Script-in-Hand reads early draft scripts, not necessarily first drafts. Scripts will normally have undergone rewrites and be as good as the writer can possibly make them so far.
Script-in-Hand is not a workshop. It is for writers to hear their scripts spoken by experienced actors to discover what works and what doesn’t.
Having your script directed and read by seasoned artists in front of an audience will help you to polish your script even more until it becomes that work of genius producers will kill for.
Submit your script to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your script should:
• Be in an accepted format. (There is an example of an acceptable play format tab on this site)
• Be in 12 point font.
• Have numbered pages.
• Have a title page with the title and genre (comedy, drama etc), your name, email address and contact phone number.
• Have a cast list with a brief character description for casting purposes:
1 to 3 words of sex, age and character description
1 to 3 words of physical description
1 to 3 words of emotional description
Something like this for example:
Roy: Male, 50’s, Plumber. Short with a limp. Curt, abrasive.
Susie: Female,20’s. Feminist Uni student. Pumps iron 7 days a week. Loud, pugnacious.
Roxy: Female, 40’s Working mum with teenage son. Plump. Nervous, insecure, brittle.
Vivian: Male, 30’s, Professional poker player. Urbane, charming. A weakness for women.
The Actors that are available for the night might not fit the bill exactly, but at least they and the Director will have an inkling of the characters you have in mind.
The total reading time at our meetings is around 80-90 minutes plus a 15 minute break. Writers are allocated reading slots of up to 20 minutes. We try to programme for around 6 pieces of work to be read during the evening so most slots will be under 20 minutes.
• If the script you submitted is longer than the time allocated for your reading, a full length play for example, then you must select that part of your script that you wish to be read. It is important that you don’t run overtime as this will inconvenience other writers, actors and the audience. If it’s the first time the script has been read writers usually select the opening scenes, and then submit further scenes for reading at future meetings until the whole play has been read.
• If the scenes to be read are not the opening ones, then you must write a brief précis of the story up to that point (probably no more than 200 words) so that it can be read to the audience beforehand in order that they can understand the plot and follow the action.
Is only given if requested beforehand. More under the Feedback tab on this site.
Will be allocated three or four weeks before the reading.
• You can arrange a Director yourself providing they are experienced (they must sign up for the AA e-newsletter). They will be directing seasoned actors, therefore novice directors are not permitted. If you do wish to arrange a Director yourself you must let us know as soon as you receive the email confirming your meeting time slot, so that one isn’t allocated for you.
• If you are a writer who is also an experienced Director, you can direct your own work, but you will gain more when your work is examined through another Director’s eyes.
• Will be cast by the Director from the Actors Anonymous pool of actors a week or so before the reading night.
• Be prepared to provide hard copy scripts for the director and actors if requested. Scripts should be clearly printed on A4 paper, one side only, and in no less that 12 point font.
• You can arrange actors yourself providing they are experienced (they must sign up for the AA e-newsletter). If you are going to arrange actors yourself you must let us know as soon as you receive the email confirming your meeting time slot, so that Actors Anonymous doesn’t advertise the roles in the e-newsletter as available to be filled.
• It is important that you do not arrange actors yourself unless you have already arranged a Director. Directors, like actors, are giving their time freely to your work, and need to be closely involved with the casting.
The Director will contact you to discuss your script before rehearsal. You should be prepared to discuss your vision, the theme and other aspects of the piece, and explain what you are trying to achieve by having the piece performed at a reading.
The Director will organise a short rehearsal read-through with the actors at a time and place convenient to them, and invite you to attend. Remember, the rehearsal is not a workshop where you can re-write your whole script, but making small changes where they are necessary is usually acceptable.
Golden Rules for Playwrights Attending Rehearsals (plus a couple of extra ones for SIH writers)
• The Director is in charge, not you.
• The Director is the Director, not you.
• Stay out of the way.
• Don’t comment unless invited.
• Never, never, ever interrupt.
• Never address an actor directly without going through the Director.
• Never answer questions that the Director addresses to actors about your script. Directors and Actors have techniques for delving into back stories, motives, themes, etc. If they want your input they will ask for it.
• If you do wish to raise any critical points, they should be made privately and to the Director alone.
• Be prepared to listen to, and discuss, criticisms of the script. Experienced Actors and Directors will often suggest changes, even just a word or a line, that will vastly improve a script.
• Only you can change your script, but be very open to suggestions and be prepared to make changes unless you have good reasons not to.
• Remember, you own what’s on the page; the Director owns what’s on the stage.
• Above all, be courteous. The artists are giving your script their valuable expertise and time for free to help you improve it. Be grateful.
• Say thank you and pay for the coffee.
On the Reading Night.
Turn up. If the cast is small, you might like to offer to contribute towards their admission. Be nervous, edgy, perspire and curse, but enjoy the reading, and gain some insight for your next draft. Script-in-Hand unashamedly gives preference to writers who regularly attend to support our artists. Gerry Greenland.