There are a wealth of online tools and other resources available to screenwriters today – authoring tools, professional networks, contests and content sites, all of them dedicated to helping writers develop their craft.
The latest solution to enter the fray is ScriptNoted, billed by its creators as a secure screenplay management platform.
We caught up with Christopher Brenchley – one of the company’s founders – to find out what it’s all about…
TSL: What is ScriptNoted? What – specifically – does it do?
CB: We designed ScriptNoted to improve the quality, consistency and timeliness of the feedback writers get from their readers, version-after-version.
From the screenwriter’s perspective, ScriptNoted is focused on providing a better way to manage the sharing of and feedback on their work throughout the screenplay development process, regardless of their authoring tool preference.
As a writer moves their story forward, we keep track of its evolution, from the first draft to the final.
Got it. But as a screenwriter, why do I need to use this platform?
There are three primary benefits ScriptNoted offers to the writer – security, visibility and manageability.
Our secure, online screenplay-sharing model helps ensure that unauthorized individuals do not get access to the writer’s work. Unlike a writer emailing PDF or Word files to their readers and reps (which can be saved and inadvertently shared) or sharing printed copies, only authenticated readers have access to their work via the ScriptNoted viewer.
In addition to controlling who gets access to their script(s), writers may also track the progress of their readers in finishing the reads and giving feedback (as well as nudge them along to completion, as is often necessary). Writers may also revoke access to their work at any time.
In terms of manageability, ScriptNoted offers two options for feedback. First, real-time page notes (we call them Margins™) let readers easily give the writer notes on every page of their script, all aggregated and synchronized via the Margins timeline.
Second, our customizable, default feedback templates enable writers to quickly create robust assessments, capturing consistent, objective feedback from all readers, similar to the coverage templates used by the industry today.
All feedback is captured at the version level, and may be accessed by the writer at any time via our feedback dashboard.
No doubt that feedback and notes are important – does ScriptNoted provide script analysis or other consulting services?
No. We created a platform to help writers get more consistent and meaningful feedback from readers in their existing personal and professional networks.
ScriptNoted also allows writers to connect with other writers via the system, share their work with them and swap feedback. This exchange dynamic is especially important for aspiring and amateur screenwriters, as three of the most important things writers can do to develop their craft are to read, read more and keep reading.
While there a lot of produced screenplays available on the web, we are providing writers with access to finished scripts and works in progress written by writers of all ability levels.
Reading those scripts and providing feedback via ScriptNoted can help an emerging writer hone their craft.
Security is an important theme these days, especially as it relates to the cloud. How does ScriptNoted ensure that my work stays secure?
Secure sharing of creative works is at the core of what we do.
From the get-go, ScriptNoted ingests a PDF version of the screenplay into our database, where it is protected by 256-bit AES encryption.
When a writer gives access to their screenplay to other ScriptNoted users (or guest readers), they give the reader access to the content as displayed in the ScriptNoted online viewer, not the actual PDF file, and only after they have been authenticated.
ScriptNoted also allows writers to associate WGA and U.S. Copyright information when creating the detail page for their title(s).
Lastly, ScriptNoted features robust progress tracking features that enables writers to easily keep track of all requests to read, script reads, and feedback activity associated with their script versions.
What about authoring? Can I edit my own and/or other users’ screenplays?
No. We are currently focused on screenplay sharing and feedback management. There are over 30 authoring tools on the market, and every writer has their preference. We are a universal solution, in that we can provide value to our writer users regardless of that preference.
Ultimately, writers want to see their work on the screen, big or small. Will ScriptNoted help me get my screenplay optioned? Or at least, get exposed to the right producers?
Of course, I get asked this question on a regular basis. Becoming a successful, working screenwriter is dependent on many factors, including hard work and perseverance. It is critical that writers take their screenwriting prospects as seriously as they would another career or any business venture.
While no single step in the development process can guarantee a successful sale, ScriptNoted allows writers to take control of their screenplay throughout the entire workflow and help ensure that their valuable work remains secure and well informed by robust, centrally managed feedback.
And look, nothing would make us happier than to have one of our writers acknowledge ScriptNoted during an acceptance speech at an awards show…
Writers are definitely a cost-conscious crowd. Is it free? Or do I have to pay for it?
The entry-level ScriptNoted Writer subscription is free and provides access to key features, with limits on the number of script titles and other functionality. It is a great way to get started and fully understand the benefits of the service.
The full-featured, paid ScriptNoted Writer Pro account level is available on a month-to-month or annual pre-pay subscription basis, with the latter offering a discount to the subscriber. Paid subscription information is available on our website.
Candidly, we want to grow with our users, so it made perfect sense to keep the system free for emerging writers. And if and/or when they entered into ranks of the paid professional writer, they would view a Writer Pro subscription as an integral part of their workflow and truly appreciate its value.
This all sounds compelling. How easy is it to sign up and start using the platform?
Getting started with ScriptNoted is easy – writers may create their free Writer account at any time via ScriptNoted.com and access the system after confirming their account via email. Writers may upgrade to the paid Writer Pro subscription level at any time via the ScriptNoted settings menu, post-login.
The system supports current versions of all major browsers and is optimized for desktop, laptop and mobile tablet access. And ScriptNoted is 100% cloud-based, with no software to install or update.
Thanks for taking the time to introduce us to ScriptNoted.
You bet. My pleasure. I hope that The Script Lab audience will find ScriptNoted to be a valuable tool in their writer’s toolkit. I look forward to their feedback – pun intended.
Editor’s note: ScriptNoted is wholly owned by TSL Media, Inc., which also owns The Script Lab. In addition to being an aspiring screenwriter, Mr. Brenchley serves as the CEO of TSL Media, Inc.