Tag Archives: script reader

THR Classic: Screenwriter confident readers won’t notice 9-point type

Behemoth World War II epic now a ‘breezy’ 118 pages

Josh Dernier had to pull out all the stops to get his script “Allied Forces” under the magic 120-page mark, but the Omaha-based screenwriter insists nobody will notice.

“The difference between 12-point type and 11-point type is imperceptible,” said Dernier. “So I shrunk it down another two points, reduced the margins to an eighth of an inch, and shipped that sucker out. Once people get engaged in the story, the script just flies by anyway.”

Despite Dernier’s confidence, WME reader Allan Frampton knew something was off the moment he started reading Forces.

“I thought there was a lot of black on the page, but I figured I’d give it a chance,” he said. “When it took me a half-hour to get through eight pages, I knew something was up.”

According to UTA assistant Bob Tunney, margins and small type weren’t the script’s only problems.

“In addition to sucking, the dialogue blocks were almost as wide as the action paragraphs,” said Tunney. “And I don’t want to sound paranoid, but I think some of the page numbers were doubled up. I swear I was on page five for like twenty minutes.”

When asked the original page count of the script, Dernier was vague.

“It wasn’t like 200 or anything,” he said. “But it wasn’t 150, either. I can’t wait to hear back from those reps I sent it to.”

** This THR Classic was first posted in February 2009 **


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THR Classic: Your awful spec script causes reader to quit business altogether

ICM script reader Josh Danali vowed to give his Hollywood dream at least four years to come to fruition. Then he read your awful spec screenplay about alien robots from the past, and he decided to quit the business after just six months.

“I knew I was going to move back to New Jersey by page 30,” he said of your screenplay, Robot Martians. “It was truly that bad.”

According to Danali, he suddenly realized that he didn’t want to be associated with an industry that even remotely entertained idiotic ideas like those found in your script.

“It wasn’t even the fact that the script was the worst piece of shit I’ve ever read,” he said. “I mean, it was. But the real worry was that I could actually see some agent or producer reading it and thinking ‘hey, this alien robot thing could work.’ That’s when I knew it was time to leave the biz.”

When asked whether you should continue writing, Danali suggested you may have a future in crafting direct mail copy for a marketing services firm.

** This THR Classic was first posted in October 2008 **


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Script readers go nuts over iPad’s new ‘skim’ feature

Also excited by plot detection app

The lives of Hollywood’s script readers just got a little easier, thanks to the new Apple iPad, which boasts an array of features designed to help lowly readers fly through the slush pile.

“I heard it has this facial recognition function that can sense if I’m bored while I’m reading a script,” said Thomas Martin, an assistant at UTA. “Then it automatically engages ‘skim mode’ so I only have to read every fifth page! I totally could have used this last night when I was reading that horror-comedy about giant bug people.”

Other features include plot detection apps, a touch-screen coverage wizard and perhaps the most innovative capability: the virtual reader.

“We’ve created four distinct ‘virtual reader’ personalities to review and respond to scripts,” said an Apple spokesperson. “There’s Angry Margie the wannabe-writer, Considerate Carl, the consider with reservations, Indie Mindy, the reader who hates mainstream scripts, and High-Concept Hal, who never thinks any ideas are big enough.”

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The Hollywood Roaster introduces script services starting at $150

Exclusive ‘Text Message Consultation’ available for $1 per text

The Hollywood Roaster is proud to partner with former ICM intern and freelance script reader Mike Bernell to provide a range of consultation services for today’s gullible writer.

Basic Coverage
Struggling to get past the industry gatekeepers? Let a former gatekeeper tell you what you’re doing wrong. Complete with official-looking letterhead, as if it’s from people who really matter!

Basic Coverage, Half-Pasted™
You might be wondering why coverage that’s 50% recycled from previous scripts is more expensive than all-new coverage from our Basic Package. That’s your first problem: assuming there’s a rhyme or reason to our services. Stop doing that.

Personal Bias Package
Mike hates comedy, horror, action and drama. If you have a screenplay that fits into one of those genres, Mike will be happy to rip it to shreds for you, no matter how good it is. Overnight rush available! Just add 50%.

Thesaurus Plus
Using both a physical thesaurus and thesaurus.com, we’ll go through your script and change normal words to big ones. Guaranteed to impress, galvanize, stimulate and thrill your readers! See?
Add $75 for Pseudonym Punch™

Validation Pack
You’re not going to address our notes anyway, so let’s just call this what it is: a desperate plea for positive reinforcement. We’re more than happy to oblige, especially since we’d like your return business. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed by our glowing review! Also included is a chart of companies to target with your material, which we can already tell is fabulous.

Misguided Development Notes
We’ve never been part of the actual development or production process on a feature film, but that won’t stop us from giving you all kinds of ignorant, misguided advice!
Add $200 for casting suggestions

Mike has handled literally thousands of scripts in his career, from photocopying them to delivering them to merely stacking them. For some reason, we feel that qualifies him to come up with better titles for your script.
$250 Overnight Rush

Text Consultation
Go one-on-one with Mike for just $1 per message. Text ROASTER for more info (charge applies to first text).

Scouting Policy
If we truly LOVE your script, we’ll blast it out to all six of our contacts. Which is pretty awesome for YOU, because The Hollywood Roaster and Mike Bernell have connections at the top management companies in town (and two in Florida). If you think it’s weird that we have all these hookups, but still can’t work them for our own benefit, please don’t read too much into that. We only care about your success. We promise.

About Mike Bernell
A failed screenwriter himself, Mike can identify the weaknesses in any writer’s script, then exploit and insult those deficiencies for pure profit. His wide-ranging experience includes a 3-month stint at ICM and numerous freelance gigs (i.e. unpaid internships) for small production companies. He is currently unrepped, but working on his 23rd feature screenplay.

“My scripts have NEVER been better. The passes I’ve been getting from managers are much more polite these days. Thanks Hollywood Roaster!!!!!!”
-Sheila Harding from Peoria

“I can’t believe they let me pay for this! It’s like they’re doing me a favor!”
-Bill R. from Dallas

“I never send a script to studios without running it past The Hollywood Roaster first.”
-Marcy B. producer of numerous films

Download the Hollywood Roaster Script Services price chart (PDF).


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Top 10 Reasons You Love And/Or Hate Scriptshadow

Top 10 Reasons You Love Scriptshadow
10. Where else can you download the script for that Midnight Madness remake?
9. Waiting for movies to actually be filmed before you bash them? So 2006.
8. It’s not your script that just got ‘pwned’ by ‘frodobagginz3.’
7. Makes you feel better about your own work. And by ‘work’ you mean the unsold scripts, not the day job at Taco Cabana.
6. Rotten Tomatoes isn’t loading today.
5. John August secretly told you it was his favorite site.
4. You’re already banned from IMDB and Done Deal.
3. Your agent told you not to.
2. You heard the guy who runs the site once made out with Rachel Uchitel.
1. What? It’s not like you’re hurting anyone you actually have to answer to.

Top 10 Reasons You Hate Scriptshadow
10. You didn’t think of it first.
9. Your logline didn’t make the cut in the Top 100 Loglines Contest.
8. By thinking some random blog was the reason your deal fell apart, it distracts you from the nagging feeling maybe your dad was right about junior college.
7. Not only did Carson see through all 14 plot holes in your script, he had the audacity to mention them.
6. Wait, forget it. Had it confused with a site that charges $2,000 per script read.
5. You’re just a stickler when it comes to copyright law, especially as it applies to the Internet.
4. Just because you put your name on the third draft doesn’t mean you’re proud of it!
3. Scripts should be analyzed by trained professionals, like the interns most prodcos hire off the street for $9/hour.
2. You can’t stand tennis instructors.
1. One man who can wield the power of a thousand fanboys? He must be stopped!

Got a reason you love or hate Scriptshadow? Post it in the comments.


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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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Script reader hires script skimmer

Resulting coverage mostly a guess

A story analyst employed by ICM recently revealed he hasn’t read a single script in more than a month, but that hasn’t stopped him from turning in 42 coverage reports over the same period.

“And it’s all thanks to Bobby,” said the analyst, referring to the 16-year-old ‘skimmer’ he found on Craigslist. “His basic process is to flip through a screenplay and kinda guess at the plot. Then he gives me a page of notes, and I expand that into the traditional report.”

According to the ICM analyst, the new process has not only saved him a ton of time, it’s also improved his standing within the company.

“The skimming-based coverage is typically shorter than my old reports, and the agents really appreciate that,” he said. “We pass on 99% of scripts anyway, so it’s not really like the content matters anyway.”

When asked if he was worried about being caught, the analyst shrugged.

“Oh no, please don’t take away my awesome job!” he joked. “Besides, if I was fired, I’d just go off on my own and start a lucrative script skimming business. There’s a whole legion of newbies out there waiting to fork over $200 for a skim.”

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