Nicholas sent me this email a few weeks ago and I'm only just now getting around to it. Sorry!
I've been reading your site for a while. Love it. You give great advice. But to be honest, having never read or attempted to read a bad script, I never really knew what it was like to be a reader. Until just 20 minutes ago...
On a whim I decided to get a Triggerstreet account so that I could DL some bad scripts and learn from them. I immediately regretted my decision. Let me just say...the script I attempted to read was instantly painful to behold. No, seriously, it cause me physical pain. I don't know how, but it did.
So I attempted to read the first few pages of that same writer's newest script -- the forth they have uploaded. It was certainly better, but still so entirely cringe worthy.
How do you do it man? If nearly every script I read was that bad... Fuck, I just don't know... I'm not a drinker, but I feel like the only way I could get through being a reader is if I knocked back a bottle of scotch before heading to work each morning.
So really, all I wanted to say was: I feel your pain, man. I'm bitter after just 10 pages, and I'm not even required to finish the damn thing. I'd hate to find out how bitter you are after 6 years of this dreck.
I'm sure someone is going to pop up and defend Triggerstreet, but I will say that my extremely limited exposure to their scripts (a fact which goes back probably five years at this point) leads me to believe that most of what you'll find on that site is worse than what I read. Like I said, I haven't been there in a long time so for all I know, it could be a writer's haven, populated by only the best and the brightest who give insightful critiques to truly stellar scripts.
But I doubt it.
However, reading bad scripts is just part of the job. Sometimes the bad scripts excite me more than the good ones, to be honest. If it's a weak script, but I can see exactly where it went wrong and I'm pretty sure I know how to fix it, it really ends up stimulating my imagination. It's always fun to be able to write coverage that points out several flaws while still being able to offer a lot of intelligent solutions to them. How many jobs let you exercise that part of your brain?
And then there are the scripts that are beyond saving but are still entertainingly bad in an "Ed Wood" sort of way. These are rather rare, though. Most bad scripts are of the "boring bad" variety, and yeah, they can be total soul drainers. If you're lucky, they're bad in ways to entertainingly savage. Bad reviews are almost always more fun to write than good reviews. There are times where I'll write a really brutal, savage review of a script just to get it out of my system. Then I'll go back and rewrite a lot of it to make it acceptable for "agency-style" coverage.
Are there weeks where I'm bored to death and just frustrated with what I've had to read? Sure, all the time! But is there any job that doesn't suck at all? I'm sure that even the guy who gets to paint the bikinis on the naked Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models would have something to bitch about if you asked him.
Though I can't imagine what.