This was an interesting app to play with.
As a writer and an avid script reader, I frequently have a pile of screenplays I want to get through. These scripts are my own for proofing, some professionals' for learning, and friends' for noting. That's a lot on the eyes. Well, a rep at Script Speaker reached out to me to show me a new app that translates your screenplay into audio MP3s. You pay $5 a month and get unlimited script uploads during that time.
I decided to give it a while. This is what I found.
The service is pretty easy to use. Once you sign in and pay the fee, you can just start uploading PDFs or FOUNTAIN files. I uploaded two—picking different voices for both.
The major downside is upfront. Right now, you cannot assign voices to characters. Just one voice to narrate the entire script. Other than that, you still have a relatively emotionless voice reading your script out loud to you.
One thing I did like was before it converts it, it highlights some parts of your script in yellow, and asks you to phonetically spell it out so the read is better. This was pretty intuitive and worked well for me. Script Speaker seems to have put a lot of time into keeping everything simple.
Still, there is an inherent convenience here. These were easy to download and access from anywhere. I was able to put them on my phone, take a walk and listen to them. A 110-page script came to be a two-hour and 15-minute file. And an 88-page script clocked in right under two hours. You can adjust the reading speed, but I felt like when I did that, they went too fast to really comprehend.
I can read a feature in around an hour, so it's much slower to listen, but I will say I loved walking and listening to the scripts. I could even bring them to the gym and listen, so I was basically resting my eyes but letting my mind work.
Another thing I liked it for more was listening to treatments. Then it was sort of like listening to an audiobook. I could hear a whole idea read back to me. I found imagining the story to work better this way.
If you could cast different characters with different voices, this would change, but currently, no one can do that. It's the real big hurdle to make this good, that and voices with some emotion.
For $5, I think it's useful to pay that once, but I cannot imagine a recurring subscription to use this unless I was an executive with a massive weekend read.
Let me know what you think in the comments.