SCRIPT READING – what is in my script report and what I look for in a script.

SCRIPT READING – what is in my script report and what I look for in a script.

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I read television and feature film scripts almost every day. This is because I am in the fortunate position of being able to offer writers (like you, reading this blog) my SCRIPT ADVICE READING AND REPORT SERVICE.

I have used the same template for Script Reports as I have done since my days working as a Development Script Editor for both BBC Drama Serials and Granada Television. I am of the opinion, that if it ain’t broke, then why fix it?

The report you pay for is usually 4/5 pages long.

I cover three main areas in my reading and report.

1/ General Comments
2/ Specific Notes
3/ Summary

In the first section, I focus on the over view; what I perceive are the strengths of this script and what are the weaknesses. I am always constructive, professional and pro-active in helping you fix the problems.

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I have had experience of Script Readers who enjoy, it seems, decrying the effort made in a work, but I do not see the point in using my experience and aptitude in this area, as a means of breaking a writer’s confidence. I am here to garner, embolden, inspire and damn well tell you to get on with it. Improve!

The General Section of my report is all about the affect your script has had on me, immediately after I have read the last scene. That is why, (unlike in other areas of my life) I never procrastinate or dither about when I have finished reading a script – I get immediately down to writing the report that goes with it and I do not stop writing until I have put every editorial thought on the page. This initial reaction I have to any script, at any level of its development, is always general; it is the over-view to which I am addressing myself here as your Script Editor. The second stage after reading, (hard on the back of the first) is where I collate those sensations, feelings, random thoughts and observations into groupings; I may be drawing your attention to your characterisation, or the issues may lie with the narrative, it may be pacing, or a problem with the subtext or text or a combination of all these things – and here then, in the General Section, I will point out these main areas where your script shines and where it needs work. I highlight the problem areas; celebrate your strengths and make suggestions as to how to address your script issues.

The Specific Note section is where I get exact, particular and direct. Here we are turning the pages and I am pointing out where I feel the script went wrong and more importantly – suggesting ways as to how you may fix it. My notes here are always short, sweet and to the point.

The Summary is where I sum up your strengths as a writer and where I feel you need to concentrate to improve your work. I also talk about the project in general; if I see the territory of the story line working on television, and if so, where it would best be placed.

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Apart from the nuts and bolts of the story craft; which naturally, I am here to help get right with and for you; I am also very concerned with finding and recognising the quality of the script in terms of its dramatic power.

WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR AS I READ A SCRIPT:

1/ STORY IMPACT – Does this story tell me something? Does this world grip me? Do I want to continue turning the pages?
2/ CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT – Are these people credible, relevant, and engaging?
3/ VISUALISATION – Does the story translate visually? Can I see this, unfolding on screen?
4/ AUDIENCE CONNECTION – Can I put myself here, in this story, with these characters? Can I connect with these people and this world, in a social, moral, psychological, or emotional way?

Sending your scripts out for a professional read is exposing and can be nerve wracking, but it is necessary in order to get the correct help to strengthen what is yours naturally.

Contact me here for help with your television scripts