Have you ever finished a draft of your script, stepped back and wondered what you’re looking at? Sure, it’s clear in your head, but what made it onto the page? Writing is a process of rewriting and revising until your full story makes it to fruition. Getting notes is a pivotal part of the process. Whether you’re in the early writing stages or want an expert evaluation before submitting your script to professionals, WeScreenplay’s got you covered.
Full disclosure: I received WeScreenplay’s Basic Coverage for free in exchange for sharing my thoughts on their service.
In order to evaluate their service, I had a plan. The script I submitted was older and thoroughly grazed over by previous evaluations. I also decided this would be a fantastic opportunity to go in depth with you on how script coverage helps writers by making both the script and the coverage available for you to read.
What is coverage?
You’ll encounter many different types of script coverage over your career. Every time a script is read by a contest, agency, production company, etc… it will receive a rundown that results in a Pass, Consider, or Recommend. The evaluation generally includes an assessment of the key components that make up a script, such as plot, characters, style, structure, and so much more.
Related Post: Learn How to Do Script Coverage
Do writers need script coverage?
You can use coverage to evaluate the pros and cons of your script while you work to revise and strengthen your screenplay. A fresh set of eyes can give the kind of clarity that you can’t see when you’re close to the material.
Note that you might not want notes on your script from your local barber, your mom, or your bestie, unless of course they have experience in the arena. You want to make sure you’re getting an educated opinion that’s going to propel the process forward. Scripts are their own animal, much different than reading a novel or blog post. Don’t take everyone’s opinion, instead accept the help of a select few.
WeScreenplay is the first paid service I’ve used. I’ve always been fortunate enough to have access to high quality constructive feedback from industry peers. Not everyone has that. And even if you do, maybe you want to see how your script fares sans the bias of your friendship with the reader.
In the event that you’re looking for professional quality feedback, I recommend WeScreenplay’s script coverage services.
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WeScreenplay’s Basic Coverage includes 5 pages of detailed notes for $65 in a 72-hour turnaround. There are two other packages called Full Coverage ($95) and Premium Coverage ($195), which go even more in depth. For instance, Premium Coverage gives you PDF notes on every page of your script with suggestions for changes. There are also add-ons like a $25 fee for follow-up questions.
I received WeScreenplay’s Basic Coverage. I had my hesitations about the promise of 5 full pages of notes for only $65. As a script reader, my general thought was that it’s a lot of work for a really low price tag. How good was it going to be?
The truth: it’s insightful, detailed, and professional. WeScreenplay did a fantastic job of giving constructive criticism in an encouraging tone. If you’re working on your script, and you need a set of unbiased eyes, I’d definitely recommend their service.
Overview of The Submitted Script
The script I submitted was a great candidate to test their coverage service for a couple of reasons. It was a quarterfinalist in three contests, so you can see both why it was noticed and why it didn’t progress further. It has some problems in structure and plot that would require a rewrite. Lastly, I was well aware of the script’s flaws, being privy to industry peers who read and give me feedback as well as some cool free notes from the Austin Film Festival. At this point, there isn’t anything I haven’t already heard about this beast – and she’s full of some really awesome flaws and learning experiences. I figured this would be a good way to gauge WeScreenplay’s coverage service, including how thorough they are, and showcase really common problem areas that a lot of writers face.
If you’re down for the long haul, read the script first, form your own thoughts and then check out the coverage. If you’re strictly curious about extensive screenplay coverage for writers, open up the WeScreenplay PDF and get started.
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A BREAKDOWN OF THE BREAKDOWN
If you open the script coverage, you can take a look at each of these sections while you read the below.
They give you scores in seven categories, which is helpful for two reasons. The first is that you can gauge how well you’re doing in certain elements of your writing and what needs work. The second is that many contests break down their evaluation of your script into categories which make up your overall score ranked against other entrants.
Below that, it gives you a brief paragraph about who’s reading your script, which is a nice touch. It establishes the legitimacy of the reader, so you know your read is in good hands. This person has solid experience, likes similar genres to the script they’re reading, which eliminates genre bias, and they’ve been doing this for several years.
Oh, the logline. First thing’s first, I, in part, failed this script by never having a clear logline. I can tell by reading their logline that they don’t know either. It’s so important.
For the love of all that is holy, do this one thing for yourself before you start. Know what your story is. Be able to articulate that in one to two sentences. That was my first mistake. And because the logline is the start of the structure, the plot and structure of the script suffered from something that started way before the script did.
A synopsis isn’t part of the basic package, but you can get it with more premium packages. This would be useful in the event that you want to see how the story sounds coming from someone else. Like a game of telephone, you might find that a lot of what you intended while writing the story in your brain may not have made it to the page.
WeScreenplay breaks comments down into the categories they evaluate you in. That gives you really focused insight as to the strengths and weaknesses of your script.
The Opening Thoughts section gives a brief overview of the notes to come. They balance some positive notes with the general pitfalls of the screenplay. The reader hit the nail on the head.
The coverage then breaks down Characters, Plot, Structure, Format/Grammar/Spelling, Dialogue, Concept, Marketability, and Overall.
A lot of the notes are linked to one another. For example, the inactive protagonist is a result of an uneven plot and structure. This is also tied to character problems. Like if we look at Mark, he was originally a plot device that I was using to push part of the story, but he was inconsistent due to story problems. Also, there was this giant family scene in the first half of the script that wasted time with characters we don’t see again. They also focus on theme. Grounding a stronger theme or message would help strengthen the overall structure.
WeScreenplay gives some really detailed points, offers suggestions and examples of what to fix, and covers all major areas of the script.
I’m the queen of typos in my own work. My brain just plain old fixes them as I read along. That’s why I strongly suggest begging a friend or paying your type A cousin 20 bucks to spellcheck your script. That is unless you are a pro at proofreading your own stuff. The problem with this is you might pay them and then tinker with your draft a few more times, adding in some glorious new typos, so once you have a final draft, make it final.
As far as marketability, to pretend that Hollywood isn’t ageist, sexist, racist, and a whole bunch of ‘ists’ would be a disservice to our skills of perception. Kate Lupo talks about this in her coaching for Entry Level Hollywood. So, I’m not going to say I don’t understand the note here, even if I don’t agree with it.
The script got a Consider for being “technically well-written” even with “structural issues and an unclear theme.”
Overall Opinion of WeScreenplay Coverage
This is good stuff. It’s certainly more detailed than anything you’re going to get from your friends. I’d especially recommend it if you don’t have people who can help you with your scripts. Revising is a huge component of your writing and having this kind of guide through the process is definitely worth it. The price is a steal. My only concern on that front is that I don’t know how much the reader gets paid from the total fee, and if that would result in any coverage inconsistencies (a problem that made The Black List service raise their prices).
There are different tiers of coverage to meet your every need, which is perfect if you need professional feedback to revise your script before submitting to contests, production companies, and so on. With their three-day turnaround and detailed comments, you’re getting your money’s worth and taking advantage of a quality service. Check out WeScreenplay here!
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