All script writers instinctively know that all script readers are failed writers.
It’s just a fact.
Not a true fact, but a fact all the same.
We also know that all script readers are fucking imbeciles who wouldn’t understand how a story works if we explained it with graphs and slides and diagrams and possibly even a cute, animated cartoon character.
This too is a fact. Despite being completely wrong.
How can it be a fact and be wrong at the same time?
It can’t, you fucking idiot … and it’s not. Those statements are true/wrong at different times.
Script readers are imbecilic, know-nothing wannabe-writers … immediately after reading their notes and for about an hour or so afterwards. Possibly more, depending on how right their notes actually are. After that, there’s a gradual dissolve from being wrong/stupid to being right/annoying.
Sometimes they’re even embarrassingly right.
Even when they are genuinely wrong about something, the fact they’re wrong about it is important.
Let’s say a moronic script reader (for I have just read his/her notes and am near blind with rage) has completely and utterly missed the point of something I’ve written. Ten pages of their twelve page report is going on and fucking on about how the script fails to properly address something I haven’t even fucking mentioned and didn’t intend to.
They’ve read the script, wrongly assumed two guys are having an affair with each other and then further assumed that it’s woefully unclear that they are having an affair when they’re fucking not.
“The writer needs to bring the affair more to the front,” they witter “if the audience are to understand the emotional implications for all concerned.”
“Perhaps there’s more to be mined from exploring how the men feel about their affair given the prevailing homophobic sentiments of that organisation at that point in history?” they’ll chunter on and fucking on.
“Maybe,” they’ll ramble, in an endless fucking stream of pointless fucking wrongness “the dual protagonists should get caught? Since the main strand of the movie is the consequences of their actions, this might help lift the dramatic question out of the murk and … ”
Blah, blah, fucking blah.
There aren’t even any fucking men in this script! They’re all women! And none of them are having an affair! Not with each other or anyone else! The reason the consequences of their actions are not mined more is because there are no fucking consequences of their fucking actions because they’re not fucking fucking! Why the fuckity fuck can you not see that?
Ah, finally, a sensible question.
Why can’t they see it? Why do they think there are men in this script who are having an affair?
Instead of assuming stupidity, let’s assume this is a well-educated, well-read, intelligent individual who, for some reason, has misunderstood the point I’m trying to get across.
That’s what’s important here.
I could rail against them and their inability to comprehend simple fucking English. I could decide they’re just too fucking stupid to read my script … but the fact remains, whether they’re smart or dumb … they misunderstood my script.
That means my script can be misunderstood.
Possibly by everyone.
This will never do.
If this script reader, no matter their qualifications, experience or ability, has made this mistake then maybe everyone else will?
Maybe calling one woman Ashley and the other Sam was a mistake? Maybe there’s some line somewhere which is ambiguously worded which will confuse the fuck out of everyone who reads the script? Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the script, but some of the people who read it are bringing their own opinions/baggage and assuming things to be true which weren’t intended?
Whatever the reason, something probably needs to be fixed.
Even, and this is probably rare, even if the script reader is a fucking moron … the script still needs to be fixed so that no one else will ever make the same mistake.
Maybe that means underlining the introduction of the two women, ASHLEY and SAM? Maybe it means picking more feminine names? Maybe it means combing through for words like affair or longing or desire and deleting/changing them?
The problem as I see it is less one of misunderstanding and more one of miscommunication – I haven’t communicated the idea properly and if one person has gotten the wrong interpretation then so might the next. And the next. And the next … because, at the end of the day, I have no control over the IQ of the people reading my script and even the smartest people make mistakes … especially when it’s not crystal clear to begin with.
I can’t choose whose desk this does or doesn’t land on – all I can do is try to make sure it’s clear, simple and moron proof.
Which is tricky when (possibly) the stupidest person reading it is the moron who wrote it in the first place.