Reading Screenplays

by Lucy Scher

Published by Kamera Books

"Like the best script reports, this book is clear thinking, well reasoned and very readable. The section on treatments alone is worth the price."
Joe Oppenheimer, Executive Producer, BBC Films.

Reading Screenplays by Lucy Scher

Back in 1999, I pioneered the first training course for script readers with a small group of six people tentatively gathered on our faded green sofas on a Monday night. Who knew then that demand for this teaching would be so great? No matter how many courses we scheduled, there was a constant waiting list and the course has been taken all over the world. Participants have ranged from heads of studios, heads of funds and screen agencies, producers, distributors, commissioners, directors, agents and screenwriters as well as those seeking to start a career in reading and development.

This book is based upon knowledge acquired during the years of teaching the Script Factory Reader Training Course both in the UK and internationally. The course used good produced scripts as well as a huge range of unproduced projects, very generously made available by aspiring screenwriters. It has also been taught by a number of fantastic tutors who have all added to the collective wisdom now represented in the teaching material. The intention of this book is to equip script readers, whatever their role and experience in the wider film industry, with everything required to write intelligent informed script reports.

Alongside the chapters on the detail of the script report, including a sample report, this book introduces a analysis of genre and how to use it in reading and development; a chapter on both writing and assessing treatments and a final section on the job of development, both what it is and how to manage the transition from reading scripts to working with screenwriters.

Understanding how a script is assessed and developed is possibly the most valuable training that a screenwriter can access, and if you read this as a writer, the step-by-step process of analysing the material offers you the best way to obtain distance from, and objectivity about your project to help in making the decisions that will improve it.

The input from those first readers taught me to value the thoughts and experience of anyone who reads and indeed writes screenplays and I hope that the spirit of the course, a lively, discursive, inspiring arena, and shaped by the many people who have been through it, shines through.

I very much hope that you enjoy it.
Lucy Scher

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