You’ve finished your first (or third) screenplay. You’ve done several passes and dig your current draft. Your favorite brother-in-law swears up and down it will make an amazing film.
As you contemplate unleashing your handy work on every west-cost producer and screenplay competition, you pause and wonder whether or not you should first spend a few more days and a few dollars on a coverage service. Lets weigh the benefits and potential pitfalls of paying for coverage/notes.
If you are indeed intending on submitting your screenplay to agents, producers and competitions, competent coverage will give you an advance look at how these influential parties might react to your current draft. While any set of “fresh eyes” can reveal some of the chinks in your armor, an impartial, trained script-reader can give you important insight into your script’s strength and weaknesses, and also let you know where you might rank amongst other available scripts of the same genre. Coverage can be a good reality check, and notes can help you make some changes to your script that may be worth their weight in gold down the line. Keep in mind positive feedback from a coverage service does not guarantee positive results with producers, but you put in the time and effort to build race car, why not a quick diagnostic and tune-up before the green flag waves?
I can’t think of too many glaring cons to getting getting script coverage prior to circulating your work, unless of course you end up with the “wrong” reader or service. Always make sure your coverage professional-of-choice clearly identifies themselves and their experience in their online-profile. Choose a reader you like and make sure that’s the individual who will be critiquing your writing. Once you’ve chosen a reputable professional, also make sure you choose a style of coverage that will benefit you most (there are a variety of notes/coverage options out there, make sure you choose a package that fits your specific needs).
If you have a professional writer-friend who can be impartial, great, if you are in a writing group and members are willing to put the time in to give you a detailed breakdown of your work, lovely, otherwise screenplay notes/coverage can be had from numerous quality professionals for a few hundred dollars, and they can certainly help push you and your screenplay in the right direction. More expensive and detailed assistance is available, but for most writers a standard notes package can take one’s work up a full-notch with limited headache and expense.
If you do decide that your birth-child could use a little sprucing up prior to its Hollywood debut, please consider some of Filmmatic’s recommended readers and services below.