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How do I Become a Script Reader?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2016
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Not surprisingly, becoming a script reader is an extremely competitive aspiration. Many people love movies, writing and reading, not to mention being able to be paid to critique the creative work of others. If you want to become a script reader, you'll have to live in Los Angeles or another main film center, such as New York City, Chicago, Illinois, or Austin, Texas. You're also likely to have to start with an unpaid internship at an agency for a few days a week until you prove your skills. However, it is possible to reach your goal to become a script reader who is a paid professional, as long as it's your true passion and you persevere.

Script reading internships may be arranged through some film schools. Typically, the intern answers the telephone as well as reads and writes brief comments on slush pile submissions. The slush pile is the agency term for the unsolicited, or unasked for, manuscripts it receives. Solicited manuscripts are those sent after the agency has asked for them after responding to scriptwriters who had first sent an introduction letter along with a few pages or so of their scripts. To become a script reader, it's a good idea to take at least a few film industry courses, since the internships typically go to students; a bachelor's degree in a discipline such as cinema and broadcast arts would be even more impressive to agents or production company hiring managers.

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A formal film education helps show a commitment and passion for the motion picture industry. It also provides those who hope to become a script reader with knowledge of the elements of a successful movie. Script readers are also called story analysts because their job is to break scripts down into their parts to examine the overall potential of the piece. In order to rate scripts with a "recommend," "consider" or "pass," script readers evaluate the work on how well the concepts and lines of dialog will translate to the screen. Reviewing scripts is known as providing "coverage" of the works.

After classes and an internship, you may be able to find full-time work with one of the larger studios if you can convince them you have top-notch skills in accurate and analytical script coverage. Many film companies use a standardized sheet for their coverage notes that asks for a description of the script's main character, or protagonist, as well as it's villain, or antagonist. Space for evaluating plot development at the end of the first and second acts is also usually included on the forms. If you want to become a script reader, being able to provide the exact information each film company expects is crucial.

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anon981360
Post 3

I'm sorry but you don't have to reside in a major city to do the job. I live in the Midwest and have been doing this job for five years from the comfort of my home office without a formal film education.

anon242461
Post 2

It's not up to one person. The same script gets reviewed by as many as ten people.

robert13
Post 1

This does sound like a dream job for movie fans, but isn't the idea of leaving the judging of a script up to just one individual kind of a flawed idea? Having a formal film education doesn't necessarily mean you can give an entirely unbiased appraisal of a script. What if this contributes to the formulaic approach to movies so typical of Hollywood blockbusters as script readers eventually just give a pass on anything they haven't already seen before and stick with what they know will sell tickets? I suppose it is a business after all, but I'm more concerned about film as an art form and how it will progress in the future.

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