I recently had two experiences with these types of “screenwriting” people, and I’d like to share them with you. You can make of it what you want.
The first was a script consultant that I’ve used quite a bit in the past; Scott Parisien. At one time, I spoke very highly of him, and referred many other writers to him for screenplay analysis. Most recently, I referred a client of mine to him for a review of his screenplay adaptation of his crime novel, “Dual Therapy”. This novel, while self-published, was one of the best novels I’ve ever read, written by an amateur author, and I promoted it quite a bit on my sites and pages. The story involves a Colorado Springs homicide detective on the trail of a serial killer, and it is loosely based on true events. The author was, in fact, a retired detective with 35 years in police work. I helped him a bit on the screenplay, and I have ten years of police work, and ten years in investigations.
After acknowledging his police career, one of the first comments the consultant made toward the screenplay was how “it felt it was written by someone who didn’t have a sold grasp on police work procedure.” Keep in mind, the two who worked on this screenplay have over fifty combined years of police and private investigations, to include assaults, robberies, kidnapping, undercover, gang squads, sex crimes and, of course, homicides.
We are all aware of how the police in this country have been vilified of late, and an overwhelming percentage of it is unwarranted. Much of this vilification comes from the political Left in this country, and Los Angeles, California- to include the entertainment industry- is 95% left-of-center. Scott went on to infer that audiences (himself included) mostly only know police procedures by what they see in other movies and TV, so any deviation from that “standard” appears unrealistic.
I wrote to Scott, asking how he could not only say such a thing, but believe such a thing, and why he felt compelled to question the actual street experience of the author. He responded quite defensively, angrily rejecting any future referrals, and questioning MY professionalism. Just a complete schmuck.
The second individual is Sophia Von Wrangell- a poet and author. Recently, she somehow became a group manager of the LinkedIn group, “Screenwriting”. I have been a hands-on manager of the group for over a years time, when her profile popped up as a fellow manager (the group owner, Elroi David, lives in Israel, and is rarely on the site). She immediately began dispensing screenwriting advice, even though there was no indication that she’d ever even written a screenplay. What was truly troubling about this, though, was that her advice was all WRONG. She literally didn’t know the difference between a logline and a tagline. Her own script scene examples were horrible. I wans’t the only one saying this, either; other very talented writers jumped in and complained. She then made the claim that EVERY SCREENPLAY SHE’S EVER WRITTEN HAD BEEN SOLD, saying the number was over 21 scripts. Now, even the top writers in the industry can’t come close to this kind of record, so she MUST be among the most famous writers in the world- yet, have YOU heard of her?
Neither have I.
After a little research, it was determined that her “screenwriting” was done in Bucharest, Romania, and one can only surmise, this is where her 21 script sales were done.
In any event, I monitored her posts, and challenged much of her advice, to the point where she complained to Mr. David, resulting in my being “blocked” from the group. All well and good; it doesn’t matter, but be aware of someone making these claims and offering services to help YOU in your screenwriting when she, herself, hasn’t a clue how to write. You also need to know where some (many) of these paid consultants are coming from regarding their screenplay analysis. We all have biases that we bring to our professional lives, but, clearly, a TRUE professional would work hard at overcoming those biases. To actually BELIEVE that you would know more about police procedure than two people with fifty-plus years of experience, when you admit that the only police procedure you know comes from “Lethal Weapon” (NOT authentic police procedure, btw) is embarrassing, shameful and transparent. It makes YOU the arrogant prick- not those who complain and point it out to you.