Screenplay contest judge also Starbucks employee of the month

Veteran barista not really qualified to evaluate scripts

Alex Birmingham of Park Ridge, Illinois, has been reading for the Golden Brad Screenwriting Competition since 2005, when the 24-year-old espresso bar worker replied to a craigslist ad looking for script readers.

“Before I got involved with the competition, I never even realized screenwriting was a job,” said Birmingham. “I just figured the actors made up all the dialogue. But it turns out I was the only guy willing to read scripts for $25 apiece, so now I’m like this expert on screenwriting or whatever.”

Birmingham, who reads scripts between shifts at the local Starbucks, was recently honored with Employee of the Month honors, causing him to label himself a “double threat.”

“On the one hand, I probably steam the best cappuccino foam in town. On the other, I’m in charge of deciding who gets a $10,000 screenwriting prize,” he said. “It’s hard because I never finished college and have no interest in movies, but I do my best when I’m not too tired, drunk or stoned.”

According to the Golden Brad competition website, their readers “have a range of experience in all phases of entertainment, production and other relevant industries.”

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