Every keystroke slams a writer, or abets one

"Why did this movie need to be made?" The blogger Carson Reeves was questioning the purpose of Hitchcock, the film starring Anthony Hopkins as the director who risks his reputation on a dubious project titled Psycho.

The biopic, in Reeves's opinion, seemed strangely preoccupied with Hitchcock's food obsessions. "When things don't go right, he eats," Reeves added. "There's really nothing deeper to it than that." Concluding his review Reeves he checked off a box labeled "barely worth the read."

At the time of his Oct. 30 posting Reeves had not seen Hitchcock. Instead he was evaluating the screenplay by John J. McLaughlin. Analysing scripts is the currency of ScriptShadow, Reeves's blog devoted to scrutinising professionals' work in development. Five days a week he offers a breezy course on screenwriting theory, passing along tips to an eager audience of aspiring writers.

Among the hundreds of assistants and readers sifting through material, trying to find future hits, no one may be more visible, or divisive, than Reeves, who intends to parlay his notoriety into a participatory role in the industry.

The pseudonymous 30-something Reeves—born Christopher Eads—arrived in Los Angeles nearly 10 years ago with hopes of writing and directing. He started ScriptShadow in early 2009 to deconstruct professional efforts and interact with other aspiring writers. It was a muted conversation. The site languished, and Reeves went back to his hometown, Chicago. Then in July 2009 he blogged about Aaron Sorkin's script for The Social Network.

Reeves loved the screenplay. Positive word spread on the web though the movie was still over a year from release. "After that," he recalled, "people in Hollywood started contacting me."

Traffic to his site increased. He shared leaked scripts via a private email list and began inviting readers to contribute their thoughts and original material.

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