28. Beg, steal, or borrow a proofreader
Some people are absolutely swimming in peers who are available to read their work – but a lot of us aren’t so lucky. So how can you proofread your own screenplay?
We’ve primed some advice just for you on how to proofread your own work without harassing strangers on the street shouting, “Can you please read my script?!”
Different reading styles
The best method to start with is reading the whole dang thing aloud like a nutjob talking to himself on the last subway. Scripts are always read aloud (including stage directions!) at a readthrough anyways, so this is an important step.
Printing out your script before the verbal read is still unrivalled for finding all those pesky mistakes; pay special attention to each individual word on the paper read-through. (No one knows why, but there’s a mystical ancient power words on paper hold that refuses to be killed by computers – reading text on paper reveals mistakes computer screens don’t.)
An approach to doing this you may want to consider: instead of reading every word in the script cover to cover, read just the scene headings, just the character titles, or just the dialogue. This helps focus your attention on a specific element of writing and will increase the consistency of good grammar and spelling across your script.
You can use these proofreading tricks for every final draft to make 110% sure there ain’t a single typo poking its ugly head out of your gorgeous screenplay. You want nothing more than for someone to be able to read through your entire script and only have notes on the story, not spelling mistakes you could have found yourself.
Aw, but do I really gotta proof?
Do you really need to proofread? You’re probably wondering what the big deal is about the odd typo, as long as the story makes sense, right? Wrong. All those seemingly trivial typos have a huge impact on your story.
It might have been a really powerful line of dialogue that single-handedly ups the stakes for all the characters – but was marred by a “their” where a “they’re” should be (ow, our eyes!). Instead of getting immersed in the edge-of-your-seat story, the reader is hurled out of willingly suspending disbelief with a stark reminder it’s not real.
We’re nearly at the end of our screenwriting course, so get your masterpiece presentation-ready. If you want your screenplay proofed to the utmost standard and you have a fair bit of cash floating around, check out these sites:
Script Reader Pro
On a budget? Check this site out.
Proof My Spec
Get your script proofread! Anyone is better than no one.
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