What is Script Coverage and Why Do I Need It?

What is Script Coverage and Why Do I Need It?

Script Coverage puts your idea into terms that an investor or distributor can understand in a bite sized chunk

Script Coverage is an essential part of the process of getting your project off the ground whether it's a micro-budget short or a massive multimillion dollar trilogy of feature films. So what actually is it and why do you need it?

Let's start with what Script Coverage actually is. Script Coverage consists of three major elements: the script report, the synopsis, and the comments/feedback.

The Script Report

The Script Report lays out the major elements of the script so that investors, production companies, or any other hopeful project partners can get a clear view of what the project is and what the main requirements are as well as a brief summary of the script itself. In this report you will have clearly defined pieces of your project and the final recommendation for both the writer and the script itself.

What is included in a Script Report:
  • Title
  • Writer
  • Page Count & Approximate Film Length
  • Genre & Tone
  • Time Period
  • General Location or Main Locations
  • Any Adapted Material
  • Main Characters
  • Brief Summary
  • Estimated Budget (High/Medium/Low)
  • Working Log-Line
  • X meets Y Description

While most of this is included in your script, there are a few points that will be completed by the Reader (person who will be doing your Script Coverage). The first is a Brief Summary where the Reader will attempt to compress your script into a short but compelling story that gives just enough information to whomever you are submitting to so that they can grasp the overall concept, but still be left wanting more.

The next is an Estimated Budget this will only be stated in the terms High/Medium/Low and is used mainly to help the writer gain a better understanding of how high of a budget they will need to aim for. This can also be a great tool for writers who are aiming for a specific budget level and need to know where they stand. A Working Log-Line will also be created by the Reader who will make sure that it encapsulates the concept in a single sentence and has a catchy ring that will pull in an audience.

Finally the Reader will do market research to find similar but unrelated projects that help describe what the project is in simple terms, an X meets Y Description. For example The Hidden Fortress meets Star Trek would be a description for Star Wars.

The Synopsis

The Synopsis is more than just a 1 - 2 page summary of the plot, characters, and other important elements of your script. It's actually a major way your script gets chosen. Most of the people you submit to will only read your script if the synopsis sparks their attention so it needs to be just as compelling as your script. It also needs to tell your story in a way that the client can immediately grasp without a lot of reading since these tend to be very busy people who get a lot of submissions.

It's also a great tool for the writer to see what the audience finds the most engaging about their story and what details are getting lost. If there is a major plot point missing from your synopsis then it is likely that it isn't coming across clearly or doesn't feel necessary in your script.

The Comments/Feedback

The main goal of the Comments/Feedback section of a script coverage is to provide helpful critique that improves and strengthens the material. This is always done in a constructive way and should not be feared! Writing is a very personal art and it can be very hard to hear that something is not working. However, notes are good things that tell you not that something is bad or wrong, but instead how to improve your script and make it stronger by someone who wants you to succeed. Comments typically range from 1 - 3 pages and are not line by line, they are usually more geared toward the overall project rather than being specific. If you are interested in getting line by line notes with specific problem areas and thoughts for improvement you can always use our Script Consultant Service!

The Why?

So now that we know what Script Coverage is, why do you need it? 

The most important reason why you need script coverage is for yourself! Script Coverage is a great way to see how far along your project is and if it is ready to pitch. You can get a sense of how your story is coming across to your audience, what pieces are getting lost or are not having the intended effect. It also shows you what the most important pieces are to an investor and what you can do to make your project shine. Even if you intend to submit to a production company that will do their own internal Script Coverage you will want to know what they are likely to think and getting your own coverage will save you a bad surprise. The main benefit is to have professional eyes look over your script and tell you what the next steps are, whether that is making small changes or big. No doubt about it, Script Coverage should be your first step as soon as you feel finished with your script.

The second most important reason for coverage is that investors do not have time to read your whole script as well as the thousands of others they get on a daily basis. Having your Script Coverage ready to go with your submission gives them a quick and easy read to know that your script is worth reading all the way through!

So you know you need it, but why not just do it yourself? The most obvious answer is that you cannot be impartial about your own work and something that may be obvious to you could be lost to someone that does not have the whole story in their head. Fresh professional eyes can also give you the missing piece that makes your story work or can help you get through a writers block. Our Script Reading Team is on your side and wants to help you be the best writer you can be, so check out our Script Coverage, Script Consultant, and Script Doctor Services!

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Multi-Award Winning Writer/Director l Princess of the Macabre (Future Queen) l Powerful Storyteller