Coverage is simply a reader’s report. Every script submitted to a feature film studio or agency or production company gets “covered.” Readers are the companies’ first and best line of defense. The reader’s report usually provides a one or two page synopsis of the screenplay, a breakdown of the characters, a page or two of commentary/evaluation, and lastly, a bar graph evaluating your screenplay from Excellent to Poor in the following categories:

  • Main Characters
  • Minor Characters
  • Story
  • Premise
  • Visual Elements
  • Artistically
  • Commercial Prospects
  • Title

Finally, your screenplay is rated either “Recommend,” “Consider,” or “Pass,” for both the script itself and for the writer. So in theory, if the script isn’t spectacular but the writing is, you may still garner some interest.

The agent, manager, or creative executive then scans these reports and determines which scripts are worth his or her time to read. Sometimes, even if you receive terrible coverage, if there’s an element of your screenplay that attracts the exec — such as, it’s in a genre that’s hot right now — your script may get read by a second person anyway. Bad coverage is not necessarily the death knell every time…just most times.

By the way, hardly anyone ever gets a “Recommend.” When a reader tags a script “Recommend,” they’re basically sounding the alarm bells and telling everyone to drop what they’re doing and Read This Script Now! The reader is also sticking his or her neck on the chopping block, because if the exec does not agree with the reader’s assessment, and resents the time spent reading the script, then the reader may not be taken seriously in the future or worse, could be out of a job.

So, bear in mind that there are actually three levels of “Consider” — Strong, Moderate (AKA a “straight-up consider”,) and Consider With Reservations. These allow the reader to express their enthusiasm, or lack thereof, for the material, while still remaining safely in the consider category.

At Coverage, Ink. we’re happy to provide you samples from different genres, which will give you an idea of the depth of analysis you can expect.

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