When Kamera Books asked me my opinion of The Script Factory’s Lucy Scher’s book, “Reading Screenplays” I was happy to oblige … I’ve not met Lucy or done her script reading course, so it’s fair to say I was curious!
And I wasn’t disappointed. Genre and storytelling plays a major part of Lucy’s book – and is why I’m recommending it so strongly. As I often say on this site, very few writers consider how genre and/or various ways of storytelling affect their scripts and then wonder why their writing fails to progress. Underpinning your screenwriting craft skills with a strong understanding of narrative choices and how people in the industry sees them is an absolute MUST – and Lucy draws proper attention to this in the book.
In addition, Lucy breaks down the script report, de-mystifying the process for those who have never done one before and highlighting issues readers may flag up and why. Like many industry readers pre-2003ish, I never did a specific script reading course and learnt “on the job” so don’t happen to break down the script in exactly the same way, but found Lucy’s breakdown useful and straightforward. There are also handy references to films both Hollywood and British throughout to illustrate, as well as some (presumably made up) scripts or specs that have given their permission.
At no time does Lucy insist there is a specific way to read a script, which fits in with my belief it’s about intuition, too. It’s not a “how to” book, but one that endeavours to enlighten writers on what may happen to their script “behind the scenes”, which is why I feel it is such a worthwhile read. My only criticism is a tiny one – I feel the resources section was a bit basic, especially listing online sites.
Reading Screenplays by The Script Factory’s Lucy Scher is published by Kamera Books and part of their excellent “Creative Essentials” line.
… WANT MY COPY?
It’s a tiny bit dog-eared and the baby has bitten it on the side, but it’s still very much readable! Comment on this post and at the end of the week I’ll pick a winner and send it to you in the post.
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