Script Readers mainly work for public funded bodies. Some UK film companies use Script Readers, and in this situation they are usually trusted Readers or Script Editors. They are chosen because their opinions are highly respected by Producers or Development Executives.
Script Readers may also be commissioned by Screenwriters to provide objective opinions on screenplays before sending them to Producers or funding bodies. Script Readers assess whether screenplays are professionally crafted, and write a reader’s report (or ‘coverage’ report).
In most instances, screenplays are only read by one Script Reader. When a Producer is applying for funding, the final draft screenplay may be read by two or more Script Readers for an objective assessment.
The typical Reader’s Report includes a breakdown of the story and an assessment of the story’s suitability for production. This report typically contains seven different parts. A logline is a one line summary of the central idea. A premise is the analysis of the originality and commercial potential of the central concept. The synopsis is a breakdown of the story. Tone and genre is an analysis of whether the writing matches the intentions. Comments detail the strengths and weaknesses of the Concept, Premise, Plot (and subplots), Structure, Character (and in some cases possible casting), Dialogue, and Technical execution. The report will end with a summary and verdict.
When screenplays are read as part of a screenwriting competition or short film production scheme, Script Readers may also be asked to indicate whether it should receive funding, be short-listed or rejected. Script Readers assessing screenplays for awards may also be required to complete a Reader Response Form, detailing whether the project satisfies other funding criteria.
Script Readers may work in other roles in the industry and read scripts to make extra money. The work is not always well paid, but it can be very satisfying, and is a good way of honing analytical skills.