Hollywood Assistants are the underpaid gatekeepers of the industry. So how can you get your script past them?
I worked as the assistant to the president fo a production company for two years. I have been super excited to see the #PayUpHollywood movement push its way forward and assistants get the recognition they deserve.
But I still feel like the general population doesn't quite understand how important assistants are within the structure of Hollywood.
As an assistant, you're the first person to read and usually cover the hottest scripts in town.
You're also the first one to read the worst ones.
Lucky for us, an assistant did a Reddit AMA where they detailed all their interactions with screenplays. I pulled some of the best quotes. Let's got through them together!
What does an Assistant Look for in a Script Submission?
Reddit user ProdGateKeeper1 took us to Hollywood development school. And I am eternally grateful for the education. Even if I lived it so long ago...
Let's go through the best answers and questions and learn together.
First up, let's talk about the slush pile.
The slush pile is basically all the scripts you have to read at any given point. We used to print them out, but in my time I just had a huge list of PDFs.
Okay, back to the questions.
One of the best metrics of coverage is the "can't miss" evaluation.
Your boss's time is precious. They have deals to close, so you need to make sure you focus them on what needs to be done right away. And if a script is SO GOOD that they should drop everything to read it...then that's a "recommend."
Otherwise, you usually put it in piles for writers you like, stuff you hated, and just strong samples that maybe would be interesting to develop.
Look, I won't lie to you. I did not finish maybe 50% of the scripts I opened as an assistant. If I knew the story wasn't right for our company or I thought the writing sucked, I just had an intern finish and cover.
I only covered the great stuff because 1. privilege and 2. Assistants are very busy too!
My weekend read was usually 3-5 scripts and maybe even a book. So I only finished the best of the best.
So how do most of these assistants get their start?
At the end of the day, most places are looking for agency experience when it comes to being a script reader or assistant.
So while I hate to say it, your best course of action, if this is a path you want, is to move to Los Angeles (or New York) to get agency or management experience.
If you have any other questions or comments, leave them below.
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