MPii’s Script Doctors
Hollywood’s Secret for Success
Everyone knows that the producer raises the money, the writer writes the script, the director directs the actors and crew on the set, the editor cuts it all together, the distributor releases the movie, the critics do their reviews, and the audience decides whether or not they like the movie enough to tell their friends to see it or avoid it.
But as industry professionals, we all know there’s more to it.
Just as any world-class performer or athlete would have a master-level coach to train and improve their performance, all the top filmmakers in Hollywood use high-level story development experts known as “script doctors”, who work privately and confidentially in the background to make the screenplay more engaging, more dramatic, and ultimately more entertaining and therefore more profitable.
And the story is the most important, and most “fixable” element of most every project.
Hollywood has long understood that writers working on their own cannot create viable quality screenplays by themselves; which is why there’s the industry standard of story development. And in addition to the standard development that most production companies do, virtually every major box office success and Academy Award-winning movie has had extra, private creative help from a team of story development specialists who guide and enhance the creative work of the writers.
“It’s all about the script. Writing is everything. Everything else is just dressing.” –Ridley Scott
And by helping strengthen the script, the top script doctor consultants significantly increase the likelihood of the project attracting the right star actors and director, since in most cases, the quality of the script is the single biggest factor in getting major talent to agree to make a project.
At Motion Picture Industry Institute, our senior story consultants have the necessary high-level experience, the unique skill sets, and the industry perspective to understand the needs of the studios, networks, financiers and distributors, as well as the needs of major star talent (actors and directors) who must be excited by the screenplay in order to sign onto a project.
We have the best story experts in the industry because, for more than 20 years, we have been actively searching out the top story professionals around the world, deeply researching and field testing their theories and techniques, then hosting the best of the best at our trainings and workshops, “The Story Sessions”.
Our story experts each have decades of high-level Hollywood experience, working as executives and story consultants for major studios, networks and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning production companies, and have developed motion picture projects for such world-renowned filmmakers as:
Steven Spielberg Ridley Scott
Martin Scorsese Sydney Pollack
Jerry Bruckheimer Christopher Nolan
Kathryn Bigelow Guillermo del Toro
Sam Raimi James L. Brooks
David E. Kelley The Farrelly Bros
Alexander Payne Curtis Hanson
Paul Thomas Anderson Steven Soderbergh
Our experienced Hollywood script doctor consultants are the foremost experts in the creative story development process, specializing in:
- Generating a comprehensive Story Development Plan for:
- New project(s), from the core idea to the finished script,
- Adaptations from:
- Documentary, article, book, etc.
- From one language/culture to another, especially to English/American.
- Projects where there might already be multiple drafts:
- Solving complex elusive story issues plaguing a project, where no one has been able to accurately diagnose nor prescribe a clear, logical and achievable development plan that all parties can agree on.
- Creating characters or re-shaping characters into roles that star-level actors want to play (based on our story experts’ experience packaging major motion picture and television projects at major agencies, Academy and Emmy Award-winning production companies, major studios, and networks).
- Digging deep into a story’s underlying character/plot dynamic to amplify its hidden strengths.
- Bringing fresh perspective and shaking up the creative process to generate new ideas and potential story solutions.
- Separating the necessary from the unnecessary to enhance pacing and flow.
- Amplifying the core conflict in the overall story, in each act, sequence, and scene so that every part of the story is charged with dramatic action.
- Deciphering and fixing the frustrating but all too common “we liked it but didn’t quite love it” feedback syndrome.
- Targeting laser-focused adjustments that yield big results with “minimally invasive surgery”, with detailed editorial guidance to more fully polish the draft before submitting to agencies in order to get better “coverage” and thereby significantly increase star actor and director interest in the project.
- Finding creative solutions to get the best of different approaches, especially when there are multiple drafts, each with strengths and weaknesses, or when the studio has one set of notes and the director a different view and the star yet another direction they want to go.
- Helping to mend strained relations due to “creative differences” between producers, execs, writers, directors and star actors.
- Providing a “ready-to-go” rapid response team of script doctors and writers to deliver a professional draft to your specifications.
- Delivering high-quality professional results in extremely limited time frames (days, not months). On time, on budget, in all budget ranges.
- Assistance in developing a plan for star actors and director packaging.
- Introduction to agencies, managers, Hollywood production companies, studios, networks and other financing entities.
MPii can provide the script doctor “coaching” consultants to guide your writer to a stronger more effective script. Additionally, if requested, we can also recommend additional writers, directors and creative producers from our roster of professional story talent to help move your project(s) forward, at all budget levels.
Also, our Hollywood-experienced story experts are broadly knowledgeable in international cultural nuances to help you develop projects that work well for audiences in the US and around the world.
Contact us for a no-cost initial consultation to see how we can help your motion picture and/or television business get better results with more powerful stories and stronger scripts.
MPii offers a range of story services designed to fit the story development and packaging needs of production companies in Hollywood and around the world, whether on an individual or multiple-project basis, either at specific stages of story development or comprehensive services from concept through production.
Whether you are launching a new project and want to get the story right from the beginning, saving time and money with a more effective development process, or if you have a script that needs help–
Our story consulting services, provided by the top story experts in the industry, are designed to provide precisely what is needed to move your project forward.
One of our most in-demand services tests finished scripts for market readiness before submitting it for financing and/or to agencies and management companies for talent packaging.
WHY PRE-MARKET TESTING IS SO IMPORTANT:
For example, are there elements of the script that could be read in different ways by different readers? Could key story points be missed or misread, causing the reader’s evaluation to be less positive than it could/should have been?
Any such “gaps” in understanding can ruin your chance to move the project forward, undermining the script’s opportunity to attract star talent or financing.
Make sure they’re seeing the movie you wrote, not a misinterpretation of it.
The number one response that producers have to “gap” in the scripts they have developed (and gotten close to), is that the reader is simply wrong. But with ten (10) different readers all providing different coverage reports, and with the story editor’s 10+ page report, they are much more likely to be able to see where the project may still need additional work.
Since most agencies, management companies, and financing and distribution companies participate in the online “tracking boards” and informational databases, where the first evaluations of your project are permanently recorded for all to see, it’s a good idea to find out what the market reaction would be, privately/confidentially, BEFORE they see it, so you don’t burn your project’s chance in the marketplace. Even if there’s a rewrite they’ll usually just look to the database and check out the previous record. (Changing the title doesn’t fool them.)
The Market Test Read is completely CONFIDENTIAL, so you get a highly accurate read of what would happen if your project was submitted to agencies for packaging or studios/networks for financing.
It’s a fact of life in Hollywood that you only have one chance to make a great first impression with a new script. Rigorously test-marketing it with professional readers helps you really get it right before you take it out.
- Each of the 10 separate industry-standard 2-4 page “Coverage” reports provides the following details:
- Analysis Grid– with at-a-glance ratings of the Premise, Characters, Structure/plot, Dialogue, Themes, etc.
- Executive summary of Plot and Comments
- Synopsis of the story
- Analysis/Comments by reader specifically assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the current draft in terms of:
- The concept, premise or central “idea” of the project.
- Plot Structure
- Visual Impact
- Overall viability of the project
- Final assessment of both the project and the writing (PASS, MAYBE, CONSIDER, RECOMMEND).
Pre-Market Test Package – $2000
When you think your draft is ready and you want to make sure that there are no gaps, this is the best way to market test how exactly would the marketplace of agencies and management companies for star actors and directors, or studios, networks and other financing/distribution companies react to the current draft, without damaging the project’s future opportunities.
- 10 industry-standard reader “coverage” reports from a battery of readers designed to closely simulate the actual marketplace response that your script would receive if it were submitted to major talent agencies/management companies for star actor or directors, or financing/distribution entities such as studios, networks, etc.
- A detailed report by the senior story editor, pulling together the various comments from the different readers into a cohesive analysis of the project as it stands, including an assessment of what further development would best move the project forward.
Contact us for details.
Rewrite Consultation Package – $2750
(50% discount w Pre-Market Test Package)
When the Market Test reads show that a script needs further development, this package of high-level story consulting recommends specific story improvements to: strengthen the core premise, heighten central conflict and visual impact, align the narrative structure, deepen the characters, focus the themes, as well as punch up genre elements such as comedy, thrills, pathos, etc.
- Three (3) 90-minute meetings digging deeply into the intended vision for the project and how that is lining up with what is “coming off the page” in the Market Test Reads.
- A 10-page comprehensive Story Development Plan report, proving “north star” guidance for both overall story development direction, as well as detailing specific recommended improvements, so your writer(s) can follow the plan and more accurately deliver the required adjustments/revisions.
Writer Support Package — optional, add $1000
- Five (5) 1-hour coaching sessions of direct one-on-one, hands-on guidance for the writer from one of our top-level story consultants, to help the writer deliver a revised draft implementing the recommendations in the Development Plan.
Contact us for details.
“Build the Story” Consulting & Development Plan Package – $3000
High-level story consulting in the earliest stages of the development process, evaluating and recommending specific story improvements for a verbal or written “pitch” presentation, outline, or treatment, to strengthen the core premise, align the narrative structure, the deepen the characters, focus the themes, heighten central conflict and visual impact, as well as punch up genre elements such as comedy, thrills, pathos, etc.
- Two (2) 60-minute meetings digging deeply into the intended vision for the project.
- Ten (10) 40-minute coaching sessions with direct one-on-one, hands on guidance in shaping the core story elements from one of our top-level story consultants.
- A 10-page comprehensive Story Development Plan, outlining “north star” guidance for both overall development direction, as well as detailing recommended story elements, that the writer(s) can follow when drafting the screenplay to save time and money by reducing rewrites.
Contact us for details.
Optional Additional Services:
Contact us for details and special rates for:
- URGENT TRIAGE, when the project needs urgent story development solutions for actor approval, financing, etc.
- Packaging Assessment of the existing script, including a written analysis.
- A detailed Development Plan to strengthen and address inconsistencies and/or missed opportunities in the script, which can be used by existing writer(s) or writer(s) that we provide.
- A full Polish of the screenplay to enhance packaging readability done by our team of experienced writers, especially for international scripts where nuances of meaning might otherwise be “lost in translation”.
- Comprehensive In-Depth Plot Construction package: once the core architecture of the story is laid out in the Development Plan, we offer a unique and powerful process for working daily with your writer to build out the underlying structure of your script, getting the overall story working first, and then constructing each of the acts, sequences, and scenes, leading to a solid completed draft. By getting the character design and narrative structure right the first time, much of the usual costly, time-consuming rewrites are eliminated, making for a substantially smoother and more effective process.
- Optional assistance getting the project appropriately presented to star actors and/or directors.
Contact us for details.