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

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

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

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

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

Read the script coverage for Boogie Nights

Script coverage for Boogie Nights, which I recently found on the interwebs, thanks to a sleuthy Redditor, teaches us screenwriters and script readers some key lessons that we need to keep in mind when considering script coverage for own screenplays:   Lesson 1: script coverage is extremely subjective! Every reader has their own weird opinions on what … Read more

How to write a synopsis for script coverage

Writing a brief synopsis for a screenplay is the act of distilling the script’s story down to its essence while maintaining absolute brevity. You may recall that Polonius told his king, amongst other things, that brevity is the soul of wit. What he failed to include, perhaps due to his self-imposed brevity, was that brevity … Read more

My first script coverage ever for Media Artists Group in 1994

In the last century, in the year 1994,  I worked at a boutique talent and literary agency in Beverly Hills called Media Artists Group. For some perspective, Dean Martin and Bob Hope were still alive, Married with Children was still on the air, and The Simpsons was only on it’s fifth season.  Another Simpson, OJ, was still just … Read more

How to write script coverage for your own screenplay

Have you ever considered giving yourself script coverage? Have you ever considered reading your own script and providing script coverage for it? Lo, and yea, and verily, the benefits can be massive, not just for the script itself, but for a screenwriter’s long-term ability to distance herself from her own work.

How to tell you’re reading a terrible screenplay

Sometimes, we script readers get lucky. That is, when we dig into a screenplay to give script notes or provide script coverage, sometimes we know right away that the script we’re reading is gonna be a painful read.
Most times, that takes us a few pages. But sometimes, right off the bat, we get some really great clues that let us know “Hey, this screenwriter isn’t professional.”

How script readers can spot an amateur screenwriter

Your script has a lot of working parts — character, dialogue, conflict, action, theme, beats, acts… It’s a heady brew of elements. And that heady brew boils down into an awful lot of specific criteria that anyone reading your script will judge it by, whether you’ve sent it in to a script contest, or a script coverage company, or an agent, or studio, or a name actor.

Give yourself better script notes

Sitting down to do your screenplay rewrite? Awesome! Do you have some notes to go on? No? Alas, script notes are valuable, right? Getting anybody to read your spec script is often a bit of a challenge, but trying to get script notes on it can be twice as hard. Folks like me and my team … Read more

7 Stupid Script Notes (and what they really mean)

Even stupid script notes are great for screenwriters. There. I said it. When a screenwriter asks for script notes from a script coverage company or a screenwriting group, that screenwriter assumes she’ll be receiving good notes on her screenplay, but even the bad ones can be good. And by good I mean useful. Because they … Read more

What’s the difference between script notes and coverage?

Script coverage and script notes are two different beasts , but are really not all that far apart. Here are the primary differences: Script notes = MRI. Script coverage = checkup In a nutshell, script coverage is 2-4 pages of synopsis, comments, logline, and header information. It’s a quick doctor visit.  Is the patient’s pulse … Read more

How to tell a screenwriter that their script needs work

Telling a screenwriter that his script needs work isn’t easy. There are three immutable laws that govern screenwriting writ large: 1) Everybody has a script 2) Everybody is a critic 3) Some screenwriters aren’t quite good at handling honest feedback As screenwriters, we’ve all done “friend reads,” right? Me, despite doing script notes for a … Read more

Our funniest awful customers

They say a company is never supposed to publish the bad things people say about them.  Well, they may be right, but some of these are just too hard to resist posting. We’ve been reading scripts and providing script coverage at Screenplay Readers since 1999, and have had a ton of awesome feedback and glowingly positive testimonials … Read more

The Top 5 Skills Needed to Be A Great Script Reader

A great script reader requires five elemental traits: A Script Reader Must Have The Eyes and Ears of a Filmmaker First and foremost, the great script reader must be highly adept in the language of cinema. And not only on the written page, but in all aspects of production, post-production, pre-production, and everything in between. … Read more

Screenplay Coverage – The Pros and Cons

It’s the age-old question every screenwriter asks herself: “To cover my script, or not to cover my script?”  Well, not really, but it’s still a valid question.  Does screenplay coverage help a screenwriter to improve her script?  Like any notes from anyone, free or paid, it all depends on who’s giving them. But let me … Read more

How to react to critical feedback on your screenplay

How you react to critical feedback on your script defines you as a screenwriter. It’s that simple. To be fair, there is such a thing as good critical feedback and such a thing as bad critical feedback, but a smart screenwriter will be ready to use either variety of feedback to their advantage. My company … Read more

How to get a recommend in your script coverage

Has your screenplay ever received a RECOMMEND when getting script coverage?  As a script analyst running my own script coverage company, Screenplay Readers, I’m constantly bombarded with questions from screenwriters and producers, but perhaps no question is asked more than: “What do I have to do to get my script rated as a RECOMMEND?” (As opposed … Read more

How to handle script notes like a pro

A screenwriting critique – It can be fun to do one, but it’s not always fun when it’s your script that’s being critiqued. If you’ve ever received script notes on one of your screenplays, you know how frustrating it can be if the reader who read the script just flat-out didn’t like it, and/or gave your script low marks, or … Read more

Agency Script Coverage – Do agents even read the coverage?

So you’ve gone to all the trouble of writing a script, which you happen to think is the greatest little romantic comedy since they invented Romantic Comedies in 2018.  And you’ve gone to all the trouble of getting feedback on that script from friends, writers groups, and even paid for script coverage from a script … Read more

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