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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Reading Correspondence Course

Have you ever thought of becoming a professional script reader? Or perhaps as an aspiring screenwriter, you’d like to have the inside track on just how scripts are analyzed in Hollywood. Either way, this self-paced Reader Correspondence course may be just the thing for you.

Week one:
Overview of the Job Description
Job Expectations
11 Things You Better Know Right Now
Understanding the Grid Categories
Off grid Categories
The Language and Tone of Coverage Reports

Includes: three sample coverages

Homework: watch 3:10 to YUMA, LEGALLY BLONDE and HOT FUZZ.

Write a logline for each.
Write a brief description of the theme of each, the character arc for the main character, who the antagonist is and what the first act break, second act break and midpoint were within the story.

Week two:
The Reader's Oath: No Harm, No Foul, No Lies
Tenets of Being a Good reader
Rating the Writer
Rating the Project
The Shape and Structure of a Coverage

Read two scripts; provide recommendations for the project and the writer, one page of comments.

Week three:
Writing the Synopsis
Sample Synopses

Homework: provide loglines and synopses for two sample scripts.

Week four:
Writing the Full Coverage
Speed and Efficiency; Tricks of the Trade
Finding Reading Work; Accumulating Samples

Homework: Timed reading of two scripts.


Provide full coverage for three scripts including a 2 page synopsis and 1 1⁄2 pages of comments. Rate the writer and the project.

Passing the final exam with flying colors will earn you a letter of recommendation from The Script Department as an entrée to potential reading jobs.

The cost of the class is $575 and includes feedback and notes on your progress throughout.

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Mike Scherer said...


Very tempting ;-) But how can someone from North Carolina become a reader? Wouldn't one have to be in the LA area?

Keep Writing,

Julie Gray said...

Generally you do need to live in LA but you can also live in Chicago, NYC, Austin or any place there are production companies in need. In addition, there are production companies who are going paperless and will send your work electronically. For example, of the several readers I use at the Script Department, only a few live here locally. The others are in Nevada, New York and Minneapolis interestingly enough. If you're good, you're good.

It also strikes me that this would probably make an INVALUABLE course to take even if you never plan to be a reader but wish to know exactly what goes on when scripts get covered. Being a reader offers a huge inside look at what makes it and what does not when scripts get submitted to prodcos.

Michelle Goode said...

This sounds enticing, but does the LA thing mean that students of this e-course are limited to being LA-based or American? Would this course help English wannabe script readers at all, or would the recommendation not be of much value within the English script circuit?

It sounds fabulous, though!

E.C. Henry said...

Julie, your "Reading Correspondence Course" sounds like fun. Wish I could find a spare $575 arround my place somewhere. Maybe I should check under the couch... NOW if the price was $0.35 I'd be golden, I actually saw that laying arround in the Cheveron parking lot when I was getting gass earlier.

(Just kidding)

Still, I'd love to sit in on one of your classes someday.

- (wishfull puppy) E.C. Henry stuck in Bonney Lake, WA

Julie Gray said...

You can live anywhere in the world and benefit from this course. Again, I think it would be a great class for a writer to take, simply to get that inside view.

I'm not sure how much a recommendation from the Script Department would mean in the UK, to be honest. On one level, I will be teaching how it's done here in Hollywood, arguably the most influential place in the movie world but coverages in the UK might be different. Even so, I'm willing to guess that while the format and terminology might be slightly different the concepts of story analysis are fairly universal.

millar prescott said...

Hi Julie - what are the usual rates a reader can expect, and are there different rates for more experienced or 'better' readers?

Julie Gray said...

Hey Millar! You'll have to take the class to find out! Heh. The going rate for readers is right around $60 per script and everybody gets paid the same. "Better" readers only get the following special treatment: they keep their jobs and they are more likely to read for more prestigious production companies. There's definitely a hierarchy of where you read based on how much experience you have.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,

I want to do it.

But I really have this sick feeling in my stomach.

I remember this feeling, just like when my parents wanted me to go to Teacher's College and my this stomach sick feeling told me not to do.

I went to Teachers' College but dropped out and hated every seconds of it.

I really want to take your course Julie, but really getting stressed thinking about reading and writing synopsis of other people's work. Sorry my head will fall off.

Now I know why readers give scathing coverage when they actually get stressed from reading a a script which is not their cup of tea.

I would love to see your coverage of a movie call 'SAW" or "BAD BOYS 11" or "RAMBO 5" or "ROCKY 6". I bet those coverages would send shockwaves. Ha, I actually read those scripts, they suck really big time!

But sorry, I have the hardest difficulty reading and connecting with other people's vision. I really can't do it.

I'm really sorry.

My wife is saying to do so we can't get some extra cash before Christmas. Me work as a reader, not a chance.

But I rather get a weekend part-time job at a Condo in Upper Manhattan as a door man.

It's good tips. You know those Sex and and City divorcees, give good tip.

Julie Gray said...

Connecting to other people's stories is actually an important thing. Development execs do it, readers do it - hell, audiences do it. That's what it's all about. Stories don't exist in a vacuum. They exist to be experienced and collaborated and built upon and interpreted. That's kind of the point.

But no, being a reader is definitely not for everyone.

If the mere thought of providing notes and synopses for scripts makes you physically ill, please don't do it. You won't be doing anybody any favors.