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An Overview of the Coverfly Ranking System

From its inception, the goal of Coverfly has been to provide writers with a way to track the evolution of their script, as well as a centralized place for you, and industry partners, to view all of your placements and successes. And while we’ve continued to celebrate the successes of writers over the years, we recognize that you are more than a collection of data points and wanted to be able to connect writers and industry partners in a way that felt more natural and organic. This was the catalyst for our new ranking system.

As more and more industry partners join our platform, we’ve found that the needs of the industry are as varied as our writers, but two things remain consistent-- they want scripts that are highly recommended and are current. And thus our new ranking system is based on two underlying components (neither of which are visible to anyone, including the writer):

  1. the qualitative score
  2. the heat bonus

The Qualitative Score

The qualitative score serves as the recommendation, similar to our old Coverfly Score. Each placement is given a weight, and we calculate the weight of your top placements to determine your qualitative score. By limiting the number of placements that are counted, it allows projects that perform well to be at the top of the list, even if you don’t submit to many competitions. It also means that as your script improves and your individual scores increase, your rank won’t be held down by a low performance on an earlier draft.

The Heat Bonus

The heat bonus allows the projects that are current to rise to the top. This model is used across the entertainment industry: Box Office charts, Billboard charts, Best Seller lists. Our industry partners want to trust that they are able to find the freshest new scripts on our platform. The heat bonus highlights the scripts that are currently making their way through the festival circuit, providing the opportunity for every great script to have their moment to shine.


Because the nature of the new system means your rank will fluctuate, we’re also introducing badges that will always show your historically best performance. So even if you make it to the top of The Red List and never submit your project to anything again, your badge will always reflect your top placement and the date.

What happened to my Coverfly Score?

As of 4/21/2021, the Coverfly Score has been retired in favor of our new ranking system. You can read about the changes and the decision behind it here.

Are my old placements being factored into this new ranking system?

Yes! Any placement that was already listed in Coverfly is automatically factored into your rank. You can view all of your placements by going to My Projects, selecting your project and clicking View Submissions.

If you have placed in a Coverfly-qualifying competition and it is not reflected in your profile, you can request it to be added here.

How does the new ranking system work?

Here are the steps we take to determine your project’s ranking:

  1. We “add up” (more on how we do this below) all of your project’s scores and accolades to give your project a raw score which is hidden, including to you.
  2. We compare that raw score with other discoverable projects on Coverfly. Your percentile rank reflects the percentage of projects that you’re ahead of.

OK, so how do we “add up” your project’s scores and accolades?

We split your placements into two different parts to calculate your rank: a qualitative score and a heat, or relevancy, bonus.

The qualitative score is a set score** based on your placement. In the calculation of your ranking, we take your top 5 qualitative scores. We do this so that a person who is a 4x Nicholl winner will not be ranked lower than someone who has 20 Semifinalist and Quarterfinalist placements. All of your placements will still be reflected on your profile, but only your five highest qualitative scores will factor into your rank.

In addition to the qualitative score, there is also a heat bonus. Every new placement is given a heat bonus, equal to the qualitative score, which diminishes over the course of one year. Say you win in the Austin Film Festival in September 2021 and, for example, you’re given a heat bonus of 500. Your cumulative score for your win would be higher than someone who won at Austin in 2017.

In this example, beginning December 2021 (90 days after you achieved the placement), that number would begin to drop off by 25%, and then again every 90 days, until it completely drops off after a year. While there’s nothing wrong with an old reliable script that has won you many awards for years, many of our industry partners are more interested in discovering a writer’s latest offering. That said, the qualitative component of your score will always remain.

The heat bonus of every placement will factor into your rank. However, after your top five heat bonuses, each subsequent one will be worth the bonus divided by its rank minus 4. So if you have 6 placements with heat bonuses, and the 6th-ranked heat bonus has a value of 200 points, you would earn (200 / (6 - 4)) = 100 points for that placement. If you received a 7th placement with a heat bonus, and the value of that placement was 150, then you would earn (150 / (7 - 4)) = 50 points for that placement.

**The value of a placement will take into account the amount of submissions selected for that placement by the program, as well as the quality of submissions submitted to that program.

How do I get on The Red List?

If your project is Discoverable and is a top-ranked project for its format and genre within the specified timeframe (by default, within the last month), then it will show up on The Red List. You can improve your rank by placing in a Coverfly-qualifying competition or getting script notes from a Coverfly-qualifying coverage service.

The best way to get noticed by our team and potentially be featured on The Red List is to make sure your profile is thoroughly filled out, including any relevant life or industry experience. Our team can also search the title and logline of any project, so if you have a brand new space western medical crime drama, you may want to make it Discoverable even if it doesn’t have a rank yet.

I was on the old Red List. How do I get a badge?

Unfortunately, badges are only available for being highly ranked on or after 21 April 2021.

How do I know which projects are included in my rank?

Our system automatically updates your metric to include your highest qualitative scores. For instance, if you have two Quarterfinalist and three Semifinalist placements on a script and your next placement is as a Finalist, that Finalist placement will replace one of your Quarterfinalist placements in your Top 5 to be counted toward your ranking metric.

If you have two placements with the same weight, your most recent placement will be included in your metric along with its full heat bonus.

You can view all of your submissions and placements from your Submissions page. There, you’ll also see a column named “Has Impacted Coverfly Rank?” that will indicate if your latest placement or score has factored into your Coverfly rank.

How do I turn off badges so they don’t appear on my profile?

From your project page, hover over a badge you’d like to hide. When the modal pops up showing all of your badges for that group, look for the “eye” icon in the top right corner. Clicking that icon will toggle your badges’ visibility.

How can I prevent people from downloading my script when my project is Discoverable?

From your project page, click on the “...” button below your logline, and then on “Share Project”. This will bring up a modal where you can specify who is able to download your project. By default, your project won't be downloadable by anyone except for vetted industry reps.

Do my scores for coverage and from competitions still factor into my rank?

Strong scores from both coverage and competitions will be factored into your rank.

I received a low score from a reader. Will that lower my rank?

No. Low scores or not placing in a competition will never hurt your rank. The rank is based on a sum of your best scores, not an average of all of your scores, so submitting your project to a program will never hurt your rank.

I found out I placed in a competition on Tuesday. Why didn’t my rank go up until Friday?

Each competition utilizes our platform in different ways. For most competitions that are managed on Coverfly, your score is calculated immediately when the results are released. If a competition is not managed on Coverfly, our team imports placements as soon as we receive an official list from the competition. In most cases that’s the same day, often within hours, but in the instances where we do not receive a list right away, we are unfortunately unable to credit you until we receive it.

I placed in a competition and see it in Coverfly. Why don’t I have a rank?

Only projects that are Discoverable are ranked. Please wait up to 30 minutes until after setting your project to Discoverable in order to see your rank.

I placed in a competition but my rank is lower than it was yesterday. What gives?

All projects are dynamically ranked, and updated in real time. Your rank reflects how your project is performing compared to all other Discoverable projects in your same category. In some instances, if there are many placement announcements that day, the performance of other scripts may have caused your overall rank to drop, even if your personal score went up. 

For instance, a competition could announce placements that cause your rank to drop by 10. Then, your placement is calculated and your rank increases by 2. While your day-to-day rank may seem lower, this is only because of the performance of your peers. In this example, you are still keeping pace with other writers on our platform.

Why does my rank keep changing?

Our ranking system compares your script’s internal score to other Discoverable scripts on our platform and dynamically ranks them. There are a few things that could cause your rank to change, even if you do not have activity on your script:

  • Another project with the same format and genre had a score increase that moved it higher than your rank.
  • A project was switched from Private to Discoverable, causing your rank to go down.
  • A project was switched from Discoverable to Private, causing your rank to go up.
  • We made an adjustment to the “weight” assigned to one of your placements, causing your rank to go up or down.

Why do so many of the projects I see seem to have a high percentile rank?

Two reasons, primarily:

  1. Writers aren't sharing their projects that have low percentile ranks, so you're only seeing the ones with high ranks.
  2. Over 50% of Discoverable projects in our database don't have any accolades, which means that having even a single accolade will put a project in the top 50%.

Why would I want to share my Private project?

For Private Projects on Coverfly, you can now share download links to specific individuals.  No other user will see or be able to download your project.  However, this download link will always point to your most recent draft.

This allows you to share your script with someone without worrying about sending a new PDF if you make updates before they have a chance to read it.

For your piece of mind, you will always be notified when someone downloads your script.

What’s the best way to manage my score/stay relevant on the Red List?

Each placement is given a heat bonus, equivalent to its qualitative score, that diminishes over time. The impact of the heat bonus decreases after your top 5 placements.

Because of the decreased impact, submitting to lots of competitions at once won’t necessarily improve your ranking. However, placing in one or two competitions once your heat bonus diminishes can help your project stay relevant and maintain its rank.

Badges earned can never be lost so they will always show how well your project performed, even as you move on to circulating the next one.