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Why You Should Organize Your Own Table Read For Your Screenplay


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by Script Reader Pro in Screenwriting Tips/Hacks
July 17, 2015 2 comments
how to write for tv

You may have heard that it’s a good idea to read your screenplay aloud to get a proper perspective on it. Why not organize a table read of your script yourself!

The read-through, or ‘Table Read,’ is one of the most important stages for film and theatre production when an organized reading of the script is performed by all the actors, (sitting around a table) towards the end of pre-production.

Why Should I Table Read My Screenplay?

William Goldman calls the screenplay “table read” the most important part of the process in film production.

He is talking about screenplays that have been bought but a table read can also be an extremely powerful tool in the process of writing a spec script. And yet few writers actually do it.

The obvious advantage to having people read your script aloud is that it irons out the dialogue. All wooden, on-the-nose dialogue will have no place to hide during a script read-through.

Phrases that you’ve read a hundred times in your head and sound wonderful, can suddenly feel painfully awkward when read aloud by someone else.

But that’s not all. Nothing can beat a table read to flag up any unnatural situations, unnecessary / boring scenes and plot holes.

This will be the first time the script moves from out of your head into the real world, and the insights, observations and tips gained from a screenplay table read can be an invaluable exercise in discovering just how good (or bad) your script really is.

You’ll be able to see first hand how people react to your written words on the page. If it’s a Comedy, are people are laughing?

If it’s an Action / Adventure are people excited? Get it right during a table read and you’re well on your way to getting that “Recommend” from an agency or production company.

But I Don’t Know Any Actors To Table Read My Screenplay!

If you don’t have access to a bunch of actor friends willing to get together for three hours to perform a table read of your script, don’t despair. Just get a group of your friends or family together to table read your screenplay instead.

Don’t worry about a lack of rehearsal time. Usually people will be reading the script “cold” but that shouldn’t deter you from the process. Lay on some pizza and beers and make it happen!

The fact they’re not professional actors will not stop you or them from knowing what’s working and what’s not when read aloud. Performing a table read of a screenplay really is an invaluable exercise that we can’t recommend highly enough.


What has performing your own table read done for your screenwriting?  Let us know in the comments section below! 

  1. Mack Lewis says:

    during my first table read, there was a moment when the mood of the room changed and got super tense when the script reached THAT point. it was so exciting to see and feel it work like that. the tension was real, tangible and proved that the writing worked. it was probably the best moment in my writing life so far.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s great, Mack – good luck with the script!

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