ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

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

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Reading Thing

This blog essentially started out as a blog about reading scripts, though it has morphed over the years, as I ran through the few good reading stories I had, took a bit of glee in posting really bad typos and spelling mistakes, and tried to toss out whatever knowledge came to me that hadn't already been chewed over too much other places.

It occurred to me the other day that I had drifted away from the reader posts, maybe because my reading work has been so unimpressive over the last year or so. I used to be a senior reader for Miramax/Dimension, where I'd get a lot of hot scripts that went somewhere, but then Miramax imploded, and since then I've been working for a lot of smaller production companies.

Unfortunately, they largely have me reading books (the cool companies I work for) or dumb teen stuff (the teen-geared company that I occasionally toil for) or the stuff that everyone else has pretty much already passed on (the basic-cable company that gives me the most work at this point).

On the plus side, most of the work is in Burbank or messengered, so I don't have to get on the 405 or try to go over the hills at rush hour.

On the downside, I can't remember the last script I read that was really good, or intriguing, or that was even inevitably destined for the big screen.

I'm looking for another client now, and I'm trying to rectify this, by trying to find a production company that is actually on the list of places that people immediately send good scripts for possible production. Hopefully that works out, and that soon I'll be able to say that I read the latest thing by that cool big-name writer.

Which has to be better than the dreadful uplifting, spiritual, angels-and-demon riddled tale I read last night, which was full of random dancing and misspellings in almost equal measure (my favorite -- "whole in the wall").

Meanwhile, welcome The Rouge Wave to the blogworld, another reader who is fighting the good fight.

8 Comments:

At 10:18 AM, Blogger James said...

Since about, October, I've been reading a lot of the "hottest" scripts... stuff that's in development, stuff that is going to get made, stuff by well-known writers that will probably never get made, and anything inbetween...

While I really can't say anything specific...

The bar is pretty low, even at the upper end. Sadly.

 
At 3:59 PM, Blogger Word Demon said...

My thoughts exactly!!!

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger mernitman said...

Sorry to hear of your recent loss, Scott. It's good to see you back in the saddle again.

Thanks for the turn-on to "Rouge," and wondered if you have bloggable ruminations on the infamous "Black List" of a month ago, re: supposed "hot" scripts in 2006.

I found as usual (this was true for the list in 2005) a 50-50 mix of scripts/writers that really are exceptional (e.g. Kelly Sane's great RENDITION) and big whopping "huh?!" stinkers (e.g. that execrable BRIGANDS script).

Thoughts?

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Sadly, I didn't read any of them.

 
At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Leif Smart said...

I'd be interested in hearing some stories about your experiences with your notes service, assuming the writers consent of course.

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger wcmartell said...

"whole in the wall" is one of those typos that engages the imagination - how might living in a wall make you whole? How could all of something exist in a wall? There's an idea in there somewhere.

Over the holidays I read a script from Warner Bros that once had the #1 star in the world attached (this version was written for him) and... it sucked. I mean, not only did the story suck, and the dialogue suck, but the writing itself seemed to be something more likely to come from a ten year old than a progessional writer. Sentences stumbled, or you'd have to read them a half dozen times to figure out what they meant. I wondered how this guy got this job...

Though the same thing when I read the Jon Cohen draft of MINORITY REPORT (though it was slightly better written). There are all of these sloppy, crappy writers earning so much more than I earn... and if their scripts were better than mine, that would be okay... but they're so much worse that I don't understand it.

Then I'll read some other script that makes me think I don't have any talent at all - *this* guy can write!

Why the huge variation?

And... hope you get mostly good scripts.

- Bill

 
At 8:33 PM, Anonymous WillReadForFood said...

I read two of the 'Black List' scripts on my jobs.

PAN -- cool concept (Peter Pan is now an ethereal child killer who takes his victims to 'Neverland,' Captain Hook is the typical burned out detective in missing persons, and he teams up with Wendy Darling to unravel the mystery. Unfortunately, the execution was lacking.

THE CHANGELING -- fantastic screenplay, perhaps even more interesting for the fact that it's an entirely true story. In fact, it's so implausible that the writer very cleverly cut in copies of actual news stories from the 1930's when it took place. Every time you hit a plot point that seemed outlandish, you'd turn the page and find out that it was completely true. Incidentally, even though it was a true story, the writer still did a fabulous job.

 
At 2:15 AM, Blogger Chris Soth said...

Let me send a shout out to this new blogger too...dedicated writer and good guy:

http://red-wedding.blogspot.com/

How about we WRITE some great scripts in 2007?

 

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