Writer Unboxed had the honor recently of interviewing one of the motion-picture industry’s best advisors, Michael Hauge. Not only is Michael a consultant for most of the top film studios in Hollywood, he’s also a highly sought-after speaker and author with plenty to offer screenwriters and novelists alike. His new book, Selling your Story in Sixty Seconds, is bound to become a classic; Hauge’s previous book,Writing Screenplays That Sell, is now in its thirtieth printing for HarperCollins, and is a definitive reference book for the film and television industries. His seminar with Chris Vogler (author of The Writer’s Journey) called The Hero’s 2 Journeys, and is now available on DVD and CD through Michael’s website.
If you missed parts 1 and 2 of our interview with him, click HERE and HERE now to read them. Then come on back for the conclusion where we try to pin him down about how you’ll know a manuscript is ready to market…and when there’s more work to do!
Part 3: Interview with Michael Hauge
Q: You said that it’s very important to get your script or manuscript to professional caliber before you even think about pitching. How do you know when it’s ready? When everyone else says it is?
Q: Do you recommend you have a certain number of people tell you that it’s finished?
Q: Is there a magic number?
Q: Maybe something you feel in your gut?
MH: I don’t trust people’s guts when it comes to their own work, because they’re so eager to get their work out there that they’ll be blind to its weaknesses. So the number of positive responses you need from your support group depends on who those people are. If you belong to a writers’ group, or if you have friends who are knowledgeable about screenwriting or publishing, and if you know those people will be honest with you, I’d say you’ve got to get a positive response from at least five. However, if you’re working with a good script consultant, or a professional editor, you should be able to trust that person to know when something is ready to go.
But even then, with writers I’ve been coaching through the whole process, I still insist that we show the work to at least five knowledgeable people. I’ll help get it to people I know in the film business, just to get their feedback. Or sometimes I’ll have clients – the ones who have reached a high level of skill – swap critiques with each other. Because I know that after working extensively on a project, even I may get so close to it that I’ll miss spotting weaknesses or ways to improve it.
Q: What do you wish screenwriters or novelists would “get” about writing, and about the business? [Read more…]