. This book is absolute gold.
Screenplay by Syd Field (and anything else he's written.) He hammers home that writing is about perseverance. Ain't it the truth.
Adventures In The Screen Trade by William Goldman. If you read nothing
else, read this. Learn what kind of crazy ride you've signed on for.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Inspiration for the writer.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. The "hero's journey" is the key to half of the greatest flicks ever made. This book explains why.
A History of Narrative Film by David Cook. A fascinating, complete
history of cinema in one volume. Essential reading.
The Writer Got Screwed (but didn't have to) by Brooke A. Wharton. Legal advice for screenwriters. Yeah, you're gonna want this...
Movies: If you haven't seen every film on the AFI 100 Greatest list, go forth and rent them. Minor debates aside, this is a solid primer on the best American films ever.
A fractional sampling of films every writer should see...and I couldn't live without: The Godfather I & II, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, Star Wars, Amadeus, Some Like It Hot, Midnight Cowboy, Cinema Paradiso, The Truman Show, Moonstruck, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Apartment, Remains of the Day, Dr. Strangelove, Arthur, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Unforgiven, The Graduate, Singing In The Rain, Good Will Hunting, Cool Hand Luke and Raging Bull.
Forgotten Gems: Hobson's Choice, Night of the Hunter, Burnt By The Sun, Matewan, Harold and Maude, Trainspotting, Network, La Strada and Brazil.
Watch every film by Billy Wilder, David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorcese. Even their worst flicks will teach you something and their best films are an education no film school can provide. Terry Gilliam is an eye-opener too.
Read scripts, any and all. You'll learn a lot from the classic scripts, but twice as much from the bad ones. Nothing instructs a writer more than someone else's bad script. Ask yourself why it doesn't work. You will definitely learn something.
Always print out your script before starting your final polish. It reads more accurately on the page than on the computer screen; I don't know why, but it does. You'll see things, good and bad, that you never noticed before. You haven't really read your script until you've read the printed version. Trust me.
Please(!) register your script with the copyright office and the WGA. The copyright costs more than the WGA registration, but it's the only one that actually protects you legally.
Write for yourself. If you like it, chances are someone else will too.
Believe in yourself, even if no one else does. It is your duty.