What is Script Coverage?

There is a soul-crushing truth that many new writers are not aware of: nobody in the industry reads screenplays, unless they really have to. This is not because they are lazy, but because reading scripts takes a lot of time – especially if you receive many – and most production companies and agents do receive an incredibly large number of submissions. Script coverage was born as a result. The idea is that the producer, instead of reading the screenplay, asks an assistant (or hires an external reader) to read the script in their place. The reader will then write a brief report (usually 2-3 pages max) that the producer will use to assess the potential of the project. A script report usually includes:

  • General info about the script: things like writer, title, genre and page count.
  • A logline: a one to two sentence summary of the story. To give a sense of the core concept of the script.
  • A synopsis: usually a 1-page summary of the plot
  • Scores: a breakdown of the scores for each element of the script, such as originality, plot, character, dialogue and marketability
  • Comments: a 1-2 pages section outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the project, including advice on how to improve the weaker parts.
  • A rating: a PASS / CONSIDER / RECOMMEND rating. This is the most important part of the report as it is the reader’s advice on whether the producer should pursue the project or not.

Over 90% of the scripts receive a PASS and producers don’t bother reading any of these scripts. Around 5-8% of the remaining receive a CONSIDER and the producer will probably read the first act of the script, or perhaps more if they are enjoying it. Only less than 2% receive a RECOMMEND and producers usually read these scripts in full. Unfortunately, it means most scripts are not even read by the final decision-maker.

As you can imagine, writing reports is not an exact science, but personal taste is also involved. This means it is possible to receive a pass even when the producer might have liked the script if they had read it. But this is part of the game and it explains why scriptwriting is such a competitive field.

Script coverage / feedback for writers

Script coverage is not always intended for producers or agents. Many experienced writers are aware that their script will be read by a script reader in the first instance, so they purchase script coverage from script consultancy companies that employ the same readers who work for production companies and studios. This kind of coverage is focused on providing the writer with feedback and improve the project’s chances to receive a CONSIDER / RECOMMEND, so the comments section can be from 2 to 6 pages long, depending on how much detail is required for the notes.

Our Honest Feedback

We offer our own script coverage service called Honest Feedback, which has several advantages compared to other services, especially for unrepresented writers. We focus our feedback on getting your script ready to be pitched to producers and we introduce you to a producer if we think your project has a high probability of being picked up. Moreover, we have reduced our fees by cutting out anything that is not necessary (such as a synopsis) – you can always request it separately if you want it. This makes our feedback service particularly affordable – especially for short films – and provide new unrepresented writers with the opportunity of receiving professional feedback from the same gatekeepers that would judge them if they submitted their scripts to agents or producers.