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Brigitta Manthey. successful. RUN, LOLA RUN by Tom Tykwer (1998). successful. GOOD BYE, LENIN! by Wolfgang Becker (2003). successful. THE LIVES OF OTHERS by Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck (2006). successful. RABBIT WITHOUT EARS by Til Schweiger (2007). successful.

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RUN, LOLA RUN by Tom Tykwer (1998)


GOOD BYE, LENIN! by Wolfgang Becker (2003)



by Florian Henkel von Donnersmarck (2006)



by Til Schweiger (2007)


THE WHITE RIBBON by Michael Haneke (2009)

but what is a good script
…but what is a good script?

there are three rules to a good script - but nobody knows one of them (Paul Schrader)

  • „nobody knows anything“ ! ?
  • everything is subject to individual taste ! ?
  • a good story is an original story ! ?
  • dramaturgical craftsmanship or anti-structure ?
  • identity or meaning ?
  • …and what is it about the communication with an audience???
8 reasons for rejection
8 reasons for rejection

beginning is unclear, complicated & does not get you into the story

protagonist is too passiv

sagging second act does not advance to the third act

ending is too sudden or too explicative or still open

facts are lacking research

story is too complex, overcharged, wants to please everybody & everyone

 dialogues – too many / too bad

 nothing new - ‚we had it all before!‘

nobody knows anything
nobody knows anything…

with lack of competence & waiver of quality check…

…. what do we get?

  •  misconceptions or pseudo-communication about filmprojects
  • absence of talks about optimization of a script
  • wrong diagnosis of a script with financial risk
  • a product left to mere chance


so what is a good script
…so what is a good script?

a goodscriptis not everything, but without a goodscripteverythingisnothing!(unknownauthor)

  • is emotional
  • is locigal
  • knows it‘s rules
  • works with people!

a good script

some facts in business
some facts in business
  • filmstoriesare
  • theraw-material & thekeycurrencyofthe film business
  • a promiseto a latter film
  • not exclusivelyartistic, but also an economicproduct
  • no product is offered to a market without a quality-check!
  • products with quality-check sell better!
and some more facts
… and some more facts
  • there is no routine in the filmbusiness
  • filmmaking isteamwork, but business-people‘s know-how is heterogenious
  • the relation of scripwriter & producer is important
  • there is a interlocking of development & production processes
  • money is the foodstuff of film  let‘s think strategically!
  • what is quality? - it can be planed!
here we have a nice script
here we have a nice script!
  • is it a good idea & a strong concept for a filmstory?
  • is the story logical & emotional?
  • does it follow rules?
  • is it standard or something else?
  • does it communicate?
  • can it be summarized it in two or three sentences?
  • potential for cinema or television or both?
  • potential for larger or smaller audiences? (best represented by the theme)
  • is it a good script?

 the quality of a script can not be objectively measured or ultimately prooved

 to determine the quality of a script is far reaching & difficult, but also with all chances

check and double check
check and double check

you have been working for long on a script?

writer, co-writer, dramaturg, producer know exactly what they want & know their project by heart?

but there is this uneasy feeling …

have a bird fly over it & have a good look on the whole!

the reader s report what is it
the reader‘s report – what is it?
  • first& mostobjective, easy attainableassessmentof a filmscriptat a certainpointof time
  • quality check & decisionaidalong professional standards, appliedto individual materialsfor a script
  • 3 to 4 page-expertiseof an independentreader
  • with a
  • summary
  • examination & evaluation
  • final rating
for whom
for whom?












on the desks of producers & editors usually unsolicited sent in scripts pile up…

financiers & distributors want to sort out the promising idea sketch from an only feasable skript…

actor‘s agents look for leading roles in quality-scripts – strong, cool, hipp & relevant

at any step to a final script
at any step to a final script


story outline


step outline

first draft

further drafts

director‘s draft

final script (shooting-script)

types of reader s reports
types of reader‘s reports
  • reader‘s report
  • second opinion
  • reader‘s report in comparison
  • reader‘s report for legal purposes
  • Story-Notes
  • advanced reader‘s report
reader s standard for story notes
reader‘s standard for story notes

max. 5 Pages

no synopsis

a technical listing of things – no elegant prosa

clear structure, easy reading

What decision-makers want to know:

not only identification of problems, but rather radical solutions

how does the film work in the head of scriptwriter or producer

what is his vision for the film?

10 chances of a reader s report
10 chances of a reader‘s report

avoids blindness to the shortcomings in one‘s work & possible disappointment

triggersnecessary irritation

initiates discussion & new directions of thinking and developing

considers the marketability of a project

serves as argumentation aid

best at the intersection of writer, producer, editor & funder

safety net for decisions in a company or institution

ready made information – also for subsequent use

saves money & life-time

easy to get & for little coin!

last not least 3 truths
last not least: 3 truths

Ifyouhave 10 readersreadyourscript , you will get 10 different opinions !


Personal choicesandfeelingsaretheelementsofthecreativeprocess, whichisuniquetoeveryscreenwriter, andtoeachandeveryscreenplayandfilmproject!

(Philip Parker)

Youare an artistnowandthen, but youhavetobe a craftsman all the time!

(Andrej Wajda)