Reader Spotlight

Sean Costello -- Screenwriter & Script Reader

 

Sean is a Los Angeles-based writer and multimedia producer -- and also the newest member to join Hollywood Script Notes. As a screenwriter, Sean has completed over 20 feature films and TV pilots. He has worked at Netflix, Disney-ABC Television, and the Writers Guild of America West,

Favorite Films?

 

Planet of the Apes (original), Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original), Jaws, Midnight Cowboy, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi Driver, The Verdict, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Almost Famous

 

Favorite TV shows of the last decade?

 

The Sopranos, The Wire, Damages, The Killing, Rectify, Bloodline, Broadchurch, Silicon Valley, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, The Night Of.
 

First job in Hollywood?

 

A week after arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-90s, I started working at the Writers Guild of America, west. I literally started out working at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills where we did private screenings and special events. I eventually became a Public Affairs Coordinator -- working closely with the press and other labor organizations in Hollywood. I also did a lot of filmmaker outreach at high-profile film festivals such as Sundance, Austin and Seattle; as well as festivals in Europe. It was a great job -- and an honor for me to be an advocate for screenwriters.

What do you look for in a script?

Writers need to find their own unique voice -- something that sets them apart. A compelling story; Interesting characters; Original choices. Writers need to grab the reader in the first page. Characters don't have to be likeable as much as they need to be interesting. Don't bore the reader. If the writer is not excited it shows on the page. I like a writer who knows his story inside and out; the setups and reversals payoff. The story should be easy to follow.

When giving notes, what type of scripts do you prefer to read?

I prefer dramatic TV pilots; hour-long scripts. That's my favorite format and genre to write in. I've read so many TV pilots at this point, I feel confident that I can spot ways to improve upon them. Reading scripts from strangers is so much easier than reading scripts from writer friends -- you need to be honest and direct. My only goal is to make the script better.