Do Blacklist scores matter?

unhoused person with cardboard sign that reads "my script scored a nine"

Blacklist score has become the holy grail for many aspiring screenwriters. But does it really matter? I mean, really? Do any screenplay ratings or scores matter? Dive in and get my short answer, my medium answer, and my long answer. Or don’t. That’s cool too.

Why AI script coverage is bad, and how to spot it

robot hand waving

AI script coverage (that is, script coverage generated by AI or “artificial intelligence”) is starting to take hold of the screenwriting space, and it doesn’t bode well for screenwriters looking for honest, critical feedback on their screenplays. When I started this script coverage company in 1999, AI was firmly in the realm of science fiction. … Read more

Is script coverage necessary?

picture of typewriter with grainy black and white

“Is script coverage necessary?” I’ve been asked this question hundreds of times in my 25+ year career as a script reader and script consultant. When I first started out, as an intern at a talent and literary agency, and was asked to read scripts and write coverage, I even asked the question myself. And the … Read more

Stop telling me your characters are attractive

Tom is attractive. Beatrice is beautiful. Their dentist is gorgeous. Their mail-carrier is a MILF. Having read hundreds of scripts in my career as a script reader, I’ve encountered these sentences and many others like them. In the world according to screenwriters, the universe is an attractive place. Unfortunately, in many scripts, that’s all the … Read more

Screenplay Readability — A Few Quick Tips

Marilyn Monroe with script asking "Some like it what? I'm so confused."

Script readers read scripts. A lot of scripts. Sometimes a reader at my company will chew through 10 or more in a week. (Overall at Screenplay Readers, we’ve read over 21,000 scripts since 1999.) But what is it like for a script reader to read so many scripts? Exhausting. Fact is, most of the screenplays … Read more

How to write a logline for a screenplay

What is a logline supposed to do, really? Wikipedia’s illustrious hive mind defines it like so: A brief (usually one-sentence) summary …that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story’s plot and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest. Yeah, yeah, but what’s the purpose of a logline? What’s a … Read more

Is there a standard approach for doing script coverage analysis?

script coverage standards

A writer in my class the other day asked me “Is there a standard approach for doing script coverage analysis?” The short answer is no. There is absolutely no standard approach for doing script coverage analysis AKA notes AKA comments AKA evaluation AKA feedback section of a coverage that readers take when preparing their analysis. … Read more

The Script Coverage Buyer’s Guide

woman with shopping cart and title reads "script coverage buyer's guide"

Script coverage, in a nutshell, is really just a short document that offers an opinion on a screenplay. When script coverage is good, it offers helpful suggestions and pulls no punches with its critique, and the writer or filmmaker receiving it can make improvements to their material. But when it’s bad? Well, it can be … Read more

Screenwriting Gurus — Why Most of Them Suck and How to Avoid

Girl with glasses at whiteboard. Caption reads "Screenwriting gurus and other hilarious concepts."

“Screenwriting gurus.” Ick. If those two words don’t make you nauseous, you’re either not a screenwriter or you’ve sniffed too much glue.  Over the two decades of running my script coverage service, I’ve seen a lot of self-appointed screenwriting experts come and go, and it hasn’t always been pretty. At Screenplay Readers, we’re just script readers. … Read more

How to write interesting characters for your script

the grim reaper saying "I have come for your useless characters."

Write more interesting characters. Yes, you. You should be writing more interesting characters. Here’s a few things you can do to your draft right now. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Your characters are boring and that makes you boring and that makes us bored.  Don’t be boring. 1) Delete the scene where you … Read more

How to get focused so you can sell your screenplay

ostrich with his head sand saying "There's a writing career down here somewhere, I just know it"

“How do I sell my screenplay?” “My screenplay is done. Now what do I do?” “How do I get my script produced?” These are the eternal questions asked by aspiring screenwriters everywhere. But, as you might’ve noticed, get paid for writing for the film and tv industry is not an easy thing to do. Why? … Read more

Screenwriter Networking – The Basic Do’s and Don’t’s

Screenwriter networking is absolutely essential to any screenwriter’s career. People knowing people, referring people, befriending people — without any exaggeration, this is how films and television get made in the film industry. Once more for emphasis: meeting and working with film and tv people is mandatory if you want to make it as a paid screenwriter … Read more

Five Ways to Write Better Female Characters

Writing female characters seems to be a difficult thing to do for most screenwriters and tv writers. Bad female characters seem to be the rule rather than the exception. But there are writers working hard to change this paradigm, by introducing and developing their female characters with a bit more care and realism. And by … Read more

Become a Better Writer by Playing Dungeons and Dragons

Screenwriting and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). What possibly could a roleplaying game have in common with the century-old art and craft of writing a screenplay for film or television? What on Middle Earth could these two worlds have in common? Believe it or not, there’s actually a Hobbit-ton (pun intended) of overlap between the kind of techniques … Read more

Review of the screenwriting app suite Script Studio

Script Studio isn’t a screenwriting app. It’s more like a suite of screenwriting apps, all bundled together and, with its full array of powerful writing, editing, planning, outlining, and polishing tools, clearly capable of taking on newbie screenwriters and pro screenwriters alike, and everything in between. Upon first launch, it’s clear that the designers kept … Read more

3 Strategies For Making the Most out of Script Notes and Feedback

The difference between mediocre screenwriting and solid screenwriting often comes down to the screenwriter knowing the difference between what’s working in her script and what’s not. Beyond the various euphemisms for cutting your favorite moments (e.g. “Killing your darlings, ” or its less popular counterpart, “Drowning your puppies/kittens”), there comes a time when you need … Read more

How to write better villains in your screenplay

Is the villain in your screenplay reaching his or her fullest, most extraordinary villain self? Or is your villain limited by mundane, mealy-mouthed tropes or other half-baked screenwriting mistakes? It’s time to take charge of your villains, screenwriters! I’m here to help you unlock your villains’ potential, and unleash your villainous power. Because villains are … Read more

Fade In Pro Review

Fade In is a screenwriting app in a world full of screenwriting apps. Where there once was only one or two big screenwriting software packages — the venerable Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter — now there are several upstarts, seeking to usurp the de facto Final Draft throne. Enter Fade In, created by General … Read more

3 Big Myths Script Consultants Love to Perpetuate

Script consultants are miffed. Some of them, at least. Because script coverage exists. And because screenwriters not only have a plethora of free feedback options (writers groups, online forums, etc.), they also have paid script coverage services like mine as a low-cost alternative to high-priced script consultant services. So many of those script consultants turn … Read more

How to write screenplay subtext

Subtext in a screenplay isn’t easy to spot, and writing subtext — or writing subtextually — isn’t easy to do. A screenwriter requires not only verbal dexterity, but a certain depth of life experience to draw from, in order for her subtext to actually work. At the end of Arthur Miller’s classic feel-good play Death of … Read more

Getting into scenes late and leaving scenes early

Getting into a scene late and leaving it early. It can be difficult, even for expert screenwriters. But in Hollywood filmmaking, screenwriting lives or dies depending on how well it can dance on the ever-shrinking stage of audience attention span. In other words, there’s not much space to tell the whole tale in exhaustive detail, … Read more

How to write screenplay action and description text

Writing a screenplay often involves coming up with beautiful characters, stark settings, and really cool hovercraft race sequences. Communicating these elements effectively is the task of the script’s action and description text. The challenge is that not only must the action convey what’s going on to someone reading the script, but also to people turning … Read more

How to carry your screenplays with you, wherever

Carrying a printed screenplay around is not an option anymore. Of course, you can do it, but what a pain! Imagine you’re at a backyard barbecue in Encino, visiting with some old friends and having some vegan ribs. Then your friends’ other friends show up. And the wife is one of the small handful of … Read more

Are script coverage services worth it?

Are script coverage services worth it? Paid script coverage, that is? Commonly, when screenwriters need notes, they ask their peers, their fellow writers, or their writers groups. But what about writers who don’t have a lot of access to any of those resources? That’s where paid script coverage services come in. Forking over your hard-earned … Read more

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