I want everybody to tell me the truth
even if it costs them their jobs.
Last updated July 2016
In any given year, there are roughly 35,000 screenplays
registered with the Writers Guild of America. Only around 1,000 are purchased;
and of those, just 400 for Hollywood-level money. And only about 250
are then turned into movies.
Those numbers paint a grim picture—until you realize that
over 90 percent of screenplays are so fundamentally
flawed that they can be rejected within 10 minutes of a reader flipping
through their pages.
The real competition for the 1,000 sales a year is
among 3,500 screenwriters who "get" what's needed—i.e.,
have a screenplay with a strong high concept, rock-solid structure, a compelling
main character with a memorable arc, a clear target audience, and so on.
And beyond those fundamentals, the winners will be the writers
who have a fresh , smart approach that makes them stand out from
the crowd. This extra quality cuts the real competition to under 2,000—at
which point the chances of a sale are around 1 in 2.
If you're a skilled writer, good listener, and hard worker,
I can help you make sure your movie rises to this top 5 percent
of the screenplay market.
No matter how stellar your writing skills, there
will be periods during your script's development when you'll find
it tough to clearly identify its flaws on your own. It's during these
times when you'll benefit from a fresh pair of eyes to provide you with
an experienced, objective, and honest outside perspective.
My name is Hy Bender, and I've analyzed and
helped fix hundreds of screenplays. I've done this for writers ranging
from total beginners to screenwriters who've had Hollywood features produced.
Regardless of your level of experience, I'll take your work very seriously
and tell you how to make it better.
I charge $400 (more or less, depending on your script's details) to carefully read your screenplay and then call you for a 3-hour phone discussion. I'll clearly describe where your screenplay is strong and where it has problems, provide on-target suggestions for improvements, and detail storytelling rules that your screenplay indicates you either don't know or are neglecting. This conversation may save you from months or years of going down wrong paths, not just for your current screenplay but for everything you write going forward.
My credentials as an expert story analyst
Currently working as Director of Television & Film Development for a production house.
Decades of providing analysis
and advice on hundreds of screenplays for writers, directors, producers, and
film production companies.
which for eight years was one of the most respected screenwriting workshops in the country.
Writing The Sandman Companion, a nationally
bestselling story analysis book focusing on the early work of Neil Gaiman
(screenwriter of the $70 million Robert Zemeckis feature film Beowulf,
and story writer of the feature films Stardust and Coraline).
Writing theatre reviews
for The New York Times; and articles
about film, TV, and other media for such diverse national publications
as American Film, Advertising
Age, PC Magazine, Yahoo! Internet Life, Spy,
and Mad Magazine.
Writing five books
in the popular Dummies series, and a book in the equally popular Complete
Idiot's Guide series, which demonstrate my ability to explain even
dry, complex concepts in an accessible and entertaining manner that anyone can
understand. I employ these same skills to describe problems with a script and
explain how to solve them.
of Hy's 16 published
I'm happy to help writers at any experience
level. Please just know that I'll treat you like a professional—that
is, I'll be bluntly honest, and cut to the chase by focusing on your script's
problems. If you have a thin skin, I'm not the analyst for you.
But if you want extraordinarily on-target feedback
about flaws in your screenplay that may have slipped by you and thoughtful
suggestions for fixing them, I'd love to be of service. My goal is to help
eliminate your script's weaknesses and enhance its strengths to vastly increase
its chances of success.
Here's what some of my clients have said
about my services:
Hy's work is insightful, on point, and most
important—helpful. If you're looking for an honest
take on your story, analyzing every aspect from theme to tone to character
to plot, I can't recommend anyone more. A 30-minute conversation with
Hy cleared up issues I couldn't crack in three weeks of rewrites. I will
never send out another script without first getting a lookover
—Andrew Lobel, a Hollywood hot talent represented
by William Morris Endeavor whose work includes writing the upcoming big-budget
science fiction/adventure feature film Artemis for 20th Century Fox and co-writing the $70
million sword & sorcery feature film Conan
Among your most critical resources as a screenwriter
are people you trust to read your script and then give you honest and
insightful feedback. That's what's so great about Hy; he's extremely honest
and very knowledgeable about screenplays. Hy really knows what he's talking
about, and he's one of the few people I listen to regarding my work. Hy
is a great resource.
—Brendan Beseth, whose writing credits include
the 2000 feature film Lucky Town
starring Kirsten Dunst and James Caan.
helped me develop my first screenplay from its initial draft to its final
(and very different) version, many rewrites later. It was a lot of work;
but I was thrilled to then land a manager on the strength of that single
movie script. I've since written a second screenplay, and am now developing
still regularly turn to Hy for his feedback.
—Mariah Wilson, whose second screenplay was optioned;
who's written & directed the documentaries Revealing
Hate and Volunteer;
and who's written for the TV shows Twist of Fate and Off
The worst thing a screenwriter can do is
send a script into the marketplace before the pages are ready. Hy's analysis
of my screenplay didn't pull any punches. His comments were sometimes
humbling, but were also extremely understandable and easy to apply. After
integrating Hy's notes, my screenplay is 100% stronger, particularly in
theme and execution of my premise. I feel my script will now stand up
to even the most discerning studio reader.
—Allan Fair, who's contributed to HBO's Entourage; has had sitcom pilots under consideration
at CBS, ABC and NBC; has won Scriptapalooza
and TV Writer scriptwriting contests;
and is prominently featured on the ScreenStyle DVD How to Pitch
Your Movie Idea.
Hy, when I sent my sitcom pilot to be critiqued
I was thinking you'd find a few more jokes to squeeze out of it. Boy,
were my expectations exceeded! Sure
my script has more jokes, but your forcing me to think more about the
characters and theme makes the script funnier on a holistic level. Even
the premise is funnier! I
can't thank you enough.
—Allan Fair (see above)
Before you send your script to anyone,
I highly recommend registering it with the Writers Guild of America East
(www.wgae.org) or the Writers Guild of America West
(www.wga.org). The $25 registration takes only a few
minutes and is well worth the peace of mind.
If you need more than my analysis, my fee is based on a rate of $75 an hour. My other services include
script doctoring and writing a screenplay from scratch.
If you're interested in hiring me, please
email information about your screenplay and your phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, if you'd like help developing
a book (for example, to lay a strong marketing and legal foundation for your movie), please visit my book service at BookProposal.net.