BIPOC Community Post - - Please Read My Script?

How to Make it in Show Biz - Our First Question!

Nathalie Younglai - our fearless BIPOC TV & Film ( leader - brings up a really good etiquette question: When is the right time (and how) to ask someone to read your script?

WHEN to ask for another set of eyes:
- after your third personal draft - none of this, "I just finished something, wanna read it?" stuff.
- when you are for-real stuck - can't see the woods for the trees - get yourself a forest ranger to pull you out of that muck!
- When you're ready to send it somewhere, applications, contests, to those mucky-mucks who will change your brain babies into cash money.

WHO you are sending the script to:
Friends and Relatives: 
- Copy edit and send away -- and be specific about what kind of feedback you're looking for.

Friends/Relatives that are also Professional Writers: 
- Copy edit and format. Nothing says 'I'm don't take your job seriously' like a centered word doc. I get you, boo, Final Draft is expensive, but Celtex is free.
- Be specific about what kind of notes you're looking for: general impressions, notes about character, dialogue, or structure etc. *and if you intend to send this to a Pro or apply for something with it, ask them to tell you if they think it's ready.
- What can you do for them in return? Read their script? Introduce them to your hot cousin? Do their dishes?

Contacts who are Professionals:
- Have you met them in person? If not, DO NOT SEND THEM YOUR SCRIPT.
- Meet them once but that's all - NOT READY, FREDDY.
- Networked with them? Became Facebook friends - you're on your way, BUT YOU'RE NOT READY.
- Networked with them a few times, friendly rapport - NOPE
- Networked with them enough that they know your name - OK, MAKE THE ASK! 
- Was put forward by another Professional to send it in - WHY ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? SEND IT ALREADY

HOW to know if it's the right time to make the ask:
- Do you and the Pro have something in common, something you chat about easily? Is that thing is in your script? Same aesthetics, sense of humour. Ask yourself why them, what can they help you with?
- Ask yourself WHY you want that person to read it - is it only because that person is a Pro - don't forget that bad feedback can be derailing - make sure you're asking the right match for your precious brain art.
- Are you asking because you want to get a job from them - Gak! Wrong reason, my lovelies. Yes, it would be a very happy ending - but keep that intention to yourself - we'll talk all about this later.
- Most Importantly: Have you been cleared to send this to them by that professional writer friend of yours? If not - get the go-ahead before you send a virtual stranger anything. The first read is free, if it's not their bag, that was your kick at the can with them.

If they say yes checklist: Copy edit, format, what kind of notes are you looking for (keep this to a max. of one or two things). AND Give them a logline and a paragraph synopsis in the body of your email so they know what they're getting into - Include trigger warnings, please! Be mindful of their time but be clear if you're working on a deadline, what is it and what is it for (competitions, applications etc.). Can you offer them a bottle of wine, a meat platter, or at the very least to pay it forward? Gratitude and manners will get you far in this biz.

If they say no: Thank them and gracefully change the subject. Don't ask when they might have time in the future. Yeah, it's disappointing, but remember this -- if a train doesn't stop at your station, it's not your train. You'll find your reader, don't give up.

Remember, every situation is different at this is fairly general advice - if you have a specific question let me know in the comments!

Gillian MullerComment