The Script Report (Aka ‘Script Notes’ or Coverage)
In my experience as a script reader, there is NO definitive script report template. Instead, when working for script initiatives, screen agencies and some literary agents or production companies I have been supplied with *their* script report template.
Crucially, every single script report template I have seen has been quite different …
- Some are quite short (1-2 pages maximum) and an “overview”
- Others are very detailed, with many different sections (the longest being 8-10 pages!)
- Some look SOLELY at the story and craft of the screenplay (what’s on the page)
- Others look at things “beyond” as well: marketing, budget considerations or logistics of filmmaking
- Some are just score cards, no actual feedback whatsoever
What’s in a ‘typical’ script report?
But rounding up what I’ve seen, a *typical* script report may *generally* look at the following …
- STORY/PREMISE/ CONCEPT (this is where the reader will be required to come up with a logline)
- CHARACTERS (particularly protagonist and antagonist, but also important secondaries)
- DIALOGUE (as it says on the tin)
- ARENA (aka “storyworld”, not just location but the ‘feel of the piece’)
- MISCELLANEOUS (anything else that warrants attention … Most typically things like grammar, spelling, format, etc but also other things that don’t fit under the other headings I’ve already mentioned if appropriate, ie. writer’s voice.)
HOW an individual place actually reports on screenplays is another matter. (Don’t panic! If you get chance to do a script report or intern for a company, they will give you their own report template and/or tell you what they want).
A Useful Exercise
Sometimes writers want to practice on their own, so they might learn how to analyse stories better. This is a great idea, as it will help them plan and construct their OWN screenplays better. It will also help them understand what producers and agents may look for. Here’s how to do it …
- Download a screenplay for a movie or TV show. (Check out SIMPLY SCRIPTS for plenty in PDF format).
- Read the script in one sitting if you can. Create a synopsis for everything that happens in it (approx 500 words).
- Then write up to 500 words (maximum) on how you find the storytelling in the script. Use the headings from the previous section – concept, characters, dialogue, arena and miscellaneous – to help you.
Want some more help on story analysis? Then CLICK HERE >> 8 Steps To Analyse A Successful Story.
Want EVEN MORE Script Reading Secrets?
B2W’s proud to have had a hand in training so many new script readers. Here’s what course alumni Gemma Deerfield aka @screenwriterfemme has to say about the workshop:
‘I would never have felt confident enough to formally call myself a script reader without the B2W course. I had the skills just not the correct understanding of how to use them which Lucy so skillfully showed me and filled in the gaps in my knowledge. My expectations were met: I was prepared for the graft and the need to work on my own volition. I had all the extra guidance after the course to help me set up my online profiles and market myself. I’ve actually never taken a short course that was as useful as this in any industry.’
But the workshop is not just for wannabe script readers … It’s also perfect for writers who want a ‘behind the scenes’ look at how their writing is judged on the page. So if you want to ‘reader proof’ your screenplay, you’re welcome to join us too.