Remember my '10 Steps to Become a Professional Screenwriter' series? Well, I've put them altogether so it reads like a quick booklet. You can download it directly from this link. Feel free to share. I've been getting a few enquiries lately about how to be a script reader, so I've rounded up the relevant posts towards the bottom of this piece, or you can download them (along with a couple of sample reports) in my script reading guide.
In my heyday as a studio reader, I was doing coverage on about 10 scripts a week, plus 2 or 3 books. My reading nowadays is more to do with script editing or consultancy, constructive feedback and/or collaboration rather than the sometimes curt and superior air of a studio reader's notes. (If you'd like me to read your script, please check my consultancy page.)
This blog started as a rundown of my experience as a script reader, and what the whole process is like. Here's a list of the relevant script reading posts (or download the Script Reading in the UK guide here):
Logline (August 2005): "On the first page of a reader’s report, there’s a section called the “logline” where the reader sums up the story in one or two sentences (preferably one). This is an essential part of the report, and indeed, a screenplay’s development." Read the full post here.
First Ten Pages (August 2005): "A reader/exec will automatically know from the script’s first 10 pages if it’s good or bad, regardless of what happens. But this will be evident from the first page, never mind trawling through ten of them." Read the full post here.
Script Reports (September 2005): The basic structure and approach to a script report. Read the full post here.
Script Reader UK (October 2005): "The role of a script reader is a thankless and anonymous task but every production company will tell you that they are vital to the submission pile and to some extent, the development process. Producers and development executives simply don’t have the time to read every script that comes in the door and they rely squarely on the reader’s report and recommendation." Read the full post here.
Script Reading Tips (October 2006): "Once you start reading for a few different companies, they sometimes give you their own criteria on how they like their reports, and what they expect to read. It’s all variations of the main topics, of course, but they’re usually good script reading tips nonetheless." Read the full post here.
Script Reading Commandments (December 2006): "1. Thou Shalt Read The Script in Its Entirety - When you’re reading a poor script, your mind will naturally wander and your attention will stray so try to stay focused as you don’t want to miss any important plot detail that will impede your ability to write up a good synopsis later." Read the full post here.
Script Reading Realities (May 2007): "f you really want to know what it’s like, or simply want to improve your level of writing, then here’s what you do..." Read the full post here.
Script Reading in the UK: The Complete Guide. Preview/download here.
Great post Danny. It's easy to be cynical but you're right, it's harder to actually pull your finger out and do it yourself. Though one should add it's infinitely more rewarding.
You mean you can get paid to READ?
This is a great post. Very useful. I am trying to be a screenwriter myself and I feel script reading would give me the industry know how of how to create something successful. Just need to find a script reading gig now.
Hi Robert - my friend Evan runs Industrial Scripts and they do a few useful industry courses, one of them detailing how to get reading gigs. Full details here.
Cool. Thanks Danny.
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