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Screenwriting 101

Improving Your Screenplay’s Theme

By Advice, Screenwriting 101

Theme is defined as the central and unifying idea developed throughout a work of art. It could be your central dramatic question, or the meaning your protagonist finds through their journey. Your theme holds the narrative elements of your story together. It is the core of your story summed up in one or two words. Theme is referred to as the one big idea.

If you’re having trouble pinpointing your theme, try to focus on the main conflict and the main force that drives the story forward. Start by generalizing the main conflict between the protagonist and antagonist.

Is your character falling in love with an opposing personality? Is your character coming to terms with the struggles of adolescence?

One exercise that might be helpful: try to simplify the heart of your story into a single word that flows throughout the entire body of work.

Here are 30 themes commonly found in stories. Can you find the general theme of your story?

And there are so many more to explore and choose from.

The theme of your story is revealed through all of your screenplay’s traits and elements — character, dialogue, description, setting, tone, genre, tropes, etc.

Here are some tips on improving your screenplay’s theme.

Character

Theme is intrinsically connected to your protagonist and their goals. Think of the theme as the stakes behind their actions. Oftentimes, the theme is the catalyst behind your screenplay’s conflict.

A catalyst is considered a substance that causes a reaction between two forces without itself being affected. It’s rooted in the underlying systemic issues already present in your characters’ world before the inciting incident occurs. Your protagonist may be unaware that these problems even exist.

The inciting incident then thrusts them out of their comfort zone and forces them to confront their flaws (or the flaws of their world) by overcoming some great obstacle.

What is your characters’ emotional connection to the conflict? What do they need to save or protect? What are the stakes? Why tell their story? Theme lies in the answers to all of these questions. Yet, that’s only one aspect.

Setting

Setting is an important thematic element simply because it’s the time and place where the conflict unfolds. If your story is a quest, surely the terrain along their journey cannot be friendly. The setting informs the motivation behind your character’s decisions and the obstacles in their path.

Your characters’ upbringing and worldview impacts their decision making, as well as their immediate setting. During our partner ScreenCraft’s 2020 Virtual Screenwriting Summit, filmmaker Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Series, Armageddon) discussed that it’s important for a character’s behavior to be real and responsive to his or her environment by knowing and utilizing the physical space the character inhabits.

The setting should also thematically reflect the tone, genre, characterization, dialogue, and other traits of your screenplay. The tone of a dark noir would be better set in the underbelly of a major city while an ensemble comedy would work better in an office building.

Dialogue

Dialogue is a great way to make the theme of your screenplay known. After all, everyone knows that with great power comes great responsibility. Taglines can encapsulate the entire driving force of your story.

It’s important to not come across as too preachy or hit the reader over the head. Avoid being hyperbolic or melodramatic. Thematic statements made by characters should feel natural.

You can establish your theme before The Lock-In at the end of Act I with a single line of dialogue that really drives home the point.

Thematic Patterning

One way that you can improve your theme with subtlety is through the use of recurring motifs or symbols. These details help reinforce and highlight your theme.

A motif is an image, narrative device, sound, detail, object, action, or line of dialogue that has symbolic significance in developing the theme.

In Psycho (1960), Norman Bates sits underneath birds of prey poised for attack while speaking to his next victim. In The Godfather, oranges represent death or danger. It’s no mistake that Harriet Tubman takes her first steps as a free woman at sunrise in Harriet (2020). The setting acts as a motif that’s symbolic of her transition from being enslaved to a free woman and the elements work together to keep the theme of freedom alive.

When all of the traits and elements of your screenplay work together to inform upon the theme, your screenplay becomes more cohesive. Work through each of your screenplay’s traits and make sure they all work toward the same goal: a screenplay unified by theme.

Kevin Nelson is a writer and director based in New York City, baby. He has written and produced critically acclaimed short films and music videos with incredibly talented artists, worked with anti-human trafficking organizations in Nepal, and would rather be in nature right now. Check out his Coverfly profile, see more madness on Instagram or follow his work on https://www.kevinpatricknelson.com

4 Tips for Improving Your Brand as a Screenwriter

By Advice, Events, Screenwriting 101

So you have a few really strong scripts under your belt that you’ve been rewriting constantly, and now you’re ready to use them to start your writing career. But before you simply send those scripts out, you need to figure out your brand.

At the end of the day, reps look at your writing and your brand. This not only includes what you love to write but also your background, your personal connection to your projects, and your unique voice as a writer and a person.

Here to help are the panelists from the Coverfly Career Lab’s first panel, who had a lot of helpful advice on how to improve your brand.

Be Open to Pivot

Even if you think you know what your brand is at the start, it is important to be prepared to make a change as you start taking meetings and getting your work seen by professionals. You may think of yourself as the romantic comedy expert, but a producer could see potential for horror or thriller based off of a meeting with you. A good example of this comes from panelist Monica Macer, the showrunner for Netflix’s Gentefied, who remembers how an early pivot from action to character driven work helped her establish her brand and that becoming “a better character writer has made [her] a better action writer.” 

Another writer who shared a similar experience is playwright and television writer David Rambo, known for his work on Empire and CSI, who found himself having to pivot in order to focus on story instead of character. “I was always known as the character guy,” says David, “it took me a long time to learn story.” Being open to these changes can change what you believe your brand is, but could show you aspects of your writing you may not have considered as your strongest assets.

Maintain Your Voice

No matter how much you pivot, it is crucial to maintain your distinct voice and keep it consistent regardless of what you are writing or demonstrating as the strongest part of your brand. You are a distinct person with a unique perspective to bring to the table, and it is important to see this in your writing as part of your brand. This is something that can really help your brand stand out, and when you’re taking meetings, according to Monica, it’s a great way “to be memorable in a day of ten meetings”. 

Maintaining a clear voice is something that Eric Fineman, the senior Vice President of Pascal Pictures, really values when it comes to finding new writers to work with. “Find a personal connection to each project…you want to feel a real passion and urgency to write the script, which hopefully will translate to the urgency for the audience to want to watch it.”

Be Open to Opportunities

Both David and Monica emphasized the importance of being open to opportunity, both for brand as well as for career. “No job is too small. Put in the work…opportunities need to be capitalized upon” says Monica. It also helps to take these opportunities to test the waters and see new genres and stories that could really help your brand. These opportunities also help create a bigger backstory for you as a writer, providing pieces you can use to help contribute to your brand.

Bios and Loglines

So after a lot of deliberating, opportunity taking and pivoting, you’ve finally figured out your brand that combines your voice and the work you excel in. The last step comes with putting this into a package that is easy for managers, agents, and execs to read and understand who you are. This comes both with a bio for you as a writer as well as loglines for the scripts in your repertoire.

Eric’s big piece of advice? “Consider bios and loglines from an analyst perspective” and ask yourself “how does the information correspond with what you’re seeing in the industry?” For more information on writing a strong bio, check out Coverfly’s blog Writing a Great Writer Bio for Your Coverfly Profile.


Jeff is a Los Angeles based writer and a Senior Story Analyst at Coverfly. He has served as a reader for various production companies including Blumhouse and Valhalla and is a lover of genre and creepy stories.

Tips for Screenwriters from a Professional Story Analyst

By Advice, Screenwriting 101

In my role as Sr. Story Analyst for Coverfly, screenwriters are always asking me how they can make a great impression on readers whose job it is to sift through piles and piles of scripts. So, let’s take an in-depth look on simple ways writers can separate themselves from the pack. 

First, what is a story analyst? A story analyst’s primary role is to read screenplays and provide evaluation and insight into the elements of the story. I may conduct this service for a producer, production company, studio, agency, management firm, screenplay competition, or script coverage service. 

My expertise is in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses in screenplays.  

There are three ways story analysts like myself can approach their analysis.

  • Recommend, Consider, or Pass — Comes with short and succinct coverage meant to gauge an industry insider’s interest. Highlights strengths, weaknesses, budget scale, and potential.
  • Grading Scale – Utilized by screenplay competitions. Story traits such as characters, format, structure, dialogue, pacing, plot, tone, etc., are graded and tallied.
  • Coverage – General coverages are short and touch upon 3-4 major improvements that need to be addressed. More in-depth coverages can span up to seven pages and dive deep into all of the story traits judged by readers.  

Now that we have a better understanding of what a story analyst does, here are some tips I’ve accrued from my time reading a wide-range of screenplays and pilots:

1. Be professional

When reading your script, I will immediately take note of the formatting and writing style. 

    • Formatting – There is an industry standard in formatting that writers shouldn’t deviate from. Make sure to use screenwriting software to get the margins and alignments right. Resist the urge to delve into prose and alway write action in the present tense. I’ve found that reading produced screenplays available online can be a big help when it comes to formatting. 
    • Writing Style – Story analysts like myself are drawn to a screenplay if the writer’s voice matches the genre. If you’re writing a horror film, your tone and delivery should be scary and foreboding. If you’re writing a comedy, you gotta make ‘em laugh. Use an active voice instead of a passive one. Also, avoid using too many -ing verbs (gerunds). 

For example: Don’t write: He is running

Write: He runs.

Don’t drown the reader with details they don’t need. Details should function either as plot devices or to create a sense of tone or mood. The adage, “Don’t describe a tea cup unless it has poison in it,” applies here.

 

2. Establish Cause & Effect

It’s important to hit certain milestones in the story, particularly when it comes to introducing the inciting incident within the first fifteen pages. I’ve found that after a while it’s hard to become invested in a screenplay if the plot feels like a series of random events. Early on in the story I need to know who the main character is, what they want, and what the stakes are. 

Try to create a sense of, “This happens because this happens,” instead of, “new things just keep happening.”

Further, don’t make life easy on your protagonist! The other common mistake (particularly with pilots) that writers tend to make is to avoid throwing conflict and obstacles the protagonist’s way. The pilot is the writer’s one opportunity to show what makes the series great, so don’t wait for episode two to put your hero in a difficult position. The main character needs to struggle early and often.  

Speaking of the protagonist, it’s important that they be proactive throughout their journey. The protagonist must have a sense of agency and make bold decisions from beginning to end. The best way to reveal character is through their actions (both good and bad), so make sure they are the one driving the action, as opposed to just getting pulled along for the ride. 

Also, establish the premise early on. Don’t wait until the last few pages. This is something that beginner writers often do in their TV pilots that I always caution against. If the premise of your pilot is centered on a fire house, don’t end the pilot with your protagonist entering the fire house for the first time and meeting a whole bunch of supporting characters that we no longer have enough time to explore. Lead with it so the reader can get a better picture of what the series might look like over multiple episodes.

 

3. Be Original

Find your voice. It takes time to develop but ultimately it comes down to a writer’s delivery and the unique perspective they bring to the story. How does your own personal life experience permeate through your writing? Your voice is the soul of the screenplay.

A screenplay stands out when the writer has the ability to visualize a unique worldview and bring that world to life. The writer’s passion and perspective should be on full display. 

 

4. Subvert Expectations

“Readers in general are drawn to things that are new and different. So they might read a script where they think, ‘You know what? This is a really tough sell but at the same time it really stands out to me.’ I think managers and agents appreciate that too.”

So make it fresh. Avoid repeating the same boring tropes, clichés, and genre conventions unless you plan on subverting them. Be aware of what came before, but don’t be afraid to step outside the confines of genre to create a memorable experience. For example, I’ve read dozens of pilots that begin with the protagonist getting dumped by their significant other and then fired from their job. Instead, consider showing the protagonist’s life falling apart in a new and compelling way. 

 

5. Show, Don’t Tell

Okay, we’ve all heard this before. It’s the most elementary writing lesson taught to writers. That’s because it cannot be emphasized enough. We all fall into the trap of taking the easy way out from time to time.

Showing a character lose their temper or “making a mountain out of a molehill” will always be stronger than telling me they have a temper in the description. Express their anxieties, strengths, and flaws with mannerisms and actions that speak for themselves. You’re writing for a visual medium, so every scene should be imagined visually

As a story analyst, I’m always encouraging writers to push their work more towards what’s unique and different, as opposed to what they think will sell. These days, it’s not enough to simply write a screenplay that feels commercially viable; it needs to stand out and be different from all the rest. By heeding the advice of experienced story analysts, your words can linger in their minds long after they read FADE TO BLACK. 

Make it memorable!

Micah Goldman got his start as a production assistant for multiple seasons on the NBC show The Office. Later on, he wrote and executive produced a pilot presentation for Fox Television Studios that was released on Hulu.com. Currently, he provides detailed screenplay and pilot notes for both established and up-and-coming writers. 

Screenwriting Plot and Story Structure

By Advice, Screenwriting 101

The plot of your screenplay is the sequence of events that acts as the backbone of your story, and is driven forward by your protagonist’s motivations and actions. In this article we’ll examine the traditional three act structure and five plot points. This is by no means the only approach to plot and story structure, however it is the foundation of nearly all great stories in film and TV, and all beginning screenwriters would do well to master these concepts. 

A simple way to approach your screenplay is: CHARACTERS + PLOT = STORY 

To better understand how to improve the plot of your screenplay, it’s important to look at the elements that form the foundation of basic story structure.

Basic Three Act Structure

Every story has a definitive beginning (Act I), middle (Act II), and end (Act III), and each act serves a specific purpose. 

Let’s take a closer look at the primary elements of the three act structure. 

The Set Up introduces your setting and characters while establishing the rules of their world, the tone of the story going forward, and the protagonist’s weaknesses and strengths. It hooks both the reader and the characters into the action. 

Act II is a series of rising tensions and obstacles that accumulate at the climax of your plot. It’s perhaps the most difficult section of your script. Act II is filled with minor successes and major failures that force a character to evolve in order to conquer their main flaw and face their conflict head on. It’s the heart of your story, so take care of it.

A good exercise in your first or second rewrite is to go back and make sure all the story threads and subplots introduced in Act I connect with the obstacles of Act II. 

Act III moves fast and is with precision. The main conflict and subplot collide with a twist or resurgence of a threat, and the character has to use everything they learned in Act II to conquer the final obstacle. The solution is often in contrast with the character’s main flaw. Once the conflict is resolved, there is a new status quo.

The Five Plot Points

From the foundation of the three act structure, let’s look closer at the five plot points of a basic story arc. 

  1. Inciting Incident – The introduction of the main conflict that threatens normalcy.
  2. The Lock In – The protagonist becomes locked in to face the main conflict.
  3. First Culmination – The midpoint where the character finds a solution that might work.
  4. Main Culmination – The climax of the screenplay where the peril and magnitude of the conflict seems to overpower the protagonist. 
  5. Twist – The final culmination and change in direction where the plot and subplot collide.

The Eight Sequences of the Three Act Structure

Within the framework of the five plot points, a screenplay typically contains eight sequences that hit on similar beats.

ACT ONE 

Sequence 1 – Introduce Main Character/Status Quo

Plot Point #1: Inciting Incident/Point of Attack

Sequence 2 – Set Predicament/Establish Main Tension

Plot Point #2: The Lock In 

ACT TWO

Sequence 3 – First Obstacle/Raise the Stakes 

Sequence 4 – Higher Obstacle

Plot Point #3: First Culmination

Sequence 5 – Subplot/Rising Action

Sequence 6 – Highest obstacle

Plot Point #4: Main Culmination

ACT THREE

Sequence 7 – New Tension

Plot Point #5: Twist

Sequence 8 – Resolution

Advanced Structuring

Once you have the fundamentals down, you can begin to look at more advanced modes of structure for inspiration. You can rearrange or reverse the order of events, use other structuring principles, and even discover your own techniques.

Some great resources for advanced structuring can be found on our partner ScreenCraft’s Blog:

10 Screenplay Structures that Screenwriters Can Use

Unconventional Story Structures for Screenwriters

The structure of your screenplay is essential to holding your audience’s attention. Each scene serves a function of the plot, which is an extension of the leader character(s) goals and arc. Understanding these concepts can help you choose to eliminate unnecessary scenes that might slow your story down and make for a more engaging read. 

 


Kevin Nelson is a writer and director based in New York City, baby. He has written and produced critically acclaimed short films and music videos with incredibly talented artists, worked with anti-human trafficking organizations in Nepal, and would rather be in nature right now. Check out his Coverfly profile, see more madness on Instagram or follow his work on https://www.kevinpatricknelson.com


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Improving Your Screenplay’s Characterization

By Advice, Screenwriting 101

Characterization is important. Script readers consider strong characterization as one of the single most important traits of a good screenplay. Your characters are typically judged based on their authenticity, uniqueness, and story arc. A common mistake that beginner screenwriters make is to focus on the plot of their script; however if you focus on creating great characters first, then your story’s conflict and plot will flow naturally from your characters authentic needs and desires. 

How can you improve the characterization in your screenplay?

 

1. Make Their Introductions Matter

Always show, never tell. Don’t tell the reader that a character is shy. Show their shyness through an interaction with another character. 

Let’s look at the protagonist’s introduction in Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: 

The platform across the tracks is empty. As an almost empty train pulls up to that platform, one of the suited men breaks out of the crowd, lurches up the stairs two at a time, hurries across the overpass and down the stairs to the other side, just as the empty train stops. The doors open and the man gets on that train.

As the empty train pulls from the station, the man watches the crowd of commuters through the train’s dirty window. We see his face for the first time. This is Joel Barish.      

Joel’s actions tell you everything you need to know about him before his physical characteristics are even described in the next paragraph. He breaks away from the mundane workday in desperation.

An added bonus is that his actions are a visual representation of the overall plot and directly reflect the premise of removing a strand of memories from one’s busy brain. 

Here’s a great blog post from our partners at ScreenCraft: 

100 Examples of How to Introduce Characters in Your Screenplay

 

2. Develop Their Backstory

A character’s story begins long before we meet them on the page, so it’s good to develop their backstories during the brainstorming process to create well rounded characters. Think of their backstory as the iceberg below the surface, even if the only hints of their backstory on the page are just the tip of the iceberg. 

When tackling your screenplay, try not to slow the reader down with a block of exposition describing past events that are not directly pertinent to the story. 

When Johnny Cash is introduced in Walk the Line, screenwriters Gill Dennis and James Mangold use a single detail that foreshadows Johnny’s past.  

A MAN IN BLACK (37) OUT OF BREATH, LEANS ON A TABLE SAW. 

His face etched with hard living. His brow wet. His eyes dark, staring at— A FEROCIOUS SAW BLADE. Jagged teeth gleam.

Being a biopic, Johnny Cash’s past is later revealed, but this brief description epitomizes his character’s backstory with a single image. The saw blade foreshadows the inciting incident that ultimately drives young Johnny off his farm and into stardom.

Practice character development with this great exercise from our partners at The Script Lab

 

3. Find Their Defining Feature

What makes your character relatable? 

Why should a reader care about their story?

A great tool for finding your character’s defining feature is the Enneagram of Personality. 

The Enneagram Institute, created by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson in 1997, helped establish these nine basic personality types.

  1. The Reformer – Rational, Idealistic, Self-Controlled, Purposeful
  2. The Helper – Caring, Generous, Possessive
  3. The Achiever – Driven, Excelling, Image Forward
  4. The Individualist – Sensitive, Withdrawn, Temperamental
  5. The Investigator – Intense, Cerebral, Perceptive, Isolated
  6. The Loyalist – Committed, Responsible, Suspicious
  7. The Enthusiast – Fun-loving, Spontaneous, Scattered
  8. The Challenger – Dominating, Decisive, Confrontational
  9. The Peacemaker – Easygoing, Reassuring, Agreeable

This tool is especially helpful when developing supporting characters. 

How do your supporting characters compliment your main character? 

Each supporting character serves a function for the protagonist — that’s why they’re called supporting characters. Whether it’s the bully that threatens to meet our hero at the playground after school, or the quirky friend who provides comic relief and advice. 

They are an integral part of your protagonist’s story. What is their purpose?

 

5. Make Their Character Flaw Count

How does your character’s flaw prevent them from conquering their conflict? 

How does it steer them away from their main goal? 

Often, the character’s main flaw is the obstacle they need to overcome in order to defeat their antagonist or accomplish their goal. Their major flaw should tie into the plot and be relevant to the character’s journey.

In When Harry Met Sally, Harry has a hard time committing to a relationship. As soon as things get serious, he bails. After making love to Sally, he returns to his flaw as a defense mechanism and jeopardizes their relationship. He has to overcome this flaw or lose the love of his life. 

 

6. Make Their Motivation & Goal Clear

Why is your character doing what they are doing? 

What are the stakes?

In the film Apocalypto, Jaguar Paw saves his family from Mayan raiders by lowering them into a pit. They’re temporarily safe, but if he doesn’t return they won’t survive. He’s taken captive and must escape certain death in the city, survive his pursuers, and beat a ticking clock scenario in order to save his family. 

His pregnant wife and young child are his motivators. They inspire him to rise when he hits his low point. Every character should have a clearly defined goal.

 

7. Map Out Their Character Arc

Characters can’t remain stagnant. They need to overcome their flaws to reach their full potential. 

Whether your character achieves their goal or falls short, they will change in some way. Even if they revert back to their main flaw, they would have learned something about themselves. 

A character shouldn’t be the same at the end of the story as they were in the beginning.

Download the ScreenCraft’s newest eBook for free! 

Exploring the 12 Stages of the Hero’s Journey

 

8. Find Inspiration in Real People

The goal for every character is to make them feel real. With this in mind, sometimes reality is where you can find the best traits to use for your characters. 

Think of the people in your life who stand out in your memories — whether for good or bad. You don’t have to use their names but you should definitely use their mannerisms.

What makes them stand out? 

Why do you remember them? 

Some of the best characters are the characters you already know in real life.

__

Over the course of the rewriting process, your characters will continue to evolve. You’ll get to know them better and have more of an understanding behind their motivations.

The more you learn about your characters, the more depth they gain. The goal is to create memorable characters that readers will never forget.

You’re well on your way.

If you want to find more ways to improve characterization in your screenplays, search this Coverfly blog, as well as our partner websites for related screenwriting articles:  The Script Lab or  ScreenCraft.


Kevin Nelson is a writer and director based in New York City, baby. He has written and produced critically acclaimed short films and music videos with incredibly talented artists, worked with anti-human trafficking organizations in Nepal, and would rather be in nature right now. Check out his Coverfly profile, see more madness on Instagram or follow his work on https://www.kevinpatricknelson.com


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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! 

Coverfly Pitch Week: My Journey to Getting Signed

By Contests, Screenwriting 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Screenwriting 101: How to Get an Agent

By Contests, Screenwriting 101

It takes a lot of effort, time and possibly even a good amount of sweat and tears to write a kick-ass screenplay. Some of us have been at it for years. There are plenty of classes and books to help you along the way as you craft your story for the screen, but the one thing most people don’t mention is what to do after you have a screenplay that’s ready for the marketplace. 

Screenplays are products and to sell one, you need a literary agent. Some writers get by with just lawyers, but if you’re a new writer, you’ll likely want to start by getting a manager. A manager who believes in you will be able to refer you to agents with whom they have relationships. Agents, on the other hand, are most useful when you’re at the point where studios and/or producers are interested in one of your screenplays and can negotiate a deal. Most industry professionals recommend getting both a manager and an agent to set up your career with the best odds of success. 

If you don’t have any of the above, the first thing you’ll want to do on your quest for an agent is to get your screenplay read by industry professionals. Here are the best ways we’ve determined to get your script in front of Hollywood eyeballs and move your career to the next level. 

1. Make Query Phone Calls

It used to be common to send query letters, then emails. Finding an agent’s assistant’s email address is easy and there’s very little stress clicking the send button. But it’s just as easy to find that assistant’s office phone number, too. Very few people make phone calls anymore so this is a chance for you to stand out. Most likely, you won’t be able to get the assistant on the phone your first try so try a few times (1:00 PM to 2:00 PM PST is the industry standard lunch break, so avoid calling then).

If you do get them on the phone or are forced to leave a message, the secret is expressing your passion for your project while sounding like a sane adult. If you can make an argument as to why the story in your screenplay is the most gripping, relevant or funniest story of the year, you may get some interest. If you’re leaving a message, leave your phone number AND your email address, as they are more likely to email you back. But be smart about who you contact. If you know a manager represents primarily comedy writers, there’s no need to waste your time calling them about your post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic.

2. Attend Screenwriting Conferences and Summits

Some of the better conferences like Story Expo (held in New York and Los Angeles six months apart), Toronto Screenwriting Conference and ScreenCraft Writers Summit, invite successful screenwriters, literary agents and managers to give talks and be available to answer questions. These events are set in a much more casual environment than most industry events, so the odds of walking up and introducing yourself to a literary manager at one of the social mixes are in your favor.

3. Send Your Script to Screenwriting Competitions

Most of us have heard stories about doors opening for a screenwriter after winning a screenwriting competition. At the very least, many managers will request to read the winning script and that’s a good thing. But do your homework. Screenwriting competitions can get expensive so you need to target the competitions you enter. The likelihood of a raunchy comedy winning the Nicholl competition is pretty low, so send them your best dramatic screenplay. If you write horror, focus on The Bloodlist. Austin Film Festival has a great competition and their conference is very writer-friendly. There are several good competitions out there that can open doors for new writers.

4. Go to Film Festivals

Even if you don’t live in Los Angeles or New York, you can still go to film festivals like Sundance, Slamdance or South by Southwest and meet other filmmakers, producers, agents and managers. Bring a stack of postcards or business cards that have the name of your screenplay or web series, the logline, your website/blog and your email address. 

5. Get a Job as an Assistant 

If you’re in Los Angeles or New York, or even some of the cities where a lot of filming takes place like Vancouver or Atlanta, there are plenty of film companies and production studios looking to hire that amazing assistant. It’s a great way to learn the business and to make contacts. If you’re nice, professional and helpful, someone will certainly be willing to read your script. 

6. Stunt Marketing

What is stunt marketing? It’s promoting your script in a clever way that hasn’t been done before. Billy Domineau wrote a Seinfeld spec called “Twin Towers” about 9/11 that went viral and landed him a job on Family Guy. Henry C. King purchased billboards near Sony in Culver City and in Studio City near Universal Studios directing anyone interested to look up his script on blcklst.com. These methods are unconventional so do your research before spending any money.

Here is the Writers Guild of America’s list of accredited agents. Be sure to let us know if you have any success!


ShaneeEdwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards


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

You Wrote A Screenplay. Now It’s Time to Turn It Into One Sentence.

By About Coverfly, Screenwriting 101

You’ve done the impossible: you’ve typed the famous FADE OUT, hit save, and completed your cinematic masterpiece. Congratulations! Now comes the fun part of convincing people to read your screenplay. Getting someone to read your script could become the hardest thing you’ve ever done. No joke. Reading scripts is like a first date – you need to psych yourself up in hopes that this one won’t be as bad as the last. Like a killer dating profile, you need something to draw the reader in and get them excited to read your script. Behold the most powerful tool in your arsenal – the logline!

Less is more when it comes to loglines.

A logline should be short, sweet, and to the point. You probably already know what a logline is and have tried your hand at crafting one for each of your projects, but we want your logline to be the best it can be. So let’s skip the basics and get down to the nitty-gritty. A good logline can sell your project, but a poorly written one might be an indication that your script is poorly written, too. If you’re preparing your project profile for Coverfly’s Free Pitch Week or Live Reads, then this blog post is an excellent place to start.

One, maybe two sentences.

Oftentimes loglines should be only one sentence, but don’t be afraid to stretch it out to two. Sometimes it’s hard to jam everything in and, to help build out the hook, you’ll need space to move. Getting into three to four sentences, however, can be too much information.

It’s this meets that.

If you’re finding yourself able to express the story, but not capture the tone, then consider adding comparables. More often than not, when someone says it’s “this meets that,” we can start to get a visual image. If we hear, “It’s Hot Tub Time Machine meets Little House on the Prairie,” we start to see a fish-out-of-water story about someone who accidentally goes back in time to prairie life in the 1800s. The two concepts in tandem can change the outlook on a script.

The three logline essentials.

There are three core elements you’ll want to incorporate within your logline: character, plot, and tone. In addition, you’ll want to use an active voice and aim to avoid character names (unless they’re well-known figures). It helps to give enough information to whet the appetite, but not enough to give away too much. While these are guidelines, rules can bend and break. Don’t get wrapped up in all the details; we’re selling a story here. Remember, the goal is to entice them to read this script, so hook them with the main elements. Otherwise, you can just write a summary and watch eyes glaze over.

Find the hook.

The easiest, utmost basic template you can follow is this: A character is THIS, but when THAT happens, he NOW must do this.

Essentially, it’s just the first act, break into act two, and a teaser as to what the second and third act will be. The “but” is critical because that is where the hook lives. You can usually turn to the act two break to find your hook. The hard part here is each story is unique, so you need to figure out what distinguishes your story from all others. Making clear what’s relatable and original about your story will further hook your reader.

Use loglines from existing movies in the same genre to guide you.

Here are three loglines from notable movies: 

1. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a young farmer dreams to escape his mundane life. When he begins tinkering with a few broken-down robots, he discovers a fateful message that sends him on the adventure of a lifetime.

Obviously, this is from Star Wars, and it gets to the core of the story.

2.  When a 23-year-old slacker musician falls head-over-heels in love with a beautiful young woman, he’s shocked to discover he must battle her seven evil ex-boyfriends to be with her.

From Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, we learn it’s an action-filled romance distinguished by the battle between a slouch and his love-interest’s seven evil ex-boyfriends. 

3. Desperately wanting to be accepted by the cool kids, two nerdy teenagers agree to supply beer for a party. But when they learn that their friend’s fake ID is a bust, they must go to the ends of the earth to get the booze or confirm they are the losers everyone thinks they are.

This logline from Superbad makes the story very relatable because everyone has a memory of wanting to fit in. 

While these are not the official studio loglines, they include the primary story beats and just enough context to pique interest.

Streamline your loglines. 

Once you start to get the essentials of the narrative, start to figure out how to make it exciting.

Try different variations of your logline, ranging from completely different sentences to just a few words changed throughout; it all comes down to a single word sometimes.

For instance: A theme park suffers a major power outage that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok, forcing paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant to risk his own life to protect two young children.

Jurassic Park’s logline gives you everything you’re getting in the story and every word is essential to convey this. What if it was adjusted?

During a preview tour of cloned dinosaurs, a theme park suffers a major power outage that allows its exhibits to run amok.

It still works because… well dinosaurs. But it doesn’t have the emotional impact of the first one. In thinking of previous rules about character, plot, and tone, this specific one lacks our protagonist, Dr. Alan Grant. It shows sometimes rules can be broken and that dinosaurs can outsell people.

Another strong example: Three groomsmen lose their about-to-be-wed buddy during a night of drunken escapades in Las Vegas, forcing them retrace their steps to find him.

The Hangover is a story that many of us can relate to, whether or not you’ve been to a bachelor(ette) party or Las Vegas which hooks us in. It answers the who, what, where and why of the story while sneaking tone in by using specific words like “buddy.”

Logline structure.

When you start to tear down loglines, keep in mind the type of story you are trying to tell. I can’t stress this enough. Very often, a logline promises a story that the script doesn’t deliver. Imagine thinking you’re getting Jurassic Park, but then read Schindler’s List. While both are great (and Spielberg films coincidentally), you don’t want to disappoint the reader.

Loglines help focus your story.

A logline is a great tool to help develop your script further. If you’re having difficulty getting the story down to a sentence or two, or you’re struggling to find the hook/other elements you need to convey, you may want to evaluate your narrative as a whole as there might be some underlying story problems you weren’t aware of. It’s a great way to start to find the story within the story and zero in on what you want to tell.

Practice makes perfect.

A logline is a tool to learn about your story as much as it is a sales pitch. Make it exciting, eye-catching, and draw in the right audience. Don’t forget what type of story you’re telling and stick to it. Stretch the logline out if you need to and go for two sentences. Use comparables. Lose the micro-details that, while may be essential to the narrative, aren’t necessary to get the read. Stick to the overarching concept that makes your story seem fresh and will be like nothing a producer or director has ever read. 

More helpful tools.

Once you have your killer logline, be sure to include it in your writer profile, here on Coverfly. We’re the industry’s largest database of screenwriting competition entries, searchable by industry pros who are looking for good screenplays. The best part of Coverfly is that you can add your profile and screenplay for FREE. A tip: when creating your profile, include your demographic information, including awards and placements for discoverable projects, links to social media, agent and manager representation and a profile pic. Providing this data helps producers who are looking for writers with specific traits that will make stories feel more authentic and true to a certain voice being expressed.

Ready to pitch your ideas to agents and managers?

The deadline for applying to Coverfly’s next Pitch Week is December 1. After reviewing applications, 20 to 50 writers will be selected and matched for virtual video conference meetings and phone calls with Hollywood literary agents and managers. It’s free to apply and free to participate. Sign up here.


ShaneeEdwards graduated from UCLA Film School with an MFA in Screenwriting and is currently the film critic for SheKnows.com. She recently won the Next MacGyver television writing competition to create a TV show about a female engineer. Her pilot, Ada and the Machine, is currently in development with America Ferrera’s Take Fountain Productions. You can follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards


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

What is the Coverfly Score?

By About Coverfly, Announcements, Screenwriting 101

Helping Writers Get Discovered by Tracking Progress on Submissions and Coverages

Our goal is to become the most efficient way for writers to be discovered by the entertainment industry, and the most trusted guide for emerging writers to achieve their goals. We do this by offering a free database for screenwriters to host their screenplays. In addition to hosting your projects for free, Coverfly uses your project’s reviews from submissions to top-tier festivals, competitions, fellowships and coverage services to provide a measure of our confidence that an Industry professional would be interested in your screenplay.  We’ve also pulled together dozens of highly regarded screenwriting competitions and free fellowships and programs to help you improve your score. Check out those tips and resources at the end of this article. 

The Coverfly Score is simply a tool to help writers better understand how their project is improving while also helping industry professionals discover great writers and great projects. It is, of course, not the only or even most important factor in determining the success of your script.  While we want the score to be helpful and empowering, we don’t ever want it to dissuade you from writing more projects or putting your work out there. The best writers write a LOT of projects!

A Special Metric Aggregating Screenplay Evaluations 

Aggregating scores

To help industry professionals discover great matches on Coverfly, we have found it important for projects to be vetted several times.  This allows for greater confidence in identifying the strengths, weaknesses, and general quality of the piece. On average, it takes about five reads before we have gathered enough data to confidently rate a project for Industry consideration. Remember, many contests read a script multiple times, so 5 reads can happen quickly.

More Evaluation Data is Better (up to a point)

Chart showing confidence in score increasing

Larger score updates will occur for the first five scores as we build confidence in the quality of the project.  Once a Project has a mature score, larger jumps may still occur with draft updates and strong placements in fellowships or competitions, but mature scores often change less because Coverfly is more confident in how your script is being received. If you submit an updated draft for coverage, we’ll weight that score more than the previous coverages you received.

Each score increase takes many factors into consideration, but essentially, your Coverfly Score increases as readers from well-regarded programs respond positively to your project. Our algorithm needs 5 reviews to be fully confident in your Coverfly Score. After 5 reviews we’re more confident, and placements will change your score less. It’s also worth knowing that 5 reads doesn’t mean you need to enter 5 competitions, most competitions read a script multiple times as it advances, so you may only need to enter one or two.   But, rest assured, we follow a strict rule: a Coverfly Score can never decrease. So, you’re free to experiment as you hone your story, without concern that it will negatively impact your score.

A Project’s Coverfly Score Won’t Ever Decrease 

Chart illustration showing that the Score never decreases

There will be times when your score does not increase.  A common reason for this is that the most recent screenwriting competition placement or coverage is not strong enough to outweigh the recent historical scores on your project.

When your project places in a festival, competition, or fellowship, we usually wait until after the placements have been announced publicly to update your score.  To determine a fair score for the increase, we take several core variables into account: how your project placed or scored, the thoroughness of that specific script evaluation process, and the success rate for writers in that specific screenwriting competition, fellowship or lab. It’s worth noting that larger score updates will occur for the first five scores as our algorithm collects more data and builds confidence in the quality of the project.  Once a Project has a mature score of at least 5 evaluation data points, larger jumps may still occur with draft updates and strong placements in fellowships and competitions, but mature scores often change less dramatically because Coverfly is more confident in how your script is being perceived across many different readers and judges.

Your Coverfly Score Consists of 3 Types of Information From a Competition 

Chart illustration showing the variables that help define score updates

Two things to consider:

  1. Coverfly Score updates may take up to 30 days to appear after a Competition or Fellowship announces their placements.  To help you keep track of your Coverfly Score updates, you can see a list of all pending and completed updates from your Project’s Score Update Page.
  1. While a lot goes into our algorithm, a simple way of thinking of these submission variables is:
    • Placement Score = Placement Position / Amount of Submissions, 
    • Evaluation Thoroughness = Number of Reads x Detail of Reads, and 
    • Writer Success Rate = Number of Writer Successes / Amount of Submissions 

In order to help you gauge your project as our algorithm builds confidence in the current quality of your project, we provide guides on your Coverfly Score graph to help writers predict where their current draft will place once it becomes a mature score with at least 5 evaluations. The Red List is Coverfly’s leaderboard of top projects, filterable by genre, format and time range. The Red List guide is a line that lets you see  how average Red List projects in your project’s genre and format performed for each score update.

The Red List Guide Line Shows Your Project’s Estimated Current Trajectory 

Illustration showing how the Average Red List line helps compare your project's score

One thing to keep in mind: The Red List line is merely an estimation, and not a guarantee that your project will follow the same trajectory as the projected guide.  Your project may be shown as below a guide, but one strong placement in a major fellowship or competition can dramatically boost your aggregate Coverfly Score.

The moment you list a script as “discoverable” on Coverfly, your project can be discovered and downloaded by vetted industry professionals, no matter how many reads or submissions it has received.  In order to bubble up the top projects for our industry professionals, we use the Coverfly Score to create The Red List. Scripts with the best Coverfly Scores are listed by genre and format, allowing professionals to discover the best matches for their needs. However, you do not need to be listed on The Red List to be discovered by Industry Pros.

The Red List is Coverfly’s Leaderboard of Top Projects 

Illustration of different ways to be on the Red List

By default, your projects are “private” on Coverfly and viewable only by you, and by the competitions to which you submit your project. While everyone can see and search “discoverable” Coverfly project profiles, only vetted industry professional members can download your script.  And we’ll notify you if an industry member downloads your project.

We would love to hear your feedback on how we could improve the Coverfly Scoring system to better impact your improvement as a writer and facilitate Industry discovery. The important thing is to continually improve your craft and keep getting your material out there. Remember, writing is rewriting!

Happy Writing

Tips for Improving your Coverfly Score

  1. Use feedback to improve your script. This can be from friends, coverflyX, or just trading notes on social media — the important thing is to take the feedback and re-write process seriously. Once you’ve updated your script, you can update Coverfly with your latest draft.  While new drafts do not advance your score, a polished script will do better in competition submissions and script review services.
  2. Get professional script coverage to help identify areas of improvement. Writing is rewriting! The average produced screenplay undergoes no less than 30 rounds of notes, or more from various creative stakeholders. Getting and implementing notes is an important part of the craft.  
  3. Submit to top competitions.  Please be sure to research opportunities carefully. We only allow reputable and proven talent-discovery programs to accept submission on Coverfly, so it’s a great place to find appropriate competitions, festivals and fellowships for your project.
  4. Take advantage of free submissions whenever available. Check out our extras for free opportunities.
  5. If you’re low on funds, check out Coverfly’s fee waiver program which helps writers who demonstrate financial need.