Below are some comments from past Script Surgeon clients. You can also download a sample report to get an idea of the kind of analysis we offer. This is a genuine report, prepared for a recent client.
“Tom sent me 8 A4 pages of clear, insightful and occasionally hilarious notes, which, while laying my script bare to an (almost) painful degree, served as a powerful encouragement and guide as I worked through the redrafting process.
Tom's comments struck a great balance between the critical and the encouraging. He engaged with the script in a forensic manner, identifying several significant problems, which could have been discouraging were it not for the fact that in every case he suggested one or more courses of action I could take to improve the work. In some cases Tom would identify areas in which I had failed to fulfil general principles of the sitcom form, and then use pertinent examples from well-known shows as a guide for improvement. In other areas, character and story structure in particular, he pointed out contradictions or inconsistencies that, being too close to the work (or lazy, to take a less generous view!) I had failed to notice. Tom's notes also forced me to reflect on the value of each individual scene - there wasn't a single instance where, after he identified a weak or superfluous scene, I didn't either improve (or lose) it during the rewrite.
Specifically, Tom had some fascinating observations to make about character, tone and structure, and whenever he made a general observation about the sitcom form, he was always doing so in reaction to something that he saw in my script. There were certainly no 'boilerplate' paragraphs in the notes he sent me - he is offering a completely bespoke service, of a very high standard.
Tom's suggestions for further reading and viewing included some books and sitcoms which had completely escaped me, and proved incredibly useful.
Extensive comments in the section 'Clarity and Professionalism' rescued me from several serious mistakes that would have instantly alienated any commissioning editor, regardless of the quality of my script.”
“This is without doubt the most comprehensive and thorough analysis I have received on any script I have written.
The report I received was carefully set out, beginning with an overview of the plot and overall thoughts before deconstructing the script exhaustively by the most important components to any story whether it is drama or comedy, television or theatre - setting and tone, characterization and plot. In each area the script surgeon offers insightful advice on how the script measures up, in every instance comparing and contrasting to successful genre staples. The analysis is both thought provoking and essential, all criticism is constructive and placed within the context of what makes a successful script.
The final part of the report centers on next steps - both in terms of where to focus the story and characters and further research I can undertake. I found this section particularly helpful not only in relation to the submitted script but to my approach to scriptwriting in general.
The script surgeon is not for the thin-skinned, every element of the script is dissected with objective precision. The end result is insightful feedback that will allow you to develop both your script and your craft to the next level and therefore I cannot recommend this service highly enough.”
“I was absolutely delighted with my report from Script Surgeon. I received very clear analysis on theme, character and plot - what was working, as well as detailed guidance as to what could work better - and how. What was also impressive was that the supporting characters and their associated sub-plots received a good deal of attention, with excellent suggestions as to how to improve their contribution to the whole story. The advice was put in the context of other movies to make it easier to understand, and I was even given a list of movies to study to see how certain elements were dealt with.
I would say that what makes ScriptSurgeon stand out above other services is that stories are what they 'do' - they create and act scripts for a living, so their understanding of platform, narrative arc, dramatic tension is instinctive and second to none. The first thing I did after receiving my report was to book another one in for analysis.”
“I was immediately impressed with the detail of the report. Not only did it give an overall analysis of plotting, structure, pacing, character and tone, it even picked up on certain dialogue and action lines that didn't ring true. The comments throughout were incisive and insightful and showed an in-depth understanding not only of the principles of screenwriting but the demands of this particular genre.
Crucially, the report didn't just criticise but throughout offered creative and often radical suggestions of how problems could be solved or scenes improved. It was also heartening that the reader commented on the positive aspects of the screenplay and the potential it could achieve with the recommended changes.
Most crucially, the report was much more objective than many I have read, where the reader's own tastes and prejudices seem to come into play. The Script Surgeon report, however, simply got straight to the heart of what the script was trying to achieve and suggested better ways to achieve it.
I've already recommended Script Surgeon to several writer friends and will certainly be sending in all my future screenplays!”
“This report was, by far, the single most considered, thorough and salient feedback form I have received in response to one of my scripts. I have shown scripts to respected writers, lecturers and script-editors many times, and received useful comments and advice, but the very structure and detail of a written report such as this, provides a thoroughness which I feel every writer needs.
What I find with submitting your work for appraisal is that, essentially, you don't want to be burned down in flames, and yet you do want the thematic and structural issues and all of the confusing bits to be picked up on and addressed. What Tom manages to do is offer his criticisms (inherent to this process, I'm afraid) in such a way that they are justified, palatable and helpful, and very much feel like “positive criticism,” (which is the only kind you really want!)
The report highlighted inconsistencies and anomalies, without my feeling that the script was condemned in any way, and I can be quite touchy about criticism. Like all good script editors/readers, Tom realises the need to address what the writer was trying to achieve without imposing matters of taste onto the feedback.
Tom understands both drama and the process of scriptwriting and its peculiarities very well, and so within the main body of the report, issues of characterisation and a character's role within story structure are dealt with, alongside thematic and genre issues, narrative structure and the basic linguistic coherency of the written word. I was even picked up on a formatting issue! Well, that's why you submit to the script surgeon; you want creative and positive feedback and the opportunity to improve and enhance your script.
In conclusion then, I can't recommend this particular surgeon enough. I will address the issues raised, pursue a suggestion as to the overall dynamic of how my characters interract, and know that my script will be considerably better for it.”
To submit your script to the Script Surgeons, click here.