Coverage Services and query letters

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  • Coverage Services and query letters

    Hi everyone,

    Does it make sense to mention that your screenplay got a "Recommend" or "Consider" from a coverage service like Coverage Ink, Screenplay Readers, etc. in a query letter?

    I'm guessing most of you will say 'no' because:
    a) Managers and Agents only trust the opinions of readers they know.
    b) These services aren't meant for that anyway - they're designed to give you useful notes.
    c) Some services are probably lenient with their ratings, because they don't want to scare customers off.
    d) No one cares.

    On the flip side, if this particular screenplay doesn't have any contest wins yet, is a logline really enough? As interesting as the logline may sound, there's a very high chance that your script is garbage - and the person who receives your email knows that.

    So indicating that SOMEONE thinks that the script is good seems to be better than NOTHING. At least some vetting.

    I guess my real question is, does mentioning coverage make you look stupid and desperate? Or is it a harmless addition that may or may not do any good? Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Coverage Services and query letters

    My suggestion to you is not to mention Considers/Recommends from coverage services in query letters. Because the company that you're using might not be trusted, or even known, to the manager or producer that you're querying. So, by boasting about it you might come across as unprofessional or as someone inexperienced.

    Also, I personally believe that getting a Consider/Recommend from a coverage service when you, the writer, orders it is much easier than if a production company or a manager orders it, for the reason that you mentioned in your post - they want you to keep coming back. Readers are more cautious and picky about giving considers/recommends when they're doing it for producers or managers than when they do it for the writers who pays them for it.

    However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use coverage service, because the analysis part of the coverage could be genuine and helpful than the score itself - pass/consider/recommend - that could be biased.

    From my experience, the quality of the coverage depends more on the reader who covered your script than the company that provided the service. These companies could be using both good analysts and mediocre analysts under the same roof, so the quality and depth of a coverage depends more on what analyst are you using as oppose to what company are you using. That is another reason why I think a producer or a manager wouldn't take it seriously if you mention it in your query. They (and you too) don't know who read your script and gave you the consider/recommend. All you and they know is the company that provided the coverage service.

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    • #3
      Re: Coverage Services and query letters

      So as someone whose written their fair share of coverage my answer is no, it’s not worth including it. You’re right, most managers and agents want coverage from people they know and trust. And at the end of the day, coverage is more about them being able to sound like they read a project without having actually read it.

      Focus on a good longline and smart targeted querying.

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      • #4
        Re: Coverage Services and query letters

        the logline actually is the most important thing (imo)! if they can "see" the movie from the premise/concept you describe, and they think it's actually a movie, at least they know it's starting from a baseline of possibility

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        • #5
          Re: Coverage Services and query letters

          I know I've said the following on this board but probably not in decade or more. When I was just out of college and working as a reader, most of the places I worked wanted a detailed synopsis and a solid logline. Typically I wrote two-parts synopsis to one-part comments in a two page coverage. There was one management company that wanted the opposite of that, but their coverage form was all about character breakdowns.

          The reality was/is that executives, producers, and reps aren't going to completely trust the comments of a reader just out of college. Coverage is used to find scripts that are worthy of their time to read. The reader isn't always up to date on what the company is looking for, or what is the hot genre in any particular week. That's why when querying it's essential to have not only a great logline, but also an enticing, concise and well written synopsis.

          Once a reader has earned the trust of someone, then they'll trust your comments. There was a time that I dropped off scripts and coverage to a lit agent, and she asked about a script that had been referred to her by a friend. She took the coverage and called the writer to pass right in front of me. She paraphrased her reasons and "notes" directly from my comments. It was not a good script and not good writing. That was after reading for her for over a year, and she trusted my sensibilities. Also the writer had been bugging her about the script.

          The pitch for using coverage services is that they offer experienced and unbiased opinions. Over the years I've gotten great notes from other writers in writers groups of various kinds. I prefer to get notes from people whose sensibilities and preferences I know. I want to know who is evaluating my stuff. Which is why I prefer pitchfests and sites where they list who the pros are that are evaluating your pitches, but that's a discussion for another thread.

          HTH,
          Last edited by KitchonaSteve; 09-30-2018, 02:39 PM. Reason: typo
          Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

          -Steve Trautmann
          3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast

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          • #6
            Re: Coverage Services and query letters

            Originally posted by Deadweight View Post
            So indicating that SOMEONE thinks that the script is good seems to be better than NOTHING.
            It all comes down to WHO that someone is. If that SOMEONE is a NO ONE, then that mention is useless and a waste of ink.

            Same with contests mentions. When a writer mentions he was a winner in the Next Breakout Writer Screenplay Competition, the industry's reaction is going to be, "Never heard of it," and ignore it.

            When a writer mentions he was a finalist, or winner in the Nicholl, then the industry takes notice. Why? This contest has cache, weight and credibility because of proven screenplays that went on to be produced, where they achieved commercial success , critical acclaim and win industry awards, or writers who scripts weren't produced but got writing assignments from their Nicholl scripts.

            Unless there is a coverage service out there with this type of cache, then, no, I would advise not to include the company's consider, or recommend on the query. By the way, "Coverage Ink," does not have this type of cache.

            Personally, if I were to have coverage done on my script, first, I'd make sure that I went through a thorough feedback and rewrite process, then I'd hire only a strong and reputable coverage service, where their readers have actual experience doing professional coverage for the industry, where I would do a test market to get an idea how the industry would respond to the screenplay I'm going to be sending out.

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            • #7
              Re: Coverage Services and query letters

              Can anyone recommend coverage services with credibility and mention what their track record in the industry?

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              • #8
                Re: Coverage Services and query letters

                ImageWriter, as far as a coverage service having the cache and credibility at the level where it would be beneficial to mention in a query, there is none.

                As far as using a coverage service to test market a screenplay, from my experience it's a hit and miss situation. Sometimes I've had readers who were strong in analyzing a screenplay, and sometimes I've had readers who were weak in analyzing a screenplay. By reading the coverage, I could tell their knowledge of the craft, articulation skills of communicating their coverage, how strong their eye is, etc.

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                • #9
                  Re: Coverage Services and query letters

                  Thanks everyone! I guess the overall consensus is "Don't bother".

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