In a conversation with a writer-director this week, Spling was asked if he’d be willing to do script reading. Having provided an honest review of the filmmaker’s new horror, who always appreciates Spling’s valuable feedback and constructive criticism, the request came on the back of a great deal of confidence. Having never considered script reading as a service offering for, the idea actually made a lot of sense.

“You shall not pass. Until I grade your screenplay.”

Script readers are essentially paid to read scripts and it can be a time-consuming process. As a director or producer, constantly trying to prepare, oversee or market their latest film, there’s very little time in the day to be considering future projects. The time pressures of getting everything together and remaining creative in the process can be very limiting to the here and now. Script reading enables people to sift through the mountain of screenplays out there and outlay the best of the best going forward.

Grading the screenplays, writing brief notes on their strengths and weaknesses and providing the service to prospective directors can be a huge time-saver. Obviously this means that the person tasked with the job needs to be well-versed in the world of film, understanding the language and the marketplace as well as the budgetary restraints.

Not only does this save time, but it also allows filmmakers to get a much more concentrated collection of possible projects to assess. Having someone who’s opinion you trust to review these possible film and TV projects is essential. Trusting their perspective can make a huge difference to the quality and calibre of the feedback and overall assessment.

While the idea of script reading seems quite simple, it’s deceptive to think it isn’t a skilled job. It requires in-depth expertise and experience, which can be metered on a sliding scale when it comes to this kind of assistance. You can get someone to simply check boxes, follow traditional formula when it comes to the structure and form of screenwriting. However those who know film, also realise that rules are there as a guideline more than a prescription and that some of the greatest screenplays have not adhered to the kind of structures taught in film schools.

Having someone assess your screenplay who has an intricate knowledge of cinema makes it much easier to drill down and mine the scripts that are worthy of your time. Going one step further, customising the processes so that you’re actually reading them on behalf of a specific filmmaker makes the results even more refined, able to fine tune one’s frame of reference to meet certain objectives.

Script readers are gatekeepers to studio productions, so while the notion of simply reading a script can come across as quite menial, being the first line gives them a great deal of power. Being able to understand the nuances of the medium will assist script readers who are making some big calls on your behalf, able to leverage your needs in order to maximise your time and find a perfectly aligned product.

Script Readers are Gatekeepers
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