10 Things Script Readers Want In A Spec
The first thing to keep in mind is that to become a successful screenwriter, you need to know that a single person must be pleased with your writing and script. They are the entrance ticket to Hollywood studios, production companies, management companies, agencies, contests, competitions, and fellowships. They read scripts for companies and may have dual positions as interns or assistants.
Think about 10 things script readers want in a spec? The spec scripts have attractive material because it is your most ambitious idea.
10 Things Script Readers Want In A Spec
Given is a list of ten important things a script reader wants to read in your screenplay straight from their perspective with decades of studio-level experience.
1. They Want What Their Bosses Demand
It was told to them from above that they would have to read what their bosses are looking for. It would be their priority. They are looking for the script on behalf of the producer and director and know well what they want. It could be action flicks and they come across a submission that is an excellent comedy.
If their bosses want the next action blockbuster script, then you need to market your spec to be shared with the right people. It doesn’t matter how much they would love or like it. Choosing the right person for your script reading is the most important thing. You should know that it is possible that if the script reader doesn’t like your script; it’s likely because they are not looking for that, so look for someone specific.
2. They Want Original Scripts, Not Versions Of The Latest Trend Or Carbon Copies
It is said that Hollywood doesn’t like original screenplays and loves their existing writers, but what about the script reader? They want original and something new, not the copy of old versions and trends. Script readers read dozens of screenplays every week, and they have to summarize each of them and their stories. You understand well that it would not be suitable to read a carbon copy of the successful hot story this year.
It doesn’t matter how well-written your script is. It will be boring for the script reader; however, even though it brings innovation to the series, the similar writing won’t work out.
3. They Want Structure, Not A Formula
In Hollywood, it has never been told to the script readers to follow a single particular formula such as
-This happens on that page
-That happens on this page
Being a scriptwriter, you should have learned from studying beat sheets and whatnot. Still, nobody expects that you hit the formula to a T. Many screenwriters mistake structure for formula, so they are two different things to tell your story or tell it well.
4. They Want To Be Thrown Into The Fire Of Your Concept and Conflict
What are 10 things script readers want in a spec and what do they expect from it? They want to get deep down into the concept and conflict as you may have seen great movies in which you can observe the masters of tone and atmosphere. When it comes to spec scripts they have to read every week, there is no time for slow burns because they got a stack of scripts from which to select from.
They cannot go through the whole script, so you must describe the concept in the first few pages; however, the fantastic movies and screenplays take longer to read. It would be best to keep in mind a huge difference between the studio and Production Company’s script and a script from an unknown writer. So you have to make an impression on the first pages of the screenplay with good structure, characters details, and plot.
5. They Want Consistent Greatness Throughout The Whole Script
It is not only the introduction that should be great by opening or making a great second-act twist and not just a great ending. It must be great with an thrilling story, and you better do the front-end work to engage the script reader.
6. They Want Something Cinematic
Scripts are not literary stories but a blueprint for a visual medium because the script readers love movies, so they have chosen to work in a visual medium instead of the publishing industry. So they want cinematic screenplays that can be visualized by your writing, such as exotic locations, special effects, and beautiful opportunities for world class cinematography.
All you have to do is show that this character will react this way, or just tell how much your character is upset when talking about someone’s death.
7. They Want Characters They Can Empathize With
The most important thing you should have in the script while writing a screenplay is empathy (the action of understanding, being sensitive to thoughts, feelings, and experiences of another). It is what they want to feel, and it is what the audience feels through your characters and cinematic experience. Empathy is a powerful tool in screenwriting; it connects your script to the reader, and you can use it for darker characters to understand them.
8. They Want Cathartic Characters
When the story is resolved with conflict, catharsis is the last feeling that touches them and leaves them emotionally affected, so do your best to find a cathartic theme. You can apply it to your stories, especially within genres like sci-fi, action, horror, and comedy that don’t have dramatic themes. Script readers are no different than the audience, so they want to be moved.
9. They Want To Be Surprised
If you have twists, turns, and revelation in the screenplay, the script reader would love to read that. They are used to the story beats that scriptwriters try to emulate, and when they get surprised, they love it.
10. They Want A Perfectly Polished Draft
Scriptwriters should understand that script readers have no patience for incomplete or unpolished drafts. So you must have made your script readable, pleasant, engaging, and entertaining as well. What are 10 things script readers want in a spec? A polished draft and your best work are among the list of things they want.
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