We believe that screenwriters can write compelling, original stories.
But we know that it takes time and work and practice. We know that all those years of hard work and practice are usually unpaid. And we know that despite all your hard work, and despite all your talent, the production company readers, directors, producers (and wannabe producers) will have their notes about your story for you. Notes contradicting other notes. Notes about stuff that has no bearing on plot, structure, or character. Endless, endless notes, and all of them without a single concrete promise to produce your script. Welcome to redrafting hell – and that’s if you get past the gatekeepers in the first place.
We believe that it should be way easier and quicker to get there – even when holding down a day job and managing a personal life.
So we decided to tip the scales in the screenwriters’ favor. By helping them structure their brilliant ideas, control their stories, and wrangle the incredible tangle of threads to craft the best scripts possible. Not just the best scripts possible for them: the best scripts possible, period. And in just one or two drafts.
We decided to be there to answer their questions as they go. Because even the most senior, hardened, Hollywood-scarred writer wouldn’t have got anywhere if someone long ago hadn’t taken their questions seriously.
We decided to make that help affordable. And not do asshole things like charge them more if they can only pay month-to-month instead of up front.
We decided it’s time to kill off the notes. Straight off the cliff, incinerated in an almighty explosion, and good effing riddance.
So who is this “we”?
Shane Betts is a film and TV veteran of 30 years, working in the biz as writer, producer, director, editor and DP. He is a screenplay structure nerd.
Violeta Balhas is a professional writer and teacher of writing at tertiary level, with a dark side (i.e. marketing). She is a character and plot nerd.
We – Shane and Violeta – are married. To each other, what’s more. And much of our married lives involves talking about storytelling. At the dinner table. On the couch. In the car. It may be our favourite topic of conversation.
Other than Story Distiller, of course, which was born not just from these conversations, but from our decades of experience crafting stories and getting them in front of audiences large and small. As storytellers, we’ve lived the fat and the lean. (And we gotta tell ya: the fat wins.)
So. We’ve been there. And now we’re here, with a simple pitch:
Let the end of our origin story be the start of yours.