How can I become a freelance script reader?

Networking.

You really don’t apply for a script reader position. It’s even very difficult to directly apply for a position that will allow you to take on script reading roles.

It starts with internships, which you CAN apply for if you’re a college student. You’ll answer phones, be a go-fer, and yes, you’ll be able to read scripts and learn how to write script coverage.

Beyond internships, you need to be in Hollywood, which is basically the greater Los Angeles area. You need to be there. That’s where you network your way into such roles. Sure, in these contemporary times, you could argue that you could be a script reader working in a virtual office from anywhere, however, it’s tough to get such a position while living in L.A. let alone not living in L.A.

Regardless, in the end, it’s who you know that’ll garner you the opportunity.

You can build yourself a wealth of experience by learning to write studio coverage. The Screenwriter’s Bible, if memory serves, showcasing a studio coverage form. I found a similar example online of what I used at Sony. Disregard the Screenwriting for Hollywood title at the top. Everything below that was nearly identical to the coverage form I used at Sony, beyond the budget, title, and marketability items, which we didn’t have (And “idea” was “concept” for us).

So what you can do to train is to take such a form like this and read scripts from local or online screenwriting communities and break them down in the most objective way possible. You have to be able to separate most of your subjective opinion and look at the script from an objective point of view as a script reader working in development at a Hollywood studio or production company.

Build a small library of coverage with at least a dozen samples (digital). Showcase some well thought out analysis with both and remember that you’re not just looking for a reason why a script DOESN’T work, but also why it DOES.

And then network. You have to network to get those jobs. You really do. Become an assistant at a production company or studio. You’ll primarily be reading scripts then, along with office work.

Lastly, know that it’s not an easy job. 95% of the scripts you read will SUCK. Big time. Yet you still have to write coverage on them. You still have to write a synopsis and analysis… on a script you f***ing hate. 95% of the time.

4% are average or just above.

And it’s VERY rare to find that top 1% that you recommend.

Network. Network. Network.

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