1) You've finally completed your screenplay. You've spent months--maybe even years--on this project. And you're anxious to get it into the hands of contest judges, agents, managers, and producers.
2) But you're not quite sure if it's ready for such scrutiny. You've read dozens of times that you should never submit a script until it is letter-perfect. You realize that you only get one chance to impress a reader. Will your script, in its present form, knock 'em dead?
3) Now you're a little worried. You are painfully aware of the fact that your grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills are pretty good...but are they good enough?
4) And what about your script formatics? Does your screenplay have a professional look to it? Would a reader take one look, shake his/her head and mumble, "Amateur." Ask yourself this: Are you certain that all of the script mechanics are perfect? Or are you just hoping that readers will love the story so much that they will overlook the errors? Think again. Even if you're reading books on script formatting, be aware that styles change. What was acceptable five years ago (when the book you're referring to was published), may no longer be the norm.
5) Now you're thinking that it might be prudent to seek out the services of a professional proofreader. Another pair of eyes may come in very handy right about now. So you decide to do an Internet search for someone who can provide this very necessary service for you. Do your homework. Compare sites. Make sure you know who will be reading and editing your script. If you choose Professor Wordsmith, you have my guarantee that "I" will be the only one proofing your work. I do not farm out jobs to freelancers. And more importantly, I don't cross out mistakes or fill your script with red marks and editing symbols. I MAKE THE ACTUAL CORRECTIONS TO YOUR SCRIPT MYSELF. No one else in the industry does this.
6) After significant research, you've decided that Professor Wordsmith is the one. Great! Let's get to work. The first thing to do is send me an e-mail and ask how long it will take to complete the proofreading/editing project. I would also like you to send me the first 5-10 pages of your script (preferably in PDF). I need to get a sense of exactly how much labor your project would entail. I will generally accept about 90% of the projects sent my way, but occasionally I may turn down a project where the writer seems to have no concept of how a script is laid out. Contact me at email@example.com. My typical turnaround time is 10 days to two weeks. Sometimes I do tend to get a little backed up. So it is always best to inquire up front.
7) Once I receive your e-mail, I will respond with the current turnaround time for your project. If the time frame works for you, return to the Professor Wordsmith website and click on the "Fees" tab. Find the appropriate "pay button" that corresponds to your script (fees based on the number of pages). Then you'll be prompted to input your contact and credit card info.
8) Shortly thereafter I will receive notification from the processing center that a payment is pending. At that point, I will contact you and ask you to send the script. Send your script as a file from Movie Magic Screenwriter, Final Draft, Celtx, WriterDuet, Scrivener, Fade In or Amazon Storywriter. If you are using another screenwriting software program, let me know which one it is. We may or may not be able to complete the project.
9) As soon as I receive payment confirmation, I will get to work. In painstaking fashion, I will read every letter, every syllable, every word, every phrase, every sentence, every punctuation mark. I will proofread your script as if I were proofing one of my own.
10) I will also check the screenplay for proper formatting. If I see a discrepancy, I will make the appropriate correction to the script. This part of the process is very important. Agents, managers, script readers, etc., are looking for reasons NOT to find a script acceptable. It's like a prospective employer who must weed through a stack of resumes. During the first pass, he/she looks for reasons to eliminate candidates. And one of the ways that industry professionals look to eliminate screenplays is the writer's lack of script formatting knowledge. Your script has to look like it belongs...or it will end up in the slush pile.
11) Once I have completed the proofreading, editing, and formatting functions, I will save the edited script to a program file and a PDF file. I will then e-mail both to you, along with a PDF of your original script with each misspelled word, punctuation error, grammar mistake, and formatting problem circled in red. You'll want to compare your original script with the new, edited version. The pagination might have changed slightly. You'll want to know when and where each scene takes place so you can intelligently discuss the script with a potential suitor.
12) If you had hired any of the other proofreaders on the market, your job would just be starting. You would have to make all of the corrections to the script yourself, and hope that you can decipher the proofreader's symbols. By trusting your script to Professor Wordsmith, you submit a screenplay with flaws, and you receive a screenplay ready to take out to the industry.
13) One of your first stops should be a visit to Moviebytes. There you'll find the absolute best list of screenwriting competitions on the market. Find the one that best fits your particular script, and submit it. My favorites are the contests run by agencies and production companies. What could be better than having contest judges made up of agents and producers. These are the exact individuals you want seeing your script. This approach could really pay dividends. 14) Then sign up for a subscription to IMDB Pro, and search for literary agents, managers, and producers. Craft your query letter...and send away!