As one of the busiest UK script consultant’s its always amazed me that some companies offer script reading and script coverage services anonymously. That’s right, you pay for someone to read your screenplay and give feedback – but it’s not actually clear WHO the person offering this feedback IS, and what level of experience that person has in the film/TV industry (if they have any at all….)
In a slightly dystopian twist, I hear that some of the readers at these places are given reference numbers, rather than identifiable names – like ‘Reader 41’. This is not just odd, unprofessional and slightly sinister – but also, not unlike, an iffy episode of ‘Black Mirror’ – when ‘Reader 41’ is found to be giving too much positive feedback, he or she is subsequently removed, to be replaced by ‘Reader 42’ – who is much less positive.
Honestly – reader’s given code or reference numbers? What are they scared of? What happened to professionalism and transparency? Who is giving the feedback? What experience do they have? Why aren’t customers allowed to know?
‘Reader 41’ might as well be Dave from down the pub –he has a GCE in creative writing from 1989 and likes films – why not do script reports? Let’s be honest, anonymous feedback could be from anyone? Why do it? I think because a glimpse behind the curtain might mean that people go elsewhere for script advice. That the services are anonymous because the advice being given is not QUALIFIED, and cannot be backed up with professional experience.
Indeed, some of these services are offered on an industrial script reading scale, with lots and lots of faceless readers working under one roof and offering their anonymous advice on an industrial scale (their advice, along with £3 will probably get you a bus ticket).
I’m a BAFTA shortlisted script writer, with credits on Eastenders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, feature films, award-winning short films – and all kinds of professional script writing work spread out over a 20+ year career – indeed, here’s a partial list of my credits on the IMDb. There, you can see I’m legit, not so hard to show people you have credits and experience, when YOU HAVE IT…. When you don’t have it, it’s better to work anonymously, behind a number or a ridiculous code – because you can’t qualify the advice or feedback (positive or negative) with anything legit (like experience or qualifications – hell, we don’t even know your name!)
Without transparency or professional accreditation
So, simply – you can spot a dodgy script reading / script coverage service when the feedback is given anonymously. Without transparency or professional accreditation. It’s as simple as that. Without a name, it’s reasonable to expect the person reading your script has no credits, zero professional experience, and is giving notes that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Don’t waste your time.
These services need to be removed or remoulded for an industry that requires a truly professional approach, for an industry that respects experience and values writers and script readers who give genuinely helpful advice and notes – with transparency and professionalism.
People who aren’t scared to show their faces and offer their GENUINE advice and experience – I wouldn’t pay for advice on any subject, if I didn’t know who was giving the advice. And neither should script writers.
If you would like to hire me, personally to read and report and give your script qualified and transparent coverage from a genuine professional script writer – contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org – click here to read more about my Script Consultant Service.