Above: How To Become A Hollywood Script Reader For Actresses | How To Earn Extra Money As A Hollywood Script Reader.
What does a Hollywood script reader do? How much money do script readers make per script? How can working actresses get a job as a script reader? Is script reading for working actresses in Hollywood really a dream job?
Reading and critiquing screenplays for a living sounds like a dream job to most screenwriters and working actresses — but you’d be surprised about the realities behind taking on such a job in the television and movie industry.
A typical entertainment industry executive or talent agent is bombarded with television and movie scripts on a daily basis. The amount of reading material is often staggering and simply too much for a single person to get through within a reasonable period of time.
Often television and movie scripts that are submitted are under extremely tight deadlines, and if the entertainment industry executives or talent agents have a number of other projects under similar duress, chances are these executives will likely be spread too thin with their script reading responsibilities. Thus the need for script readers.
What Is A Screenplay?
A screenplay is a written work for a film or television show that expresses the movement, actions, and dialogue of characters portrayed by actors and actresses.
Screenplays, or scripts, are the blueprint for a movie or television show. A screenplay is written in a specific format to distinguish between characters, action lines, and dialogue.
Why Actresses & Fashion Models Would Want To Be Script Readers
The fantasy for many working actresses and fashion models is pretty simple — they imagine getting paid good money to sit at home reading movie and television scripts and telling their entertainment industry bosses how amazing or terrible those movie and television scripts were and which television and movie scripts they liked the most. Then, taking their wild imagination even further, these working actresses and fashion models start to imagine that their incredible insights will get the attention of those television and movie producers, development executives, or talent agents — enough for them to either hire them to write the final screenplay, hire them to become a development executive, or give them their dream job as a television and movie producer.
Unfortunately, all of that is a fantasy for the most part, because while being a script reader is an amazing stepping stone for any screenwriter, television and movie producer, or development executive in the entertainment industry, it’s not as simple and straightforward as it seems if you do not have the proper television and movie industry connections.
Writing Script Coverage – Huh? What Is Script Coverage For Actresses?
Being a script reader is perhaps one of the most important, yet overlooked professions in the movie and television industry. A script reader is not just someone who reads submitted scripts by amateur and professional writers, but is also someone who provides a summary as well as a brief analysis of whether or not the submitted script is something worth considering for production.
Script coverage usually consists of a one to three page summary of the script or screenplay from start to finish which highlights all characters as well as any important story points. In addition, there is a one to two page analysis by the script readers which states what they thought of the script or screenplay, whether or not the script follows the guidelines of the people or company they’re reading it for, and whether the script is a project they would recommend an executive or talent agent to consider for television or movie production.
Why Should A Working Actress Or Fashion Model Want To Become A Script Reader?
The reason as to why a working actress or experienced fashion model might want to become a script reader is simple — it’s the best screenwriting education she will ever receive. Remember that when we discuss how much money — or how little money — a script reader might get paid for reading scripts.
The educational aspect is the true treasure why a working actress might want to become a script reader for a major movie studio or talent agency. An actress can quickly become a master of screenwriting structure, format, dialogue, prose, and theory — all from learning from the writing mistakes and the writing achievements of other screenwriters.
Script reading by experienced actresses allows them to learn as much as possible about the expectations of the film and television industry, which is key for actresses that would like to advance their own acting careers (and also their screenwriting careers if they would eventually like to follow that career path in the entertainment industry).
So we generally like to tell working actresses that want to read television and movie scripts on the side (when they are not working as actresses) to forget about those fairy tale fantasies where they see themselves rising up the corporate ladder after their bosses see how brilliant they truly are at reading and discovering amazing scripts. It’s just coverage, my dear, and while many of Hollywood’s elite started off as script readers, that probably should not be the best reason why you may want to become a script reader.
The main reason why an actress might want to become a script reader should be because she will learn about how the movie and television industry works simply by constantly reading scripts, even scripts that are so badly written and so awful that their first reaction might be to say “this script sucks,” to put it bluntly.
How Much Money Do Script Readers Get Paid At The Major Movie Studios, Talent Agencies, & Production Companies?
This is where it gets interesting — and extremely depressing for some actresses and writers that would like to read scripts in order to enhance their income and standard of living. Most script readers start as interns, and as you may or may not already know, many interns don’t get paid.
Many script readers are freelance writers and paid a script reading fee of anywhere from $50 to $500 per script (all figures are in United States dollars) depending on the movie studio or talent agency doing the hiring. Furthermore, reading movie and television scripts is a particularly great entertainment industry job for writers, actresses, or anyone looking to get into either movie or television development.
So basically, if you are just starting out your entertainment industry career as a television and movie script reader (specially if you are an intern), you may not even be making any money (or any meaningful amount of money). If you are lucky enough to be an assistant at a movie studio, talent agency, or production company, script reading may be already included into your hourly or salary pay for that specific job position. So not only will you have to answer phone calls, sit at the front desk while looking pretty and friendly to welcome visitors, grab lunch, coffee, doughnuts, and a dozen other perhaps unfulfilling duties, you also have to read television scripts, movie scripts, and write coverage.
How Much Money Do Script Readers Earn & Really Get Paid?
If you are a freelance script reader, you might be lucky enough to make approximately $50 per television or movie script that you read at home. However, most freelancers when not working for free to prove their worth as script readers, may start reading television or movie scripts for as little as $25 dollars. Yes, that wasn’t a typo, but hopefully as your reputation hopefully grows, your script reading fees could potentially grow as well over time.
“Thus, on average script readers can expect to get paid approximately $50 per script, but the range can be as wide as $25 per script to $500 per script.” – ZARZAR MODELS
Reading movie and television scripts is also becoming more and more popular with working actresses because it can help them to pay for their expenses (rent, utilities, acting classes, etc.) while they wait for their next big acting job. Since many movie studio or talent agency executive are sometimes overwhelmed by the extremely large number of submitted movie and television scripts for them to review, script readers become an essential part of the development process in movie and television production. Basically, instead of having to read an entire screenplay (novel, stage play, etc.), the movie or talent agency executive simply has to read what a script reader said about a given script and then decide whether or not it’s worth reviewing in-depth.
If you are a working actress you might realize that finding a job as a script reader is not that hard; it’s finding steady script reading work that can be a little more difficult. That said, reading television and movie scripts is a great way to meet movie studio executives, talent agency executives, and talent agents at a wide variety of companies in Hollywood so that you become a lot better prepared to take your next career step in the extremely competitive entertainment industry.