How Our Multi-tiered Rating System Works

A Better Rating System

What makes our rating system different from the rest? It’s the best way to help a script rise through our system as it improves on our site.

Learn how our rating system is different from the standard star ratings for script feedback. Star ratings versus recommends.

We decided against using a star rating.

It’s very common on many websites to have the option to rate something on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. However, many people are unsure what number to select when using those rating systems. We also thought about how these number scales could hurt a writer’s chances if the script had a few poor reviews. Ultimately when it comes to your script, does a star rating truly reflect your script’s potential? We don’t think it does. What really matters is whether or not someone recommends it. That is why Writers Spotlight chose Peer and Pro Recommends.

Peers can help your script succeed.

If several of your writer friends love your script, shouldn’t that help your chances to get it noticed? We think it should. But we don’t recommend begging your friends to recommend your script without even reading it. In fact, this will hurt you in the long run in your friendships, in your writing, and in your screenwriting career.

However, if your fellow peers and friends do think your script is worth recommending, this could help you get noticed by professionals. It’s true that having a peer recommend on your script will not hold as much weight as an industry pro recommend. But think of it this way, if you have 10 peer recommends on your script, that lets pro reviewers know that other people have read and recommended your script. They’ll be more interested in reading your script over someone else’s who has no recommends or only one industry pro recommend.

In addition, pro reviews are not the only way for your script to get noticed. We don’t want you to only pay for pro reviews hoping that you’ll get recommended so your script can get seen. And we definitely don’t want you to pay for countless pro reviews just trying to add up recommends from them. This is why we recommend focusing on your peer reviews to help your script rise through the ScriptShare system without additional costs.

Pro recommends can help you stand out.

Like we said before, pro recommends do hold more weight. However, we only want you to pay for a pro review when you feel your script is ready. We do not recommend paying for a pro review only in an attempt to get a pro recommend. You have the ability to get a pro recommend from any pro on our site that has read your script. Recommends are not only reserved for a paid pro review. In fact, we encourage you to network here and outside of the website at industry events where you can meet pros. In your connections, ask them to read your script on Writers Spotlight. Then if they like it, they can recommend it on the site.

When should you pay for a pro review then? Only pay for a pro review if you are looking for one of the following:

  1. You need an assessment to see where your script ranks among other scripts being submitted to the film industry.
  2. If you are currently stuck and you believe you need an expert to give you an in-depth review so you can approach the next rewrite.
  3. All your peers love your script, but the pros don’t seem to be interested, and you need advice from a pro to help you get your script to the next level. 

We focus on the positive.

Other websites allow for you to see a wide range of ratings including negative ones. We think it’s best to only focus on the positive. Scripts are always being rewritten and tweaked. So, most writers would not want to have a 1-star rating from three years ago on their script that has dramatically improved since then. Now that 1-star rating could hurt their chances even though for the past year they’ve received nothing but 8-star ratings.

We also know that scripts are an art form and therefore, scripts can be subjective. The last thing we want is for you to put a script up on our site, and for it to receive a poor rating simply because it wasn’t that reviewer’s cup of tea. We are more interested in our ratings reflecting scripts of higher quality and entertainment than simply being poorly rated based off of personal preference. So, since we only focus on the positive, if someone doesn’t like your script, they simply don’t recommend it. This doesn’t necessarily help your chances, but it can’t hurt them either. And since your review is only visible to you, suggestions and thoughts can either be applied to improve your script or ignored if they just didn’t like it.

Strengths and weakness for you to improve.

When you have your ratings enabled, this means the reviewer can rate your strengths and weaknesses in the following categories:

Premise – weak, average, or strong

Plot – weak, average, or strong

Character – weak, average, or strong

Dialogue – weak, average, or strong

Structure – weak, average, or strong

Display your script’s strengths publicly, focus on your script’s weaknesses privately. There are a few reasons we created this feature.

  1. As a writer it can be helpful to see if there is a consensus with the people who read your script. If everyone is saying you are really strong in your plot and structure, then this helps you know you need to develop your characters and dialogue a little more. If everyone is saying your premises are strong then you know you have strong ideas that you may be able to sell, if you execute the script well. The other great aspect of this is you can see if there is a pattern over multiple scripts. So, if on all your scripts you see that you are weak in characters then you won’t waste your time on other areas. You can then take the time to study how to develop strong complex unique characters.
  2. Depending on the type of script you uploaded, different strengths can be a pitching tool for that script. When looking for features: An industry pro is more likely to look for a script that has a strong plot and structure. The plot is specifically important because for most films it’s all about the story. When looking for television: An industry pro is more likely to look for a script that has strong characters and dialogue. This is because they are looking for characters that the audience will tune into week after week because they love those characters and are willing to watch them for several seasons. Therefore, if you have strengths in the area they are looking for, it’s a way for them to know quickly how they would need to help you rewrite the script if they were to make a deal with you as a writer.
  3. To speed up the rewrite process. For example, if you notice that no one is recommending your script despite saying you have strengths in all the areas except dialogue, then you know you need to punch up your script’s dialogue or find someone who can. Then you can see what your fellow writers begin to say about your script the next time through.

A rating system for a script at any stage.

Although you have a finished draft, you don’t have a finished product. We as writers know that all scripts are in different stages. Our rating system allows for your script to be reviewed at whatever stage it’s at without consequence. We encourage anyone with a first draft to upload their script because part of our mission is for writers to be able to improve and excel within a community of writers. Some writers are starting out, some have multiple scripts, and some are professionals.

The point of our site is for writers to grow in their craft and improve each individual script uploaded. That’s why writers can upload unlimited scripts including new drafts. It’s also why we allow for reviewers to go back in later and recommend the script after they’ve read the next draft. We believe that a writer should confidently receive constructive feedback in order to improve their script without the fear of being rated low. Not having negative ratings allows for writers to first learn, then improve, and then receive positive ratings as their script becomes an excellent work of art. As you improve each script, your ratings improve within the system.

About the Author

Staff Writer @ Writers Spotlight

Writers Spotlight is a community for screenwriters to improve their craft by engaging with their fellow writers. Writers can upload, swap, share, read, and review scripts. Industry Pros can discover new writers in Pro Scripts using personal filters and colleague shared lists.