Newsflash – No One Wants to Read Your Script

Script readers all suffer from reading burn-oit. Lisa Alden offers a few tips on how to get past the defenses and write a decent readable script.


A few years ago, a screenwriter named Josh Olsen wrote a piece for the Village Voice called “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.” I wouldn’t say it broke the internet, but when it came out it seemed as if every Hollywood working Facebook friend I had shared the link to that article (talk about preaching to the choir). Up and over the Hills, West Side to East Side, 405 to the 101, the city of Los Angeles seemed to be applauding Josh for saying out loud what we were all thinking… pretty much the same feeling we have when Ricky Gervais hosts the Golden Globes. The difference between most of us and Josh is that, given the right motivation, pressure or good will, we will read your script. So I’d put a little kinder, softer spin on Josh’s pov and say that nobody wants to read your script. And if you accept this reality, it can be dealt with.

Before I was a writer, I was a studio executive. Before that, a development executive, and before that, a reader. A student (who obviously wanted me to feel really old) purported to have done the math that over the course of my career, I have read 10,000 scripts. The only good news about that is that I always recycle. Anyway, she was probably right in her guess. I’ve always thought the best metaphor of my days as a studio executive was Lucy in the candy factory. It seemed as if my job was just to keep the scripts moving down the conveyor belt.

Now, when I work with writers, I very rarely read pages. In fact, I do everything I can not to read their pages. And I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I do what I’m really good at, helping writers excavate and develop the potential of their idea. The execution of the idea, the story, is for the writer to get on the page.

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Watch the performance here:


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