a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Friday, February 17, 2006


So sometime last month, when I wasn't paying attention, I wrote my 9,000th piece of paid coverage. Now I'm up to -- yes -- 9,052.

Putting me on track to break the 10,000 barrier sometime in late 2007. Unless I sell a script. Then, maybe not until mid 2009.

Because this is a business I can never really see leaving. Even if I did sell a script, and got a writing gig or two, there are a lot of pluses to continuing reading, at least on a part-time basis. It's a steady source of income, it's a way to keep in touch with what's out there, hell, it's a way to keep in touch with the screenplay form.

And who can write 8 hours a day?

I'd probably feel different if I was reading slushpile stuff. But I'm not; most of the stuff I read is from producers or agents, so generally it's in the upper level of the vast mediocrity, with the occasional impressive script passing over my desk now and then.

Even the $60 script notes screenplays generally aren't bad. People can generally write readable scenes; it's the whole storytelling thing that most writers seem to trip over.

Still, 9,052. Damn.

When I moved out to Los Angeles in the summer of 1998, I was at 4,175 paid coverages. I naively hoped that I wouldn't hit 5,000.

That number passed a long time ago.

(And if you wonder how I know these numbers, it's because I have a succession of notebooks, in which I have logged everything I ever read and for who. Plus I have a tattered old Film Writers Guide, in which all the screenplays are entered by writer. Most names are scrawled in the margins. It makes it much easier to track when I get a script that I know I have read for someone else, sometime before).

Fortunately, I love what I do. I guess I'd have to.

Still, when I hit 10,000, someone better buy me a drink. Or at least a taco.


At 2:37 PM, Blogger Shawna said...

Good lord, the fact you have read coverage for that many literary properties (scripts, books, etc) and you STILL want to write and sell is a testament to your moxie.

And of the 9,052, how many can you honestly say you loved and wanted to see made?

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

I don't know. 50 maybe?

I tend to have to forget things, so that I can stay sane.

At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9052 x $60/per comes out to a whopping:


Holy Crap! Even if they weren't all $60, that's still a lot of cash.

So, do tell about all the coverage you did before you got out to California.

At 9:51 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Yeah, but that's over 15 years.

At 2:44 AM, Blogger Danny Stack said...

Way to go Scott, right with you buddy. (Sometimes I think we must be related).

At 7:42 AM, Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Hope you have digital copies of the notebooks.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Dang! Sweet! Are you still taking side-coverages (your crazy $60 offer)? I've got 2 or 3 more I wouldn't mind you taking a gander at.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous chris soth said...

taco's on me. more than that, would like to WRITE #10,000.


At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Lucy said...

Wow, nice one.

I think I must be near 5,000 now in the last three/four years - you've made me wish I kept count. Though having said that, I worked for a literary agent who seemed to SPECIALISE in the unbelievably DIRE at one stage, so maybe it's not worth remembering.

At 5:37 AM, Blogger Thomas Crymes said...

I offer a taco, a shot of tequila and a single marshmallow.

At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Joshua said...


Can you recall the best scripts you've read that were, before produced, somewhat unknown?

What were the bests ones, and why were they better?

At 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many third world country leaders does one need to assasinate before nailing that job... I'd love to do that

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Joshua --

Hard to say. I tend to forget scripts after I read them -- I have to.

I remember I liked Crash when I read it.

Basically, it's that juggling act between story, character, tone, theme and dialogue. It's just nice when it all comes together, and you realize you're in the hands of someone who can write.


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