Writing Movies That Get Made

Screenplay Reading and Evaluation

A service for screenwriters

Very few people can tell you what's really wrong with your script, and how to fix it. Most script consultants (and agents, and execs) just tell you the symptoms of what's wrong.

As a professional TV and movie writer, I've been paid to write dozens of feature and TV scripts. As a TV story editor and show creator, I've story edited (given notes to) dozens of writers, and rewritten any number of scripts.

I'm mostly known for Bon Cop Bad Cop, which broke the Canadian box office record for a Canadian film. I'm also known for a half hour comedy series I co-created, "Naked Josh," which ran for three seasons.

Before that, back when I was a development executive, I read literally thousands of screenplays. I optioned them, supervised rewrites on them, and packaged them with actors, directors, distributors and money people.

So I know a few things about writing, giving notes, and trying to get scripts made.

To find out more about my credits and experience, please check out my home page. You can also look up my produced credits on the Internet Movie Database.

For US $1500, I will read your feature screenplay and write you professional comments -- the comments I would give a screenwriter I hired to rewrite it, or a producer who hired me to story edit it.

I know that's a lot of money. I'm really busy. If you've only got ten bucks to spend, please buy one of my books. Crafty Screenwriting, covers the elements of writing for the screen; Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box adds what you need to know about writing for TV. You can also check out my blog, Complications Ensue, which I've been writing since 2004. My former intern Tommy Gushue will give you excellent notes for $150, and seasoned development exec Victoria Lucas will give you excellent notes for $300.

I'm also happy to critique your outline. It might be a better value for you. For example, a one-to-three page pitch is US $500. A six-to-twelve page outline is $750. You can save a lot of effort if you get good advice early. Most scripts fail in the concept. Most of the rest fail in the story.

In fact, even better, I critique query letters and concepts for $100 a pop. With query letters, I not only tell you how to rewrite your query, I suggest how I think your hook can be improved. This is probably the most cost-effective service I offer, since, as you know from my book, if your hook doesn't work, it doesn't matter how good the script is. In fact, if you're wary of spending over $1000 for a screenplay critique, buy a query critique. If your hook isn't working, you need to fix that before you do anything else.

I also critique television . I'll critique a TV script (whether half hour or hour, pilot or center-cut) for $750, a show bible for $750 and both together for $1250. (If you're not sure what the differences among these are, please check out my blog or my book.) If you want me to critique a spec episode of a current show, please check in first: I can only critique shows I know. A spec pilot for your own show idea will speak for itself.

If your feature gets made, I also ask that I receive a Story Consultant credit in the end credits. (You just make that part of your contract with the producer when you option the script.)

The notes are as long as it takes to address the essence of what I think should be improved in the screenplay - usually four to eight pages single spaced, though they've been as short at three and as long as ten. They will not be the useless comments you get from an agent or executive about how the characters need to be more "likable," or the dialog more "fresh" or the plot more "surprising." These are almost always symptoms of a badly structured story. I will make notes about how to fix each problem in the story and screenplay, such as "It's really Betsy's story, not Joe's story. Rewrite from Betsy's point of view" or, "Screenplay doesn't work as a drama, but if you make it over-the-top, it would make a hysterical comedy." I'll explain what I mean in simple, clear language.

I've done this for the dozens of screenwriters I've hired or supervised, I've done this for writers on the television shows I've worked on, and I do this for producers who need help with their writers. I'm offering the same service to you.

In general I like popular movies, but if you have an art film I'll tell you how to make it stronger and more effective. Feel free to let me know what you're trying to do in your screenplay; I'll comment in terms of how well you do it, and how you could do it better. (However, I don't know a thing about documentaries. Sorry!)

If you have questions about the critique, I do my best to answer them.

Turnaround time is fast. I usually critique query letters in at most a day or two. I've generally turned around screenplays within a week unless I'm under a deadline.

The best way to send me a screenplay or a query letter is by email.

Electronic Submissions

You can email me your screenplay or query letter at . This is the easiest and fastest way. I can read screenplays in a variety of formats. PDF is the only universal format that keeps the pagination, if you want me to refer to page numbers. If you have Final Draft, that's the program I use professionally.

By sending me your screenplay, you agree to the terms in my release form. I also ask you to mail me a signed copy of the form.

The easiest way to pay is to buy me an gift certificate, which you can do through a credit card. Please use the following link:

You can also pay by Paypal:

Pay for a screenplay evaluation:

Pay for a query evaluation:

If you don't want to pay online, you can send me a check or money order. However I can't do the evaluation until the check clears.

Submissions by Mail

I prefer electronic payment and electronic submission. It's faster and more convenient, and it saves you xeroxing and postage. If you must mail me a check and a script, please email me at for instructions.

Legal note: I give my honest opinion. That means I may suggest radical changes in your script. You can't have your money back if you think I'm wrong, or don't like my comments. They are at my sole discretion as to form and content. However, most customers tell me my notes are dead on, and I've had quite a few repeat customers.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours very truly,
Alex Epstein


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