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Any recommendations for script coverage services?

Anyone recommend or can give me a view on their experience using a script coverage service? Is there a great deal of variation between services? Anyone find one particular service helpful/unhelpful? I’m really looking to develop and enrich my Western script more than anything, and maybe form a future relationship.

  • Hi David, I'm a script reader and script editor, clients include BFI, Bafta, Film London and many more. I provide coverage, feedback, script notes and tailor my fees to suit my clients. Drop me a line at simonhbrooke@gmail.com if that sounds of interest...
    Thanks!

    1 month ago
  • Hi David, I'm script reader and script coach that can help. Please check out www.mikesheer.net/script-editor for more info and testimonials.

    In general, I recommend going with a private consultant such as myself, as you are more able to have an ongoing relationship. With script reading companies often you don't get that same level of one-to-one attention.

    Hope that helps!

    Good luck,

    Mike

    1 month ago
  • I've had scripts covered by the Blacklist, Industrial scripts and freelance script editors. My opinion is to ask your friends, colleagues and family members to read your script and offer criticism. It may take them awhile but they will read your script with a degree of care and attention that you will probably not get from a paid service. After all, these are the people who will form part of your audience if the film gets made, so their opinion counts. One thing: be prepared to analyse their criticism as they may not be able to pinpoint issues but offer general and subjective comments.

    Script readers and editors are ultimately subjective and may only be able to offer useful criticism if they care about the subject or like the story.

    1 month ago
  • By all means use colleagues and family members for the early drafts of your script. HOWEVER, would a producer read a script on a recommendation given by the writer's granny or mate?

    Professional script readers will supply an industry-standard breakdown known as "coverage". Coverage will include numerical ratings of the script's various aspects, and an overall score. A producer would likely look at a script's ratings first before reading the text of the coverage, let alone before deciding to read the actual script. A producer would trust the rating given by a known professional script reading agency but would not place as much trust in a rating or recommendation provided by the writer's mate.

    I have found that the greatest benefit of having a script covered by a reader is having shortcomings pointed out that, in my heart of hearts, I was already aware of but had shied away from addressing. Now, colleagues and family members may be of use in that respect, but I would recommend using a professional script reading service once you feel a script is near its final draft.

    1 month ago
  • 99% of scripts are not well-written or sufficiently marketable to support the huge commitment in time, energy and funding to make a movie. Script readers for the big agencies read a lot of poorly written scripts and after a while it does become discouraging and cynicism creeps in.

    It's not a lot different from being a cop, readers mostly see the worst aspects of the craft and in time become jaded. Also, script reading is subjective and so all kinds of personal biases and interests come into play with coverage.

    Producers are far more interested in marketable concepts than well-written scripts in the first instance. The script can always be developed if the financing is in place. And financing depends on strong marketable concepts.

    1 month ago
  • Hey David, looks like you've got some really sound advice here – as well as some potential script readers.
    I came across this the other day which might also be of interest, a breakdown of the major script coverage services on the No Film School site, FYI: nofilmschool.com/screenplay-coverage-ser...

    1 month ago
  • Wow, thanks for all the advice and suggestions. It’s really interesting to see the differing opinions. It’s got my mind whirring and lots of stuff to check out.

    Thanks for the list, Frank.

    1 month ago
  • Whatever professional chosen, complement them with a plethora of other takes all in one go. After all, the professional is just one POV. London Screenwriting Meetup yields 20-25 experienced and budding screenwriters a session (2 hrs face-to-face or Zoom) critiquing your script essentially for free.

    1 month ago
    • Absolutely, Barry. I’m also offering like for like feedback with other screenwriters. I’d like an overview rather than a single POV. I’ll check out Meet-up. Cheers.

      1 month ago
  • Hi David,
    Looks like you’ve got some good thoughts in there. I’m a writer, director & dramaturge. When I look to get feedback on my work I tend to focus on why I want the feedback and for me it’s mostly about is my story compelling enough. Does my narrative make sense. So I go to someone who focuses on just that. They are more expensive than a standard coverage but for the money you get a fair bit. They read the piece multiple times. Hold an hours zoom chat with you to talk through their thoughts & then send you everything in a report like document. What I like about it is they don’t bang on about format, spelling or oh you used lorry when you actually meant truck. They focus on the narrative. The rest is up to you to sort out. I’m dyslexic. I worry about my spelling & so on in my scripts. My agent hasn’t mentioned it once. She just put in place a copywriter to do a final check before it goes to studios etc. For me the story is everything… so I tend to go to a place that deals just with that. & it’s worth every penny.
    If you want the persons details, ping me a message & I’ll pass on their email, they are based in New York.
    Also, if you wanted, am happy to read your script. Don’t charge you for a brief 1 page feedback thing,
    Cheers
    Andy

    1 month ago
  • Amazing stuff here! Thanks everyone for your contribution. I think all are valuable and it depends at what stage your script is... Perhaps you can also join a writer's group or pass it on to other writers in the meantime before sending it to a pro reader. Good luck!

    1 month ago
  • Hmm... I should like to adjust downwards my previous enthusiasm for seeking script coverage from commercial companies.

    Well over a year ago, I sent a draft of a script to Industrial Scripts for a coverage report. It received a 65% / Low Consider rating. I redrafted it, taking aboard several of their reader's recommendations. I then submitted it to Euroscript. It received a 70% score from Euroscript. I then did a major redraft and resubmitted to Euroscript. The same reader as before now scored it at 80% (which I believe would equate to a Consider on the Pass / Low Consider / Consider / Recommend rating scale).

    I made some improvements and submitted to Industrial Scripts again. It went to a different reader than the first time. I got the coverage report this morning and to my astonishment it was now rated as only a PASS. Yes, it was now considered by Industrial Scripts to be in worse shape than it had been when I first submitted it to them over a year before.

    Although I am a creature of self-doubt, I know they were wrong.

    In addition to recently sending to Industrial Scripts, I produced an alternative draft which had a different ending, one where there was no happy resolution for the main protagonists. It is actually my preferred version, as I felt I had been selling out to commercialism with my previous ending. I sent the bleak-ending draft to US-based WeScreenplay who rated it as... a PASS.

    I would be disheartened by these two latest reports were it not for my confidence that the script is actually considerably superior to what it was when I received my first coverage report for it over a year ago.

    In comparing the various script notes I have received this past year or more, notes concomitant with the coverage packages, it is very obvious that what for one reader was considered a strength was for another reader considered a weakness. For instance, the last Euroscript report praised the final third, describing it as a "cracking read." However, the last Industrial Scripts and the WeScreenplay report both criticised the final third, even though the material was the same as the Euroscript submission (apart from the final few pages of the bleak version that WeScreenplay received).

    The most recent Industrial Scripts reader and the WeScreenplay reader both failed to pick up on things and were sometimes misapprehended regarding the meaning of passages/scenes.

    Characters and character interplay praised by one reader would be highlighted as a problem by another reader.

    A particular character's actions at one point was singled out for criticism by Euroscript but singled out as a nice touch by Industrial Scripts.

    The same Euroscript reader contradicted herself at least once between the two reports she produced for me several months apart.

    The WeScreenplay coverage report was so off the mark that I requested a free resubmission with another reader, which has been granted.

    I know I won't feel inclined to pay money for another coverage report for this particular script. And in hindsight I wish I had not spent money on the last two reports. But I am not dismayed by them. Indeed I am taking them as being evidence that the script is actually ready. Why? In part because they helped me realise that the readers were looking for formulaic structures, et cetera. I feel the script's originality threw the readers a little (or maybe I'm deluded?).

    Taken as a whole, just about every element has been praised by the readers... just not at the same time by the same reader.

    Of course, it would pay (literally) for commercial script readers to encourage resubmissions by giving an initial low score. The cynic in me said that.

    2 weeks ago
  • Hi Alwyne, while I have used script services in the past, I only use them thesedays where I am struggling with a problem that I can't resolve. The other thing I am doing is testing the script out on FilmFreeway who charge a fraction of the price to place your script in a competition which is judged by filmmakers and the like - those who are better judges of its overall potential. Admittedly most festivals I have submitted to have involved short scripts though I currently have a comedy feature in 3 festivals so we'll see.

    2 weeks ago
  • Hi Alwyne

    Yeah, I do think you need a certain confidence in your work before getting feedback so you can filter it. Your gut reaction is going to tell you if it’s suitable or not. Some people just won’t get what your doing. Let’s face it, there’s no point trying for absolute perfection when it’s absolutely going to be changed during production.

    2 weeks ago