It’s almost that time of year when contests and fellowships start contacting people who made it to the next round. I did an interview with a reader from one of the network writing programs to find out about what they’re looking for.
When you’re given the scripts, are they anonymous? Do you as a reader look at any of the other submission info like the bio and stuff?
When your script is in the initial round, readers won’t take any personal info into account. We’re really just reading the script and looking to see if the writer has a clear understanding of the basics of storytelling, a strong voice, and (in the case of spec scripts) familiarity with the show.
What did the fellowship people tell you to look for when reading? How did they tell you to judge the scripts? What’s the process to make it to the next round?
I wish I could sugar-coat it, but the entire process is mostly subjective. If you wrote a drama, did you surprise me and keep me wanting more? If you wrote a comedy, did you make me laugh? Keep in mind, what I may find appealing may be a total turn-off to the next reader (and sometimes is… haha). Yet despite this fact, there are definitely guidelines. You must follow the format of the show you’re speccing. I can’t tell you how many people submitted specs that were too long or too short or didn’t follow the same structure (e.g. failing to include the right number of act breaks) or didn’t feature any of the main characters. In order to make it to the next round, you have to get the basics down and still write something entertaining and unique. That’s all. Unfortunately, not many people who apply can do this.