As creative director for ABS-CBN Entertainment in the Philippines and Quantum Entertainment in Los Angeles, Couttie now has to pass judgment on other writers' scripts and often gets involved in unaccredited script doctoring. "Page one tells me whether I'm dealing with something I should take seriously. If the characters aren't crawling up my nose and battering on my brain by page 10 at the latest, I start losing interest. Page 20 is the limit. If it isn't working by then, it's not going to work. If it works up to page 20, then everything afterwards can be fixed. It sounds crass, but it's true. Those first 20 pages are critical." How important is representation? "Every writer wants an agent and most studios won't look at your script unless you're represented. On the other hand, if you're inside the business in any way, you can by-pass that. It's easier with independents to do it yourself."
"When you sit and look at scripts, you think to yourself, they're all around the same size, between 90 and 120 pages, they look much the same, they smell the same. What makes this one worth $20m and that one worth $2,000? Titanic wasn't much of a script, but they spent $200m on the movie, that's depressing, too, for a writer."