You need a Hollywood Script Reader!
Hi, I'm Roberto and I'm a Hollywood Script Reader. I read scripts for movie studios and, based on what I read, I recommend the script and the writer for further review.
Most of the time, I recommend the studio passes on the scripts I read. Why? There are any number of reasons why scripts get rejected, but a lot of it has to do with story issues.
As a Hollywood script reader, it pains me to give a bad review on a great concept. To be blunt, for a script to make it upstairs, it has to be flawless. Any of the following issues is reason for rejection:
- Formatting issues
- The script is too long or too short
- Indications of an amateur (pictures, improper bindings, etc.)
- Bad or incoherent story
- Weak characters with no motivation
- Not enough or no rising action
- No stakes
- Dumb or unrealistic dialogue
- Characters don't sufficiently grow
- Or it's just not good enough
So you've written a script...
The next step is to send it off to Hollywood and wait for a giant check to arrive in the mail. Sorry, it's just not that easy. The companies I work for get thousands of screenplays every week. Most of them get returned, unopened.
Why? Here's where it get weird so follow me: Due to the overwhelming issue of lawsuits, studios and production companies simply can't read your script. They might have a similar story in development and they can't afford you suing them for stealing an idea they already own.
There are very few places that will actually read an unsolicited or unrepresented script.
If you don't have a star who wants to act in it, a producer or director that loves it, or an agent who believes in it, there is no way into Hollywood. Period.
So getting a script read is all about who you know?
Yes and no. If you're the nephew of the studio director, life is much easier than it is for you and me. The one key factor to breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter is to write an amazing script. One that has to be made! If you have that, then it doesn't really matter how you break in. An amazingly incredible script will find its way.
The real issue is in creating that amazingly incredible script. And this where 99% of the people fail.
Great screenwriting is key
How many times have you walked out of a movie and think, "I could've made that movie. That movie sucked!" The problem is that we all have a crappy movie idea within our reach. You have to make a movie that is a million times better than what's being churned out.
Your story has to pop off the page. You can't have any cliches or predictable action or dialogue. If it's a genre piece, you have to tip the genre on its side and show something fresh and amazing.
Does your script really do that? How can you tell?
Scripts need to be read
So what do you do? You let your mom and your friends read it and they think you're a genius. Of course they do! They already like you and they don't know anything about story structure. You might even have some literary friends, but unless they know about writing screenplays, they can only help you with so much.
Until it gets made, every screenplay is a first draft. So you need input on how to make your screenplay great. There are so many variables that your readers can't imagine that can get you to a better script.
This is where I come in! As a Hollywood script reader, I have the luxury of seeing so many bad screenplays that just need one or two things to make them great. Just as a pro golfer has to play a ton of golf to get to the top of his game, reading screenplays has really helped me to understand the structure of stories and how to make them great. I see the screenplays that get purchased and I have an in-depth understanding of what Hollywood is looking for.
I can help you think of creative ways to make your screenplay better and help you determine where your screenplay misses the mark.
You need a Hollywood Script Reader!
I'm not denying that your friends and family won't be valuable resources to help you with your story, but having someone on the inside who knows screenplays will get you further than might think possible.
How? Most scripts are full of things the screenwriter loves. You need an independent, impartial person to read it and figure out if everything in your story is about your story and furthers the plot.
This may require killing the things you love because they're not part of your story. This is why your mom isn't going to tell you which scenes to cut... However, I will. The entire reason for writing a screenplay is to get it turned into a movie. And I love to see talented new people break into the movie business!
Never send in a script that hasn't been read by a professional!
"But my idea is great! It must be seen by a producer now!" Hold on there, Sparky. Sending in a script for review is a giant step!
The first line of defense is the Hollywood script reader. This is often some kid out of college who's trying to break into the business, and let me tell you, some of these people are surly. They get paid to be ruthless. No one wants to give a yes because that means their neck is on the line. Script readers are expected to turn down just about everything. The studios want nothing but greatness because EVERYONE in Hollywood hates to read scripts!
If you send in a less-than-perfect script and one of these surly readers gets a hold of it, not only will they tear your script apart, they also have the power to blackball you!
I'm going to repeat that so you understand how grave the situation is: If you send in a lousy script, you could get put on a list and NO ONE in Hollywood will ever touch anything else you write.
If more people understood there are real stakes at work here, there would be far fewer scripts kicking around Hollywood.
Scripts take years to develop
If you haven't gone over your script a few times and rewritten it to make the action more active, the dialogue more real, and given it a real "hook" to make it irresistible, your script isn't ready.
So where do I come in? Sometimes coverage can be refreshing, but most of the time, it's devastating. It's like sending your kid off for the first day of school only to get that phone call telling you how wrong your child is. Getting coverage is simply not enough. You need creative input. I provide you with new insights and interesting considerations that strengthen your plot and make us care about your characters.
That, my friends, will get you closer to a truly Hollywood-worthy script than the ramblings of some kid.
Think of me more as your own personal idea man. I'm a Hollywood script reader, but I'm way better at finding interesting ways to fix the problems I read every day. I won't just rush through your script and give you some half-baked suggestions. I dream about your stories and really dig deep for the essence.
Why pick me as your script reader?
You can find any number of people that will take your money for this service. Some are "gurus" and "experts" who charge a hefty fee for their "expertise." I'll be the first to tell you I'm not! I'm a guy working my way up in this industry. I read a ton of scripts! If you want one piece of advice: there is no better way to figure out the craft of screenwriting like actually reading what other people have done. You get to see how people fail and where they succeed. Most importantly, you start to see WHY.
It makes no difference to me who you have dissecting your script as long as you do it. Don't skimp on this step! Every penny you spend here is way worth it. Whatever you do, find yourself a Hollywood script reader. I hope it's me. But if not, there's still a lot of great insider information on this site to help you on your way to getting your foot in the door... possibly even seeing your baby on the big screen!