One of the greatest benefits I’ve found from developing and interacting with my network of fellow writers is the mutual willingness to help out when that help is requested.
Just within the past month, I’ve had three requests for script notes and two for logline feedback. (Although I’ll be the first to admit my timing could use a little improvement. It always takes me longer than I think. But I make a point of doing it. That counts, right?)
And during this same time, I’ve contacted several associates, asking “If you have the time, what do you think of this?”
The advantage of this kind of arrangement cannot be understressed. While I’ve gotten a lot out of using professional feedback, I’ve also been extremely fortunate to have received some very insightful and helpful comments from other writers. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much their suggestions have contributed to the improvement of my scripts and loglines.
Since politeness actually does count (and people will remember it, or the lack thereof), I make sure to send them a thank-you note, which includes “More than happy to return the favor.” Which I am. I enjoy reading and commenting on other people’s stuff. And I’ve yet to have one person say my notes weren’t helpful. To my face, anyway.
One of those written-in-stone tenets of screenwriting is “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” While this primarily applies to people working in the industry, it can also work for those of us trying to break in.
Take a look at your own personal network. How many of them would you be willing to contact and ask for a little help? And how willing would you be to help them if they came to you? Being helpful and supportive goes a long way for both parties.