Script Coverage Questions (FAQ)

Is script coverage necessary?

script chick with clipboard

Not at all. But as you probably already know, the playing field for first-time screenwriters, or even journeyman screenwriters, is extremely tilted in favor of established screenwriters. With agents. Even if your screenplay is perfect, a spec script from an unknown screenwriter is an almost impossible sell, because you’re up against screenwriters that are already entrenched, with long track records, and close relationships with agents and producers.

Every single line on every single page of your script needs to not only entertain an agency, studio, or contest reader, but also convince them (a) that you know your craft, (b)  you have great ideas that are artistic and/or marketable, and (c) you’re a talent worth taking a chance on.  Short of that critical trifecta, your script has little chance.

Receiving script coverage from screenplayreaders.com allows you to test your script, by giving it a “dry run” to get an idea how a real agency/producer reader would react to your screenplay, giving you an opportunity to make fixes to your screenplay before submitting it for real.

Are script coverage services worth it?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Feedback on your screenwriting can take many forms, and not all of them cost money. We list a few pros and cons to paying for script coverage in our blog post here.

Does script coverage help?

It can, definitely. We can’t rewrite your screenplay or teleplay (that part is up to you, or your writer.) But what we can do is provide our honest analysis of what’s working/not working about your script. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to use it to your advantage.

Will I know who is reading my script?

Our script readers have worked for nearly every major player in Hollywood.  (See our About Us page for all the details.) We’re all experienced working screenwriters, story analysts, development execs, producers, directors, and/or filmmakers working in the film industry.  Unlike some, we don’t hire college students or use interns, and we’re not a one-man show.

What exactly is script coverage?

Script coverage is a “book report” on your screenplay that’s typically a few pages long and consists of 3 parts: (a) the basic information about the script (author, genre, page count, logline, etc.), (b) a brief synopsis of the film, and (c) a comments / analysis section, containing a script reader’s comments on the screenplay’s strengths and weaknesses. Some coverages may also include a rating or scoring section which numerically scores the script in various categories (plot, conflict, character, etc.) It must be noted that script coverage styles and formats vary wildly. Almost every studio or agency does them differently. For more, read the Wikipedia entry here.

What does a RECOMMEND mean in script coverage?

Scripts which receive a RECOMMEND  are exemplary in all aspects, and are ready for sale or production. Like most agencies or production studios, Screenplay Readers only rarely RECOMMENDS a script. We’ve given out only a handful of them the entire time we’ve been in business.

What does a CONSIDER mean in script coverage?

We give CONSIDER recommendations to scripts which have great potential, but which need a bit more work to really shine and become worthy of a producer or agent’s attention.

What does a PASS mean in script coverage?

When our recommendation for your script comes in with a PASS, it doesn’t necessarily mean we think the script is no good. It simply means our reader felt that the script needs a lot more work to make it marketable and sellable. For example, some scripts which receive a PASS recommendation may have a great concept and strong dialogue, but their plot structure may need a lot of work.

Should I keep getting script coverage until I receive a RECOMMEND or CONSIDER?

Please don’t! If you get coverage from us, take a while to work on the script, then come back if you want. “Chasing notes” is absolutely not the best way to spend your time or your money. If we suspect you’re resubmitting your script to us too soon, based on the scope of our comments and suggested fixes, we will let you know, and ask you to resubmit once you’ve really taken the time to make your script better, rather than just encouraging you to resubmit time and time again. We’re here to build long-term relationships with our clients; not to make a quick buck.

To get script coverage, do I have to be a screenwriter?

Our script coverage is written as objectively as possible, so that agents, producers, managers, and studio executives can all benefit from the coverage. Our coverage writing style is neither “self-helpy” or “educationally oriented” so you can just get the feedback and do what you want with it, whether you’re a screenwriter or not.

Should I get script coverage? (I’m not good at receiving critical feedback.)

We really don’t want to hurt your feelings!  If you’re not big on receiving critical notes, (or you suspect you might react poorly to script feedback) Screenplay Readers is probably not the place for you.

What does it mean when a script coverage company says that if you get a CONSIDER or RECOMMEND they’ll pass it along to their “industry contacts?”

We’re not fans of promises like this. It’s pretty clear to us that offers like this are designed to entice someone into buying a service. For more of our opinion on this topic, check out our article about companies selling “industry access” here.

When I send in my screenplay for coverage, will it be safe?

Absolutely. Your script remains 100% confidential. Your script will be read by our reader and that’s it.  Many other companies demand that you fill out a script release form before they read your script, but that’s to protect them; not you

When I pay for script coverage service, will my personal information be safe?

We use some of the world’s biggest, most trustworthy payment gateways to safely and securely process our customers’ payments. What’s more, our entire website is encrypted with SHA-256 RSA SSL encryption, so you can rest assured that your transaction and your information will be 100% secure.  

How to determine your script’s page count

Please make sure your script adheres to the following film industry standards before selecting what service to order, as we charge more for any script over 120 pages, and reject orders that misrepresent their true page count.

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    12-pt Courier-based font required

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    Each page must have minimum 1.5" left margin and 1" margins on top, right, and bottom and max 3.5" wide dialogue blocks

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    Maximum 54 total lines per page, including text lines and blank white space lines between text lines

If you're not sure, send us your script before you order.
Or just purchase the “Over 120 Pages” version of whatever service you order so our readers can be paid appropriately for your page count.
What do you mean by blank white line space?

Blank white line space is the space between your page’s elements. “INT. POLICE STATION – DAY” is the scene header element. The next line is a blank white space line, then your action/description element comes next: “The police sit at their desks.” This is a total of 3 lines.

Why does Screenplay Readers charge extra for scripts even just 1 page over the 120 page limit?

We only work with whip-smart, experienced film industry script analysts, who demand, rightfully so, that we respect their time and energy. And that means we have to set a hard ceiling for page count.

But my screenplay is only 1 page over the 120 page limit. Can you make an exception?

Nope, sorry about that. Our customers are important to us, but our analysts are what make Screenplay Readers work at all. If we make an exception for you, we have to ask one of our analysts to do more work for the same amount of pay. Even if it’s just one extra page. By drawing that firm line, we retain the trust of our analysts, and therefore the caliber of the analysts on our team.

And by the way: please don’t use your software’s “Cheat Pages” function, or fiddle with the margins, line spacing, or font size in order to get your script under 120 pages. We always catch it. Some ways you can get your script under 120 pages include: paring down your long description or action text, having your characters say the same thing with fewer words, and/or eliminating unnecessary scenes wherever you can.

What if a script reader misses details about my screenplay in their coverage?

Details about your script which you, the writer, may think are 100% clear and super-important, are not always clear on the page.  And many times, are simply not as important as you may think they are, relative to the larger soft spots your script may have.

If you think you might be somewhat defensive about your writing, or aren’t always thrilled to receive feedback you disagree with, we ask respectfully and humbly: please don’t hire us.   🙂

Only work with us if you understand that just because our reader may have missed a detail which you deem important, it doesn’t mean the balance of their notes and suggestions are automatically rendered invalid. The script coverage format itself is traditionally not a super-detailed, line-by-line account of a screenplay’s mechanics or problem areas; it is only an overview.

That being said, our more involved Extensive Script Notes service is indeed such a line-by-line service, should you require that degree of detail.

Does Screenplay Readers provide script coverage for tv pilots, sitcoms, and one-hour tv shows?

Yes. Our readers are experienced in TV, whether it’s network or cable.  All of our services encompass tv script and film scripts alike. TV script or film script – it doesn’t matter. Our rates are based only on page count and number of readers.

What are your office hours?

We’re open Monday through Friday 9-5PM. But we also pop into the office on Saturday from 9AM-12 Noon Pacific Time (Los Angeles, California). Our analyst team reads on weekends, but the office staff is out of the office. If you order your screenplay coverage after business hours, it will be assigned to one of our script analysts as soon as we’re back in the office. Similarly, if the script analyst turns in your coverage after business hours, we’ll get that coverage to you once we open. We’re closed on all major holidays, and any minor ones we feel we can get away with (hooray for Boxing Day and Yom Kippur!).

How does The Screenplay Readers Guarantee work?

It’s simple, really. If for some reason we fail to deliver what we promise as part of our service, and/or our Terms of Service, and you’ve already submitted and received your Follow-Up questions from your reader(s), we’ll either redo or fix your synopsis or comments. Your choice. We reserve the right to assign your script to either the same reader or to a new reader.