How to Read a Movie’s Script While You Stream It

How to Read a Movie’s Script While You Stream It

If you’re ever curious how a movie script translates to what you’re watching on screen — including just how much of an actor’s dialogue was improvised or prewritten — do I have a browser extension for you. I just stumbled across it the other day, and it’s just what I needed to add a little extra spice to my quarantine-living Netflix binges.

Called ScreenplaySubs, the free Chrome extension does only one thing, but does it well: It mashes up the Netflix movie you’re watching with the movie’s actual screenplay, highlighting the words and scenes as you pass through them during the film. In other words, if you’re a fan of watching movies with closed captions on — “reading” your way through a film, as many people do — you’re going to absolutely love this extension.

Once you’ve installed it, click on its icon to jump to the extension’s list of supported movies — its one weakness. ScreenplaySubs says that it is updating its list of supported films every week. It’s too early to say whether this means that you’ll only get a few movies that work with the extension each week, or whether ScreenplaySubs plans to keep adding more movies to an ever-expanding archive. I suspect the former, which is the only downside of this extension: a limited selection. Right now, for example, this is what you get to watch:

There’s nothing wrong with this list. In fact, I’d watch most of the films on it — Zodiac? Yes! — but it does make me slightly apprehensive about the longevity of ScreenplaySubs. If a week or two goes by with a series of duds, I can see people forgetting about this extension entirely. At least, thanks to quarantine life, I can barely remember half the items on my daily to-do list, let alone the extensions I’ve installed in my browser.

Anyway, I’ll stop ruminating. ScreenplaySubs is completely free to use, which I love, and you can even view demos of how it works with various films if you want to check it out prior to installing it. This extension isn’t going to rock your world, but it’ll make your solo movie nights a lot more interesting — especially if your bored self starts watching your favourite flick for the third time this week.

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