For those times you want to read a screenplay, without having to read a screenplay.
I have to admit that as I get older, I can't spend as much time reading my laptop screen as I used to. This has caused me to shift toward embracing audiobooks and other ways to get my fix after spending all workday staring at a screen. Tragically, that decreased the number of screenplays I was able to read, since it's not like I carry around a bunch of printed ones or have them in my apartment.
Then, a friend told me about a new online service that converts screenplays into audio files so you can stream directly on your phone or computer when reading isn't convenient. It's called Streamplayed and is currently in the beta version. That means the service is free... for now.
I hopped on their site to try it out. After signing up with a password-protected login, I was able to upload my 107-page screenplay. Then I chose which automated voice I wanted to read it. You can pick male or female, with a British or American accent. About 10 minutes later, I got an email saying it was ready.
The whole script clocked in at a little over two hours of read-aloud time. I listened for about 25 minutes to get the gist, and heard a few spelling errors I'll need to clean up. One thing that none of these sites have been able to get right, thanks to AI, is just the emotionless quality. I also wish you could cast different roles with different genre voices, but that might actually take a ton of work and innovation in the future.
Despite those shortcomings, I was able to tune out the noise and listen to the words. I even found it easy to mark where I thought scene description went on too long, or where dialogue didn't quite mesh. That's a valuable tool. No word yet on what it will cost when pricing comes into play, but for now, take advantage while it's free.
I spoke with customer service, who gave me some reassurances about what is to come with the app. They told me that your scripts and audio files are only accessible by you and that they use SSL encryption to protect data transfer as is the standard for online commerce. So be at ease about your ideas being stolen.
Right now, there's no way to share your audio files with another person unless you download them. But in the future, they might put in functionality that would allow you to share your screenplay, kind of like how you can share a Google Doc with select people, so you can track submissions.
You can take the service for a test run at www.streamplayed.com and then let me know what you think in the comments!