"Anonymous" commented on my post 10 Reasons Why I Pass on Scripts: "Consider with Reservations"? That's actually a thing?
Good question. Yes, it's actually a thing! Companies ask readers to RECOMMEND, CONSIDER or PASS on scripts - and some companies also allow you to CONSIDER W/RESERVATIONS (aka WEAK CONSIDER). However, that last rating should be used very sparingly, and can sometimes be seen as a cop-out in which readers avoid providing a firm opinion. My function as a reader is to save my bosses time: I read things so they don't have to. If I Pass on something, they don't need to read it. If I Recommend or Consider something, I'm saying "You should read this." A "Consider w/Reservations" is sort of saying, "I think maybe you should read this, but I'm not totally sure" - and if I send up too many scripts with this rating, I'm not really doing my job.
Here's a breakdown of how I view the rating system:
When I Recommend a script, I'm saying: "I love this script. Not only do I think you should read this script, but I also think you should buy it and make it. Hurry up before someone else does! If you don't, you will lose out on millions of dollars and/or Academy Awards!" A script doesn't necessarily have to be flawless to get a Recommend, but it should make me think that someone is definitely going to buy it.
For what it's worth, I was once assigned a revised version of a script I had Passed on for another company. I HATED the original script - but in the rewrite, all the things I had problems with had been fixed. I was about to write Consider on the rewrite, but then in my comments I had no remaining criticisms. I couldn't think of anything bad to say or suggest any changes - and so I Recommended it.
(As you might imagine, readers use this rating VERY rarely. I have only Recommended a handful of scripts.)
This is a much safer way to pass scripts up the ladder. A Consider basically means, "I liked this and I think you should read it." My bosses can then read through my comments and see if they agree. A company once told me, "With a consider, you are not necessarily recommending that we buy the project, but that we take a closer look." I Consider lots of scripts! The scripts don't have to be perfect, but to get a Consider they must have a solid concept, solid characters, etc. Every script aims to be something different; a small indie drama might get a Consider for potential Oscar-worthy roles, while a big-budget action movie might get a Consider for box office marketability. Whether a script fits with what the company is looking for is up to my bosses.
I have heard that some companies include the rating "Strong Consider," but I feel like a script like that should just get a Recommend. If a script has some sort of weakness holding it back from being a Recommend, then I think plain old Consider is appropriate.
CONSIDER W/RESERVATIONS or WEAK CONSIDER
Again, I'm wary of giving scripts this rating because I feel like I'm not really doing my job when I don't take a firm stand. Here's how I think of it: a Consider w/Reservations means, "There's something here, but I have reservations about it. The script has a major flaw that needs to be addressed, but you might not want to overlook this bit of potential." Maybe the concept is great, but the characters need to be overhauled or the plot has a major hole, for example. Maybe there's an amazing lead role in the script, but the tone is all wrong. Maybe the dialogue is making me laugh out loud, but I worry that the concept is not commercial. I might also use this rating if I like a script but worry that it's too much like another script/movie, or if a script has amazing attachments but would be a Pass without them. It's important to fully explain in my comments WHY I have reservations.
If I find myself really going back and forth between Consider w/Reservations and Pass, I remind myself that my job is to weed out the scripts that my bosses don't need to read - so I Pass. As you might imagine, I Pass on scripts that I don't think are impressive and don't think my bosses should bother to read. In the world of readers, most scripts are Passes. I rarely read exceptional scripts or horrendous scripts; most fall in the middle of the bell curve. If I don't Pass, I'm taking a risk by stamping my seal of approval on a script - and I'd better be able to defend it.
My taste certainly informs my reading, but I try to rate scripts against their genres, not against my own personal tastes. I generally don't like watching action movies, but I Consider action movie scripts all the time. I figure that if I actually enjoy reading an action movie script, it must be pretty good.
If you're a reader, I'd love to hear your philosophy behind the script rating system - please comment!