Tell Me What I Already Know

Sometimes, it's impossible to tell what kind of advice you're getting. Is it good advice? Is it harmful advice? Here's the conundrum in screenwriting - you have to know what you're doing enough to not need a lot of advice but the only way you get there is by listening to people who've already been there and done that -- er, get their advice.

I don't ask for a lot of reviews on my work. I get SOME from a couple of places, but I'm not active on Triggerstreet or Zoetrope although I pop in now and then and read boards. That's just me. Please don't beat me up for it. I've heard it all before.

However, the reverse of that is a writer who DOES put his work up on boards for comments and gets some very constructive help only to.. well, here ya go. Courtesy of a post on Zoetrope:

This is the way I built this place
Bathroom and dinette face to face
I know that others think that's odd
But I'm the builder. I'm the god
I do ask others for advice
We study plans and act real nice
But when the hammer hits the nail
I do it my way without fail
My pals and I pore over prints
But I ignore most of their hints
Now the house is up for sale
People laugh and buyers quail
I don't know what's wrong with it
Except diners watch you when you shit

Last year, I read a screenplay that had been "workshopped" over and over. By the time I reviewed it, I figured it had been worked over so much that it was probably in pretty good shape. I was wrong. My detailed and time consuming notes pointed out some very fundamental and no-brainer type inconsistencies, primarily with character development and plot resolution.

The author replied with a long email that said, "yeah, so and so noticed this" and "so and so pointed out that". He'd given me the same ol' script he'd been "workshopping" for months but he hadn't made a single adjustment. Not one. Not even to

I wonder if he typed his reply from his laptop while sitting on the toilet in his dining room.

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