Practical Advice For Getting A Script Read In Hollywood by Brad Sykes

Film Courage: What’s the best way to get people to read your script?

Brad Sykes, Filmmaker: Well you know those platforms have kind of changed over time. There used to be different ways. Probably for me I’ve always written with tools with an eye toward directing. So for me a script is a blueprint for a movie that hasn’t been made.  I’ve always seen it that way even though I’ve done writing gigs for different producers and we didn’t get produced but we put everything into that.

I’ve always written a script with an eye toward getting it produced. I don’t know…see nowadays it’s so different. There these different sites people can go to for their scripts. I don’t know about those things. I feel like who knows what happens to it?

I feel like I’m the kind of person where I entered screenplay competitions early on. I think that’s something I can say. I think it’s good to enter screenplay competitions. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Just don’t go bankrupt doing it. Don’t spend your last dime on it. 

I’m just the kind of person who I never really entered a lot of things like that. I’m just telling you and I’m sure it doesn’t make great interview material. I’m just being honest.

I entered some screenplay competitions and I placed in some of them too but those things didn’t get produced. And then the first screenwriting job I got…it was actually on KISS THE GIRLS. I was walking around the set with horror T-shirts on (THE EXORCIST, EVIL DEAD) and the craft service guy said “Are you a big horror fan?” And I said “Yes, I’m a horror fan. I’ve made some shorts.” And he said “How about you re-write a script for me? I’ll pay you to rewrite a script?”

And this is a guy who is literally picking up trash. He’s got like the pointer. And he says “I’ve got a horror script that needs a rewrite.” And I remember he said to me (we were talking about negotiating) and he said “Well I heard that Tarantino got $500.00 dollars to rewrite FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.” That’s what happened with that. It started as a script by some FX artists who wanted to make a movie and Tarantino got involved. And that’s how the whole thing started. And I don’t know if that is how much get got paid but that’s what this guy said. 

“Five Hundred Dollars? How about I give you what Tarantino got to do that?” I said “Okay.”…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here). 


Brad Sykes got his first hi-8 camera at age fifteen, and hasn’t stopped shooting since. Growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Brad made eight features on video (many of which involved Karo syrup, red food coloring and stunts of dubious safety) while still in high school. He attended Boston University’s film program in 1993 and by the time he graduated cum laude in 1997, he had already worked for both Paramount Pictures and Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. After moving to Los Angeles, Brad continued to work in film in various capacities both here and abroad (a stint at Castel Film, Romania) before landing his first writing-directing job in 1998. By 2000, he was writing and directing full-time, with many genre credits such as DEMON’S KISS, MAD JACK, and the well-known CAMP BLOOD. Brad has continued to make his mark in horror with more recent projects like DEATH FACTORY, GOTH, WITHIN THE WOODS and MUTATION. His films have been distributed worldwide and can be found at rental outlets like Blockbuster and Netflix. Brad’s films have received attention in many publications including Fangoria, The Dark Side, Indie Slate, Rue Morgue, Videoscope, LA Weekly, Mad Movies, and Legacy of Blood: A Comprehensive Guide to Slasher Movies. Brad lives in Los Angeles with his wife, producer Josephina Sykes, where they operate Nightfall Pictures, a full-service development and production company.


Terror in the Desert: Dark Cinema of the American Southwest by Brad Sykes

Check it out on Amazon here:




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