Skip to main content


Writers Discovered Here: 'Made for Each Other' Writer Adi Blotman

How Writer Adi Blotman Brought Her Script to Screen in a Year

By Coverfly Highlights, Interview

Born and raised in Israel, Adi Blotman came to the United States to study acting at a conservatory. “I fell in love with comedy,” she says to Coverfly, setting her on a path of performing sketch comedy, improv, and stand-up in New York for about a decade. But when performing live in front of an audience began to lose its charm, she decided to transition into television comedy writing.

While Blotman didn’t get the instant gratification of performing in front of a live audience, she learned she loves the process of writing a script, chipping away at it, getting feedback, and making it better. 

Taking Part in Coverfly’s Pitch Week

After participating in Coverfly’s Pitch Week, Blotman's writing career began moving forward in a big way. She met with an executive from Hallmark Channel at the end of 2021 to pitch her Jewish romantic comedy, Made for Each Other

“The exec really liked the concept even though it was definitely not a Hallmark movie at that point,” Blotman said. She signed a contract to develop the script and began rewriting. In less than a year, they shot the film. “It was a year and a half from the meeting to a finished movie, it was insane!" says Blotman. 

The film was released in Feb. 2023 on Hallmark Channel and Peacock. Her experience was exciting and life-changing. “This was like a bolt of lightning which I did not anticipate at all. It happened very fast and I’m just hoping I can replicate it."  

Read More: 8 Coverfly Writers That Made It Onto The Black List

Adi Blotman’s Notes on Networking

Though pitch meetings can be nerve-wracking, Blotman’s advice is to play it cool. “I really see it as just trying to get to know someone. I mean, I’m a nervous wreck! But I try to be as casual as I can possibly be,” she says.  

She relies on her natural talents to make an impression during the meeting. “Since I write comedy, I try to make jokes and show them my personality,” Blotman says. It’s good advice, especially for someone skilled at performing.

Sometimes, it all comes down to chemistry. “Some people you’re just going to really click with and you’re not going to know why but you just have this connection. When that happens definitely stay in touch with these people. It took a few months from this pitch meeting to when I learned they were interested in the script, so just stay in touch!” she says.   

A still from 'Made for Each Other,' Writers Discovered Here: 'Made for Each Other' Writer Adi Blotman

'Made for Each Other'

Adi Blotman's Advice for Pitch Meetings

Writers may be intimidated to ask questions in a pitch meeting, but it’s a great idea if the questions are relevant to the conversation. “I always ask, ‘Is there a project on my Coverfly profile that interests you?’” says Blotman. “And that’s when this project was brought up.” 

She says that while she didn’t have a prepared pitch, per se, she trusted her instincts and knew enough about her project to speak casually about it. Though some pitch meetings require having something prepared to pitch, Blotman says this meeting felt different.

“In the Coverfly pitch meetings I’ve had, they were just more of a conversation,” Blotman reveals. If you can chat with a relaxed vibe while letting your enthusiasm come through, that’s a solid way to go.  

Read More: A Screenwriters Guide to Nailing Pitches, Generals, and Meetings

Benefits of Using Coverfly

Coverfly takes the complexity out of navigating the industry, paving the way for writers to tell their stories. “I like that it’s just one platform to submit stuff through. If it does well in several contests, it definitely makes my project more visible. The platform is very easy to use and easy to update. I’ve had some projects on the [Coverfly] Red List, and it’s just an easier way to do things,” says Blotman.

She also shares a simple thing every writer can do for free: “I always tell people to create a Coverfly profile. It doesn’t cost you anything, and there are free resources you can submit to. You can submit things early, which is always what I try to do. It’s a good way to get feedback and get eyes on it from someone who might want to do something with it,” Blotman says. 

Cover photo for 'Made for Each Other,' Writers Discovered Here: 'Made for Each Other' Writer Adi Blotman

'Made for Each Other'

Overall Advice From Adi Blotman

Adi Blotman wants to emphasize the creative, changing nature of the business. “Keep an open mind about your projects. You might think this project would never fit in this network or this place. But if someone’s interested in your work, you can adjust it, and it could be a really rewarding process," Blotman says. "I thought [Made for Each Other] came out much better than the original script and it’s not something I was expecting. Say yes to opportunities, keep an open mind, work hard, and having a writer’s group is really beneficial–I can’t recommend that enough!”

We wish Adi Blotman the best of luck with her career and hope she continues to use Coverfly. 

Read More: Pitch Week Prep: What to Do With Your 12 Minutes

Mastering the Art of Receiving Notes with Nicholas Bogner, Lit Manager and Producer

Mastering the Art of Receiving Notes with Nicholas Bogner, Lit Manager and Producer

By Advice, Interview

You finally finished that screenplay – you deserve a big congrats! But before you get started on that rewrite, you’ll probably want to get some feedback on the draft to get a sense of what parts are currently working great and what parts still need work. We know getting notes on the script you poured your heart and soul into can be intimidating, sometimes even frustrating, so that’s why Coverfly’s Tom Dever sat down with Affirmative Entertainment literary manager and producer Nicholas Bogner to find out how to process those notes and how to make the most of them in your next draft

Bogner started his career in Hollywood as a screenwriter in the 1990s, working on both studio and indie films. In addition to currently being a producer and literary manager at Affirmative Entertainment, Nicholas Bogner is now also one of the talented professionals offering Industry Direct Notes on Coverfly. He was kind enough to share some excellent tips on the process of getting notes on your script, how to make sense of them, and how to turn those suggestions into great edits that strengthen your story.

Check out our interview with Nicholas Bogner below, then continue on for some of our favorite takeaways.

Identify the Note Behind the Note

Sometimes a writer gets a note that seems to be in conflict with the story a writer is trying to tell or simply doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s up to the writer to listen carefully to the note and then try to interpret what the note really means. If a producer has a problem with a scene and their suggested fix seems out of place, maybe the scene just needs to be cut or replaced with something else. Nicholas says: 

“If you think it’s a flawed note, speak to it in a respectful manner. But maybe come back with, ‘I think this is what is bothering you so what if I did X, Y and Z?’ Typically, they’ll say, “Oh, that’s exactly what I meant!’”

Read More: Tips on Receiving Notes from Producer & Entertainment Exec Jonny Paterson

Understand You Can’t Take Every Note to Heart

If someone is kind and generous enough to read your script (sometimes read it twice as Nicholas does), they typically really want to help you through your creative process. But not all of their notes are going to be helpful. Weeding through them is a skill you need to cultivate as a savvy writer. Nicholas says: 

“No matter what level you’re at, you can’t just take every note. It’s like being a diplomat…You really have to extrapolate what is best for the material. Producers look to the writers to say, ‘Hey, that’s a great note, but I can’t do it for reasons X, Y and Z. But, here’s my suggestion.’ No one’s looking for a robotic writer. You’ve created something from a blank page so the expectation is you know that world better than anybody, so you’ve got to speak to that.” 

As the writer, you are the master of your story but we all have blindspots. Listen carefully to what people are telling you and see what resonates. If you get the same note from more than one person, that note deserves special consideration. 

Listen to Notes Respectfully and Respond with Grace

Nicholas shares the story of working with a very talented writer who was also very quirky – and perhaps had too much ego. In a studio meeting, an executive gave the writer a note about making a change in the script and the writer said, “When you’ve hit a hole in one, why would you take another shot?” Don’t say this!

Whether the script was already perfect or not is irrelevant. A studio executive wants to be heard and also feel like they can contribute to the script development process. It’s literally their job. Not only did the writer’s callous comment effectively end the meeting, Nicholas fired the writer the next day. Nicholas says:  

“If you’re on a notes call or in a notes meeting, I don’t think it’s good to necessarily say, ‘No,’ right then and there. Instead, say, ‘I need to think about it. Let me absorb it overnight.’ It takes a little bit of the tension out of the moment.” 

Remember, the executive wants to be heard and feel like they are in a collaborative partnership.   

Take the Notes Process Seriously

These days, studios and streamers are looking for unique stories that haven’t been told. They want to love your script – it only makes their job easier if they find a script they respond to emotionally. But sometimes, a script is just a couple notes away from getting produced so it’s in the writer’s best interest to take the notes seriously. Nicholas says:  

“The emerging writer deserves their shot. When I started in the business, it felt like it was so based on nepotism or who you knew, or were related to. I feel like Coverfly gives everybody an opportunity and it’s kind of the American Idol of writers. You can be from so-and-so and not know anyone in the business, but if you have a voice, and I know that’s a big word people use a lot, you guys give people opportunities they might not otherwise have. If I can help an emerging writer help the script a little bit, or a lot, it’s incredibly gratifying for me.”

Read More: Let Writer/Producer Richard Kahan Explain the Importance of Script Notes



Let Writer/Producer Richard Kahan Explain the Importance of Script Notes

Let Writer/Producer Richard Kahan Explain the Importance of Script Notes

By About Coverfly, Interview

Screenwriters, like all artists, are always looking for ways to improve their work. One of the best ways to do this is by getting script notes from someone who not only knows a good screenplay when they see one but who also knows the film industry.

Producer, writer, and actor Richard Kahan (Beacon 23, Outlander) is one of the high-level industry professionals that offers coverage through Coverfly Industry-Direct Notes. Coverfly recently got the chance to speak with him about the benefits of getting feedback on your script from a fellow screenwriter, as well as the importance of being a part of a writing community.

Check out the interview below and continue on to read our favorite takeaways.

Don't Be Afraid of Receiving Script Notes

First and foremost, be open to feedback. It can be difficult to hear negative things about your work, but it's important to remember that the goal is to make your screenplay the best it can be.

Kahan says:

I think it's very natural to have that immediate reaction of like, "Oh, no, no! Don't change." If you don't care about what you're writing, you wouldn't have that reaction. So, I think that speaks to passion. And that's totally normal — I get that; everyone I know gets that. That being said, you know, your mind works differently than mine. Your life experience is different than mine. That's the beauty. In a TV writers room, when it's working well, it should be — everyone has different ages, different ethnicities, different backgrounds, different life experiences. You bring that to the page.

No screenplay is perfect and having other people read it, especially a professional, will open your eyes to its real potential. It's better to have a flawed screenplay that you're willing to revise than a "perfect" one that no one will ever read.

Read More: Mastering the Art of Receiving Notes with Nicholas Bogner, Lit Manager and Producer

Should You Get Script Notes from a Fellow Screenwriter?

When writers consider receiving script notes, they naturally think of script consultants and professional script readers to send their work to. But, should they send their scripts to fellow screenwriters? Yes. Why? Because they not only understand story structure, character development, and other story elements but also the arduous experience of sitting down and actually crafting a story from a blank page. Kahan explains:

Working with other writers and getting notes from other writers, I think you're gonna get specificity. And that makes the job easier. Again, not to say the managers and execs can't give great notes, but I think when you are used to sitting down at the typewriter and bleeding, as the saying goes, you know — you're in it, you know what that's like — you're gonna give actionable notes.

The Value of Being in a Writing Community

There are many reasons to be a part of a writing community. For one, it can provide you with support and motivation when you need it most. Additionally, being part of a community can provide you with valuable feedback on your work so you can improve your craft and become a better writer. Kahan shares his experience of working with his own community of writers:

It's hugely have that core group...especially when you're working in features, because you don't have that in a writers room. So to have that, from just a technical note standpoint, is huge. It's also's that support system. It's that group that can give you notes that you trust that you know have a different lived experience than you. 

Read More: Tips on Receiving Notes from Producer & Entertainment Exec Jonny Paterson



Stand-Up Comedian Abby Govindan on How to Write Relatable Comedy

Stand-Up Comedian Abby Govindan on How to Write Relatable Comedy

By Interview

What does it take to be a great comedy writer? Just ask stand-up comedian Abby Govindan. 


Houston-native Abby Govindan is a writer and stand-up comedian whose career is taking off like a rocket. Since making her comedic debut at Caroline's on Broadway in New York City in 2017, she's gone viral online, performed all over the country, and has opened for some of the biggest names in stand-up, including Hasan Minhaj, Daniel Sloss, and Russell Peters.

Coverfly had the pleasure of sitting down with Abby to learn about her comedy career, the evolution of her comedy, and how she writes relatable jokes. Check out our interview below!

Learn more about Abby by heading over to her website. Also, if you're interested in seeing her show, be sure to check out her tour dates.

Coverfly Matches Emerging Screenwriter with First OWA

By Interview, Success Stories

We're excited to get the opportunity to interview Jennifer Cooney - an incredibly talented writer who is making big waves in the industry. Her script Winter Jasmine rose near the top of The Red List and was noticed by a Coverfly Writer Advocate. Since then, she has signed with top management and was hired for an Open Writing Assignment!

Jennifer heads her own production company, HalfJack Generations, has one film in post-production (Rain Beau’s End), one in the process of being optioned (Winter Jasmine), and several projects in various stages of development. She is currently repped by The|Machine in Los Angeles and intends to produce and direct her own scripts while living blissfully with her wife and their two dogs, Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart.

Coverfly: So, what was the process of finding a manager like?

Jennifer Cooney: It wasn’t your “typical” process. Thanks to Coverfly and their Writer Advocate program, I was paired with a Writer Advocate (Kyle) who really loved and believed in my work. Kyle not only matched me to a wonderful manager and got me two stellar writing gigs (one I passed on), but he will soon be signed on as a Producer for my spec script, Winter Jasmine. I really owe the propulsion of my career largely to Coverfly and their matchmaking. Kyle and I are destined to make movie magic together.

CF: How has working with a manager changed the way you write or approach the industry? Anything you wish you would've known?

JC: My manager, Kevin at The|Machine, understands who I am insomuch as he supports my unwavering commitment to following my heart. He knows that I have stories I want to tell and that I’m going to tell them authentically. He knows that I am not going to alter my creations without a heart-driven reason. This is why I signed with him. He supports my growth and my expansion as a writer, not ballooning trends. So, to answer the question, working with my manager has given me a level up with my confidence, knowing he believes in my vision and my authentic brand of characters and stories. 

What do I wish I would have known? That screenwriting doesn’t have to be hard. That it should be fun. That there are a ton of “pros” out there telling writers how to write and where to put what and on which page. I don’t regret the path I took to get where I am, but I can say with confidence that storytelling is highly intuitive, so anything that demands exact elements on exact pages is using fear to sell how-to books. Tune into your highest creative self and learn to listen to your inner nudges. The stories are all in the ether, you just need to learn to align with them so you can receive them. Make friends with your muses. 

CF: Congrats on landing your first OWA! What does landing an OWA job look like?

JC: My Coverfly Writer Advocate paired me up with a Producer I really clicked with. He read my spec script as a sample of my writing and loved it. We worked together a bit on a concept he was molding. I gave him notes and we further solidified our compatibility as creatives. A few months later he had a one-sheet for a feature he wants to produce and direct and I really loved the idea. I pitched him on what I’d do with the story and the characters and he loved my take. I told him to marinate for a week and make sure I was the writer for him. A week later we were working together. I’m very fortunate in that he was willing to mold our contract based on my method of story and character development and with my organic production of drafts. I’m in the middle of development now and can’t wait to see this thing onscreen.

CF: What is the OWA experience like so far?

JC: It’s amazing because I’m working with a Producer that I immediately clicked with. The first conversation we had, I knew in my gut that we’d be working together. We not only complement each other creatively, but we also respect one another beyond our creative commitments. Having worked with producers in the past that were neither of these things, I know creative and personal respect between writer and producer are of paramount importance to me. There’s some advice to new writers: When it feels upstream, drop the oars. Your boat will turn around and you’ll flow right towards your best case scenario (and away from what’s not serving your highest good). Have faith in the Universe taking care of you and it always will.

CF: How did you get started in screenwriting and what got you interested in the first place?

JC: Five years ago, I was working a full-time desk job and living for the weekends when I would inevitably sleep late and dread the impending Mondays. It became abundantly clear to me that I was living an inauthentic life, creatively speaking, and was extremely unfulfilled with the “fruits” of my time on earth. I had pressed my then girlfriend, now wife, to paint full time and to only do pieces that were original... no more for-hire commissions, two years prior. One night she looked at me. We were on the couch after dinner. I could barely hold up my towering glass of wine due to both physical and spiritual exhaustion. And she said, “What do you think about?” She explained that she was always thinking about paintings and colors and drawings—creations—and wondered what I thought about. My answer startled me. “Nothing, I guess.” She couldn’t fathom my answer. And as a creative spirit, or rather so I fancied myself, that answer turned my stomach. She pressed on, asking what I wanted to do. Growing up being groomed to take over a successful family business, I hadn’t thought of doing much else since graduating college. But I humored her and let the answer come to me. “I’ve always wanted to write a movie.” Five years and countless hours of study, practice, and self-discovery later, I have one feature film in post-production (Rain Beau’s End), one in the process of being optioned (Winter Jasmine), and have been hired to write another. And I’ve also adapted a stage play to a short script, which I’ll be directing later this year. Life is good.

CF: What kinds of stories or characters do you like to write?

JC: Literally all kinds. I will never be constricted to a particular genre. With one caveat, I really love writing lesbian characters and storylines. Lesbians always make their way into my stories. When I was in college, I owned every lesbian feature film ever made on DVD… and they barely took up a foot of space on my shelf. I know now that the craving of seeing oneself represented onscreen goes much deeper than meets the eye. It’s about experiencing a greater scope of life through a perspective similar to your own via characters you can identify with. And that craving truly fueled and still fuels my creative vision. I’m thrilled to see lesbian characters popping up everywhere and being played by big-name talent. I’m excited to have my stories and characters amongst them one day soon.

CF: What's one screenplay that every screenwriter should read and why?

JC: When you’re trying to accomplish something on the page, whether it be an action or a sequencing description, find a movie that’s done it or something similar and consult the script. Then you can see how to convey it on paper. As far as necessary reading, I’ve read scripts of films I admired like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Arrival, and enjoyed them. Just follow your bliss. If that doesn’t lead you to read any scripts, who cares?

CF: What's one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you were starting out?

JC: In no particular order of importance or continuity: You can be, do, or have anything you want. Life is supposed to be easy. Nothing you truly want is upstream. Follow your bliss. You are ever that which you are aware of being. If you haven’t let go of the need for the outcome, you can’t get there from there. Be easy about it all. Be gentle with yourself. The intellect is meant to serve the intuition. You deserve it all. Dream huge. And when people tell you why “life is hard,” send them love, and know that your beliefs determine your reality… their beliefs don’t have to unless you let them. And always, always believe in yourself. You are magic.

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Coverfly Inside Look: Your Script Produced

By Contests, Inside Look, Interview

The first annual 2019 Your Script Produced! Worldwide Screenwriting Competition launched recently, sponsored by Doval Bacall Films, who will fully fund, develop, package and produce the Grand Prize winning film script for $250,000 USD. There is also over $25,000 available in cash prizes for the winner.

Part of Coverfly's mission is to curate a selective list of screenwriting competitions, and to promote transparency by interviewing the administrators behind screenwriting competitions.

Doval Bacall grew up in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan. His appetite for learning, and burning desire to succeed motivated him to educate himself and learn the foundation and skills necessary to become a successful businessman. He believes that you can never think of yourself as a master of any trade or skill, as it stands in the way of improving yourself.

After a successful run in real estate acquisitions and developments, and creating what is known today as Bacall Capital, Doval Bacall has shifted his attention to the Film & Entertainment Industry, which has always has been his passion.

We interviewed Doval and asked him some questions about Your Script Produced! Competition — See his answers below:

Coverfly: Thanks for doing an interview with us about your inaugural screenwriting competition. Why did you start the Your Script Produced! Screenwriting Competition? 

Doval Bacall: I have always loved films and the business and wanted to produce films. I've studied screenwriting and I've read hundreds of screenplays. After spending a year researching how films get made, I decided to simply learn by doing. This is why I'm fully financing a feature film. And to find a screenplay, I decided to create an opportunity for up-and-coming talented writers.

This is why "Your Script Produced!" Worldwide Screenwriting Competition was launched.

CF: Who's judging this inaugural competition and how will you select the winner? 

DB: We have several Hollywood veterans who joined our team to discover and launch writers worldwide including:

  • Sheila Shah (Known for Saw V, Rambo V... 14+ more credits to her name.)
  • Shannon Makhanian (One of Hollywood's best casting directors for 20+ years with 200+ feature film credits.)
  • Bruno Chatelin (Former film distributor for Sony & UGC Fox, Founder of, Launched 200+ films.)
  • Tim Abell (Known for: Sniper: Special Ops, We Were Soldiers and 150+ credit to his name.)
  • Al Maddin (Music/Film Producer working with Def Jam, Lionsgate and Paramount. Known for working with Jam Master Jay, Mary J Blige, and 50+ more celebrity artists.)
  • Tim Lounibos (Known for: Bosch, Hawaii Five-O, JAG, The West Wing, and 50+ TV/Film Credits to his name.)
  • Mike Beckingham, brother of Simon Pegg (Known for: Subconscious, AMS Secrets, Black Site, and 12+ credits to his name
  • Rob Van Dam, world-famous Wrestler/Hollywood actor (Known for: Sniper: Special Ops, Time Toys, 3-Headed shark attack, and dozen-plus credits to his name.)
  • Angela Harvey (Known for: Teen Wolf - MTV, Salvation - CBS, Station 19 - ABC, and 12+ Film/TV credits to her name.)
  • Genevieve Wong (Known for: Law & Order, Access Hollywood, E! News, and 30+ TV credits to her name.)

The Grand Prize and Category finalists will be selected by our elite jury. I will select the Grand Prize script and produce the film.

CF: Who's financing the $250,000 budget to produce the winning screenplay? 

DB: I am personally financing the grand prize for a quarter-million dollars. No need to wait for anyone, I want to live up to my promise, and my promise is to discover, develop, fund and produce the grand prize winner and I will guarantee it gets done. There is no catch. This is a dream opportunity for many writers.

CF: Besides seeing their film produced, are there any other things that the winner of this screenplay competition will receive? 

DB: Absolutely! The writer will come on board as a consultant since this is the story they have written, and he/she will experience first hand working with seasoned Hollywood players and learn the process of developing the script (perfecting the story and making it production ready) and throughout pre-production and on set-production. The experience our winners will receive will be priceless. Category finalists will also get a behind-the-scenes look at the development and production process.

CF: Why is there a submission fee? 

DB: Just like any other competition such as Big Break, Austin Film Festival, The Academy Nicholl Fellowships, and many other organizations that charge a fee, we also charge a fee that covers the logistics of operating a large talent-discovery program, including paying script readers, our elite roster of judges, marketing and promoting the competition AND the winners in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety Magazine, Script Magazine, and The Script Lab.

Your Script Produced! Worldwide Screenwriting Competition guarantees to produce the Grand Prize Winner. The category winners will be optioned and we'll help develop, fund and potentially produce their feature films or TV shows as well.

Our unparalleled cash awards and prizes make our competition worth the entry fee.

CF: Are there any specific types of screenplays that you and your team are looking for in this inaugural competition?

DB: We are looking for what Samuel Goldwyn once had advised, "Give me the same, with a twist." Well told stories that can entertain the audience and maybe even teach a life lesson or two.

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Coverfly Inside Look: The LAUNCH Million Dollar Collegiate Screenplay Competition

By Contests, Inside Look, Interview

The LAUNCH is a Million Dollar Screenplay Competition for college students with the mission to inspire the next generation of great screenwriters. The LAUNCH will enable one talented screenwriter to realize their dream by having their screenplay made by Hollywood producers as a feature film, with a budget of at least $1,000,000 USD. Plus, the top eight finalists will be awarded a total of $100,000 USD in education grants and other prizes.

Zachary Green is an entrepreneur, film producer and most importantly, one of the judges and brains behind The LAUNCH. He began his career at the prestigious William Morris Talent Agency in their infamous mailroom and has since had a successful career in brand storytelling, ranging from social media/marketing companies like House Party, to traditional promotional marketing firms like Equity/Pitch (Burger King) and Simon Marketing (McDonald’s, Toys R Us, Warner Bros. Paramount, Artisan Entertainment), to game-changing startups like internet incubator Idealab and others.

We recently had the opportunity to ask Zachary a few questions about The LAUNCH. See his answers below.

Coverfly: What does THE LAUNCH Million Dollar Screenplay Competition offer student screenwriters?

Zachary Green: The mission of The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition is to find the next generation of amazing collegiate screenwriters from around the world. Through the screenplay competition, The LAUNCH awards $100,000 in education grants to the top eight screenplays, with the top three receiving an offer of representation with APA and Valor Entertainment, and the grand prize winner will have their screenplay produced as a feature film with a budget of approximately $1 million. The competition offers college students an amazing chance to break into the entertainment business.

CF: How did this screenwriting competition come about and who's involved? 

ZG: Philanthropists Chuck and Marni Bond approached producers Jason Shuman and myself about starting a program to benefit college students in the arts. They wanted to help college students find a way to break into the entertainment business, while helping to offset some of the rising costs of attending school.  After a few different iterations, The LAUNCH: Million Dollar Screenplay Competition was born.

CF: Tell us a little bit about your first year's winner Stanley Kalu and his screenplay, THE OBITUARY OF TUNDE JOHNSON.

ZG: Stanley Kalu is now 22 years of age, a senior at USC and a screenwriting major.  He is originally from Nigeria, now calls Kenya home and his winning screenplay The Obituary of Tunde Johnson was written his sophomore year and was the first screenplay he ever wrote.

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson is a gripping and emotional drama about a queer, wealthy black teenager stuck in an endless time loop of police brutality until he can come to terms with his sexuality and confront his current toxic relationship.  After reading it, Zachary and Jason knew they had found the perfect screenplay to select for the Grand Prize in the inaugural year of The LAUNCH Million Dollar Screenplay Competition.

CF: What's one unique piece of advice you'd give to writers who enter your screenplay competition?

ZG: The biggest piece of advice I can give writers entering the competition, is to write about what you know and write from the heart.  The top three screenplays in last year’s competition were all deeply personal screenplays and from just about page one, you could feel each of the writers emotional journey on the page.  If you write about something you’re passionate about, something you've lived, something that has deeply affected you, it will come across on the page in ways that will engage the reader on a different level.

CF: What can writers do to be best prepared to capitalize on winning this contest?

ZG: I think the best thing writers can do to prepare themselves in the advent they win and/or place in the competitions is to prepare for a lot of work, collaboration, to have patience, be open to learn and enjoy the ride.  If your screenplay is chosen as the grand prize winning screenplay, you will have to strap in on the rocket ship.  Stanley was about to be a senior at USC when his screenplay was chosen as the winner and in less the three months, his film was in production and his life was changed.  His career was jumpstarted in the most amazing way, going to multiple meetings a week with production companies, other writers, studios, etc., all the while remaining humble and appreciative along the way.

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Coverfly Inside Look: HUMANITAS

By Contests, Inside Look, Interview

Pictured above: HUMANITAS President Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris), The Kieser Award Recipient Marta Kauffman (Friends), Gloria Allred, and HUMANITAS Executive Director Cathleen Young.

HUMANITAS has empowered writers for more than 40 years. They're a non-profit organization with several prestigious screenwriting competitions. On Coverfly, we feature HUMANITAS New Voices, The Carol Mendelsohn College Drama Fellowship and The David and Lynn Angell College Comedy Fellowship. We recently had the opportunity to ask Executive Director Cathleen Young a few questions about HUMANITAS. See her answers below.

Coverfly: Can you tell us a little bit about HUMANITAS New Voices?

Cathleen Young: At HUMANITAS the writer is the star. While film and television are collaborative mediums, the heart and mind of the writer is always the driving creative force. That’s why we honor the vision and voices of gifted film and television writers and help launch the next generation of writers.

CF: Why is your contest valuable to writers?

CY: Do you want to get into “the room?” As in “the writer’s room?” It’s the most valuable piece of creative real estate in Hollywood. And getting that door open is not easy.  HUMANITAS helps opens that door by pairing talented writers with working showrunners. That’s like jumping to the head of the class. We have a very unique program that no one else offers in this town. And it comes with a $7,500 grant to buy you some time to focus on your craft.

CF: Do you think entering contests is a good path for aspiring writers?

CY: I believe every aspiring writer should enter as many contests and competitions as they can. It gets their name out there -- and it forces you to sit down and write! Winning a contest or competition is a powerful way to attract the attention of agents, showrunners and executives. Winning can be game-changing for the careers of focused, ambitious writers.

CF: Who are some HUMANITAS NEW VOICES alumni?

CY: SJ Hodges - Showrunner for Awesomeness TV’s Guidance, Mentored by Jason Katims

Martin Zimmerman - Executive Producer/Showrunner on Netflix’s Spanish language series, Puerta 7,  Producer on Netflix’s Ozark, Mentored by Alan Ball

Luisa Leschin - Co-Executive Producer on Amazon’s Just Add Magic, Co-Executive Producer on CBS’ Everybody Hates Chris, Mentored by Ali LeRoi

Will Pascoe -  Supervising Producer on Hulu’s Shut Eye, Mentored by Hart Hanson

Greta Heinemann - Producer on CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans, Mentored by Pam Veasey

Damir & Dario Konjicija - Executive Story Editors on CBS’ Young Sheldon - Mentored by Carter Covington

CF: What's one unique piece of advice you'd give to writers who enter your contest?

CY: I always tell up-and-coming writers to NEVER, EVER forget the 4 most important words when writing. Well, technically it’s 5 words. Here they are: “I’ll fix it later.” Meaning, keep writing. Don’t get stuck endlessly rewriting the first act or the first chapter. Tell a story that is true and authentic to you and KEEP AT IT until you get it right. 

CF: What can writers do to be best prepared for capitalizing on a winning the competition?

CY: A giant red flag for me in judging a potential candidate is when they haven’t written very many scripts. Writers need to write. A real writer WANTS to write. Writers need to write a bunch of BAD scripts so they can learn to write GOOD scripts. If a writer doesn’t have multiple scripts in his or her portfolio, it’s hard for me to take them seriously. Another “skill” that is critical to success is being able to hear a good note. The superpower skill needed for success is the ability to make a good note your own... and to take a bad note and make it a good note that addresses some weakness in your script. 

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Coverfly Inside Look: Sun Valley Film Festival's Screenwriters Lab

By Contests, Inside Look, Interview

The mission of Sun Valley Film Festival's Screenwriters Lab is to connect screenwriters with mentors who can help share their story. Steve Gaghan secured an agent for their first finalist and alter a writing gig. David Seidler helped a finalist get representation and co-wrote a project with him. Will McCormack has mentored a few finalists, and the latest success is the screenplay was made into a film and is at Sundance this year. Recently, Chris Moore helped sell the winning script from the year he was a judge. We recently had the opportunity to ask Emily Granville, the Lab and Fellowship Manager at Sun Valley Film Festival, a few questions. See her answers below.

Coverfly: What’s one unique piece of advice you’d give to writers who enter your contest?

Emily Granville: Less can be more. Let the reader fill in some details. Then they become more invested in your story.

CF: What’s the best thing writers can do if they place in, but don’t win the contest?

EG: All finalists are included in parties and mentored. Take advantage of an intimate and accessible festival that supports the creation of film and celebrates the power of storytelling to challenge our way of seeing the world.

CF: When a writer wins, what can they expect from you and your contest? And what can writers do to be best prepared for capitalizing on a win?

EG: Beyond the mentor connection and inclusion at the festival, I personally am involved with the writers and continue to try and get their script in the hands of someone who will appreciate it. Just last week I sent the pilot that won last year to a studio looking for edgy thrillers. Fingers crossed!

CF: Are there any special elements of the script your readers are looking for that you can share?

EG: I try and pair readers with scripts they might like. Certain readers love Sci-Fi, others don’t. The scripts that tend to rise up do not take too long to get going. Today, attention spans are shorter, so as a writer, keep that in mind. You can develop characters, etc., once you have a reader hooked.

CF: What does your reading process look like and who are your readers?

EG: As I mentioned, I try and match scripts with readers who are interested in the genre. We have a tiered system of readers, writers, journalists, agents and producers. And the script is covered by multiple people. At the end, we meet and fight for the scripts we want in the top three.

CF: Why is your contest valuable to writers?

EG: The experience of the Sun Valley Film Festival - whose goal is to support up and coming filmmakers - is invaluable. I am really proud of the Lab’s success rate for the finalists and winners. In the past 6 years, 7 former finalists and winners have landed a writing job, gained management, or sold a script.

CF: Do you think entering contests is a good path for all aspiring writers?

EG: Yes, but getting out and meeting the community behind film making is so important. Mark Duplass, when he hosted the Lab, urged networking at film festivals. Get together with a filmmaker and make a short.

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Coverfly Inside Look: Shore Scripts

By Contests, Inside Look, Interview

Shore Scripts' main goal is to discover new exciting screenwriting talent and boost careers. They put each year’s best scripts into the hands of their industry roster – all of whom have the experience and means to get your script made. We recently had the opportunity to ask Justine Owens, the Director of Contests at Shore Scripts, a few questions. See her answers below.

Coverfly: What's the mission of Shore Scripts Contests?

Justine Owens: Simple really. Shore Scripts was founded to kick-start screenwriting careers. We are extremely proud that our screenplay contests have helped 60+ writers gain representation, option, sell, and have their screenplays produced.

CF: What's one unique piece of advice you'd give to writers who enter your contest?

JO: Writers should not be afraid to get feedback on their script, and this especially applies before submitting to a contest. A second-pair-of-eyes is invaluable in helping a writer hone his/her craft. 

CF: What's the best thing writers can do if they place in, but don't win the contest?

JO: Some might say go back to the script and try a rewrite. But personally, I think they should take a moment to celebrate their success. Shout aloud and proud to everyone that will listen. The old saying goes, success breeds success. Advertising your achievements and referencing them in your approaches to new writing opportunities can make all the difference in whether you make the right first impression. It’s also worth noting that we send many QF & SF scripts out to our industry roster, so just because a writer didn’t win, it doesn’t mean their work won’t be sent out.

CF: When a writer wins, what can they expect from you and your contest? And what can writers do to be best prepared for capitalizing on a win?

JO: At Shore Scripts things start happening for writers before they win. Our award-winning Judges read for the final round, which is an amazing opportunity for writers to share their work. Then, once the finalists are announced, we ask their permission to send their script to our amazing roster of 150+ industry professionals: producers, agents, managers, and directors all looking for new voices and new talent to work with. We advise our writers to ensure they know their story back to front, and to be ready to pitch other scripts they’ve completed in case they are asked ‘what else do you have!’ Be accessible and ready to respond when opportunity knocks. We stay in contact too. As our writers' projects develop, we're always happy to share their success and help advise if they have any questions. We're with our writers for the long-haul.

CF: Are there any special elements of the script your readers are looking for that you can share?

JO: Does the writer have an original voice? That’s a huge thing and so hard to master. We are looking for scripts that we can’t put down! Stories with an emotional hook that comes from the writer’s heart. It’s also essential that a writer knows how to format a screenplay correctly. The more ‘white space’ on the page the better! 

CF: What does your reading process look like and who are your readers?

JO: We read for every stage of our competitions – that can be up to four individual assessments. We take our reading process very seriously and welcome resubmissions as we know that writers like to improve their drafts over time. Our readers are extremely experienced. They’ve read for the likes of Universal, Lionsgate, Working Title, Zoetrope, and the BBC, to name but a few. Our Judges read and decide on our overall winners. 

CF: Why is your contest valuable to writers?

JO: Our contest is valuable to writers because we are offering a gateway into the film industry. Placing in our contests offers an outstanding opportunity to get your script into the hands of industry insiders who can make a difference. A look at our Alumni is a testament to that. We also finance short films, which is another avenue to help our writers.

CF: Do you think entering contests is a good path for all aspiring writers?

JO: It’s hard to say if it’s right for every writer. Only they know the answer to that. But by entering a contest like ours, a writer is giving themselves an opportunity to be discovered. If their script connects with us, we have the means of getting it into the hands of over 150 Industry Professionals.

CF: When does your next competition open?

JO: The Shore Scripts Short Film Fund reopens January 15th, 2019, and our FEATURE and TV PILOT contests open 1st March. You can follow Shore Scripts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

For all the latest from Coverfly, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.