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Big Bad
12-29-2009, 08:08 PM
(edited)

Joaneasley
12-30-2009, 07:38 AM
If you have some money saved up and can't find a development job, the development job that's easiest to get is as an unpaid intern. That's one way to get your foot in the door if you can afford to do it.

Big Bad
12-30-2009, 09:09 AM
(edited)

BattleDolphinZero
12-30-2009, 09:59 AM
internship is the way to go.

SuperScribe
12-30-2009, 11:33 AM
Covering scripts is fun (at least to me), but you have to hustle if you intend to support yourself doing it. Doubly so if you don't currently live in Los Angeles. (I don't.)

Because when the well runs dry? Ugh.

Rantanplan
12-30-2009, 12:59 PM
Covering scripts is fun (at least to me), but you have to hustle if you intend to support yourself doing it. Doubly so if you don't currently live in Los Angeles. (I don't.)

Because when the well runs dry? Ugh.

Just out of curiosity, what is the going rate per script at agencies, studios and such? A year or so ago I paid 100 bucks for studio type coverate (pretty minimal) to a friend of a friend who reads for the studios, and she made it sound like it was less than what she usually gets. I was under the impression that most readers get less than 100 $ / script though.

SuperScribe
12-30-2009, 01:12 PM
Depends on the turnaround time. But, yeah, if you're not in the readers union (I'm nowhere near that), it's much less than $100.

Just as an example (okay, it's not really a hypothetical, but we'll pretend it is), a two day turnaround might be $50, overnight might be $65, and by 5pm might be $75. And a manuscript might be $100.

As far as feedback notes are concerned, most reading services charge a lot more than that but pay their readers maybe a quarter of the price of the service. Readers who branch out on their own and offer coverage charge anywhere from $50 to thousands for their development notes. But that's a different industry, really. (I'm thinking that might have been what your friend was talking about -- i.e., what she usually charges for studio type coverage as feedback. Maybe not, though.)

Rantanplan
12-30-2009, 01:40 PM
OK so figure you need 3 K a month to live on, and you get an average of 60 bucks per script, that's 50 scripts a month, just over 10 a week.

How feasible is it to get that much work?

(Just thinking about the math makes me realize just how many scripts must be out there, all of which are competition for me. How freaking depressing)

SuperScribe
12-30-2009, 01:46 PM
Well, I no longer assume I need 3K a month to live on. :rolling:

I'm not sure how feasible it is right now. From my experience, which is limited, I would say it's not.

Though, I'm hoping EvilRbt and others will chime in. (Too bad goosetown isn't still around. He read something like 3000 scripts for New Line over a four year period.)

Rantanplan
12-30-2009, 02:14 PM
Well, I no longer assume I need 3K a month to live on. :rolling:


Are you saying you need more or less? I'm figuring that's the minimum I will need when I move to L.A. in three months, I mean it all adds up pretty quickly. Especially with a 12 year-old dog on medication... :(

SuperScribe
12-30-2009, 02:40 PM
Well, for me it's much less. But it's important to remember that a) I'm not living in L.A. right now, and b) I no longer eat.

So sorry to hear about your dog. :(

Big Bad
12-30-2009, 03:28 PM
Depends on the turnaround time. But, yeah, if you're not in the readers union (I'm nowhere near that), it's much less than $100.

Just as an example (okay, it's not really a hypothetical, but we'll pretend it is), a two day turnaround might be $50, overnight might be $65, and by 5pm might be $75. And a manuscript might be $100.

As far as feedback notes are concerned, most reading services charge a lot more than that but pay their readers maybe a quarter of the price of the service. Readers who branch out on their own and offer coverage charge anywhere from $50 to thousands for their development notes. But that's a different industry, really. (I'm thinking that might have been what your friend was talking about -- i.e., what she usually charges for studio type coverage as feedback. Maybe not, though.)

What's the deal with the reader's union? I didn't even know that existed.

Rantanplan
12-30-2009, 03:34 PM
Well, for me it's much less. But it's important to remember that a) I'm not living in L.A. right now, and b) I no longer eat.

So sorry to hear about your dog. :(

Well, I definitely have to give up a few vices in order to stretch my tiny severance pay all the way into late summer + make the move...

Yeah it's hard watching pets get older...

EvilRbt
12-30-2009, 03:39 PM
What's the deal with the reader's union? I didn't even know that existed.

There is a reader's union, it's part of the editors guild. But it's been impossible to join for many years because as long as they have members out of work, then no one new will get in (and there will be members out of work for a long time to come). So the union is a no-go, even for veteran freelancers.

As for paid reading gigs at prod companies, studios etc., they do exist but there are far fewer these days. Over the last couple of years (and b/c of the economic collapse) producers slashed housekeeping budgets and readers were the first to go.

Generating enough script volume to live in Los Angeles is tough. I read full-time but it's still difficult because I try to keep my fees reasonably low.

Your best bet is to try and find a paid internship somewhere. I know New Regency (where I read for a decade) used to pay their interns. Perhaps others here know of other companies who do the same.

Good luck to you and your dog. I'm a lifelong dog owner myself so I can empathize.

thatcomedian
12-30-2009, 10:00 PM
OK so figure you need 3 K a month to live on, and you get an average of 60 bucks per script, that's 50 scripts a month, just over 10 a week.

How feasible is it to get that much work?

(Just thinking about the math makes me realize just how many scripts must be out there, all of which are competition for me. How freaking depressing)
Are you talking gross or net? If talking gross than yes, if net than no you can live on less.

Rantanplan
12-31-2009, 11:18 AM
Are you talking gross or net? If talking gross than yes, if net than no you can live on less.

I was sort of thinking net, but I would aim for less (2700 or so) and save the rest for emergencies. But after rent, bills, health insurance, meds for doggie, there just isn't a whole lot left. And I don't even have a car to deal with yet.

I think I scored a one room sublet in Venice Beach. The rent is 950 but I''m going to bargain down (the guy's a friend) since I'll have to put stuff in storage. That's kind of expensive but I figure a sublet is a great way to arrive in a new town, it will allow me to get my bearings and figure out the lay of the land.

carcar
12-31-2009, 07:48 PM
If you could get a living situation in a less sexy part of town (like Koreatown, or Highland Park, or North Hollywood, or Palms), you could save some money and get to and from most work/interview situations quicker. A roommate can be a help, too, if you've got someone compatible. But if you're only going to be in town for three months, heck, do the Venice thing.

Mad Mat
01-12-2010, 08:31 AM
Hey guys, I'm heading out west soon and am interested in working in development for a studio or smaller production company while I do my writing on the side. Just wondering if anyone has any experience working as a reader or a creative exec of some kind - interested in hearing about any experiences or advice that might be helpful for an aspiring individual such as myself.

Thanks! :)

Hi Big Bad,

I had the fortunate experience to be a development exec for a couple of low-level production companies in the UK (where I live), so my experience may be (and probably will be) different to those in America.

I got the job on the back of doing script reports for a colleague of mine (we were on the same Board of Directors for a network association) who then set up production company with some money-men. Besides other factors, they primarily liked my take on the industry (i.e. the role of the producer is not to make a film, but to return a profit on the investors' investment) and offered me the job.

So my advice would be to network (network, network), remember you're reading the scripts for the producer's tastes (not yours) and be 'that guy' who can spot a great project for that company (not simply scripts that would make great films).

And with regard to my own screenwriting, from reading everyone else's scripts, mine improved no end.

All the best,

Mat.

Big Bad
01-14-2010, 04:50 PM
(edited)

jcgary
01-15-2010, 12:00 AM
I read scripts for 12 years, most of it exclusively for WMA. At my peak, I was reading 20 scripts a week only for them -- it was a great, cushy job, but it required immense discipline and there was a steep learning curve. Not to say that writing good coverage is necessarily difficult, but writing great coverage is very hard and doing it efficiently enough to make it worth your while is even harder. Most of the best readers I know can read and cover a script in an hour and a half, but all of those readers have been doing it for many years. It's a volume business, after all. When I first started out, it took me five or six hours to read and cover a script well.

You quickly learn a lot about what does and doesn't work in a screenplay, but after awhile, everything bleeds together and it starts leaching at your skills instead of building them. It took me a long time to work my way up the ladder at WMA, eventually securing a spot reading for Jim Wiatt. (And look where that got me! Fired! Thanks, Jim!) By the time I was his reader, nearly every script I read was something notable -- either a well-known writer or a project set up at a studio or production company or something submitted for a big-time client. I got to read 8 drafts of BARBERSHOP. I'm the one who told Eddie Murphy MEET DAVE was a bad idea. Cassian's office didn't listen to me when I said that DEATH AT A FUNERAL needed more work. I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY: not my fault. Dreamworks wanted Ah-nuld for GLADIATOR. I told him to say no because it just wasn't his kind of movie. I told his agent it would win Oscars if Ah-nuld wasn't in it. A couple years later, his agent sent me a very expensive gift basket the day after GLADIATOR won. He called me "The Prognosticator."

After the merger, we all were fired (well -- informed that our freelance services were no longer needed). I was the last one let go. Not fun, but the job had become velvet handcuffs, too cushy and well-paying to spur me to leave but little room for advancement (one of the detriments to reading for an agency). If you're a young writer and you've just moved to town, it's not a job I'd recommend, for a few reasons. First, reader jobs are far fewer now. Second, networking opportunities are much greater as an assistant (most of my network came from the year I was on a desk -- only two or three of my professional circle come from the 12 years I spent reading). Third, you're more likely to get promoted off a desk than off reading (and there's nothing wrong with getting promoted while you continue to toil away as a writer). And lastly, everything you learn from being a reader you'll also learn by simply reading scripts (especially if you're a development intern/assistant).

I'd encourage you to seek out jobs where you'll be around development people and assistants and writers on a day-to-day basis. It's those personal relationships that will help you far more than the paycheck you'll get from being a reader. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

DaltWisney
01-15-2010, 03:43 AM
Get an internship at a legit production company with a studio deal. Build a good reputation and keep moving your way up, either with your original company or elsewhere. Aim for a mailroom or assistant position at one of the big agencies. It's like the Hollywood equivalent of Harvard Law. Everyone wants to see it on a resume.