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Secrets from a Script Reader: Resources for Screenwriters

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Within the queries that I receive as a writer and professional script reader, I’ve found over the years that I offer some of the same resources to common questions. I wanted to share those resources with you in case they’re helpful on your screenwriting or filmmaking journey.

PROTECTING YOUR WORK

It’s important that you protect your work before sending it out, so I always love when writers are conscious of this step. The works you’ve created are your blood, sweat, and tears, and you should do everything in your power to make sure that your babies are protected. First off, I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but you can read more about this topic from Ms. In the Biz’s contributing entertainment lawyer right here.

I always suggest the same steps that I take when I complete a script before sending it out to anyone – 1) copyright, at the very least, and 2) registering with the Writer’s Guild. Here are the links where you can do that:

WHERE TO READ SCRIPTS

If you’ve read my column or heard any of my Tea with Ke episodes on Facebook Live, then you know that I highly recommend that screenwriters read scripts – the good and the bad. You can learn just as much from a well-written script as from a script that needs polishing. So where do you find those scripts to read? Below are a few links to resources where you can read award winning scripts and screenplays from writers that aren’t yet working writers.

HOW DO I GET AN AGENT?

This isn’t a question that I’m the best one to answer since my forte is in story analysis. However, what I can offer you is the best resource other than referrals in searching for representation:

If you can’t afford a subscription, ask to borrow a friend’s or chip in with a friend and share an account. If you want to be a pro in the business, you need to know who the players are. IMDB Pro is an excellent resource for doing research on agents and managers that you’re interested in repping you.

HOW MUCH TO CHARGE FOR YOUR WRITING

A question I get on a regular basis is how much a writer should charge for a gig they got as a screenwriter. First of all, congratulations!! It doesn’t matter what the gig is, the fact that someone is interested in paying you to write is fantastic! A good rule of thumb is to consult the Writer’s Guild website to assess the Schedule of Minimums they set as you decide what rate to negotiate:

I also suggest that newbie producers seeking screenwriters to pen their next film review the schedule of minimums so that you understand the typical rates a screenwriter would be compensated.

BECOMING A SCRIPT READER

This is the most common question I’ve gotten over the years. Check out the following Tea with Ke Facebook Lives I did on what a script reader does and getting a job as a story analyst:

If you have any other questions about resources in the world of screenwriting, you can always contact me through my website or catch me on my weekly Facebook Live on my Facebook Page.

Joanna Ke

About Joanna Ke

If grace married silliness, their child would be Joanna Ke. Joanna is an award-winning filmmaker that thrives in the industry as an actor, writer, professional script reader, and producer. She champions diverse stories led by women both behind and in front of the camera. Joanna has been creating stories ever since she was a child, performing skits for her sisters and scribbling in journals before she even know how to write. She studied the craft of screenwriting with the late, great Syd Field. As a professional script reader, she is known for her ability to masterfully analyze screenplays. Joanna runs the twitter account @femcharacters, highlighting the unfortunate way women are often portrayed on screen. She also isn’t too shabby as a stunt performer and sword fighter. Wielding her broadsword is a favorite both on camera and off.