EVERY SCRIPT IN LOS ANGELES

EVERY SCRIPT IN LOS ANGELES

By Kathryn Ferentchak

The people here are nice. But nobody wants to read your script.

For a town that’s built on content development, the people here sure go out of their way to not read scripts or watch pilots. I was told that back in the days of yest-er-years, Coverage was an important position. It used to be that the person doing coverage had to have some qualifications, the least of which being experience as a writer.

The exact moment that coverage as an art for the educated died will be hard to pin down. When was it, exactly, that the job of coverage became less art form and more chore? Was there some point when the vast amounts of content become so overwhelming that you couldn’t pay people to keep on top of it? Personally, I enjoy reading scripts, although there is absolutely more sub-par material than extraordinary. (There is an uncounted amount of material, just floating around in acquisition limbo…)

My second internship is with Canny Lads Productions, a small production company contracted with ABC to develop TV content. The affiliated producer told me that the best way to learn about what makes a good script and, perhaps more importantly, what the studios are looking for in a script (two circles which do not necessarily overlap), is to read them.

The Hollywood equivalent of the old wives’ tale goes as follows:

There was once a very successful studio…Interns came and went, as did assistants. The executives would never speak to the assistants, in fact they never spoke to anyone unless that person had read a certain number of scripts. So each day the employees read and read and read scripts, and at the end of the week they would pile the scripts each person had read up against a wall. Once the pile was seven feet tall—then an executive might give you the time of day.

Everyone has a script here. If you had a dime for every time you pass a car and there’s a script lying on one of the seats, then you’d have enough money to put yours into production. There is so much material that statistically at least one script will never get read, even if its sent to every studio in Hollywood. And no one has time to read your script. That’s the first moral of the story.

The second moral of the story is proactive. If you really want to show someone you care, then watch their film and read their script—then give notes. Be honest, none of this “kid gloves” bullcrap. But be warned, this is no task for the faint of heart.