Pen Writing

How many scripts do you write in a year? It’s not unusual to write a few, maybe somewhere between two and ten, depending on how fast you are. More than that and we all start questioning what else you’re doing with your time.

But let’s average around five, at a standard maximum. Most of us don’t write that many in a given year. We’re here to answer some questions we get regularly from our writer clients.

  1. How many scripts does a script reader read in a year? Well, we’re here to tell you – hundreds, sometimes thousands. It’s rare for a week to pass without 10 screenplays crossing my desk (that’s not counting novels, plays, and other reading material). And that’s about an average week. Some weeks, it’s closer to 20.
  2. How long does it take to read an average script? This is a familiar question, but there’s no one right answer, sadly. Every script is unique in its quality and the notes we’re required to provide. While one company might want 3 pages of summary and 1 page of notes, another might want 6 pages of notes and 1 page of summary, while a private client might require ten pages of notes and not need a summary at all. So – while the reading itself might take around the same amount of time for each script (depending on your speed and the script quality, 1-3 hours is about right), the actual coverage process can take anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours, depending on the quality, length, and other requirements of what you’re doing. So – it can be a lot!
  3. What is your biggest script pet peeve? That’s a tough one. It’s easy to see from our Twitter that we’re supportive of women and minority representations, and it’s certainly hard to find a lot of those that are well rounded and complex. But the biggest pet peeve is probably lack of appropriate proofreading and formatting. It’s no fun as a reader to get a script in Microsoft Word that’s 100 pages, because it’ll end up being probably closer to 200 if formatted in Final Draft – and we generally don’t get compensated extra for incorrect formatting (depending on the company and how flexible your manager is). But beyond the page-count formatting, really just having consistent format and proofreading is actually one of the most helpful things to do for a reader. And making sure it’s up-to-date (ie minimizing use of transitional elements like “Cut To”, etc).
  4. What scripts have you worked on that we’d see today? When we work with clients, we take privacy very seriously. We don’t release names of scripts and writers unless cleared by them and our bosses. So, we’ll just say this – we have read scripts/writers that have been seen on channels including Lifetime, ABC Family, Hulu, Cartoon Network, ABC, FX, Fox, The CW, and sold to major companies including Dimension and Amazon. All have been great, and we were honored to work on them!
  5. How do I become a script reader? That sounds like a cool job! It is! We love reading, and we get to see a lot of stuff in process before it gets made. It’s fantastic – with a warning: 1) you need experience and connections to get hired, and 2) you won’t make your rent doing it. You really need a support system beyond yourself and your reading to make rent in bigger cities like NY and LA. And the big studios usually won’t hire people outside those areas. So be aware of that. Network, make connections, and prove you have experience. Your resume should have recognizable names of people and / or companies that you’ve read for. Once you have that in place, you should be able to get the word out that you’re looking, and likely your network of connections will find a way to hook you up with some reading work! We got our bigger jobs both through job postings and through networking, but they only happened after 6 years of already working in the business, so those are the best ways to go about it!

There you have it! Any other reader questions – send them our way on Twitter!