By: Sarah Chaisson-Warner
Receiving feedback is an essential part of the writing process for screenwriters of all levels – from aspiring to established.
The concept of “coverage” first began in production studios – producers employed readers to read scripts and create an internal report detailing the script’s strengths, weaknesses, and marketability. Each reader would then assign a “pass,” “consider,” or “recommend” to the script. The problem? Writers never received any feedback about their script, only its “grade.”
At Shore Scripts, our coverage service is designed to support each writer’s journey and help them create the strongest and best draft of their script. But before you purchase coverage (from us or anyone else) you should ask yourself the following questions:
Why is this the right time for coverage and what do I want out of it?
This might seem like an overly simple question, but it’s the first and foremost question you should ask yourself. Do you want the coverage you receive to help solve some specific problems within your script? Are you seeking feedback to help determine the next steps for your script? Perhaps coverage can help you make those final fixes and polish your script before submitting it to a contest. Or maybe you have another reason to get feedback?
At Shore Scripts, you can include “comments for the reader” in your coverage request to tell us more about what you are looking for in coverage feedback. Perhaps you need help with the pacing of your second act, or you’re looking for ideas to make your script more budget-friendly.
And don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what you need from coverage – our readers will provide you with the kind of insights that will help you move forward with your script.
“Thanks to the excellent feedback, I realized that my log line needed changing (to make it a bit less dramatic) and that maybe I should have cut the show in half, so that it would feel more like a family sitcom…I thought their coverage was excellent. Really perceptive, incisive and encouraging.” ~ Stewart Alexander
Knowing the “why” is critical for helping you determine what you want out of coverage, but you should also consider the “when.”
Patty Papageorgiou, Shore Scripts’ Coverage Service Manager, advises writers that timing can be important to help you get the most from your feedback. “The very first draft should be to get your ideas down. When you feel you’ve done the best you can do and have gotten as far as you can in your project, a second pair of eyes and guidance is helpful.”