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A Guide for Professional Script Coverage

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Whether you're a screenwriter or an independent filmmaker, script coverage is a useful tool to use to obtain an assessment of your screenplay. It is an essential resource that provides constructive feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your story.

Script Coverage

As a screenwriter, getting notes on your screenplay is a norm in the film industry. As your screenplay or teleplay goes through the development phase of production, many eyeballs will land on your script. And believe me, each individual will have an opinion and will provide notes on how to improve the script. Whether it's an executive, producer, director, or the actors, each one will provide their input.


Comments and notes will range from great, to good, to bad. Some comments and notes will probably be completely wrong, horrible and insulting- leading you to wonder if they even read your work at all.


As painful as it can be at times to receive advice on your work, it is deep-rooted in the process of getting scripts produced. So, it would behoove you to get used to the script coverage process early.



PS: Some of these are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for recommending the product to you.


Celtx Scriptwriting software for storytellers

Well, now you're probably wondering--


What is Script Coverage?


Script coverage is an analysis of a screenplay from a professional reader that includes a summary of the overall strengths and weakness of your story's structure, characters, and craft. The analysis typically consists of a Pass/Consider/Recommend rating.


Acquiring coverage on your screenplay is an essential part of how managers, literary agents, and producers discover scripts. Even some filmmaking grant programs require your screenplay to have a script coverage rating from a reputable script doctor. Screenwriting contests also use coverage services to eliminate submissions.


As an independent producer, script coverage is a useful tool to use to weed out poorly written screenplays that comes your way. If you absolutely fall in love with the concept of a poorly written script, at least you would now know which areas of the story need to be revised.


 

Here's everything you need to know about script analysis, including peer reviews, script coverage templates, prices, and a few script coverage options.


Peer Review


A peer review is an excellent way to gauge where you stand on your screenplay's early drafts. However, I would highly recommend searching for peers that are writers, too.


Your momma, daddy, sister, brother, or the bestie from high school may not be the best options for a script reader. They're usually biased, may not want to hurt your feelings, or simply don't understand how to structure a screenplay properly.


Although, your kinfolk can sometimes prove useful in identifying plot holes. Especially if they have a ton of questions about something they don't understand-- take note. It's more than likely a plot point that wasn't fully developed.


Grammarly writing support

When selecting a peer, be sure that they can provide the following:

  • Provide objective feedback

  • Put their preferences aside

  • Not only looking for what's wrong

  • Can be constructive, not destructive

  • Isn't just going to give you a fantastic review

Peer coverage is not ideal if you're hoping to get an expert set of eyes on your Final Draft. However, if you just want to get your peers' opinions, insight, or have a sounding board to test the waters, then a peer review may be for you.


Here's a FREE peer review script coverage template you can use.


FREE peer review script coverage template


Professional Script Reader


Script Reader Pro provides script coverage services that let you pick a professional Hollywood writer— not an anonymous script reader with no credentials. You can actually choose a reader based on their genre specialty.


If you are a screenwriter or an independent producer looking to get an expert set of eyes on your Final Draft to provide detailed notes that will ensure your work is production-ready, then Script Reader Pro got you covered!


Script Reader Pro

What can you expect from script coverage service?


You can think of screenplay coverage as a comprehensive analysis that provides a detailed examination of your script's elements and structure. It is the process of breaking down the script into parts to learn what each component does and how they relate to one another in the bigger picture.


While coverage services differ from classic to deluxe models, most include feedback in these five main categories:

  1. Cover Page: The cover sheet provides general information about the project, including the title, writer's name, analyst name, genre, period, logline, page count, format, date, location, and budget. It also includes the "Pass/Consider/Recommend" rating.

  2. Synopsis: A summary of the script.

  3. Analysis: Four or more pages of notes regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the screenplay in the following categories: story, structure, pacing, dialogue, concept, formatting and more.

  4. Character Breakdowns: Character breakdowns include a brief description of each character and how they can be improved (usually limited to the main characters).

  5. Line Editing: Covers formatting, sentence structure, overwritten segments, redundancy, grammar, syntax, and other mechanical errors directly in your Final  Draft file.

Optional: Proofreading – a request for a fully marked-up script.


Click here to download an example of Script Reader Pro's Classic Feature Script Coverage Template


You'll find all of Script Reader Pro's script coverage services below—the only TV and film coverage that lets you pick a pro screenwriter according to your script's genre.





Script Reader Pro also does coverage for the synopsis, treatment, and TV bibles.


Plus, they provide short film coverage for shorts up to 20 pages and a Logline Analysis service to help you nail your concept.


If you need script coverage services and would like more information, click here: Script Reader Pro


Before sending your script to a professional reader, you want to ensure that your Final Draft is on point. Please give it a read through and make sure the following is up to par: structure, plot holes, tone issues, atmosphere inconsistencies, characterization issues, spelling, grammar, and formatting.


If you need a little brushing up on screenwriting, Shonda Rhimes teaches a fantastic Masterclass on screenwriting. You should check it out!


MasterClass: Shonda Rhimes teaches writing for television

Final thoughts…


As a creator of anything artistic, you will never please everyone, ever. The key is to not take criticism too personally or so seriously that you let it destroy you, your passion, or your vision.


However, listen to what each person has to say- because that person is not alone in his or her opinion. Opinions run in groups. I know I have seen them out jogging together quite often.



 

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Want to learn more about the role of a screenwriter? I invite you to accompany me on YouTube. I share eight essential tasks the screenwriter must complete and deliver to the production company.



Tips are appreciated

 

Of course, Diversity in Cinema Academy has many other resources that I love to share with you, but I wanted to keep this blog strictly about script coverage.


If I had to pick two resources I couldn't live without, it would be these two tools.


Tool #2 - Celtx


Aside from the tools above, I also use many other resources to help me achieve a finished screenplay. Some of them are FREE and some are paid.


You can check out some of the other resources that I love using on Diversity in Cinema Academy's resources page. You can view all of the resources for Filmmakers, Content Creators and Screenwriters from the links provided.


From filmmaking tools, to content creation tools, to screenwriting tools... they all can be found in the tools section of Diversity in Cinema Academy's website. I highly recommend that you check out our tools store! :)


If you like it, please help me to share the resources link with a friend. I would really appreciate it!


Okay, that's all for now. I hope that you have found the information I provided helpful!


Enough information, start revising!



 

ABOUT DIVERSITY IN CINEMA ACADEMY:


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Free Online Film Course: The Hard Truth About Film Funding


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