Managing Feedback

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How it works

Receiving feedback is an essential part of the writing process, yet it can be difficult to incorporate it into the rest of one’s work flow.

Arc Studio Pro offers a set of tools to solve the following problems:

  • Giving feedback is time consuming and people are often reluctant to follow through, even if they want to help. Arc Studio Pro helps you ask for feedback in a way that is respectful of other people‘s time.
  • It is hard to share feedback: Do you write an email collecting your comments, which removes their context, or do you scribble them on the margins, which makes it easy for them to get lost? Arc Studio Pro lets you give feedback effectively.
  • Working with feedback is equally challenging: You need to keep track of comments, know what issues were resolved and which are to be done, or ask for clarification. Arc Studio Pro gives you tools to manage feedback effectively.
  • Once you’ve incorporated someone’s feedback, you want to get feedback on the changes. But this often means that the person has to re-read the full screenplay, making feedback cycles long. Arc Studio Pro provides a shortcut.

Here is how we solve these problems in more detail.

Asking for feedback

Let’s face it: everybody is busy. So while people would usually be happy to give you feedback, they rarely find the time to actually do so. However, you can greatly increase your chances by following a few simple rules:

  • Only ask for feedback on a few pages at a time: Reading 119 pages takes hours, but 8 pages can be done on the train or during lunch break. (Often, people will agree to review your whole script if they liked your teaser — and actually do it, too!).
  • Include a logline: This makes it much easier for reviewers to find their way into a scene (or script), as they will have some context regarding the overall structure of the story.
  • Include some context: Let the reviewer know how this specific scene is embedded in the overall structure and what needs their attention the most (style, characters, dialogue…).

Arc Studio Pro’s review interface was designed to do just that with a few keystrokes: Select a segment you want to share, enter your reviewer’s email address, add some context and hit send — done.

Your reviewer will receive a link where she can read the scene (or full screenplay) and add comments right next to your story. No need to download — or buy — extra software like Final Draft. The review can be done in any web browser, free of charge.

Requesting feedback

Giving feedback

As they read your script, reviewers can select any paragraph to comment on – this will bring up a simple text field where the can leave their notes. No need to have a Word file open to write along, no need to print the script and scan the notes: Arc Studio Pro puts things right where they belong.

Once they are happy with their comments, they can add a final overall comment and send you their notes with a single click. It doesn’t get any simpler.

Writing a comment

Managing comments

There are three problems when managing feedback:

  1. Local vs. central: Do you keep comments locally, next to your text, which gives them context but makes them hard to keep track of. Or, do you keep them in a central place, where they lack context but are easy to find.
  2. To-do vs done: Which comments did you address in your script, and which require your attention?
  3. Clarifications: Discussing comments with your collaborators can be challenging, as it becomes hard to reference specific points or comments.

Arc Studio Pro displays all comments both centrally, in a list that is easy to keep track of, and locally, next to the paragraph the comment addresses.

It also allows you to mark comments as completed, which moves them to a separate list, so you always know which comments still need your attention.

Finally, it allows you to reply to comments, asking for further input or even having extended discussions on important aspects of your script.

Managing comments

Getting feedback on changes

Once you’ve incorporated your reviewer’s feedback, it often makes sense to ask for feedback on the changes — thus triggering a virtuous feedback cycle. This can be hard to do in practice, as reading the (mostly) same text over and over again is hard to fit into a busy schedule.

Arc Studio Pro allows you to request re-reviews — these automatically select the same section of your text in a newer version. Your reviewer will then see the new version of the screenplay, with the changes highlighted. This allows her to only review the revised sections and easily see what you changed.

Needless to say, this is a huge time-saver and keeps feedback cycles short — ensuring that valuable feedback keeps coming.

Feedback on changes