Why Follow-Up Questions Are A Great Addition To Your Coverage


By: Sarah Chaisson-Warner

You submitted your script for coverage and received the report – wonderful! You now have pages and pages of thoughtful responses and considerations about your plot, characters, visuals, and more. You comb through the coverage report for places where your script stands out and where it can be improved. All set, right?

Not quite yet! While coverage is a fantastic opportunity to get a fresh set of eyes on your script and gain valuable feedback, you’re missing a key step for strengthening your script – utilizing the follow-up questions option.

What is the follow-up questions option? Most coverage services, including Shore Scripts, offer writers the opportunity to ask their reader pointed questions about their findings, suggestions, and ideas.

“This option gives writers the opportunity to dig a little deeper into a specific note, or get some more guidance from the reader on how to implement something.”
Patty Papageorgiou, Coverage Service Manager at Shore Scripts

Follow-up questions can also help writers receive additional input in specific areas. “Or they can also be a way to reach out to their reader for some advice on how to unpick something they are stuck with. As long as the questions pertain to the coverage and the development of the script in hand, there are no silly questions!”

Utilizing the follow-up option also allows you to build a greater rapport with your reader, and the opportunity to pick the brain of experienced writers and producers. Our script readers are arguably the most experienced in the industry. They are writers with produced credits, and reps, including WME, UTA, and others. They have read for major studios and production companies.

There’s no better team of readers out there to review your work and continue the conversation through the follow-up questions option.

 
Types of Follow-Up Questions

At Shore Scripts, writers can purchase a package of follow-up questions, which includes up to 5 follow-ups, for an additional $35. There are various types of follow-up questions you might consider asking to get to your very best script

  • Clarifying questions
    While readers aim to provide the highest and best communication with the writer, at times the feedback may not translate as easily, or you might be wondering if you’re comprehending their notes in the way they intended. These questions can be as simple as – “Can you clarify for me what you meant when you said {fill in the blank?}” These questions aren’t meant to gently interrogate the reader’s thinking, they are simply meant to get clarity to ensure you understand exactly what the reader meant in their comments.
  • Probing questions
    These are the most common types of follow-up questions writers pose to their readers. Probing questions allow you to explore a bit more deeply some of the major themes and feedback you received from your reader.

  • What if questions
    These questions can help writers test out new ideas before putting pen to paper. Your reader likely has given you feedback about places where the script could be strengthened, and “what if” questions allow you to pose ideas and brainstorm together how problems in the script could be fixed.

Example

Here are a few excerpts from a coverage report filed by Shore Scripts’ coverage team, and some potential follow-up questions:

The script has been assessed as high budget due to the historical time period and use of weapons and vehicles throughout – which are essential to making the world of the gang feel authentic and treacherous.

  • Follow-up question: Do you have any advice for how I could make this script more budget-friendly, while keeping the story authentic to the 1920s?

The protagonist is courageous and kind, qualities which help the audience to invest in her story and make them hope for a happy ending with Olga. It is easy to understand why Olga falls in love with Serafina, yet the reverse feels harder to grasp. It would therefore strengthen our investment in the romance between the two women to get a better sense of why precisely they are perfect for one another.

  • Follow-up question: What if I establish early on that this is a love-at-first-sight romance? Would that help to meet this challenge or does that feel too convenient?

Throughout, the direction refers to sounds as happening ‘offscreen’; this is a tautology, as sounds are not seen and therefore never on-screen.

  • Follow-up question: Can you make a recommendation for how I might better handle this? How should this be reflected in the written direction?

Giving the protagonist a tangible goal will help to increase the stakes for her and give her a greater level of agency in the narrative. We understand that she wants to live happily ever after with Olga, but how exactly does she plan to achieve this?

  • Follow-up question: I’ve been struggling to figure out how to give the protagonist more agency in the second act. I want the audience to feel as though they can see the goal and how the protagonist might meet it, but I’m hesitant to name her path forward outrightly, for fear of losing the suspense. Do you have suggestions for how I can best balance these needs?

Learn More

Shore Scripts offers several different options for coverage. Our dedicated Coverage Service Manager liaises between you and our reader team, ensuring we produce the most comprehensive, actionable script feedback offered by any coverage service out there, to help you craft your very best screenplay that will take you and your career to the next level. All coverage options at Shore include the opportunity to purchase follow-up questions for an additional $35.

Interested in learning more about Shore Scripts’ coverage services and how to best use the follow-up question option? Email Patty or click here.

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