View Full Version : Coverage Service Or Not to Coverage Service
03-03-2001, 06:29 PM
I have never had a coverage done on one of my scripts. I've received several critiques that have all been helpful. Would it be worth my while to pay for coverage from a service?
Right now, I'm considering Script Shark, because they have a 95% pass rate. I like that, because it shows that they are tough readers. I'm also considering Script Magazine's service, because it'd expect it to be tough as well as helpful. Are there any other good ones that people would suggest?
Would it help in any way to get a feel for how your work is viewed from an industry standpoint?
Some of you have read my script and I was wondering if you might think it was worth the $200 and on up price for a coverage. I welcome all feedback.
03-03-2001, 07:12 PM
Do not ever pay for coverage. It is a waste of money. Buy brads or Done deal t-shirts or something useful.
There are more than enough people out there qualified to provide good feedback on scripts.
Actors at ANY level, other screenwriters (inclduing DDers, prodco readers, etc.).
Find the STORYBAY thread in the ARCHIVES here at DD and you'll see the debate over this issue really rage.
03-04-2001, 01:15 AM
But think about what it is you're looking to learn about your script.
I've been at this a while and there comes a point when you need a professional opinion--or at least the opinion of someone whose writing you strongly respect (since hopefully that means they know what they're doing and can provide constructive feedback). But still, you can't beat the opinion of one who constantly reads what's being circulated around town on a daily basis.
I'm a professional reader and I take my job seriously. I also happen to enjoy it. On the other hand, I know there are plenty of readers out there who aren't as qualified as I am, and/or hate their job. My point is, there are plenty of readers who give an unbiased, educated, helpful read, despite what others may want you to believe.
Most of the big coverage services have received bad press, but the one who hasn't is Script P.I.M.P. They don't have a whole slew of readers like some of the others, and if you receive a pass the first time around, they provide you with a one-time chance to resubmit your rewrite for F R E E. You can't beat that.
Best of luck with whatever you decide.
Callitt--where do you find prodco readers who will read for free? I only do that for my friends. ;-)
03-04-2001, 04:31 AM
NEVER PAY ANYONE TO READ YOUR SCRIPT!
If script readers knew how to perfectly execute a script, they wouldn't be readers, they'd be professional writers.
03-04-2001, 03:15 PM
i think it's akin to selling the brooklyn bridge. well maybe not something that bad. but gullibility is a big part of scriptreading sevices. here's the genesis of the hollywood script reader (how i think it happened):
you go to a party. get introduced to someone. talk about the brad pitt movie that just opened. naturally, you mention that you're writing a screenplay, they'll respond with "really. you know i've got this idea for a screenplay..." and then they'll tell you a germ of an idea and ask you if it'd be a good movie. that's every person in north america.
and then most of them won't write it. then there's the occasional dreamer (us) who has taken it a step further and put it down on paper. in format. and there are lots of us. something like 15000 scripts are written and sent to hollywood per year.
and so hollywood creates a forcefield. the reader to filter out the bad and let the good stuff enter.
naturally, our stuff is the good stuff and we want to make a sale. see our words on the screen. but we don't think it's good enough to show just yet. there's that fear of getting rejected. we want to do everything in our power to make it as good as possible. so we want people to read it. we give it to our friends. they read it and say "it's good." which doesn't help us. and we're back to where we started.
so we turn to the 'scriptreader.' they're doing a critique, trying to help you make the story tighter. but they charge you $200+. that's the problem. there's so many of us that so many of these script reading services have popped up to take advantage of...the dreamers. we think. hey if they're charging that much money, then it's got to be worth it. maybe after they go through it and we make revisions...then we'll be on our way to a sale...yippee!
but who are these scriptreaders? dudes and dudettes who want to make a sale just like us. except they need to pay the bills...and they've read enough scripts and written enough of their own to offer an opinion that would be more valuable than the lay person.
now if they charged $50, maybe then i'd say why not? but they don't. at the minimum, it's three times that. it's ridiculous.
what can we do? i've shown scenes to several friends and i get the "it's good" response and now let's talk about the cubs. i have managed to find three friends who do read my stuff critically...but only after passing around lots of stuff to lots of people. now i only give them stuff and nobody else.
honestly...if i could find a writers group...then i would join. i sometimes think about going back to my undergrad and checking out the bulletin board to find writers groups at the RTVF school. i probably will. but i think that's the best thing to do. go to a nearby college or university and see what you can dig up. as long as you don't mind hanging out with twenty-somethings every 2 to 4 weeks for a night and order pizza, it might be the way to go. i have this feeling that once we find a writers group and really get our stuff torn apart...and rip apart others as well then that'll only make us better writers. and we'll get real critiques. and still keep some cash in our pockets.
ps. what's a cottage industry? i can vaguely remember the concept of cottage industries, and if i'm right, then that's what script reading for $ is. a cottage industry.
and i was all set to hit 'add reply' when i thought about the poor script readers out there who are cursing this post. it is very true that sometimes people who can't do, teach. and they can teach very well. i'm sure there are good scriptreaders out there, but...(here's the flip of it...and it goes along with crash)...if they were making sales, they wouldn't be wasting time reading our stuff, even if they were charging for it. so really, is their opinion worth what they're charging?
if you don't mind spending money then i guess it's okay. but, i don't think it's worth the cash.
03-04-2001, 05:50 PM
I agree that belonging to a writers' group or having other trustworthy fellow screenwriters read your material are very good ways to get valuable criticism. Some of us are incredibly lucky to have access to professional readers for free (I'm talking about people who have actually been employed by prodcos and the likes), but most of us don't. I consider myself very fortunate to have a few very reliable people look at my stuff and I appreciate their help beyond words.
I also happen to have used the services of a very good professionnal reader in the past (and I wouldn't hesitate to use her services again if needed). She reads for many prodcos, festivals and script services. She loves it and it shows. I doubt she reads scripts cause she's a failed writer - she sounds professionnally fulfilled and her interests aren't limited to screenwriting (not everyone aspires to be a writer - I have also done work as an editor because I like it not cause I'm a failed writer). The kind of feedback she gave me differed from other feedback I respected due to her in-depth knowledge of the industry. I feel like I have received valuable insider's information - she could spot a detail that wouldn't work miles ahead cause she had seen it before. I understand not everyone finds an ideal reader and the fact that I dealt with her directly instead of through an agency might have made a diffence.
Thing is, just like producers, any quack can claim to be a scriptreader and will charge more than other legitimate readers do. Fares vary depending on the services offered and I know for a fact that some even charge less than 200$ for very good feedback. Reading is also a very subjective activity and if a reader is allergic to your material, then (s)he won't be in a position to objectively give you the appropriate feedback. Same goes with friends and other screenwriters. I have gotten irrelevant comments in the past and wasted my time struggling with them for a while before realizing they might not be valid.
Basically I wouldn't lump all scriptreaders in the same basket and call them an evil bunch. Choosing a reader, whether you pay that person or not, takes some research. You must also evaluate your own needs. Working with a paid reader works for some and doesn't for others. I don't regret my investment.
03-04-2001, 07:24 PM
I would definitely recommend Script Coverage, but only if you've got about 2 or 3 hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket.
E J Pennypacker
03-05-2001, 11:24 AM
Is this by any chance spurned from the recent Script Shark 'find'?
If not, then check it out...
They have had a script bought from them by Mel Gibsons company, Icon Pictures.
03-05-2001, 03:55 PM
Send me $50 and I'll read your script...or wash your laundry, or mow your lawn -- wherever I'm most needed. :)
03-05-2001, 04:11 PM
Don't pay money for a critique, unless (if you're really wed to the idea) you know/research the reader and the reader's credentials indicate a knowledgeable review. You can tell (usually by price) whether the service is a scam.
Someone who posted on this topic read and critiqued one of my scripts. It was probably the most thoughtful and meaningful criticism I have received. (I won't mention his name because I'm sure a flood of e-mails would follow him.) Anyway, I'm now submitting the script and think it has great promise.
03-05-2001, 04:42 PM
Thank you for your opinions.
No, it isn't inspired by the recent sale one bit. It was related to the arrival of screenwriting competitions and progress on my script.
03-05-2001, 06:20 PM
>>Callitt--where do you find prodco readers who will read for free? I only do that for my friends. ;-)<<
Umm, Scriptreader, I have not yet had to pay a prodco to read material I have submitted to them.
Have you? In EVERY instance I have recieved a copy of the script coverage from the prodco's reader, and have used that review (however long/short) as the basis to improve my scripts & writing.
I would be very pleased to make your acquintance if you truly enjoy your job & provide the fair, honest & in depth coverage every writer needs. All of the 'paid', 'professional' services I have checked out or experienced (through other writers' submissions to them--I read the 'reviews') have been nothing more than a sham, in some cases almost criminal. In one case, it WAS criminal.
There are enough outlets an aspiring screenwriter can pursue to gain fair, insightful coverage of a work in progress without having to pay for the privilege of being robbed.
03-05-2001, 06:38 PM
But you're pretty lucky to receive the coverage from the prodco... And not everyone does (or should--I've heard horror stories about writer tracking down the studio script reader who gave them a pass), so your situation doesn't really apply to an out of state writer with zero contacts.
Yes, there are scams out there. I'm not saying there aren't. But such is life...buyer beware.
03-05-2001, 07:22 PM
SR, The prodco's I have submitted to have sent me reader's notes in all but two cases. In those cases, I simply wrote them back and very nicely requested them-- a note along the lines of 'thanks for considering my material, even though you had to pass at this time. It would be a tremendous help to my development as a screenwriter if I could see the reader's notes on my script' etc.
In one case I had the notes in about ten days. In the other case, the reader called me (yes!) to discuss his thoughts. They were a small, growing outfit (no longer in business as far as I know) but boy was I shocked to get that call!
03-09-2001, 03:22 AM
I would never pay over a C-Note for coverage. However, that being said, I think it is good to get a fresh, unbiased opinion. And from somebody who has read a s*itload of scripts, you can be sure they have seen all kinds of stories. It is just their opinion, yes, but probably a valuable one in the development process.
These guys charge only $50 www.winner-takeall.com (http://www.winner-takeall.com)
My 2 cents.
03-09-2001, 06:43 AM
If script doctors are so great and such experts, why aren't they selling screenplays every day of the week? Save your money and get an agent to promote your work.
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