FROM CREATIVE SCREENWRITING March/April 2003; vol. 10, #2

“ John Rainey is the best of the best.”–Eric Bauer, Managing Editor

“John Rainey is firmly rooted in the general principles of screenwriting that have proved sound no matter what the approach.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer

“Rainey is as comfortable with the mundane chores of catching typos and editing out adverbs as he is in the ethereal world of archetypes, apotheoses, and arenas of transformation.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer.

“Rainey gives very specific suggestions for changes without ever taking the script off in a different direction.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer

“Rainey gave valuable suggestions for strengthening and tightening the descriptive passages…”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer

“Rainey got it all.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer

“Wow! Rainey’s fee seems more than reasonable considering what he provides.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer

“ John Rainey has the most specific definition of theme that I have ever heard… Extremely detailed… Very specific. Very perceptive… This guy really knows his stuff.”–Jim Shea, writer


I’ve used several other professional critiquers and can honestly say that I have never received such a thoughtful, thorough or useful analysis. You not only point out the flaws in my script, but give excellent, specific suggestions on how to fix them. Best of all, your comments are like a tutorial on how to deepen the meaning and emotional impact of a screenplay that I know I will refer to again and again when writing subsequent scripts. So, brad for brad, even though it cost more up front, this has undoubtedly been the least expensive critique I’ve ever gotten.–Doreen Orion, autho & screenwriter; Boulder, CO

“I just finished reading your analysis. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Thank you for being so brilliant, and you have a great sense of humor. All I can say is WOW!! NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING escaped your trained eye. You turned up so many things I was not aware of. You are worth every cent of the money I spent and you are NOT the only one who has offered me professional criticism. I am so glad and thrilled by your analysis. Now, I know what I can do and the different directions in which I can go. You MISSED NOTHING. Thank you again.

I love your brilliant, very careful care and attention to this impossible story. You had more patience with its problems than I did. You treated it like it was one of your own — probably better than, even. You nurtured it, studied it and gave elaborate, wonderful insights to problems I did not even know existed.

I write you to thank you and to ask what the next step is? What I have been doing, of late, is deconstructing screenplays to see where my errors are. Then along comes your CRITIQUE, which explains everything better than I could ever have hoped. Perhaps, we could discuss the OUTLINE before I write another version using your detailed observations. Thank you again for all your work!”–Erich von Sonne; Orlando, FL

“I can’t thank you enough for your notes. Not only have you given me some confidence when I really needed it, but I feel you’ve given me the final keys to polish my script and make it saleable at long last. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. I’ve worked on this baby for a long time. Still I wouldn’t have been able to carry it across the finish line without your very valuable insights. I’ll hope you’ll be my mentor for a long time to come.”–D. A. Metrov; Santa Barbara, CA

“I have spent the last few days reading and absorbing your excellent analysis of my screenplay. Since I received this analysis free of charge as part of the American Screenwriting Awards prize package, I thought the very least I could do in return is off you some feedback.

First, your critique indicated a very close reading of the script. It seemed that nothing escaped your attention. Story. Character. Dialogue, Theme, Style, Form. Every aspect of the script was covered. Because this was a freebie, I was amazed at your astounding display of professional integrity regarding your attention to detail as well as the global aspects.

Secondly, I was floored by your insights, especially regarding the need to articulate the protagonist’s emotional arc and suggestions about how to execute it. By incorporating your suggestions, I’m confident I can make my screenplay much stronger. I’m already working on a new draft.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I appreciate the tone of the analysis. Throughout, I felt like I was being offered sage advice from a good friend. In short, your remarks conveyed a deep sense of caring. That caring, combined with the overall excellence of the advice, made your service something much richer and more valuable than I could have ever hoped for.–Brad Campbell; Fairview, NC

“Thanks with a capital “T.” Your analysis of my screenplay is packed with insight and bulges with concrete, actionable ideas that uncover exact points where the script can be dramatically improved.

I also appreciate the complete absence of platitudes in your comments and observations. I sincerely doubt if anyone else, at any price, could have provided a more meaningful and useful analysis.

To the “CREATIVE SCREENWRITING” rating of Rainey Script Consulting as the “Best of the Best”… I’d only add that Rainey Script Consulting represents the Ne plus ultra in the field of script analysis.”–Rob Melikian ; New York, NY

“I just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for your incredibly incisive and thoughtful comments on INVINCIBLE. A producer to whom I’ve shown your analysis agreed that you’ve provided a really strong framework/template from which to improve the script. You’ve managed to cut right to the heart of the matter, and I’m now really confident that I’ll be able to knock this rewrite out of the park.”–Brad Gann; Los Angeles, CA; Writer of INVINCIBLE

“Whether it’s an original script or a studio assignment, John Rainey is always the first person I have read my work. I came to him as a storyteller and he turned me into a writer. He is my screenwriting teaching God!”–Mark L. Smith; Boone, NC; Writer of VACANCY & VACANCY: THE FIRST CUT & HOLES & THE REVENANT.

“Rainey Script Consulting is rigorous and inspiring. I received 26 pages of closely reasoned comments, as well as the markups on the script itself. John appreciated what I was doing and made very sound suggestions for improvements, without ever taking over the task of writing. He posed simple but challenging questions. It is a rare gift for a writer to have someone get inside that writer’s script, notice the nuggets, and point out what could be sifted away for it to shine still more. John’s analysis of my script was thorough, committed, and incisive. I am bursting to do the rewrite.”–B.W., Barrister; Melbourne, Australia

“After using John’s services to improve my first script, a family comedy entitled EVIL SQUIRREL, the spec garnished excellent coverage and came to the attention of several top production companies, including Matt Carroll at Tim Allen’s BOXING CAT PRODUCTIONS.”

“I applied John’s unique insight on structure to my second comedy spec, DOUBLE DUTCH; which helped me come to the attention of Mark Williams at Zero Gravity, a management arm of Pierce/Williams Entertainment – the producers of behind THE COOLER; they have signed on to DOUBLE DUTCH.”

“The best money I ever spent to help develop my dream into a career – John’s unique insight into character development goes beyond simple coverage and dives deep into the process.”–Brent Sims; Los Angeles, CA

“Just wanted to thank you for your thorough, insightful, and very helpful critique of my script. I learned a lot. The feedback was right on. I really felt as though you understood it and helped me see it with new eyes. It’s the best consultation I’ve ever had.”–Tyrone Sheppard; Glendale, CA

“YOUR INITIAL REVIEW WAS AMAZING! I believe you found the movie and for that I am grateful. As I read the script with new eyes, I couldn’t help myself and laughed out loud over your comments. Your great advice certainly improved things.”

“It wasn’t until I read your second review that I understood all the things you were trying to teach me in your first. I appreciate all you have done for me. You’ve provided me with a clearer picture of my story and given me a shot at creating that rare beast – a great screenplay..”–Stephen Kelly; Jacksonville Beach, Florida

“No doubt about it — Rainey Script Consulting is the “best of the best”. John Rainey is an absolute marvel. His criticisms are as perceptive as his praises. And he gives specific suggestions on improving your story’s plot so that it closely adheres to your theme.”–Rodney Stevens ; Columbia, South Carolina

I really appreciate your help with my screenplay THE RECORD. I had completed numerous rewrites and realized some success, making it to the semi-finals of the 2002 Screenwriting Expo. I still felt it could be better but was too close to the story to be objective enough to take it further alone. Your In-Depth Analysis, keen eye, and direct feedback were key in helping me get the script to the next level. My hero’s arc is realized and my characters are bound tighter in their support of the story. I won’t hesitate to ask for your assistance again. Thank you for your invaluable support.–Joseph Hines; Lawrenceville, GA

“Let me say…the feedback was incredible. My grammer (sic) straight up sucks…always has…you didn’t hurt my feelings in the least. It effects (sic) my personal job as well, always having to correct the little things like “you’re” and “your.” I promise I’ll send it to a proofreader before I send it to you the next time. I’m astounded that you took the time to help me even in the little things. Your comments on my story and characters alone are worth the price. Your (sic) definately (sic) the best. Thanks a whole bunch.”–Bill Sloan; Baton Rouge LA

“We will never send out a script without making you the last stop. Your comments were clear and to the point, and as promised, you did not sugarcoat them. You pointed out some weaknesses I recognized, as well as some I would not have found if I had read the script a thousand times. One thing I can assure you: the next project I send will not be such an early draft. I’d like to save you some time and ink, and me some ego. Great job!”–Sean Cameron; Kokomo, IN

“I received your notes yesterday and worked five hours on rewriting. Total inspiration! I’m doing just about everything you advised. This is my first screenplay and I’ve never had any classes, so as painful as it may have been, I appreciate you taking me to school. Hopefully, with your insight, I can turn my idea into a better story.”–Joshua Hale; Logan UT

“Your comments were helpful, constructive and to the point. Your suggestions were an inspiration. I spent two months trying to decide to send my script to you. From now on, there’s no decision – it goes to you as soon as I type FADE OUT. You’re worth every penny!”–Doris Mathis; Walnut Creek, CA

“There is nothing more valuable than honest and critical feedback. It is for this reason that I am seeking your services once again.”–Roy Leyton; Doylestown, PA

“Wonderful! Your feedback is by far the most incisive and specific we’ve ever received on any of our scripts, and we’ve used numerous analysis services. You have re-energized us and provided much-needed direction and help that we have failed to find anywhere else.”–Katie Scott & Carol McCoy; Austin, Tx

“Thank you for your gentle but careful review of my screenplay. Your criticisms are absolutely on target, extremely helpful, and expressed in a constructive way. I am eager to continue to confer with you in order to make something grand out of this script. Thank you for your instructive observations; I intend to honor every one of them.”–Jane Palmer; Washington, D.C.

“I truly appreciated your thorough and candid evaluation of my script. You identified critical components that were either missing or incorrectly applied and sorted through the flotsam to find the essence of the story. After reading your thorough and candid evaluation of my script, I realize that a professional review should be the next step before a writer sends out a single query letter.”–Ralph Zurek; Silver Spring, MD

“I am writing to thank you for your services. I have enjoyed reading the critiques of my screenplays that you have prepared and our many discussions on how to improve my screenplays. In my business, I deal with people on a daily basis at a professional level. You have all the characteristics I look for when dealing with a professional. Those characteristics are: knowledge of your profession, timely responses, willingness to work through a problem, focused criticism to prompt improvement, respect for others, and a real interest in your work. Since I have worked with you, I feel my writing has improved substantially. I enjoy how you make me continually focus on creating a marketable script.”–Erik Kramer; Beverly Hills, CA

“I thought your analysis was accurate and to the point. Based upon your recommendations I will revise the script and resubmit it for possible marketing.”–Patricia Boyle; Hyattsville, MD

“Thank you for your time and expertise. …your help is truly appreciated.”–Alan D’Alessandro; Maitland, FL

“Your critique of my script blew me away. Funny, how I can see others’ errors but was so blind about my own. You really opened my eyes to a whole new level of screenwriting.”–Bode Donne; New Hyde Park, NY

“I would like to express my thanks to you for your objective and extremely helpful analysis. I will submit the script again to you as soon as I do a rewrite.”–Susan O’Connor; Santa Barbara, CA

“Your critique was a shock to my system. I’ve never had anyone be so direct with my work before. Thank you for dynamiting me out of the old and into the new. Though the old had gotten some nice comments, the script hadn’t gone anywhere. Now that I realize the incredible value of your comments, I have the passion to dig in and totally revamp this thing.”–Jill Lamont; West Covina, CA

“Much of my rewrite came from your specific suggestions, which I pretty much adopted to the full extent. Why should I use my inferior ideas when yours are far superior and make for better story and characters. You should get a story credit.”–Carol Leonard ; St. Charles, IL

“You showed me, as no one has until now, exactly what “story” means in the context of film, and how my own story needs to be structured to create a marketable screenplay.”–Margaret Lindsey; Monsey, NY

“I was very pleased with your constructive analysis of my script, so I’ve decided to send you another one to critique.”–Morgan Morrissey; Wildwood, NJ

“I found your analysis very informative and illuminating. You cut to the chase of the problems in my story and showed me how to solve them. That’s a whole lot more than I have gotten from any other screenplay analyst, and there have been more than a few.”–John Holden; Nashville, TN

“I assure you that I found all of your suggestions invaluable. I count it a real break-through to have discovered your services and to have the privilege of learning the art of scriptwriting from you.”–Melissa Donnelly ; St. Louis, MO

“You thoroughly stated a clear core of what is necessary to tell a story well in screenplay form. This had never been well communicated to me by any book, lecture, seminar, or editor that I’ve worked with in the past. Thank you.”–Thomas Henderson; New York, NY

“Your fee is a small price to pay in becoming a better writer and producing a saleable script. I have a great deal of respect for your knowledge and trust your judgment. Plus, you seem to be a very decent person. Thanks for your time.”–Georgia Anderson; Pleasant Hill, CA

Thank you for the visit on the phone. It was very reassuring and informative. In my search for representation, I haven’t found many people who take the time or the interest to share a few words. I realize this is an extremely difficult business to get into and there are few people who take the time to help keep my spirits up and my desire strong. I appreciate the time you took and the information you shared with me.”–Sarah Levinson; Phoenix, AZ

“I had written an action movie featured on HBO, and won a Gold Award at the Houston Film Festival. Five minutes into my first consultation with John Rainey, it dawned on me that, in fact, I was nothing but a lucky amateur who only now was finally learning from a calm, brilliant, sympathetic teacher how the pros do it.”–Herb Borkland ; Baltimore, ML

“John gave me an excellent analysis on my debut feature script. He was incredibly thorough, professional, personable and creative in his approach. I’m sure that the feedback he gave me helped me get the overwhelmingly positive response to the script that I got when I took it to producers and managers. I very much appreciated his words of wisdom as well as his words of encouragement. I recommend him highly.”–Alan Brash, Client

“He’s one of the best for a reason…he’s fricking good! No whip cream and cherry on top – he digs deep, I mean deep! But if you dig too, there is some gold in them than hills!” –Sundae Jahant-Osborn, Client

“When reviewing screenplay analysts and consultants for Creative Screenwriting magazine, I ranked John number one in the business. I didn’t know John at the time but we’ve kept in touch since then. As colleagues, we often trade scripts to get a fresh opinion and he gives better notes than anyone I know.”–Nancy Hendrickson, Reviewer / Columnist / Freelance Writer, Creative Screenwriting Magazine, colleague

“John is without a doubt the most thorough and detailed screenplay consultant I have ever hired. And I have hired many of them! John clearly has a passion for screenwriting and for making sure his clients get their money worth. He holds extremely high standards for himself and for his clients. But I also have to add that John is never harsh or overly critical. While he will never sugar coat his comments, he does it in the most diplomatic way possible. I really appreciated that a great deal. I cannot recommend John highly enough.” –Peter Tamaribuchi, Client

“John Rainey is one savvy script writer! Great imagination. Brilliant thinker, teacher and can get it done when needed!”— Myra MacKay, owner, Lucky Pardners, business partner

“I have hired John W. Rainey in 2006 and 2007 to help me write a Treatment for a Multi-media Show. I highly recommend him. He is a talented screenwriter who—as he helped bring the Orpheus story to life—demonstrated great sensitivity, creativity, and patience.”.–Alain Amouyal, Client

“I have known John for several years. He’s very intelligent and insightful.”–Aaron Wong, General Manager, PostNet Riviera, business partner

“John has a keen intellect and a rich understanding of story structure and motivation. His extensive analysis of our script helped us improve it quite a bit, and forced us to ask questions that none of us had thought of before.”–Mark Stolaroff, Client

“John shares his passion for writing without reservation. I’ve learned countless, invaluable lessons from him over the years. Highly recommended.” –D. A. Metrov, Client

“I met and got to know John through a professional screenwriter’s group in Hollywood. John is a consummate story pro. He’s got a great mind for story analysis, is able to focus on problem areas and articulate clearly an actionable approach to finding solutions. I’m glad to know John and trust his opinion and recommendations–Chip Street, Screenwriter, Professional Screenwriter & Story Development Pro, business partner

“John was an outstanding teacher and script consultant! I value his knowledge and expertise. I would recommend him to anyone in the market for a screenwriter, consultant or teacher.” June 29, 2012.–Michael Martin, Client

“Use John Rainey as your script consultant. A cool and insightful person.” June 29, 2012.–Steven Wacker, Client