Screenwriting : Script Readers by Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Script Readers

I read this article on what script readers look for http://bit.ly/1FK2o6l and wondered what has your experience been with script readers reviewing your work?

MEET THE READER: What I Look For - Script Magazine
MEET THE READER: What I Look For - Script Magazine
Ray Morton is a writer, senior contributor to Script Magazine and script consultant. His new book A Quick Guide to Screenwriting is now available online and in bookstores. Follow Ray on Twitter: @RayM…
Fiona Faith Ross

This is so brilliant! Thanks, RBB, for posting. The article summarizes everything I learned this year in my screenwriting course, and so clearly stated. The resources at the ends of the links are also valuable. I just downloaded the tips on dialogue and I'm working my way through the others.

Elisabeth Meier

Yes, I agree to Fiona. Thank you for posting, Rickardo!

David Levy

Great post Rickardo! All valid points. Glad to see many of those I have been adhering to. AWESOME!

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

I'm really happy you enjoyed reading it. Ray Morton makes some great points.

Danny Manus

As many others (on other boards) have pointed out, this is really a very basic Screenwriting 101 of the things basic readers look for. There are so many more things readers, producers, actors, directors, etc look for. This is just what will have them not throw out the script by page 15. But getting past page 15 and having a reader RECOMMEND your script and then having someone want to PRODUCE it are very different things.

Gilberto Villahermosa

I paid a script reader to assess my first script. His feedback was tremendously helpful. He assessed both the positives and negatives of my screenplay and then provided recommendations on how to make it a much stronger work. It was worth the money and I plan on using him again.

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Totally agree with you Danny.

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Thanks Gilberto for your comment.

K. Williams

It's been very helpful to get a reader's opinion. I always look for someone working in the industry with a good record, though. If you're taking advice from someone who isn't doing so well, that will translate into the feedback, and might do more damage than good. Qualifications are important!

Reuben Baron

Feedback on the script I'm trying to get produced has been all over the place. One reader (from a contest) loved it, two (one from a contest and one a friend) liked it, four (one from a contest and three from The Black List) were mixed, and three (one from a contest and, hurting the most, two from actual studio readers, one of whom quit after 20 pages) HATED it (the studio reader who finished it went so far as to say it had no redeeming qualities). So yeah, I'm confused.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Reuben, it's so subjective... Pay attention to the Notes every single one gave you that are similar and fix those. You've submitted to a lot of folks, but you didn't mention if you did rewrites in between before you sent it to the next one. I'm stunned that a reader that you're paying quit after 20 pages.

Reuben Baron

Sylvia: I did a few rewrites in-between the submissions based on notes. Also the reader that quit wasn't someone I paid; I paid for a pitch on Virtual Pitchfest, got my query answered (from a studio I'd previously interned for), and then just got the feedback back from them today.

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Hi Reuben, I agree with Sylvia r.e. the notes that you have been given, though I would add, the quality of those notes are important too. If it is the case you're given top level feedback without a quality review, then that speaks to the script reader / reviewers ability to assess your writing.

Danny Manus

As I've said in other threads, there's not much point getting coverage from anonymous readers. Use a professional consultant and get NOTES. and make sure that the person giving you those notes has experience doing so. I was a development executive and I approach my notes from that POV. Contest readers, blacklist readers, and execs reading queries on VPF aren't there to give you comprehensive notes. They're paid $10-25 a script to write a few general sentences. Sure, if they all give the same general note its probably something that needs to be fixed. But if you want constructive, comprehensive feedback that will help, do your due diligence & choose someone that can help you. To that end, I'm happy to help over at No BullScript. ;-)

Danny Manus

Go to someone who doesn't just know the major general 15 things readers look for. We learn that stuff day 1 of being an intern. Go to someone who knows the 115 things that producers, actors, and execs look for!

Pierre Langenegger

The problem with giving scripts to family and friends is, a) they don't know how to give constructive feedback and b) they will simply offer encouragement, like family and friends do. most family and friends don't understand the format of a screenplay and from personal experience, I've found they will read it and offer zero feedback in return and if they do give feedback, as a movie goer, it's generally along the lines of, "That's great and I'd really like to see that on the screen". I don't give scripts to family and friends anymore, only fellow writers.

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Hi Danny, I do agree with your comments r.e. working with script consultants and investing more in that process.

Danny Manus

Oliver, sure the audience's layman opinion is important. But they're not the ones who make the decisions to make a movie. Only if they like the movie once its made. They can tell you they don't like THIS character or THIS part was confusing or boring. But they can't tell you how to fix it. Or how to restructure, or how to build your set pieces or craft more dynamic dialogue. I'd highly suggest getting some pro feedback on some level before submitting it to pros for consideration.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

I think of it as an investment in myself.... my problem with consultants that are good is ..they're in demand and very busy people, which is great but I hate waiting 3 to 4 weeks for feedback....so now I've decided while that script is gone... I work on another project or two. But still anxious to get those darn Notes asap. :-))

Rickardo Beckles-Burrowes

Hi Sylvia, I would suggest scoping out other writing projects in the midst of the lead time along with doing research work. It always has helped me.

Sylvia Marie Llewellyn

Yes Rickardo that's it exactly... to keep the creative juices flowing I'll read, add to my 'ideas' folder, revisit old scripts, there's always more to do. I actually found a hard copy of 15 chapters of a book I started years ago in an old filing cabinet. Unfortunately I can't find the old disc so have to re-input it before I can work on it. :-))

Gilberto Villahermosa

Sylvia - I researched a script reader with a very good reputation before I reached out to him in an email. He agreed to fast-track my script and did so at a reasonable price. He's a member of the Producer's Guild. I was very happy with him and will use him again. Perhaps I just got lucky on my first try. As for having family members reading your scripts, it's not always a good or a bad idea. My wife edits everything I write - and she's brilliant at it! She also gives my female characters a female voice. But no other friends or family with which I've shared my scripts have been very helpful. Of course, they'll tell you that your brilliant. That's why their your friends and family! But for expert feedback you have to reach out to experts who have been successful in their field. I reach out to authors, producers, and other experts pretty aggressively. Surprisingly, many have reached back and have been very, very helpful. So don't be afraid to reach out to others and ask for help.

Larry Butchins

OK - I'm pretty new t this: I have a 298-page novel (Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/171890276X) that I believe would make a brilliant movie or series (of course we all think that, but I have to give it a shot). How do I go about adapting it to a pitch script and then to a decent length movie (or series) script? Any help, suggestions etc very welcome.

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