What is the Coverfly Score?

By September 24, 2019 October 3rd, 2019 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.