Monthly Archives

March 2020

5 Tips for Crafting Your Perfect Writer Bio

By Screenwriting 101

Putting the entirety of your life’s works, experiences, and accomplishments into a few sentences can be a daunting task even for the most talented writer, and one filled with lots of uncertainty. What do I include? What do I leave out? Should I be brief but not too brief? Do they care where I went to school?

Writing a bio– like writing– is more of an art than a science. We’re here to help you hone this art, and write bios that best showcase yourself to the industry.  Recently, we reached out to our network of literary reps who provided kernels of wisdom to guide you in writing your best bio.

1. Share your unique voice and perspective

“Focus on what makes you unique.” – Cassie Duffy, Kaplan-Perrone

“How would you pitch yourself on why you NEED to be hired?” – Audrey Knox, Cartel

When writing a bio, many writers feel a need to mention general information about their hometown, where they went to school, or why Reservoir Dogs is their favorite movie. The problem is, that info is true for thousands if not tens of thousands of other writers. When including info, really focus on what perspective or characteristics you have that set you apart from the crowd.  Be weary of putting your educational highlights, especially if you went to a common writing school (“…everyone’s gone to USC”).

2. Connect with them and make them smile

“Be funny. And if you can’t be funny;  have style.” – Harris Kauffman, Storyboard

Get creative with the writing– you are a writer after all. If you’re a comedy writer, your bio should definitely include a joke or two. If you’re more on the drama side, your bio definitely shouldn’t make anyone cry, but it should display some of the writing craft you’re asking this person to read more of. Avoid anything standardized at all costs.

3. Keep it short

“Only include information that matters.” – Derrick Eppich, Empirical Evidence

If your bio is longer than 3-4 sentences, cut cut cut.  This is an elevator pitch about yourself, not an autobiographical book.  Imagine you’re speaking your bio, word for word, to a manager, agent, or producer.  How long would you make it before you’ve lost their attention, or worse, they interrupt you to get on with it?  You have even less time to make an impact on your bio. The sweet spot is three sentences and between 300-400 characters following the structure of: recent accomplishment or development, overview of your career, and something that sets you apart.

4. Hook them from the beginning

“Put the most recent and most impressive stuff first.” – Audrey Knox, Cartel

When writing their bios, many writers feel a need to start at the beginning and work their way to the present.  Just like a great script, you need to hook your audience at the very beginning, otherwise they toss the script. Start with the most impactful items first. Andlike a resume, you should start with the most recent, relevant, and impressive experience at the top. 

5. Reference your industry knowledge

“Showcase your industry mentorships and referrals.” – Cassie Duffy, Kaplan Perrone

Managers and agents need the assurance that you know the business, and that you’re going to represent them well in meetings and other business situations.  If you have industry experience, definitely include that in your bio. If not, any industry creator, professional, or mentors will go a long way in legitimizing and validating your work. 

A few examples:

To help you write a compelling bio, here are some inspirational bios, and some lackluster bios.  Note: we’ve edited these from actual bios so as not to call-out individual writers.

Great Bios:

Interesting Career History

Samantha’s journey into professional writing started as an aide for a notorious politician during a scandal. Seeing the power of story to affect change, she enrolled at AFI film school. Her directorial debut short film THE SKYLINE is currently available on Amazon and her pilot THE DOLPHIN placed in the top 15% for Nicholl just last month.

The Accolades Bio

Starting as a plucky young assistant for Werner Herzog, Evan was integral in developing several features and series for his company. He utilized his co-producer credit as a springboard to write his short STALKER, which has been featured on Vice, Amazon, and Quibi. He is currently an assistant in the writer’s room for the Fox series, THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

 

The Witty Bio

Molded by his small, North Dakota  hometown and all the opportunity that it offered — none — Jonas’s passion for writing spawned from a desire to entertain — himself, first and foremost.. After accumulating a diverse and extensive body of work at The University of Minnesota, he headed to Los Angeles, where he is currently working as a writer’s PA on TNT’s WRESTLING IS REAL.

 

Please avoid Bios like these:

The Generic Info Bio

I was born in Southeast Michigan and graduated from Michigan State with a bachelors in Communication. I moved to Los Angeles five years ago and currently work in sales. I write in my free time and would like to be staffed on a network show.

 

The Irrelevant Personal Taste Bio

I have been a screenwriter ever since I fell in love with Raiders of the Lost Ark. I now specialize in Spielbergian action projects and love to tell stories of underdogs overcoming unconquerable odds.

 

The Long-Winded Bio

Born on the majestic enchanting shores of Hollywood California, I was the second of three children to an accountant and a school teacher. My grandfather, also an accountant, would sit me on his knee by the fireside of my parent’s Cape Cod style cottage and tell me bedtime stories that left me with a sense of wonder and a desire to create stories of my own. After graduating high school with mostly A’s and B’s, I went north to a state university where I majored in English after switching from Business. I learned lots and partied equally as much, but knew that once I was finished, I had to return to Los Angeles in order to pursue my writing career. My first feature placed as a quarterfinalist in Austin, ScreenCraft, PAGE, BlueCat, Slamdance, and the Oklahoma Film Festival, while my pilot placed as a semifinalist in Austin, Nicholl, Script Pipeline, Tracking Board, and Scriptapalooza. I am now currently developing my third feature and looking for producers that specialize in broad comedy social thrillers. Links to my Facebook, Twitter, website, and portfolio below.  You can believe me when I say: I have stories that rival my grandfather’s.

 

Oh, and it should go without saying, but…

“Don’t lie!” – Everyone

Being a writer and being self-conscious goes hand in hand. It may be tempting to fill a bio with embellishments or half-truths to make your body of work sound impressive but DON’T DO IT. While you want to put your best foot forward, any rep will be able to see through it and you might end up burning a bridge instead of simply getting a pass. 

Ready? Get started perfecting your Bio on your Coverfly Profile now! 

Announcing our First Virtual Live Read!

By Announcements

We are excited to announce the inaugural performance of the Coverfly Virtual Table Read Series in partnership with The Storytellers Conservatory! Coverfly’s monthly Live Table Read was previously an in-person performance with professional actors in Los Angeles. In light of the recent coronavirus quarantines, we’re switching them to virtual live-streamed video events – and the good news is that this allows for more people to join virtually!

Join us this Friday March 27th at 5pm PST through this link here — no sign up required. The virtual hangout will open ten minutes prior to the performance. Performers will appear on screen but all are welcome to watch! Closed captioning available for hearing impaired.

We have selected CRAWLSPACE by Jacob Wehrman, a thriller feature that follows struggling plumber who is trapped by criminals fleeing a murder scene. The screenplay was chosen by the Coverfly team after Jacob applied for the Live Read program.

Want to see your screenplay performed live by professional actors? You could have the chance to invite friends, family, colleagues, producers, and managers to an exclusive event celebrating you and your work. Connect and collaborate with working industry pros to improve your material. Coverfly’s monthly Live Reads are free, and accepting applications here!

For any questions, please email support@coverfly.com. See you there!

Coverfly Pitch Week: My Journey to Getting Signed

By Contests, Screenwriting 101

I’m LeLe Park, and I’m a screenwriter who went from being un-repped to being repped in just over a year.  

It was October 2018; my ego was firmly against the wall of “no, thanks.”  I didn’t know where to go next. I was fully prepared to hunt the globe for talent representation, permanently.  I’d written my drama series pilot and poured all my emotional octane into it and physically pushed myself — sleeping only 3-4 hours a night for over a year.   Now, I was running on fumes.   

Then one day a friend-of-a-friend suggested I compete to stir up some legitimacy around my efforts. After gaining the traction I’d hoped for from competing, Coverfly’s Pitch Week selected me in their new opportunity offering!   

Part of the reason I was exceptionally excited was because Coverfly is so unique.  Its efforts to ensure that competitions and festivals are both credible and following best practices is truly a credit to its care for the participants and the reality that new writers can be preyed upon.  Coverfly’s also so well-respected and trusted that it cuts right through the concerns of even accomplished writers.  Add to it a platform as tidy and concise as this one: creating its own Pitch Week and harvesting through its massive database of talent… it organically lends a selected writer credibility, opportunity, and recognition worth noting.  

Are you a writer with a few completed screenplays under your belt?
Apply to Coverfly Pitch Week for FREE to connect with agents, managers and producers.

When I was notified I’d made Coverfly’s Pitch Week, there was a sliver of hope that representation was near!  This mythical unobtainable marker in a writer’s journey is ripe with such a variance of avenues and conditions… and now it was possible.  The ability to possibly be in front of talent management and producers in the hopes of connecting or becoming represented, that’s always enticing!  It’s hard enough to get signed as a writer when you live in Los Angeles full-time.  For me, a working mother of two small boys going between LA-and-Chicago and new to the process — it felt as fanciful as it did unlikely.  

A calendar invite was sent my way and days later the online meeting began.  I was ready to answer questions about my lead character’s journey, ready to discuss my vision, was excited to discuss character development and hopes for the project.   But, then the first question was, “So, can you tell me about yourself and how you got here?”  

The moment that question came out, I started blathering.  I was fumbling through it like the kid who hadn’t wanted to catch the ball, and I was just hoping I didn’t mess it up so bad that I’d blown the opportunity.  I realized I need to be completely comfortable answering questions. Having great answers is lovely but how they’re answered is just as important.  I had to embrace sharing my journey and how my projects had marinated  — a teachable moment brought my way, thanks to Coverfly’s Pitch Week.  

Despite my blathering and worry,  I was selected and signed by Eric Borja at Alldayeveryday!

From that point on, my manager and I spent time building a “two-pager” for my drama series, The Bliss Killer.  We spent time retooling and better preparing me for wider discussions about the project — to speak about my show’s message, genesis, and trajectory — the benefits of signing with someone who enjoys developing writers!  Even today, we’re still discussing, fine-tuning, and preparing materials for my drama series and soon will be preparing my other projects as I currently wrap my limited series, Night vs Day and have begun sharing my latest feature film, Visceral Fatherland.

Having a manager has opened doors.  It’s allowed me to participate in query submissions that widely prefer receiving materials from a manger/agent.  And it’s added validity to my abilities as a fresh member to the community.  I still work my hustle and focus on listening and connecting to those that carry more experience.  I look for opportunities to ask for help from advocates of my projects — and that’s also part of the process of working with a talent manager — they’re there for you, but you still have to be there for yourself.  They’re the additional engine to your hustle, not the end of your hustle.

Coverfly’s Pitch Week brought me to another level; first by selecting me, then by creating the opportunity to be seen and heard by a talent manager who enjoys writer development, and from there lifting my credibility game once signed by the manager.

If you have the opportunity to submit your work for consideration via Coverfly’s Pitch Week, I highly recommend it… you never know what the game-changer will be.


LeLe Park is a Chicago based screenwriter. Her original pilot “The Bliss Killer” has won/placed in over 40 competitions including Screencraft, Final Draft, Scriptation Showcase, Cinequest, Script Summit, and Shore Scripts. Her short screenplay, “ACHE”, has won/placed in 30 screenwriting competitions including Austin Film Festival, Oaxaca Film festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIFF), and The Richmond International Film Festival. She was “staff pick” at ScriptD, a guest speaker at Bucknell University, and pitch choice at Coverfly. She recently finished her highly-anticipated feature script, “Visceral Fatherland” and is currently wrapping up her second feature “Topt” and her limited series “Night vs Day”. She is represented by Eric Borja at Alldayeveryday (Los Angeles). https://lelepark05.wixsite.com/lelepark

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