How To Become a Script Reader

What is a Script Reader?

In order to evaluate and assess the suitability of a script to be produced, some companies, especially those involved in the funding process, employ Script Readers to provide objective opinions on new proposals. In this article, we will be discussing the role of the Script Reader and the key skills you will need to become one.

What is the Job?
The main aim of the Script Reader’s job is to evaluate a script and the possibility of it becoming a successful production. This means that the story has to be interesting, the characters well defined and appealing to audiences, and the themes have to match, or at least be coherent with, the current trends in the industry. In short, the Script Reader is the middleman between the Script Writer and the Development Executive. They decide which scripts have the potential to make it.

Script Readers are usually required to write a Report, which serves both as a summary and as an assessment for the script. The typical Report is made up of seven sections:

  • Logline (one line summary of the main concept)
  • Premise (analysis of the commercial potential and originality of the script)
  • Synopsis (breakdown of the plot)
  • Tone and Genre (analysis of the writing compared to the communicative intentions)
  • Comments (details of strength and weaknesses of the script)
  • Summary
  • Verdict

If the reading is linked to a funding competition or contest, the Script Reader may be asked whether it should receive funding or be rejected.

Key Skills
Since they need to swiftly evaluate and assess many different scripts, Script Readers must be familiar with the standard format and layout of both screenplays and reader’s reports.

Also, in order to correctly make an estimate of the commercial value of a script, Readers have to be up to date with the latest trends in film and read a lot of original quality screenplays, so that they can have a standard with which to compare different pieces of work.

How To Get Work as a Script Reader
In order to be hired as a Reader, you have to submit some examples of coverage work and reports you have written to companies involved in production and funding. You could also look to join a union, such as the Writers’ Guild Union which represents writers across TV, film, theatre, radio and more.

Education & Training
Script Readers usually need a BA or MA degree, with a specialisation in Creative Writing, Screenwriting, Media and Communication or similar. Specific Script Reading courses for graduates are also available. If you are looking to gain a formal qualification, the MetFilm School offers many qualifications for those looking to start out in the industry.

Where can it take you?
A Script Reader role is a good entry route into Script Editing, Development, Production and Screenwriting, as it provides a lot of hands-on experience with actual scripts, whilst also helping to develop a network within the industry, which is crucial for career advancement.

Become a Script Reader today

If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Script Reader vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.