Unsolicited submission: How to grab the attention of a script reader

The best most writers are likely to get from a script reader is an automatic response.

You know the kind: “We’ve got your script. We can’t get back to everyone so, you know… don’t hold your breath.” Or words to that effect.

Days become weeks, weeks become months and eventually you realise that you are once again one of the many that didn’t make the cut. And that’s from a company that has asked for script submissions!

Well, prepare to have the curtain pulled back a smidge, because playwright Karis Halsall, who spent time as a script reader for The Bruntwood Prize and New Writing South, has given IdeasTap far more than an automatic response.

She provides a rare insight into the mind of script reader, with six chunks of advice. In particular, she says she’s looking for scripts that offer something new. In particular she’s looking for “a unique voice and view on the world” or “an exciting and pertinent central question”.

I won’t nick too much from IdeasTap, nip over there to get the full extent of Halsall’s expertise, but one other thing you can take away from the article is that script readers are human – who knew?

Then, of course, there’s the obligatory plea: don’t give up! “I’ve seen lots of great writers disheartened enough to stop,” says Halsall. “Don’t be one of them.”


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