Thinking of acquiring a screenplay proofreading service? The truth is writing is rewriting. For a young screenwriter, that means your script isn’t ready when you finish your first draft. In fact, the first draft is only the first step towards your actual screenplay. Yes, you’ve worked so hard on putting pen to paper and transforming your vision to characters and scenes but that’s not the destination, just the journey.
One of the major aspects of the rewriting process is proofreading. It’s an essential part of your journey as a screenwriter and all screenwriting schools can confirm that. Whether you’re considering putting up a screenwriter for hire ad or dreaming of selling your screenplay, good proofreading skills will always come in handy and it is a great habit to have for screenwriters.
Proofreading includes detecting and fixing any grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes you find in your script. At least that’s the most basic definition of proofreading any text but screenplay proofreading in particular is a whole lot more. It’s a thorough reevaluation of your script as a whole. Does it feel real? Is it a moving written work made for the big screen? And that’s why many screenwriters worry they’re not up to the task and look for professional screenplay proofreading services to do the work instead. Well let me share with you three crucial tips that can help you avoid such services. These three pieces of advice, if understood and taken into consideration, will make you a better proofreader, and ultimately, a better writer. And as a better writer, you will stand out among the other screenwriters for hire and make it big.
You Don’t Need a Screenplay Proofreading Service, Just a keen pair of eyes
To catch those frustrating mistakes, you need a clear mind. Not only a clear mind but a quiet environment, as well. To prepare for a proofreading session, you need to give yourself a space suitable for you to concentrate. You might be used to cafes as your go-to workspace but for proofreading specifically, you can’t afford the bustle of public spaces. Distractions in any form will unavoidably affect your focus which is the most important thing you need for screenplay proofreading. So if you plan on catching every little error, here are a few pointers on how to prep for proofreading your script:
Find a quiet spot. Just you and your script. You don’t need anyone around for this. Without any distractions around, whether it’s other people, music, or cars, you will be able to focus on your script without missing any mistakes.
2. Thorough read
A thorough read means sitting down and going through every single line of your script. Yes, I know you’ve written these words yourself and have probably read them many, many times but you simply cannot risk missing a typo or an apostrophe because you skimmed over a page or two. It will be tedious and time consuming, but you have to take it seriously. Finding punctuation or spelling mistakes can be done only when you read your script line by line. No quick scanning to get through the scenes and be done with it.
3. No devices
This is a real challenge, but you just need to power through a couple of hours without checking your phone. Checking your phone even for a minute will distract you. So put your phone on silent, or ideally turn it off completely, so you’re not tempted to check every pinging notification that you receive.
One Sharp Set Of Ears Is Paramount For Screenplay Proofreading
There’s a difference between sitting silently and reading your script, relying more on your visual focus to catch errors, and vocalizing your words. Reading your script out loud can help you find words or sentences that feel out of place because of the way they sound. For example, cluttered sentences or repeated words will be more likely heard rather than seen. And that does not only apply to dialogue. No, you’re going to read out every single word in your script including scene descriptions as well. Of course if you opt for screenplay proofreading services, you miss out on this experience because you don’t get to listen to your own script. A personal touch (or in this case, a personal listen) is always important.
Reading your script this way will also show you if there’s anything missing in your script in terms of story, so if you skipped this step and hired a screenplay proofreading services you could miss out on important details. During the writing stage, you can get carried away in certain scenes that you lose track of what your audience does or doesn’t know. By reading the script aloud you can experience it from a reader’s point of view, not the writer’s.
Another benefit of hearing yourself read the script is that you’ll be able to tell if some sentences are too long or unnatural. This can be very helpful to improve your dialogue. If there are any conversations in your script that are stuffed with unnaturally long lines of dialogue, you’ll detect that quickly because you’ll need to pause and breathe midway. If you’re thinking about selling your screenplay, realistic dialogue is an important feature you want in your script so hearing it out loud will definitely help.
Choose a Group Of People Over a Screenplay Proofreading Service
So you’ve went through every line of your script, you’ve read it aloud, now you need to not only hear it but hear it through other people. Plan a table read with other people so you hear what your script really sounds like outside your own head. Table reads are not just a test run before production. They enable actors and directors to see and hear the dynamics of characters, only written on a blank page thus far, become a reality. As you hear the lines you wrote come to life, you experience them in a new way. You can now find out what works and what doesn’t in terms of dialogue and characters.
During the table read, make sure you are completely focused on your copy of the script. Do not interfere in the reading process at all. All you have to do is listen, observe, and note down your observations as the table read progresses. Does scene ten feel as organic as you’d thought? Did the dialogue between the protagonist and antagonist sound realistic? Did your characters’ reactions match their personalities and the settings they’re in? The notes you take will guide you during your rewriting phase.
You don’t need an actual cast for a table read or any sort of screenplay proofreading services. Find a group of people who’d be interested in helping you with your script. It can be a bunch of friends, relatives, or you can look for film students from screenwriting schools who’d be willing to participate. Regardless of who ends up reading your script, you must be open to their feedback as well. Their point of view matters because essentially they are the audience and the audience is who you’re really writing for.