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feature updates Coverfly

Coverfly Admin Updates for Partners

By Hidden

As the industry-standard screenplay submission management platform, the Coverfly team has been hard at work on new updates for our partners. Our most recent batch of updates to partner management tools makes it even easier for our partners to manage their programs. 

From opening date all the way to winner announcements, Coverfly offers the tools for screenwriting talent-discovery programs to operate effectively and efficiently. You’ll now have the ability to create custom scorecards, pools of readers, and evaluation flows for each entry type in your program’s season. Here’s a closer look at how each updated feature works:

The season manager

This page received a facelift to make it easier to navigate. Here, you’ll be able to edit copy, images, dates, prices, and entry types for your program. The menu along the left hand side allows for easier movement between page elements.

The scorecard builder

The new read type/scorecard builder lets you build and preview multiple scorecards for script evaluation. You can add custom score categories, add standalone fields like pass/consider/recommend inputs, customize scoring instructions, set pay, and create questions for readers to address even the most granular details. It’s now easier than ever to control what your readers see and what kind of feedback you send back to writers. 

The pool editor

Pools give you the ability to control which readers see which scripts. On this page, you can create any number of custom pools for readers. You can choose to have all of your readers in one pool to access all submitted scripts or have a different pool for each round of reading.

The reader page

Here’s where you’ll add reader details like names, login emails, and pools. The page also includes a handy tool to notify all of your readers at once via email.

The evaluation flow tool

And now that you’ve gone through and built out a season to start accepting submissions, created pools of readers, and set up custom scorecards, you can put all of that information together to build the evaluation flow for each entry type. On this page, you’ll be able to set how many times a script gets read, which of your readers will have access to it, and which scorecard they’ll use to evaluate it. 

All that’s left is to watch those submissions roll in from motivated and talent emerging writers. Log in to your Coverfly Partner account to see the newest changes today!

screenwriting career WGAW

Screenwriting Career Advice: WGA Committee of Women Writers

By Advice

Recently the WGA West invited Tom Dever, Coverfly's Director Writer Development, to speak with their Committee of Women Writers. The WGA Committee of Women Writers represents the interests of female WGA writers who are seeking WGA-covered work. They sponsor events designed to increase our knowledge of the craft and the marketplace, discuss the role of women as storytellers, and foster networking and collaboration between women in all Guilds, as well as increase opportunities for education, employment opportunities, and creative expression.

Tom spoke about the state of the industry, opportunities for veteran women writers in development and representation, and general conversation on the craft and career of screenwriting. The event was private and for WGA members only, but here's a quick rundown of what you missed, and how you can take the next step in your screenwriting career

Be your own best advocate

You do not need somebody else’s permission or contacts to pursue the career you want for yourself. You don't need a manager or agent to set generals or meet with execs. Don’t be afraid to generate those opportunities for yourself any way you can (without breaking the law!).

Accelerate your career through self-generated opportunities. The time has never been better to promote your skills and your work. Enter competitions, promote your writing and get your name out there.

Be confident

Never apologize for your goals, ambitions, passions, ideas, or strengths. Someone has to do your dream job so it might as well be you! You are smart, capable, resilient, and talented enough to do it. Believe that you can be a working screenwriter and you can be.

Don't chase trends

Film industry trends change faster than you can write. If you pitched John Wick, Stranger Things, or Get Out ten years ago, you’d have been shown the door and without getting your parking validated. So don't try to write what you think other people want, because it's a waste of time. Write what you want instead.

Write what you’re good at, no matter which genre it might be. And stay focused on what you want to do; not what you feel you’re expected to do. Not only will it make you happier, but it will likely lead to more professional writing opportunities than just following the crowd.

Read More: The History of the WGA

Be open to feedback in all forms

There is no universal metric of quality for material, especially not screenplays. Sure, there are common screenwriting conventions you should follow, but everyone scores scripts under subjective criteria. One reader could think you're a genius, while another thinks your script is trash. That doesn’t make either of them right or wrong.

Take feedback and criticism in stride, because even bad feedback can help you grow as a writer. And remember, you’re neither required to take all of their feedback nor should you dismiss their opinions as a vendetta. Reviews and critiques are just data points on how someone responds to your material. Hear it. Heed it. Hopefully, you can use it.

Where you go from there is up to you.

Look in the long view

Despite a handful of "success stories," nothing happens in Hollywood overnight. Script deals take time. Finding the right agent isn't a one-shot thing. Even if you nail your first general meeting, you still have a lot of work left to do and a lot of time before you see the results of your hard work. And that's ok.

Screenwriting is all about hurrying up and waiting. Things take time here to go from script to signing to screen. Learn to love the in-between times. And if you get impatient, just remember what your ultimate goal is. You can have a day, a week, or a month, where you don’t make the progress you’d hoped for. But when you trace your progress over the past 6, 12, or 18 months you should discover that you’re moving in the right direction. If that isn't the case, then it's time to rethink your strategy.

How screenwriters get discovered

Take advantage of Coverfly. Sorry I had to plug. Coverfly is here as a platform to help screenwriters at every stage in their career, whether you’re just starting out or you have multiple credits and still need a little support finding industry partners or pitching projects. Through our programs, initiatives, products, services, and community, we’re here to help take that next step in your career whatever it is.

Create your Coverfly Screenwriting profile today and see what taking the next step in your writing career really looks like.

screenwriter profile

how to pitch your script

How to Pitch Your Script Like a Pro: 6 Tips from Hollywood Execs

By Inside Look

Pitch meetings are scary, especially if you've never pitched to a room full of reps or studio executives. Luckily, there's something you can do to fight the pitch meeting jitters and pitch your script like a seasoned pro. How do we know? Because we asked dozens of studio executives, agents, reps, and Hollywood decision-makers who took part in our most recent Coverfly Fall Pitch Week what they're looking for in a pitch meeting. And they had a lot to say.

After hearing over 250 pitches from 123 writers during Coverfly Pitch Week, here are the six most common pieces of advice Hollywood insiders have for screenwriters pitching their scripts. Follow these tips and own the room during your next pitch meeting.

How to pitch your script like a pro: Coverfly Pitch Week

  • 250 Pitches
  • 123 Writers
  • Virtual pitches from Australia, The UK, Canada, Italy, and over 20 states
  • Most pitches for a single writer: 8
  • Most pitches for a rep: 31
  • 78 project requests and counting!

Here's everything you need to know to make your next script pitch meeting a success.

Don’t be a jerk

Be nice, be polite, be on time, smile, and be engaged. This might seem like the easiest bit of advice, but it bears repeating. Kindness and professionalism go a long way. The best part is that it’s easy to do! No matter what else happens, be a good person and your pitch will start off on the right foot.

Focus on what makes you unique

There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of talented screenwriters in the same format and genre. The only way for you to stand out from the crowd is to focus on what makes you — and only you— unique. Your life experience, your voice, your projects, and your story are special. Truly. Our Pitch Week reps reiterated that the most impactful pitches are from unique places. They want to hear original pitches from original voices.

What makes you and your story different from the other pitches they hear day in and day out? If you can uncover and highlight that distinction, your pitch stands a better chance of making a lasting first impression on Hollywood decision-makers.

Shoot your shot

Don’t hold back. During Pitch Week (and most Hollywood script pitch meetings) you only get 12 minutes to make a strong impression. 720 seconds. That's not a lot of time to make a studio exec or rep want to read your script (and hopefully sign you). Don’t spew your life story at 500 wpm, but don't waste time with too much chit chat either. This is your shot. Take it.

The floor is yours to say what you need to communicate to get the most impressive and exciting stuff you have to offer out there. There's no wrong way to present your pitch, as long as you have a plan. Hone your pitch and practice what you want to say in 12 minutes (or less) and you'll be ready to rock your next pitch meeting.

Don’t just say what happens in the story, focus on how the audience will experience it

A pitch meeting is not a plot synopsis. Do not waste your (and their) time recapping every scene in linear order. A successful pitch meeting focuses not just on what makes your project special, but how audiences will react to it. That's what ultimately sells. That means it's not just about the story, but how the story will be told.

  • What's the narrative structure?
  • How will the script make the audience feel?
  • Why is this story important to audiences right now?

Widen the scope of your pitch to the impact of your story, not just the details, and you'll entice decision-makers to imagine that script on the big screen.

Be confident

There's nothing more contagious than enthusiasm. You've worked hard on your script. Be proud of it! All of the reps and executives we spoke with during Pitch Week said they love it when screenwriters are excited to talk about their work. A script pitch meeting isn't supposed to be boring. They want to be swept up in your enthusiasm. If you can share your energy and passion in a way that gets others excited about your project and your vision, you're on your way to a successful pitch and maybe even a project request.

Also, never undercut your work or fixate on what's wrong with it. It's ok to be humble(ish), but your pitch meeting is not the time to be self-deprecating. Take pride in all your hard work because if you don't champion your script, no one else will. Confidence goes a long way in a pitch meeting.

Find what we have in common

Pitch meetings aren't just about scripts. They're about building relationships. You have to convince executives not only that you're a talented writer with a white-hot script. You also have to show them that you're someone they will want to work with on this project and future projects to come. Forge that relationship.

Pitch meetings aren't even always about successfully pitching your script. Sometimes your project won't make sense for a studio or rep. But that doesn't mean they won't want to work with you. If you can show that you're talented, hard-working, and aligned with their production process, you can build a working relationship that lasts long after your 12-minute pitch is over. Remember that connections and networking are still key to success in Hollywood. Use your time wisely and build relationships during your next pitch meeting.

How to pitch your script to Hollywood insiders and studio execs

Pitch meetings don't have to be scary. Remember that you're in that room (or Zoom!) for a reason. Be confident, be courteous, show that you're capable, and highlight your originality. Every pitch meeting is a chance to not only showcase your script but an opportunity to build working relationships with Hollywood insiders that can last for years. Try to relax and connect with the people in the room and you'll be off to a great start in Hollywood.

how to get signed as a screenwriter

How to Go from Film School to Screenwriter in 3 Months

By Success Stories

Recently we had a chance to chat with screenwriter, Chaz Hawkins who is hot off his recent signing with manager, Aaron Lipsett at Heroes & Villains Entertainment just three months after graduating from film school. Learn how Chaz's broke into the screenwriting industry and sold two of his scripts during a pandemic just a few months into his career.

how to become a screenwriter Coverfly: What were some of the biggest obstacles to your screenwriting career goals when you started out?

Chaz Hawkins: Timing.

I came into this industry during a strange time. A pandemic confined people to their homes while a civil rights movement beckoned us to the streets. And the economy took another “once-in-a-lifetime” downturn. At twenty-five, I have lived through, not one, not two, but three “once-in-a-lifetime” economic downturns.

I’m starting to doubt the education of people who repeat the phrase “once in a lifetime.” But I’ve realized now, there’s great humanity in this chaos.

CF: What are some of your biggest challenges and accomplishments in your young screenwriting career so far?

Definitely selling my first two screenplays THE SAUCE and PLIMOTH. It’s crazy graduating from Loyola Marymount University in May into a pandemic and being told, “Hey! Things are wild. Don’t expect much.” Then…BAM! I sold THE SAUCE in my first general ever. Literally, day one ended in a handshake. Blew my mind.

My greatest challenge at the moment is keeping up! My time management has become more crucial than ever as I juggle both projects in development while writing and devising my next three.

CF: What were you hoping to gain from Coverfly when you first signed up for the platform?

When I joined Coverfly, I sought to get in front of as many eyes as possible. Cast a wide net and all that in hopes that just one pair might see something in my stories. Like every other emerging artist in this biz, I wanted that first job. No one's going to give you that first industry co-sign, but everyone wants you to have it. So you have to buckle down, hustle, and take it. The pandemic forced me to get craftier, and Coverfly increased my visibility while Hollywood was “shut down.”

CF: What was it like to sign with a manager and then option two screenplays in the span of three months.

It’s been odd. It’s like being in a state of suspended animation. Heroes and Villains manager, Aaron Lipsett signed me in June. Together we decided to use my horror feature THE SAUCE as my introduction to the greater entertainment industry. It made sense. It speaks to a lot of what’s going on outside our windows. The protests, the unfairness, the indecency. Some people just got too caught up in being Democratic or Republican that they forgot how to be human. THE SAUCE puts a fun but incisive lens on that.

I came into that first general (my first ever general) with Scott Free a bit nervous. But after a spirited pitch, I left with my first handshake. It was an incredible feeling. THE SAUCE was also the first feature I’d written after my father passed in October of 2018, and, miraculously, I got to trust it to Scott Free who made my father’s favorite movie of all time, GLADIATOR. In a way, they’ll be able to immortalize him with something I wrote, but that was just meeting number one after graduating merely a month and a half before. Talk about a high bar!

From then on, I was in my element Zooming from room to room, person to person, doing the water bottle tour from the comfort of my own apartment, which presents a unique advantage. Now, I can meet tons of amazing people in one day instead of driving all over town. That helped “keep the hot plate cooking.” That’s what we’d say in my mother’s house, at least.

PLIMOTH found a foothold with Creator Media (the John Wick Franchise!) which was a different experience. PLIMOTH was a passion project on the other end of the spectrum to THE SAUCE. A Turkey Day horror affair where Vampire Pilgrims invade the New World in search of Squanto.

I knew that, once THE SAUCE was off my hands, PLIMOTH was up next because I wanted to use my voice to push the needle forward for both of my identities — the American Black and Cherokee. So I started pitching it more fervently as my “leave behind.” After a great general with Creator Media, they fell in love with it.

I know that all sounds kind of epic and crazy, but, like, nobody pinch me. Please.

CF: What's next for your writing career? What are your short term and long term goals?

Right now, I want to focus on making THE SAUCE and PLIMOTH the best that they can be. So I’m devoting the majority of my bandwidth to their continued development. For my next move, I’ll be sitting in the director’s chair organizing a fun, high-octane, horror feature I’m developing with my team, FIGHT NIGHT.

I’m, also, developing a one-hour grounded sci-fi/western pilot, which will blend Cherokee myth with the Native expulsions of 1839, THE BIRD, THE BARD, AND THE BEETLE. Long term, I’ll build and run my own production company, so that I can open doors for others. It’s more fun to play this game when everyone can.

CF: What's a common misconception among aspiring screenwriters?

That one day your work will be perfect. Don’t get me wrong. Never take a crap step forward, but, at some point, we have to take a step. Waiting for that “perfect” draft is time wasted. There will always be other voices with opinions, so be happy with your work. Defend it, but always expect someone somewhere to find a flaw. It is up to you to decide whether you fix that flaw or not.

CF: If you could give aspiring writers one bit of advice from a craft standpoint, what would it be?

Pay attention. I know it’s hard to sit right now because of the madness happening everywhere. I don’t care about your politics, but this moment is beckoning us all to pay attention, listen, and recontextualize.

Emotions are so raw. My craft has benefitted from sharpening against it. Protesting, listening, and feeling allows me the opportunity to find strength in my own black and native experiences in America. Now, my craft uses that power to fight tooth and nail on the page too.

CF: If you could give aspiring writers one bit of advice from a career standpoint, what would it be?

Some writers come into the business with a diminished value on their worth to the greater Hollywood machine. It’s got a spotlight on it now, thanks to the WGA, but know your agency in these rooms. Writers provide the blueprint to which the rest of Hollywood stands, and they just want to meet us, talk about that crazy story we have, or brainstorm something together that’s even crazier because they want to build something with us that they cannot build by themselves.

If you enter that first room tentatively, all of the opportunities slowly slip until they’re snatched away from you like Anna Sophia Robb in BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.

Start your screenwriting career

Sign up for your own Coverfly account to create a professional screenwriting profile that will kickstart your screenwriting career. Read more screenwriter success stories here to get the inspiration for your next project.

pitch week tips

How to Get Chosen for Pitch Week

By Events, Success Stories, Uncategorized

It's that time of year again — Coverfly Pitch Week. And this year's line-up of agents, managers, producers, and studio execs have selected 123 screenwriters for nearly 250 pitches! In fact, many talented screenwriters who submitted to Pitch Week were selected to pitch their scripts to more than one industry decision-maker. Here's a quick look at how Coverfly Pitch Week selection works, and a few of the common factors that we found between our roster of successful screenwriters that were chosen to pitch this year.

How many screenwriters were chosen for Coverfly Pitch Week (September 2020)?

  • 123 screenwriters were selected for 250 pitches total
  • Just under half of all writers were selected for at least 2 separate pitches
  • 12 writers were chosen for 3 pitches
  • 7 writers were tapped for 4 pitches
  • 6 writers are pitching to 5 groups
  • 5 writers were selected for 6 different pitches
  • And one talented screenwriter was selected for 8 separate pitches!

This Pitch Week is absolutely jam-packed with top-tier writers, agents, managers, Hollywood literary agents, and development execs from companies like CAA, Good Fear, Circle of Confusion, Zero Gravity, Lee Stobby Entertainment, Cartel Entertainment, Management 360, and many more. If you want to learn how these screenwriters were chosen and what they have in common, read this writer roundup so you're ready to pitch at our next Pitch Week — February 21-25, 2021.

How screenwriters get chosen for Pitch Week: 3 things they have in common

The selection process for Coverfly Pitch Week is full of intangibles and variables. However, we were able to find some common trends among the 123 writers that were selected to pitch to industry professionals. Here are three of our biggest takeaways for how to make your profile, logline, and scripts stand out so you can pitch to Hollywood decision-makers:

A strong personal bio

Nearly every single writer that was selected to pitch this year has a professional bio on their screenwriting profile. Not only that, each of these bios lets development executives know exactly what kind of screenwriter they're looking at. Pitch Week writers clearly state who they are, what kind of screenplays they write, what their goals are, and how their professional experiences have influenced not just their most recent screenplays, but all of their work. The first step to getting your screenplay pitch ready is filling out your writer's bio. Make yours as descriptive as you can.

A clear photo that captures their personality

Every single one of the top selected writers for Pitch Week this year had a clear, professional photo on their profile. It's 2020. There's no excuse not to have a decent, posed profile picture on your personal or Coverfly screenwriter page. You can even get a decent picture with portrait mode on an old iPhone. Find a friend or grab a tripod and take a good picture of yourself.

If you want to get your script in front of industry insiders you need to have a profile picture on your site. End of story.

Add multiple projects to your profile

All of the top selected writers each have multiple projects on their profile pages. And while these scripts and projects varied from features to TV they were all consistent in voice, style, and tone. Use your profile to highlight your range. It's ok to write for TV and for Film. In fact, writing in multiple formats can make you an enticing candidate for studios looking for diverse and multi-talented screenwriters.

How to get selected for Coverfly Pitch Week

Pitch Week is your chance to get your screenplay in front of some of the most influential managers, producers, and agents in Hollywood. Learn more about how you (and your script!) can prepare for the next Coverfly Pitch Week here. And remember, Pitch Week is free for Coverfly members, so sign up now!

professional screenwriter profile

How to Create a Professional Screenwriter Profile

By About Coverfly

You need a professional screenwriter profile if you want to pitch to top studio executives, agents, and managers. If you’ve written a handful of scripts, purchased coverage, or submitted your scripts to competitions it's time to take your career to the next level with a professional-looking screenwriter profile. Luckily, it's pretty easy to create a clean, professional screenwriter profile that highlights your skills, accolades, and past projects so you can properly share your brand to producers, agents, managers, showrunners, and industry decision-makers.

Here's how to create a great screenwriting profile on Coverfly in seven easy steps.

How to create a professional screenwriting profile

Every professional screenwriter needs to have these 7 elements on their profile page:

  1. Your full name (or the name of your writing partnership)
  2. A (good) high-resolution headshot or profile photo. It's never been easier to take a quality profile picture. Grab a friend (or a tripod), get some good lighting, turn on "portrait mode" and don't stop until you get a great photo.
  3. Short bio. A three sentence bio is the industry standard and includes things like your most recent or most impressive accomplishment, an overview of your portfolio, and how your personal experience informs your writing.
  4. Latest draft, logline, and info for every project in your portfolio. More is always better.
  5. Representation status. Are you looking for representation? Do you already have representation? Please list it here
  6. Credits or previous work experience. If you've been staffed on a show, list it here
  7. Claim any wins, placements, or accolades. Now isn't the time to be humble. If you placed—or won—any competitions list your successes. Awards and finalists lists are a great way to set your profile apart. Note: Coverfly automatically tracks placements for you, but if any Coverfly-qualifying placements are missing, you can request them be linked to your profile here.

Lastly, make sure to update your profile page URL with your name (not a string of random string of numbers). This not only makes your profile look more professional, it also (literally) gets your name out there if someone searches for you!

It really does make a big difference when your profile is 100% up to date. Producers and development executives want to know their working with a pro. And agents, managers, and showrunners will appreciate your attention to detail.

What NOT to include in your screenwriter profile

A good profile is also clean. Keep your profile focused on the the genre or style of screenplay you want to sell or the type of show you want to be staffed on and you'll increase your chances for success. Also, try to avoid these common screenwriter profile mistakes:

  • Grainy or low-quality profile photos
  • Weird jokes (unless you're a comedy writer)
  • Run on sentences and overly long bios
  • Projects without loglines

The importance of a (good) screenwriter profile

Your screenwriting profile on Coverfly is your first—and often last—chance to make an impression with industry decision-makers. It has to shine. A bad or even just incomplete profile can derail your dreams of becoming a working screenwriter in a single glance. Studio executives and producers simply don’t have time to wade through mediocre writer profiles. If your name comes across someone's desk, you have to stand out.

Who Sees Your Profile?

To protect writers' privacy we specifically hide some information from the public and only make necessary information visible to vetted Industry members.

Profile Item Public Industry Members
Name Visible Visible
Profile Photo Visible Visible
City & State Visible Visible
Bio Visible Visible
Goals Visible Visible
Ideal IP Visible Visible
Life Experience Visible Visible
Literary Representation Visible Visible
Social Profile Links Visible Visible
Date of Birth Hidden Visible
Gender Hidden Visible
Ethnicity Hidden Visible
Private Projects Hidden Visible on Title Search

Unable to Read It
Discoverable Projects Project Info Visible

Unable to Read It
Visible & Readable

When your profile is ready to start pitching

Updating your screenwriting profile is an important step in your screenwriting career. Sometimes a great profile page can be all you need to give you the confidence—and industry visibility—to start pitching your projects, requesting coverage and feedback, and entering more contests to keep boosting your online presence.

A great way to test your shiny new profile is by entering our FREE Coverfly Pitch Week competition. This bi-annual, free, merit-based, program offers virtual pitch sessions for emerging writers. And it's quickly become the entertainment industry’s most significant free pitch event for screenwriters.

Sign up or login into Coverfly to get alerts and notifications for the next Coverfly Pitch Week. If you create a great profile you're already on your way to a professional screenwriting career.

Coverfly Career Lab Schedule and Speakers

By About Coverfly, Announcements, Events

On Saturday, June 20th 2020, Coverfly is excited to present our first Coverfly Career Lab, a day-long intensive focusing on key professional skills for emerging screenwriters. Over a full day of panel sessions with A-list industry leaders - studio execs, managers, showrunners, Oscar-nominees and more - you will learn key skills and strategies to advance your career: general meetings, working with representation, standing out from the crowd and getting (and staying) hired.

Live-streamed online, the event is a pay-what-you-can benefit for The Actors Fund and the Motion Picture Television Fund (MPTF), two organizations that serve the entertainment industry community in need.

Coverfly exists to make sure that talented emerging writers have the skills and support they need to get discovered and hired in Hollywood. The Career Lab is our way to share that knowledge outside of the typical centers of the entertainment industry. If you have a few polished scripts, have a good understanding of the industry, and are looking to get signed by an agent or a manager, this virtual lab is for you!

This event is not meant for beginner writers, but is open to anyone, anywhere and is donation-based. Bring your questions and your game-day focus, because this is where you learn strategies and tools to catapult your career to the next level. Below you’ll find more details on the format of the event, and bios for the speakers. We hope you can join us!

PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE:

11:00am - 11:15am: Preparing for Success, with the Coverfly Development Team

Our team starts-off the day with tips and recommendations on how to make the most of the program.

11:15am - 12:15pm PANEL 1: “Perfecting your Brand” 

How do you best present yourself to the industry? How do you know what they’re looking for? This panel covers best practices on everything from branding to bios and loglines, with special focus on personal experience of what works and what to avoid.

Speakers:
Monica Macer
Monica Macer is a screenwriter, Exec. Producer, and Showrunner of Korean and African American descent. She has written for some of the most acclaimed television series over the last 15 years, including LOST and QUEEN SUGAR. Most recently, Macer served as showrunner and executive producer of Netflix’s Latinx dramedy, GENTEFIED. Additional writing and producing credits ranging from PRISON BREAK (FOX) to TEEN WOLF (MTV), NASHVILLE (ABC) to DECEPTION (NBC), and THE BREAKS (VH1). As showrunner of Queen Sugar’s second season, Macer was tapped as one of Variety’s 10 Writers to Watch. She currently serves on the Motion Picture Television Fund’s (MPTF) NextGen board and is a co-founder of the newly minted organization, Korean American Leaders in Hollywood. Additionally, Macer is a 2020 Coalition of Asian Pacific (CAPE) Writing Fellows Mentor.

Eric Fineman, Senior Vice President, Pascal Pictures
Eric Fineman is a Senior Vice President at Pascal Pictures where he has worked since 2018. Before that, he was a Vice President of Production at Columbia Pictures working on such films as: VENOM, SPIDER-MAN:HOMECOMING, MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN, GOOSEBUMPS, INFERNO, along with many others.

David Rambo, TV Writer and Playwright
David Rambo has written some of the most popular television of the last twenty years, including CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, V, NYC-22, REVOLUTION, the record-smashing premiere season of EMPIRE, the TNT series WILL, CLAWS, and the upcoming Netflix drama TINY PRETTY THINGS. He is the author of the plays THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS (off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre starring Judith Ivey; Lortel nomination), GOD'S MAN IN TEXAS, THE ICE-BREAKER, BABBITT, an all-new book for Lerner and Loewe’s PAINT YOUR WAGON, and THE TUG OF WAR. His work has been widely produced at theatres throughout the country, including The Old Globe, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geffen Playhouse, Denver Center Theatre, Alliance Theatre and Pasadena Playhouse. In addition, he adapted several classic screenplays for live performance, including ALL ABOUT EVE, CASABLANCA, ADAM'S RIB and SUNSET BOULEVARD, produced at the Hollywood Bowl with John Mauceri conducting Franz Waxman’s Oscar-winning score. He holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of N. Carolina School of the Arts.

12:30pm - 1:30pm PANEL 2: “The Writer’s Team”

Description: Who are the team members – Managers and Agents – that are key to a writer’s success? How does a new writer find representation, and what are the hallmarks of an ideal writer-rep relationship? Learn from top representatives as they share what works and what doesn’t, from referrals and first meetings to building a career-long partnership.

Speakers:
Ava Jamshidi, Literary Manager, Industry Entertainment
Bio: Industry Entertainment is the management and production company behind such Hollywood talent as Ted Danson, Chan-wook Park, Kal Penn, Jeff Goldblum, Alexis Bledel and many more.

Matt Dy, Literary Manager, Lit Entertainment Group
Bio: Matt Dy is a Literary Manager at Lit Entertainment Group. Formerly Matt ran the Austin Film Festival’s Screenwriting Competition. Lit Entertainment was founded by manager-producer Adam Kolbrenner who produced the Oscar-nominated film, Prisoners, for Warner Bros/Alcon Entertainment, written by Lit client Aaron Guzikowski. Lit Entertainment’s next film is Fox’s Free Guy, along with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. The film, starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Shawn Levy, is an original spec from Lit client Matt Lieberman.

Parker Davis, Literary Agent, Verve
Parker Davis is a motion picture agent at Verve, a premiere talent and literary agency based in Los Angeles, representing clients in film, television and new media. Davis has focused on cultivating voices with unique points of view and nurturing their careers. He was the #1 agent on the Black List and Hit List last year.  His clients include Davis include the writers of UNCLE DREW, Amazon Studios' THE LORD OF THE RINGS series, STAR TREK 4, JURASSIC WORLD 3, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, and BOYS DON’T CRY.

2:00pm - 3:00pm PANEL 3: “Good in a Room”

Meetings, pitches and generals are keys to success for all writers, from breaking-in to long-term careers. Learn from writers, Showrunners and Execs about what it’s like to be on both sides of a great meeting, how to prepare, how to present yourself and red flags to avoid.

Speakers:
Sera Gamble, Showrunner, TV Writer
Bio: Sera Gamble is the creator, with Greg Berlanti, of YOU (Netflix), based on Caroline Kepnes’s acclaimed novel. Upon its worldwide debut in December 2018, YOU was seen by an estimated 40 million viewers. Gamble is also the writer and executive producer of THE MAGICIANS (Syfy). The number one scripted show on Syfy, The Magicians ended its five year run in March 2020. Previously, Gamble wrote and produced the cult CW series SUPERNATURAL for its first seven seasons, also running the show in seasons six and seven. Gamble is a first-generation American, for which she credits her work ethic. Gamble’s family are Holocaust survivors; members of her family fled to Russia and Siberia during the Nazi occupation. At age seven she was given her first book of fairy tales, which made her promptly decide she wanted Hans Christian Andersen’s job. Her Hollywood career began when she was a finalist on the second season of “Project Greenlight” in 2003.

Jelani Johnson, Exec Vice-President, Content Strategy and Senior Partner, MACRO
Bio: Jelani Johnson serves as MACRO’s EVP of Content Strategy and Senior Partner of MACRO. Most recently, Johnson spent 4+ years as a Motion Picture Agent at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). While at CAA his clients included: Melina Matsoukas, A$AP Rocky, Cheo Coker, Jesse Williams, Lenny Kravitz, Storm Reid, Angel Soto, Solvan “Slick” Naim, Gina Rodriguez, Virgil Williams, Mara Brock Akil and André Holland amongst others. Johnson began his career in entertainment as an intern at CAA and transitioned into talent management at the Santa Monica-based management company Generate. He subsequently co-founded The Mission Entertainment, a management and production company focused on multicultural content creators, before returning back to CAA. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in History and Anthropology from Columbia University.

Cate Adams, Vice President, Production, Warner Bros. Pictures
Cate Adams is a Vice President in the Warner Bros. Pictures creative group, which is responsible for developing and producing the feature films that WB distributes worldwide. Cate was part of the creative team behind the 2019 films TOMB RAIDER and THE MEG. In her early years as a creative executive, Cate worked on Jeff Nichols’ MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, Shane Black’s THE NICE GUYS, and Guy Ritchie’s KING ARTHUR.  Cate is currently overseeing the development and production of a diverse film slate, including a re-imagining of Roald Dahl’s THE WITCHES, a live-action animation hybrid version of TOM & JERRY, and a SESAME STREET film.  Cate serves as a NextGen Board Member for the Motion Picture Television Fund and sits on the Committee for the Science and Entertainment Exchange.

3:30pm - 4:30pm PANEL 4: “Getting (and Staying) Hired”

You’ve learned about branding, working with your team, taking the critical meetings, now how do you close the deal and get the job? More importantly, how do you keep it? This panel focuses on what working writers do to stay constantly working, from rewrites and collaboration to pitches and industry trends.

Speakers:
Vanessa Taylor, Oscar-nominated Screenwriter
Bio: Vanessa Taylor has worked in both television (most recently GAME OF THRONES) and film. Her feature work includes HOPE SPRINGS, DIVERGENT, THE SHAPE OF WATER, for which she was nominated, along with co-writer and director Guillermo del Toro, for an Oscar, and the upcoming HILLBILLY ELEGY, directed by Ron Howard.

Alexandra Cunningham, Television Showrunner and Executive Producer
Alexandra Cunningham is the creator, showrunner and Exec. Producer of DIRTY JOHN based on the hit LA Times podcast of the same name, which premieres on USA Network June 2, 2020, and stars Amanda Peet and Christian Slater.  Cunningham began her television career on NYPD BLUE. She has since written and produced such shows as ROME, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BATES MOTEL, AQUARIUS, and CHANCE starring Hugh Laurie on Hulu. Cunningham graduated from Johns Hopkins and Columbia, and was a playwriting fellow at the Juilliard School.

Lang Fisher, TV Creator, Writer and Executive Producer
Lang Fisher is a writer, producer, and director based out of Los Angeles, California. She recently co-created and executive produced the acclaimed Netflix series NEVER HAVE I EVER with Mindy Kaling. Prior to this, Lang has been a writer and producer on three seasons of BROOKLYN 99, five seasons of THE MINDY PROJECT, and was a staff writer on the Emmy-nominated final season of 30 ROCK. The 30 ROCK episode that she cowrote, "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World" was named one of Variety’s “25 Best TV Episodes of the Decade." Before venturing into the world of sitcoms, Lang spent six years writing for the satirical news outlet The Onion for which she won a Peabody as a member of the writing staff for The Onion News Network. She is a graduate of Columbia University and lives with her baby and her cat.

4:45pm - 5:00pm Let’s Move Forward, with the Coverfly Development Team

Time to pull it all together and dive into a few mid-and-long term strategies for writers to improve their craft and get noticed. Bring your questions, as we take some time to share lessons from the day, as well as insights we’ve garnered from our wider industry network.

Join Us!

Coverfly Career Lab Rescheduled to June 20th

By Announcements

The Coverfly Career Lab, scheduled for this weekend, has been postponed to Saturday, June 20th

As the events in our nation prompt a long-overdue conversation about injustice and systemic racism, Coverfly wants to keep the focus on this critical national movement. We believe it is right to keep the floor open for those voices right now. 

All panelists and moderators are confirmed and excited for the event on June 20th, with bonus speakers just announced, including:

  • Monica Macer (Executive Producer, Showrunner, GENTEFIED, QUEEN SUGAR, TV Writer LOST, NASHVILLE, etc)
  • Alexandra Cunningham (Creator/Showrunner/Exec. Producer DIRTY JOHN, TV Writer ROME, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BATES MOTEL, NYPD BLUE, etc)  
  • Parker Davis (Literary Agent at Verve Talent Agency
  • Cate Adams (Vice President of Production, Warner Bros. Pictures). 

Coverfly exists to serve writers, and the Coverfly Career Lab will return very soon, to give advice, tools and strategies to emerging artists to advance their screenwriting careers. 

We hope you will return with us in a short while for this educational event to benefit the Actors Fund and the Motion Picture Television Fund, two organizations that serve writers and our community in times of need. 

If you’ve already signed up, the private link you’ve already received will still work on June 20th for the event and you’ll have access to the recorded sessions after. There’s no action needed.

Until then, let’s all listen, learn, make art and raise our voices. 

“If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for?” - Alice Walker

Thank you, 

Scot, Mitch, Maggie, Tom, Julianna, Mark, Jen, Jeff, Micah and the Coverfly Team

Announcing our Second Virtual Live Read!

By Announcements

We are excited to announce our next performance of the Coverfly Virtual Table Read Series in partnership with The Storytellers Conservatory! Join us this Friday April 10th at 4pm PST (7pm EST) on the Coverfly Facebook page here: facebook.com/coverfly

At 4pm PST on Friday you'll see our Facebook Live video of the virtual table read with professional SAG/AFTRA actors of a very funny comedy feature screenplay selected from hundreds of free applications. Learn more about our free Extras here.

We have selected DIRTY WATER DOGS by Terrie Viani, a comedy feature screenplay that follows a down-on-her-luck street vendor in New York who tries to rig a lottery for a hot new spot in the Central Park Zoo.

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

We're excited to announce that our last virtual live read resulted in the writer signing with a literary manager:

Congrats to screenwriter Jacob Wehrman!

"Coverfly proved to be a powerful resource. Opportunities like Coverfly’s Pitch Week and the Live Read series can get your work in front of actors, directors, and producers– for free. I feel that Coverfly has my back by vetting every contest, and they add serious value by offering those no-cost extra opportunities." - Jacob Wehrman

Jacob Wehrman signed with a literary manager after his script was performed by a cast of actors for Coverfly's Virtual Live Read!

Read more about Jacob's story here.

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 wary 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 or boring 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!