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Looking for inexpensive studio style coverage from reader who reads for studios - now - not years ago.
Austin Film Festival offers studio style coverage for $100. I don't know if that is as cheap as you are looking for, but thought I'd offer.
Please feel free to email me for more information.
thanks, Alex McPhail
I thought Slamdance's coverage was good.
Also, Barb Doyen is wonderful. I've used her 4 times now and every experience has been thoughtful, efficient and delived exactly on time.
I've had coverage from numerous readers who read for studios but as I've always said and will continue to say, Barb Doyon is the best deal in town. If you haven't used her yet, you haven't been reading these boards. Everyone and their mother endorses her for a reason. She's the best.
I went to your webpage but did not see the BIO of the person who will be providing the notes/feedback for $100.00
Could you let us know a bit about his/her BIO. Is it contracted out?
And do you have a sample of the type of feedback we might be getting.
Eric and I are beginning to sound like broken records...
Barb Doyon is THE best!! :)
I'm a broken record too. Barb is the one you want!
3 broken records cheering for Barb Doyon - hear us roar! :)
Four broken records.
Congrats Heather on Extreme's recommend in the April Newsletter.
You too Jean and for May too. You know I am in your corner, friend.
Just a quick question. Can you tell us who reads for Austin? With so many scripts entered, there was a story going around that College students read most. Austin has always had one of the best reputation's around, however a lot of people would like more insite as to the interworking;s.
Thanks so much!
A comment on Austin. I went to the Austin conference for the first 10 years of its existence. It had a great, well-deserved reputation.
For the last few years I went, there were comments going around about how the "readers" for the conference were just people reading so they could get a producers pass to pitch their own scripts. I myself heard 2 different "readers" state this same thing. One was an arrogant young man whose own script made quarter/semi (I can't remember which) and he bragged about how the other scripts were so bad he threw them in the trash at page 30. The other was a young woman who couldn't afford to buy a ticket so she volunteered to read. The only problem was she hadn't watched any movies in a number of years and again couldn't get past the first few pages because the scripts she had to read were so bad.
I heard other conference attendees complaining about the same thing. That they were talking to readers who signed up for reading so they could get the passes to pitch their own scripts.
I don't know who does the paid coverage portion. I would hope the readers for this portion are different than the readers for the conference portion.
I think Austin is a great festival and I think it is wrong that a few unprofessional wannabees are tainting the image for some of the attendees. Having to read so many scripts is a monstrous task and finding good, unbiased readers is difficult at best.
I love Austin and think the screenwriting conference is amazing.
They do "hire" grad students to read the scripts and they do pay them in festival passes. I have heard thought that they aren't handing them to freshmen at the Universtiy, that the scripts are all handed back to the contest director (so I don't think a reader can throw it into the trash without consequences), and that a majoriy of readers have been doing it for year.
A friend of mine won for his script and we actually met his reader who had given it a "yes" after another reader had given it a "no". That got it into the second round pile where it went all the way to the top and won. I was struck by her savy, by her dedication, and her delight in finding an amazing script. I know all the readers can't be perfect, but she was incredible.
I also thought is was a great process to require two "nos" from two differnet readers for a script to be eliminated. That at lease gives you a shot if the first reader just doesn't get you. I've also been told that readers can say that they prefer not to read rom coms or action films if they don't care for that genre.
All in all, I really respect that the Austin people are doing their best to give each script a fair read and that's why it has such a great reputation.
Having said all that I'm sure that some of their readers are bad, but I think the system tries to prevent the bad readers from doing too much damage.
Like I said this was a couple of years ago and I really hope they changed some practices. I attended the conference for the first ten years and it was amazing.
The situation I addressed happened three years in a row and I was not the only person who heard these "readers." One year I heard a small group of conference goers who had apparently heard one of these "readers" and they were furious. There are thousands of scripts to be read so I am sure there are more than a few people reading. Most are no doubt professional and deserve the producers passes. It was disconcerting to say the lease to pay for a producers pass and meet others who were not professionals who received their producers passes for free and who said they didn't read past 30 pages.
Maybe "threw in the trash" was figurative. I didn't make this up. I heard it directly from two readers. If I had heard it only once I probably wouldn't have said anything here. But I heard it twice from actual readers. The group I overheard was another time but that was hearsay. I really do hope Austin has addressed this issue (if at least to tell the readers to not brag about how their script was so much better than the ones they read).
I've used Barb Doyen. Looking for anyone else you might suggest. I've used The Script Department. Want to set it under some fresh eyes.
How was your experience with them. Any pros and Cons? What are some the best affordable ones out there?
I'm sure there are all kinds of readers even now. The ones I met were impressive, but as you say with thousands of scripts I'm sure everything that can happen does :)
Don't you just love our little espionage network here? We get to pool the info we pick up, compare and then really have a fuller picture.
I love this site!
Heather - and don't forget the Report Cards section.
Whew. A lot to answer for.
First, Our coverage is contracted out to several writers. They all have prior experience writing coverage either for a studio or for hire. There are several of them, and their bios are not listed on the web page because we don't publicize their identities.
Second: AFF reader. AFF has a team of between 25-35 reaaders from in and around Austin who read the first round scripts. They do volunteer and we do compensate them with badges for the festival. We also, however, do not let anyone from off the street read scripts. They go through an initial application and interview process, then they are assigned several "test scripts" which they read and then return for a second interview. I also personally track their scoring and if I notice disturbing trends in their evaluations I immediately address these issues with them (yes, you can fire volunteers).
Mostly these readers consist of local writers, screenwriting teacher/professors and filmmakers. Most have been doing it for years and we hire on a few new people each year to make up for those lost to moving away or becoming disinterested. We do have some graduate students read scripts for us (we do have one of the biggest schools in the country right down the street), but they are screened in the same way and are certainly the minority.
The readers also sign a contract stating they will not discuss the scripts they read with anyone. I am sorry that some of you have had bad experiences with the readers in the past. I can assure you that all the readers, however, are qualified.
Third: a insight into the competition. While I wish that I could personally sit down and read every script that comes into the competition... I can't. We have almost exactly two months after the final deadline to the reading deadline so that we can have everyone notified and the next round of judges reading those that advanced. For that reason, in the first round, the readers are only required to read the first 30 pages of the script. If after 30 pages, they have any hope for the script they continue reading, otherwise they can stop.
All of the scripts are reviewed by two different readers before being set aside as "First Rounders."
The scripts are never "tossed in the trash." Like any responsible, Austin company... we recycle. This however is only AFTER the first round of judging is completely finished.
I hope this puts some of your fears about the Austin contest aside. If not, feel free to email me with any further questions, comments or horror stories you have and I will try to address them immediately.
Thanks much, Alex McPhail email@example.com
One thing I forgot to say. Heather brings up a good point on the readers. All of our readers WANT to like every script. One of the things I keep a close watch on is readers becoming jaded. They rarely do. They all want for every script to pull it off even when they seem to be hopelessly tail spinning. They are all very excited when they read a good one and disappointed for those that don't make it. One of the most exciting things for them is to find one that got a NO from the first reader that deserves to be overturned. This does happen, which is why we have that system in place. The readers are on the writers side. They are not heartless dream crushers just here to crush enough dreams to get a badge for the festival. The biggest problem I run into with first round readers is advancing too many to the second round. The dream crushing thing... that's my job.
That's all. I just wanted to make that known because I fear many writers don't know or believe that it is the case.
Thanks Alex for these thoughtful and helpful answers.
With this much leadership , I'll be applying.
AFF sounds like a good contest.
Made my day.
I really liked Julie Gray from The Script Department. I didn't get studio style coverage but notes from her. She is fantastic and can really help generate ideas and give you an idea of what you need to do to make your script much better. However, it isn't cheap. You get your money's worth - I think she works very hard at what she does - but it's costly.
This time out I just wanted some readers who read for studios and who provide simple studio style coverage. I found one guy - Keil at scriptproof.com. He was $50. Turned it around in 24 hours and was pretty good. I'm trying another reader right now - who also charges $50. For studio style coverage, I don't want to pay more than that.
I've also used Scott Mullen. He was $60. Good notes. Quick and to the point. Page to page notes. Not real organized but, none the less, cheap and valuable.
I used Barb Doyen. She gave me coverage at the same time as Julie Gray. I was so impressed with Julie's notes that I didn't find Barb's that helpful. However she is really inexpensive and I might use her again - though I'm not sure the style of notes were as valuable to me. She uses a checklist at each stage of what she is evaluating and then includes a few page notes.
Hope you find this all helpful.
Oh yeah - I've also used Zeotrope. Which really wasn't too bad. Though you have to work for your reads!
SCRIPTMENTORS. COM (James Brunner and Elizabeth Stevens)
1. They cost no more or no less than any one else.
2. They read your ENTIRE script.
3. They don't try to change your story just the structure (if it needs it).
4. They are extremely open minded. If your script is a subject that they personally don't care for, they won't let it influence they're critique.
5. But, if your script is not original, WHICH SHOULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, they will tell you. If it is original they will give you the cred it you deserve.
6. They don't seem to be influenced by anything except they're own EXPERIENCE in the buisness.
PLEASE TRY SCRIPTMENTORS.COM, THEY ARE THE BEST.
John Risner from Screen Writer Inc is very good. he's a working screenwriting, teaches screen writing and film classes at two universities and is a story consultant for several studios. I know he does full screeplay analysis and also does the studio coverage style you were looking for. I like the fact he will discuss different aspects of your screeplay with you via telephone or even in person. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
John Risner from Screen Writer Inc is very good. he's a working screenwriter, teaches screen writing and film classes at two universities and is a story consultant for several studios. I know he does full screeplay analysis and also does the studio coverage style you were looking for. I like the fact he will discuss different aspects of your screeplay with you via telephone or even in person. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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