Do I need to get screenplay coverage before I submit it to agencies, contests, and studios?
You sure don’t. 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.
Will screenplay coverage or script notes from Screenplay Readers automatically improve my script?
That part is up to you, or your writer. What we offer is 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.
What are your script reading / script coverage credentials?
Warner Bros., Universal, CAA, Paramount, Sundance, Samuel Goldwyn, Roger Corman, ICM…. The list goes on. Our script analysts have worked for nearly every major player in Hollywood. (See our About Us page for more.) We’re all experienced screenwriters, story analysts, development execs, producers, directors, and/or filmmakers working in the film industry. We don’t hire college students or use interns, and we’re not a one-man show.
I’m not good at receiving critical feedback. Should I order service from screenplayreaders.com?
We really don’t want to hurt your feelings! If you’re not big on receiving feedback, Screenplay Readers is probably not the place for you. Sorry about that!
Will my script 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.
Will my credit card payment be safe?
We use some of the biggest, most trustworthy payment processors in the world – Stripe, Paypal, Apple Pay, and BitPay – to safely and securely process our customers’ payments. Any payment information you send is securely encrypted by Stripe, Paypal, Apple Pay, or Bitpay, both coming and going, so you can rest knowing your payment information will be 100% safe.
“How do I order? What’s the process?”
Select which services you’d like from our script coverage services page.
Check out with any credit card, Paypal, or Bitcoin. 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.
Upload your screenplay using our upload form. Then we’ll assign your script to your reader(s) and get your coverage to you usually within 24-72 hours.
Do I have to have a Paypal account to send payment?
Nope. You can use any credit card or Paypal, Apple Pay, or even Bitcoin. For larger orders, we can invoice your company via Paypal, and you can pay that invoice online using your credit card or Paypal account. We accept checks in some limited, extreme circumstances. If for some reason you must pay by a regular check, we can send a regular invoice via email or snail mail. No work will begin until your check or payment has cleared.
Do you accept Bitcoin as payment?
Yes, we accept Bitcoin.
How do I use Apple Pay to order?
To use Apple Pay, first of all, you have to make sure the device or computer you’re using is compatible. iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and the Apple Watch are all compatible. If you’d like to use Apple Pay on your Mac or MacBook Pro, make sure it has OS X Sierra installed. Any earlier version of OS X will not work. Sorry, but we can’t help you get your Apple Pay set up or working. That being said, Apple’s support team rocks and there literally dozens of great articles that can help.
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.
12-pt Courier-based font required
Text must be in 12-point Courier/Courier New/Final Draft font.
Each page must have minimum 1" margins on all sides and max 3.5" wide dialogue blocks
Top, bottom, left, and right margins must be a minimum of 1″. If your script uses smaller margins, on any side of the page, we can’t accept it.
Maximum 54 total lines per page
This includes both text lines AND the blank white space lines between elements.
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 do you 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 oh 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 are your office hours? Do you work weekends?
Just like all professional shops in the film industry, 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!).
What if your reader misses details about my screenplay?
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 Script Notes service is indeed such a line-by-line service, should you require that degree of detail.
Are you guys objective with your script coverage and script notes?
Reading and commenting critically on someone’s hard work can never be 100% objective. The very core of our service, and what keeps our clients coming back, is providing our customers a real-world dry run of how the real-world film industry would react to their screenplay, as we believe that that’s the best possible data any filmmaker or writer can have when sitting down to write their next draft. That being said, our analysts are always as objective, as fair, and as helpful as possible.
Can I request a specific screenplay reader?
Absolutely. We offer the ability to choose your own script reader, for $25 optional. One fee per reader requested. So, for example, if you order a 3-reader coverage, and only request two specific script readers, you’ll do two requests ($25 x 2) for the readers you request, and Screenplay Readers will choose the third reader. If you don’t pay the fee, no problem. Screenplay Readers will assign your scripts to whichever readers are available. This is great for peeps who want to work with a specific reader as they improve their script, draft by draft over time.
Can I make sure that only a reader who hasn’t read my script reads it this time?
Absolutely. Just let us know you’d like fresh eyes only. We’ll get it to someone who hasn’t read it previously. Keep in mind, if many of our staff have already read it, it might take a bit longer to get assigned. 😎
Do you cover 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.
How do I know if my script is under 120 pages?
See How to determine your script’s page count on this page.
I sent in a new draft of the same script for new coverage, but the second coverage is essentially the same as the first.
We advise all our customers who resubmit their scripts that if your screenplay hasn’t changed significantly, please do not resubmit it for new coverage. Changing some character names and revamping a scene or two doesn’t mean your script is any different, nor that our synopsis and comments should be either.
How does The Screenplay Readers Guarantee work?
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.
It’s been a few days and I haven’t received my script coverage. What do I do?
Please make sure that your email program or webmail is not blocking or filtering out our email address support @ screenplayreaders.com, or just make sure your mail program considers anything from @screenplayreaders.com to be non-spam. If our email is being blocked by your spam filters, and you haven’t left us a telephone number, we can’t get through to you.
Can I just send an actual printed screenplay to screenplayreaders.com via the regular US mail?
We used to offer this service, but then we had an epiphany: WE LOVE TREES. And so can you.
Do I have to be a screenwriter to order script coverage on a script?
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.
My script received a RECOMMEND, CONSIDER, or PASS. What do these recommendations mean?
Like most agencies or production studios, Screenplay Readers only rarely RECOMMENDS a script. Scripts which receive a RECOMMEND are exemplary in all categories. We’ve given out only a handful of them the entire time we’ve been in business.
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.
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.
Keep in mind these things if you’ve received a PASS recommendation on your script: 1) It’s just our opinion. And it should always be your second opinion! Take advantage of free feedback from writers groups, writer friends, etc. before you order coverage from us. 2) Whether we’re doing the coverage, a studio is doing it, or a production company, more scripts in the film industry receive PASS recommendations than any other type of recommendation. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or your script is bad. At all!
Should I keep submitting my script to Screenplay Readers until I receive a better score or recommendation?
Please, please, please don’t! If you get coverage from us, take a month or two off to work on the script, then come back if you want. “Chasing notes” is absolutely not the best way to spend your time or 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.
If my script receives a CONSIDER or RECOMMEND, will you pass it along to your industry contacts?
We send an email out to a group of our independent and studio filmmaker allies every now and then with some of the best recommended scripts, but only with the customer’s permission. Our allies are not Steven Spielberg or other A-list characters, but they’re real and they’re consistently producing, selling, and/or distributing feature films and they’re always in the market for new, good screenplays.
Do your screenplay readers rush?
Never. We have an awesome general turnaround time but our analysts never rush your coverage.
We vet our expert script analysts heavily, and we have a large team, so no script reader is overwhelmed by scripts. Which means they’re not just rushing through yours just to get to the next script.
Will you guys have interns or college kids read my screenplay?
With all due respect to college students and interns, absolutely positively no. Please see “What are your credentials?” above.
Will you guys try to get me to buy more expensive coverage, or encourage me to keep getting coverage on my script(s) until I get a better review?
No. That’s pretty cheeseball, and we like to be as un-cheeseball as possible.
An agent said to get script coverage from you before they’ll read my script.
If an agent promises to read your script in exchange for you purchasing script coverage from us, run for the hills. But there’s a difference between that and “Go get script coverage somewhere (we recommend Company X) and tweak your script and make sure it’s good, then send me the script and coverage and I’ll see what I can do. No promises.” We’ve got a lot of friends who recommend us, and they’re all over the map when it comes to job descriptions.
What exactly is a ‘script coverage report?’
A film industry-standard screenplay coverage report is usually 2-4 pages and consists of three parts: (a) the basic information about the script (author, genre, page count, logline) and a brief ratings area for different categories of quality (plot, characters, setting, theme), etc. (b) a synopsis of the film usually up to a page in length, (c) an analysis page, containing the reader’s comments and opinions on the screenplay’s strengths and weaknesses, and (d) a multi-category analysis “grid,” which scores the script in a variety of different categories, such as dialogue, conflict, pacing, etc.