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Asking experts in the field of screenwriting to give feedback for a completed script can require some amount of money.
This is a tough call for amateur writers because they might have plans to apply to screenwriting contests or take up further paid courses in writing screenplays from many websites like Udemy, Coursera, or even a MasterClass course.
Adding the cost of paid writing software and registration of the script to the list of expenses can bring it up to $500 at least. That’s a lot of money for writers who are unsure whether their writing is good enough for the market.
That is why script coverage is essential even though it may be costly. Now, the following questions may arise in a writer’s mind who is just starting.
- What are script coverage services?
- Why do you need coverage for a script?
- How much does script coverage cost?
- Is my script safe?
- What are the best script coverage services?
- How do you choose the correct script reader?
- Are they worth the money?
It is entirely natural for a writer to have these thoughts. No one wants to get ripped off or get their script stolen to later find out and say, “Hey, that was my idea of a movie. That’s my story right there! You Scammers!”.
To avoid such incidents writers should know what they are getting themselves into when asking for professional help online. All of the above questions related to script coverage services are covered in detail in this article. So let’s go over them one by one.
What Are Script Coverage Services?
I’ll explain it this way, you send a screenplay to a professional screenwriter, and after a few days or weeks, you get detailed feedback on its story and formatting.
The feedback can be an in-depth analysis of 4-5 pages or a small paragraph. It depends on what you are asking for. The price, too, depends on the type of feedback required.
Script coverage services are given by professional screenwriters who work in the industry, are retired, or even have never sold a screenplay. For example, Robert McKee never sold a script, but discovered and nurtured hundreds of writers.
But these people know what the industry wants in a story. The cost might vary according to the genre of the screenplay.
Good coverage gives one the critical feedback required to write a great screenplay. Taking it positively will enhance the writer’s ability to craft an extraordinary story ready to be distributed to producers.
Why Do You Need Coverage For a Script?
If you are writing for the first time, you need some constructive criticism to help you write according to the format. Spending money asking an expert where and how you can improve might be a good option.
The reason is that every writer thinks that their story is the best one and is most likely to sell. While they may be right, what must be considered is that there are thousands of people like them knocking on studio doors.
Some of them have already sold their work before and even made movies. The competition is crazy out there. One silly mistake in formatting, story arc, or character outline, and all your hard work is wasted.
How Much Does Script Coverage Cost?
A good script coverage can cost anywhere between $70 to $150 for one screenplay. Some writing contests provide you with this service for free when you apply.
If you are really low on budget, applying to 2 contests with feedback is a good option. It merely costs $20-30 more than the application fees.
If you are ready to spend a little, apply without feedback and ask for script coverage services from a professional. This might cost more, but you’ll get critical feedback from experts who have spent a reasonable amount of time (maybe 3 hours) analyzing your script.
At least $150 is needed for this kind of service. Anyone serious about making a career in writing feature films and TV series, but can’t afford to go to a screenwriting academic program in LA, or the UK should get coverage for every script he or she writes in the future.
Is My Script Safe?
Professional script coverage services will not copy your idea. However, they also encourage you to register it with the WGAW before sending it.
A lot of websites offer their services and then copy ideas. You have a better chance of fighting for your story if you are registered.
What Are the Best Script Coverage Services?
There are not many good ones out there, but I have listed some services starting from the best down below. Remember, some of these are costly, but they give back quality feedback.
1. We Screenplay
This is number one on my list of quality coverage services in Hollywood, for all screenplays. The reason behind it is the low cost, value for money, and professional advice from seasoned script readers.
It has 3 service packages: $69, $99, and $199.
- In each package, the script coverage is submitted within 72 hours.
- Script notes analyze the Character, Plot, Structure, Dialogue, and Concept.
- The reader gives a rating.
- The $199 package includes inline notes throughout the script and follow-up questions.
They even deliver coverage in less than 24 hours for an additional fee. While submitting the script applicants can also request a specific reader. It is a coverage service that runs like an efficient multimillion-dollar IT company.
2. Bulletproof Script Coverage
Indie Film Hustle founder Alex Ferrari started the Bulletproof Script Coverage service. The main difference between this service and other coverage services is that they provide coverage based on the type of screenplay.
The readers are experts in particular genres or short screenplays based on the prospective budget of the script if it goes for production. They have experienced readers who have worked with major Hollywood studios like Marvel, Disney, NBC, HBO, WB, and many more. They deliver professional coverage services in 5 days.
Their Script Coverage Categories are:
- Micro Budget (under $2 Million, intended for self-production)
- Indie Film Market ($3 – $20 Million, financed independently by foreign sales agents and investors)
- Studio Film ($20 Million+ budget to be done by the studio)
They have 2 packages in each category: $99 or $199. All packages include A Pass, Consider, Recommend Rating, Character and Casting Potential, Structure, Dialogue, Character, & Story.
And that’s the reason why it is number two on this list.
3. Script Reader Pro
This service also lets writers get feedback according to the genre of the script.
Their readers have worked on films like War of the Worlds (Tom Cruise), Hellboy (David Harbor), Burnt (Bradley Cooper), The Bourne Identity (Matt Damon), and with major Hollywood studios and production companies.
They have a range of services from $69 to mentorship programs costing $1449. They have 3 packages:
3.1 Intensive Script Coverage:
Writers can choose the script reader. Free email follow-up after the service. Turnaround time is up to 14 days. The cost is $169 as a start.
3.2. Rewrite & Polish:
After submitting a script, a writer can get the screenplay rewritten by a pro reader and still have all the rights to it. The cost is not mentioned as it can vary.
However, it’s not a mere 300-500 dollar service as the reader has to write the script again. If you have the money, wish to be a screenwriter in Hollywood, and nothing else, you can try this.
3.3. One-on-one Script Mentorship:
The program is designed for aspiring writers with a script, synopsis, or an idea. The Screenwriting Mentorship is either a 6 or a 12-week program.
The goal is for an aspiring writer to walk away feeling 100 times more confident in his/her writing ability.
4. Spec Scout
In this coverage service, 3 readers review the submitted screenplay, each of whom provides ratings and an in-depth analysis of the script. The write script coverage in 8-10 pages with comments and specific examples from within the script.
The screenplay coverage services include a script score to indicate the quality of the script based on the 3 readers’ ratings.
There are 10 categories: Character, Conflict, Craft, Dialogue, Logic, Originality, Pacing, Premise, Structure & Tone. The script score is based on 100.
The writer earns a listing as a Scouted writer for free and forever if the score is at least 70. They actively promote subscribers who are agents and producers from the industry.
The cost is $297 for regular service, and turn around time is 30 days.
5. Shore Scripts
Shore Scripts’ coverage service provides writers with valuable feedback for taking scripts to the next level. What sets Shore Scripts’ coverage service apart though is their commitment to being transparent, and providing constructive, actionable, and affordable reports.
Readers at Shore Scripts have worked for some of the biggest studios and production companies, including Universal, Lions Gate, Working Title, and more.
Shore Scripts has 5 service packages as follows:
- Feedback on your first 10 pages – $75
- Treatment – $75
- 3-page – $115
- 6-Page – $155
- proofreading service – $145
- 3 Best Scripts submitted to the Coverage Service each month are sent out to members of their Industry Roster (with the writer’s permission).
- 2-5 Day Turnaround.
- Full script notes analyze the Premise, Hook & Stakes, Character, Dialogue/Sound, Structure, and Pace. And also include an Industry Scorecard.
- Every writer receives a free Guide to Pitching with their submission.
- Sample coverage reports can be found on their website so you can see what service is the perfect fit before you buy.
6. Industrial Scripts
They have a total of 12 script coverage services. That’s a lot! Their services include reviewing Tv shorts, feature films, Bibles, Treatments, Script Doctor’s reports, proofing and polishing, and Logline. The cost varies from $ 95 to $ 395 for these services. The film coverage report cost is $180.
- Choose Your Reader
- 30-Point Grids & Numerical Scoring
- “Next Steps” Precise Final Recommendations
- Specific Feedback Request Option
- Fast Turnaround Times (options available)
- Multi-Reader / Multi-Perspective Options
- Guaranteed Report Word Counts
Their readers have worked with WB, Lionsgate, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and many more studios.
7. Austin Film Festival
The Austin Film Festival is one of the best screenplay competitions in the world. Due to their industry connections, they have experienced script readers working for big Hollywood studios.
The cost for feature screenplays is $105. The Teleplay cost is $85.
- A logline
- A thorough, extensive, honest, and constructive evaluation of the story
- A plot synopsis similar
- A professional assessment of the script’s market potential
- A market-relevant rating
- An industry-style recommendation
The turnaround time is 60 days. For an additional $50 per script, the script coverage service can be delivered within 30 days.
The readers at Screencraft have a minimum of 2 years of experience at major studios or agencies. They provide two pages of notes on the script from a professional script reader, hand-picked for the feature screenplay or TV pilot script.
The cost is $125. The script coverage delivery is approximately 5 days. Screencraft has a well-known screenwriting competition in the US, due to which they have excellent industry connections.
Scriptapalooza’s Screenplay competition is quite well known. But if a writer wants script coverage, they have this too. They have screenplay coverage and shorts coverage.
The screenplay coverage services cost $120 and include a logline, a synopsis, and feedback totaling 4-5 pages. The feedback they provide has detailed notes covering these categories: Premise, Structure, Character, Dialogue, Setting, Pacing, Tone, and Transitions.
The Shorts feedback includes these categories, and the cost of it is $85. They haven’t mentioned the turnaround time.
How Do You Choose the Correct Script Reader?
The first and most crucial task before picking a script reader would be to estimate a budget. Based on your budget, you can understand your preferred price range.
Now, Any writer in search of script coverage services would want the assurance that they are getting their money’s worth. Some of the things to look for while choosing a script reader are –
- Fluency in the language of film or cinema.
- Experience and qualifications in the field.
- Good communication skills and precise knowledge of production and screenwriting.
- Intuitive and insightful of what sells in the industry.
You can also check out script coverage samples by the specific script reader before hiring the same. This would give you an idea of their performance and what you can expect from them.
Are Script Coverage Services Worth the Money?
Having analyzed the best available script coverage services, I think they are worth it only if writers send the best possible script they can write. It’s not feasible to send a script just because a writer requires some constructive criticism. Getting the best work out in the hands of experts has to be the priority.
However, relying on their feedback is not the only option to write better screenplays. Learning by reading scripts that are both good and bad helps writers hone their skills. Making mistakes is an essential part of the writing process.
Script coverage must be taken positively and without any ego by any writer.