Well, maybe not yours, but a lotta people’s. Best way to find out if this is exactly what you want to know is to, you know, read:
5 Questions with a Production Company Reader
John Flynn-York is a writer who’s been living LA for two years. He read scripts for Principato-Young Entertainment before starting his current job writing coverage for a production company with an open submission policy. We sat down with him and asked him Five Questions about his job:
How did you get your current job as a reader?
I moved to Los Angeles a little over two years ago to attend UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. While I was taking classes, I started interning at a management company in Beverly Hills. When my internship was over, the manager I had been working for put me in touch with a production company that he knew was looking for script readers. They had me write sample coverage, and based on that, hired me.
What’s the workload like? Is it full time gig, or is there a fluctuation in how many scripts you get assigned?
The workload varies. Sometimes, it’s close to a full time job, but more often it’s part time, maybe 20 to 30 hours a week. It depends on the amount of scripts coming in.
If you had to pick one or two of most common mistakes you see from these writers, what would they be?
The most common problem I see is characters not being given specific objectives to achieve. This may sound like a small issue, but it really goes to the core of a lot of different areas: character development, plot, dialogue. It’s not entertaining to watch characters who aren’t doing, or trying to do, anything; conversely, we care about and root for a character who is pursuing a goal. What they’re trying to achieve tells us a lot about who they are as a character, and how they’re trying to achieve it tells us even more. Whether or not they’re successful is beside the point — in storytelling, it’s the trying that matters.