Script Coverage: Top 6 Best Screenplay Coverage Services

Should you get script coverage and if so, when?

In this post we’re going to talk about why you need to get script coverage, when script coverage is worth it (and when it isn’t), and I’ll recommend the best screenplay coverage services.

What is Script Coverage?

Script coverage is a written report that provides analysis of a screenplay.

Script coverage, aka screenplay coverage, typically includes:

  • Synopsis of the story
  • Comments from the reader
  • Rating: Pass, Consider With Reservations, Consider, or Recommend.

Why Should You Get Script Coverage?


You’re a top screenwriter.

You’ve written a script.

You want to know if it’s ready to send out – and if not, how to improve it.

What do you do?

You send it to one of your professional screenwriter friends to get feedback.

But what if you aren’t a top screenwriter with pro screenwriter friends?

You Need Professional-Level Feedback

Back to your real life….

To get the kind of professional feedback you need, here’s what you do:

You pay for script coverage.

But you might be thinking:

what script coverage services are trustworthyScreenplay coverage sites seem shady. How can I tell what companies are legit?

I don’t want to waste my money. When is the right time to pay for screenplay coverage? 

Script Coverage Is Worth It If…

  • You plan to submit to an agency, production company, or studio.
  • The reader has worked at a major agency, production company, or studio.
  • You want to get a sense of where your script ranks in comparison to other scripts in the same genre.
  • You want “fresh eyes” on your story.

Script Coverage Is NOT Worth It If…

  • You cannot verify the legitimacy or professional experience of the reader.
  • You are in the earliest stages of the creative process and would benefit just as much from feedback on your script from friends, fellow writers, online screenwriting forums, or communities.
  • You are expecting that the reader will help you get you in the door with producers, agents, or managers.

How Is Script Coverage Used?

Script coverage is used by you, the writer, to determine when your script is ready to send out and/or how to improve it.

Script coverage is also used by agents, managers, producers and executives to decide which screenplays they want to read first and which scripts to put on a pile to read later or pass on (reject) without even reading the screenplay.

This is one of the reasons why you get script coverage on your own before submitting. Because the decision-maker to whom you submit your material is going to have their own internal readers do script coverage – and you want to have a good idea of how your script will stack up before you submit in the first place.

Decision-makers Use Script Coverage To Pass

When I was an executive, I passed on hundreds of scripts based solely on the script coverage.

That is standard practice for all agents, managers, producers and executives.

That may not seem fair, but here’s what happens:

Executive’s Assistant: “I’ve got today’s scripts. There are fifty…”

Executive: “Let’s start with the ‘CONSIDER’ and ‘RECOMMEND.'”

Executive’s Assistant: “Okay, there are three.”

Getting positive script coverage is the one of the many “gates” that a great project must pass through to get read by a decision-maker.

Script Coverage Lasts FOREVER

Studios, agencies, and production companies keep screenplay coverage records FOREVER. Here’s an example of script coverage from the film Titanic from 1996.

script coverage from Titanic

Just as if you were hiring someone for a competitive job, you’d likely be more excited to meet with someone totally new rather than someone who has already applied and been rejected three times in the past.

Do everything you can to make sure your screenplay will get positive screenplay coverage before you submit it because past projects that have gotten positive screenplay coverage excite the script reader about your new project.

What Coverage Services Do You Recommend?

My recommendation is that you check out the options and see what feels right based on the information on the website, fees, testimonials, and any email interactions you have with the company.

Each service I recommend provides a variety of options and price points.

Here are the script coverage companies I’d check out:

I have worked with Michael Ray Brown (StorySense) at MGM and I have read Jim Cirile’s coverage (Coverage Ink) because a number of my clients had him do coverage on their projects and it was in-depth and excellent.

Don’t Get Coverage When You Need Coaching

One typical problem is that coverage alone doesn’t really help most writers enough….

When you get coverage, what often happens is that despite their best efforts, the (hopefully) hard-working and intelligent reader doesn’t understand certain key elements of your story.

This happens because they don’t know you, have never spoken with you, and don’t understand your goals, influences, or creative sensibilities.

And then you read your script’s coverage, and you’re like:

“Ugh. The advice was kind of generic, the reader made some good points but also missed a lot of what I was going for… I’m basically right back where I started.”

Coverage is useful when you really need to get feedback from a total stranger.

More often, you need feedback on your material as well as specific strategies and tactics for networking, pitching, and handling high-stakes meetings. If that sounds like what you are looking for, here’s the writing coach I recommend.

Don’t Get Screenplay Coverage From Screenwriting Contests

A number of screenwriting contests offer script coverage.

However, I recommend doing script coverage separately from screenwriting contests.

You want to select the reader who will be evaluating your script whenever possible, and you want to make sure that the reader is taking the time to provide the best script coverage possible. Often, readers for contests are paid far less and, due to the contest deadlines, cannot spend much time considering your script (let alone writing the coverage).

What About The Black List?

script coverage by the Black List script coverage service

I like Franklin Leonard and the Black List. Understanding the Black List is important, and they do provide a legit method for screenplays and screenwriters to get exposure.

However, I don’t recommend their script analysis service over the companies I recommend above.

Four of my clients have had sloppy script coverage where the reader had clearly rushed through and not actually read the script carefully. Unfortunately, readers are only paid $25 per script which makes it hard to spend time to give detailed, thoughtful coverage. To the Black List’s credit, in each instance they redid my client’s coverage without charge. (If you’ve gotten an evaluation from the Black List and it was helpful, I’d love to know because it certainly is budget-friendly.)

Will Script Coverage Services Open Doors?

script coverage services rarely open doorsProbably not.

Decision-makers who have the power to purchase projects and the agents who you really want to represent you are not jumping at the chance to read scripts recommended by a screenplay coverage service (even the best ones).

Yes, a few people have gotten meetings, representation, and sales because they were promoted by a script coverage service and that’s great. It definitely can happen, but this is very rare and should not be your main marketing strategy.

As I’ve said before, actors have been discovered waiting in line at Starbucks, but I don’t recommend that actors spend all their time getting coffee as their main career strategy.

Script coverage helps you know where you stand and can help you get in the room when used as part of an overall strategy. By itself, screenplay is not an effective way to create opportunities.

Screenplay Coverage: A Word Of Caution

Based on the search results when I google “script coverage,” there are definitely some sketchy script coverage operations out there. While I doubt anyone is getting rich off of doing script coverage, buyer beware.

Be suspicious:

  • No one has found the feedback valuable? Run away.
  • Get a sketchy feeling from the website? Move on.
  • You can’t tell who is running the service? Skip it.
  • You send an email but can’t get in touch with a real person? Pass.
  • The readers haven’t worked for companies that you recognize? Keep looking.

Here’s the deal:

Hollywood is a business where people don’t hide their credits and accomplishments out of humility.

If someone isn’t bragging, they likely don’t have anything to brag about.

Don’t Get Depressed If You Get A “PASS”

Even exceptional writers get “pass” coverage sometimes.

One of the most memorable days of my executive career was when I got the key to the archives of MGM Story Department.

Inside the filing room (in the basement of the garage) were boxes of screenplay coverage.

I found “pass” screenplay coverage on screenplays by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Lehman, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, and many other legendary screenwriters.

Even these legends wrote scripts that weren’t amazing and couldn’t get past the gatekeepers.

Of course, they kept writing. You should do the same.

For some inspiration, check out this list of best-sellers that were initially rejected.

Want To Write Screenplay Coverage?

If you’re interested in writing script coverage or becoming a script reader:

script coverage training packet ICM

What’s Been Your Experience?

What has been your experience with screenplay coverage services?

What’s been worth it or not worth it?

Let me know in the comments.

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Discussion About Script Coverage: Top 6 Best Screenplay Coverage Services

  1. Lilia Fabry

    Do you have any feelings on the Bluecat combo of script contest/coverage offer?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for the question, Lilia. I haven’t seen their coverage, so I don’t have an opinion, though I do recommend their contest.

      • Clay Richardson

        Hi Stephanie,

        I just received coverage from the 2017 BlueCat script contest. It’s not in-depth but basically, tells you what the reader liked and what needs work — what stood out if you will. It’s helpful and I can see the points about trying to make my script better on the next draft. I would recommend the option for anyone if they are entering the contest.



      • Stephanie Palmer

        Thanks, Clay.

    • mike oppenheim

      Bluecat apparently gives coverage at no extra charge with every contest entry. Mine was only a couple paragraphs, but it was clear that the judge had read the script and thought about it, and many comments were worth serious consideration. I’m all for this policy.

      • Dean Balsamo

        Last year I entered Blue Cat specifically to get some coverage. I knew my script needed work so my main interest was just to see what a reader might say. Well. Except for their liking the concept/story premise and the opening image and first three pages the reader “ripped it” But. The advice was invaluable. I got about a page and half of notes- I felt like the reader read it and eliminated 45 pages to get to the actual story. It was pain but subsequently after doing the rewrite I had a writer with several films in Hollywood under his belt-read the first 10 pages then the completed rewrite (it’s gone through four already) and gave some further notes about the 3rd act which I followed which he read and said I got it. The script feels ready and I’ve entered it into Page and will also do another contest. But it was the Blue Cat reader that helped me find the essence of the story. So I felt I was really helped by their coverage. That said I’m going to look at the people Stephanie recommends for this and the others I’m working on.

  2. David

    Hi. I clicked the Send Me the Coverage button and entered my email and name, but I haven’t received anything. It’s been about 20 minutes.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi David,

      I just checked and your email wasn’t in my system so there may have been a momentary glitch. I just entered your name, so you should receive the script coverage samples in your inbox momentarily. If you don’t, please email me at spalmer (at) and I’ll make sure they get to you. Thanks!

  3. Sheila

    Hi, Stephanie. Another very useful topic. I’d next like to hear your take on when and when not to accept notes from readings and coverage.

    I have had personal experience with coverage services with ScriptShark and The Black List. But I feed and clothe myself by editing/rewriting/proofreading other writers’ scripts, and many of those writers have had their scripts covered by various services. Here’s my limited experience.

    The coverage from ScriptShark was, put nicely, sub-par. It came as a ‘prize’ in a contest, so I wasn’t out of any money, but there was no offer to make good on coverage by a reader who had very obviously skimmed the script. However, I know amateur writers who swear by their coverage, so maybe my poor experience of them was a fluke.

    The Black List fee/benefit question is interesting. I had a script covered there, and again had a poor experience, but Franklin Leonard himself intervened and saw to it that their standards were met. So the customer service aspect is excellent. However, the way the site works is that (1) the writer pays a monthly fee for the hosting, and (2) the writer does not get the benefits of that hosting unless s/he also pays for several coverages (I would say four, minimum); otherwise, the script just sits there. So The Black List will get the same amount of money out of the writer; they just do it in pieces. As for the coverage itself, it was (in my experience – it’s been a while, and it may be better now) worth about what was paid for it.

    The screenplay competitions that offer coverage for an extra fee, in my opinion, are not doing it for the benefit of the writer. The only competition notes that I have found to be thorough, thoughtful, and useful have come from BlueCat. They give very specific notes, and it is obvious that the screenplay is read analytically, separate from the overall summary for the competition. The other competition coverage notes, again in my opinion, are generic to the point of cookie cutter.

    Thanks again for the helpful info.

  4. Sherrie Sanet

    I’m happy to see that SLAMDANCE was not included on your list of recommendations. I entered their contest a few years ago and was appalled at the coverage I received. The reader totally misread what little they read – they thought it was the polar opposite of what I had written – it was as if they only read the first couple of pages. I complained requesting my money back, but they refused, saying it was “against their policy.” They tried to compensate me with more coverage, which I reluctantly agreed to, provided it was read by a different reader. Long story short, they did not like my script. Today, it is in development with a long time producer who told me it “was very well written” and “hilarious.” I like to warn people about the company, not only because I wasted my money, but they were very discouraging – something writers certainly do not need.

  5. OP

    By far the best article I’ve seen on this topic. I admire your honesty. The Black List is by far the worst for coverage. I don’t even think they read the scripts there. Some people will argue and say that it’s not meant for coverage, but that’s not true. The only effective way to use the site is to receive a decent rating by getting crappy coverage. So many people complain about the vagueness of it. They charge you to give notes that takes the readers two minutes to write.

    Great post!

  6. Michael A. Levine

    You asked if anyone had had a positive experience with Blacklist’s coverage option. I did. Or, maybe I just think I did because the reader liked it. Blacklist offered me two more – free – evaluations because of the score it got. (8.0 – they said only 5% of their submissions got an 8 or better.) I have not gotten those yet.

    Besides being overall positive, the reader made two specific suggestions, one of which I will implement and the other, after discussing it, I will not. Mostly, to hear someone give me back feedback on the characters and themes that indicated they “got” it was reassuring. The reader understood and articulated things that were implicit but not stated in the screenplay. BTW, the reader also made a better, shorter, logline for me.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Glad to hear your personal experience. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the great score!

    • Frank Vitale

      Hi Michael, I got a good read from Blacklist, the same score as you and the same offer of 2 free evaluations. I have not gotten them yet, either. Would you like to get in touch and follow this process together? Best…
      And, thank you, Stephanie for this article and valuable information.

  7. LR

    The Black List – Should pay us to get notes. That’s how bad their service is. I remember I got notes from them and had no clue what they meant. They just don’t care.

    Scriptshadow- Carson Reeves – Used this one for winning a trivia thing for half off. By far the best notes I ever received. On the expensive side, but easily the best and most specific notes.

    Tracking Board Launch Pad – I didn’t like this one and sometimes the site seems to take a hiatus. I’ve tried contacting them in the past and they don’t respond. The notes I got from them were not specific enough. I did a rush order though. So maybe it would be better without the rush.

    Scriptshark – this one is solid. However, it’s probably better to select the multiple reader option.

  8. Lanzo

    I used one of those “Here are the companies I’d check out ” twice. I’d prefer not mentioning which one b/c of “defamation,” or something silly — but you get what you pay for (and the less you pay the less you get, HINT HINT). The first time the notes were great, I used probably 90% of the suggestions.

    Second time, my god, character names were mixed up, facts were wrong, things easily explained were confused, etc. The time stamp on the email was 2:37 AM. I went back and looked at this readers Twitter feed, lots of talk about enjoying a new bottle of wine the same time my script notes were being written.

    Great, you’re tipsy and tired so my script review gets the shit end of the deal. I changed one word I was using wrong and took out an apostrophe, the other almost 4 pages were useless, drunken garbage. I almost asked for a refund, but it’s not like I can give this person a breathalizer.

    Contest wise, Emerging Screenwriter gave me some great feedback (full page), and it was free.

    If you’re just starting, I’d say join a community to get some free reads. I know you’re not a big fan of Scriptshadow, but if you request a read in the comments odds are 3-5 will jump in and give your script a read and give you notes (some/most would like a read-for-a-read, but that’s only fair). And some of them actually give GREAT notes, professional level observations and suggestions.

    Funny, I was going to join The Black List yesterday but it wouldn’t accept my CC’s expiration date. In the comments they’re 1 out of 3, and your clients don’t give me much encouragement…so, I think I’ll look elsewhere.

  9. Stephanie Palmer

    Hi Thomas,

    There was a glitch in my system and the script coverage samples were not sending as I intended this morning— my apologies! I have just sent them to you, but if others read this and didn’t receive the coverage, please re-enter your email and you should get them within a minute or two.


  10. George Thomas Jr.

    Oh Stephanie, you scooped me as I was working on a blog post about the exact same topic, but you’ve covered this beautifully. I often differentiate between coverage and screenplay analysis in this way: coverage helps producers make business decisions whereas screenplay analysis helps writers improve their screenplays, and I think writers sometimes think “coverage” — especially from contests — is the same as insightful analysis, when in fact the feedback is not particularly helpful.

  11. Kent Richardson

    The Writer’s Store offers a good, economical coverage. I’ve seen worse. Any comments?

  12. Tracy

    I had a good experience with Spec Scout. The coverage was surprisingly in-depth for the price, and there were three separate readers on it. While they didn’t love my script, they were nice about it and actually took the time to give suggestions. I’d use them again.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Appreciate it, Tracy.

    • Richard

      Specscout hasn’t been active for a while. Their site is still running, but Jason Scoggins goes MIA all the time saying he’s too busy with Slated and other work to run it.

  13. Teisha

    As always this was very helpful! I’m at that point where I’ve been shopping around for proper coverage and I get this in my inbox…Awesome!


  14. Nir Shelter

    Hi Stephanie.

    Interesting article thanks for sending out the link.

    Thought best to mention Industrial Scripts in the UK they don’t provide details about the readers but do give a seemingly good service otherwise.
    The analysis was in depth and helpful whilst the cost was in the same ball park as the other services you mentioned above.

    All the best Nir.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much, Nir. I’m definitely looking for more recommendations for services outside of the US.

  15. Chris

    This was very accurate. I found the Blacklist to be highly erratic – I got one on a 105 p script that said the script was 35 pages too long and had too many similes and metaphors – I sent the review to the Blacklist mgmt and they apologized and gave me another review free. I have several writers I send work to for good feedback and two former readers. I find it helps a lot of the reader understands where you are trying to get and knows the steps you must add or delete to get there.

  16. Danny Manus

    Great article, but the one thing I think that is left out that needs mentioning is that Coverage is quite different from NOTES. And coverage companies, for the most part, are very different from script consultants/analysts. What I always say is – Coverage is written so that no one else ever has to read your script. Notes are written so that everyone else will want to. Notes usually don’t include a synopsis and are usually much longer and more in-depth than coverage. Coverage is what interns, assistants and readers learn on their first day. Notes are what executives (and more experienced assistants) give to writers. There are other differences, but that’s a start. Just wanted to throw it out there. Thanks Stephanie!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Great point, Danny. Thanks and yes, I could have clarified the difference between notes and coverage better.

      • John and Mare Washco

        Good point about the difference between Coverage and Notes. A few years back when we wrote our first screenplay we used Coverage… a Pass of course. Tried a few different services before finally committing to StoryPros and their StoryNotes service. Agree with Danny about the Notes being much longer and in-depth than Coverage. Our first draft may generate 6-8+ pages of notes. We’ll re-write and send it back for a 3 day turn around and get back 3-4 pages of notes. Another re-write… quick turn around and 1-2 pages of notes. Most of our screenplays are fourth or fifth drafts. We write everyday. One of the first things our attorney asked us was, “how easy are you to work with and how well do you accept advice on re-writing?” We’re real easy to work with and open to any ideas a producer or studio may have that may very well improve the story. At that point it becomes a group effort anyway. Thanks for all of your postings and e-mails, Stephanie!

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Thanks so much for sharing what you’ve experienced, John and Mare. It helps!

  17. Lorinda Donovan

    Thanks for the info, Stephanie — and for always looking out for the writers.

    RE: the Black List site, I’m disappointed to see how many people here have had a bad experience with them. I actually found their coverage to be pretty decent. I could tell the reader had at least read the whole thing, and the notes were fair ones. Maybe I just got lucky and got one of the only decent readers.

    My only note of caution would be that anyone considering signing up for the site should know that if their script doesn’t get favorable coverage, there’s no point in hosting there.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Glad to hear it, Lorinda. Thanks!

    • Field19

      Would a “6” be considered favorable coverage? I was very satisfied with my blacklist evaluation. They clearly read it and even flowered it up with “this writer has promise”.

  18. Anthony

    I don’t have any affiliation with them, but
    Industrial Scripts would land naturally on this list.
    To make the comparison clearer, I also used the services of Script Shark and Script Pipeline.

  19. Pinar Tarhan

    Hi Stephanie,

    Thanks for another helpful post!

    I’ve used Black List twice for two different scripts, and it was okay for testing the waters (they were the first I used). I didn’t feel like the readers did rush jobs, so I didn’t send them back.
    But while I felt they read the script thoroughly, they didn’t really get what I was trying to do.

    I later used Coverage Ink and I was really happy with their services. They’re great at pointing out weaknesses and strengths, and they do it in a very encouraging manner. Their passes don’t discourage you in any way. I’ve later tried Selling Your Screenplay’s three-reader package. Some readers were more detailed than others, and I generally liked their suggestions, though I didn’t agree with all their points- which is impossible anyway.

    One thing to keep in mind about coverage is different readers will disagree on many points, even if they might eventually agree with pass/consider or recommend. For instance one reader found my script highly marketable while another didn’t. One reader loved one character, others hated it. One reader approved of my dialogue, another one didn’t. I pay the most attention to the aspects 2/3 readers have agreed upon.

    I also worked with Lucy V Hay. She had some great ideas to make my concept punchier.

    I think at this point I should point out that I do have two freelancing jobs I use to support my screenwriting (education) 🙂

  20. Elliott

    When you say that studios and production companies keep coverages in a data base, are they creating their own or is it advisable to send coverage in if they request a copy of your screenplay?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for the good questions, Elliott. Yes, they are creating their own database. It is not advisable to send in coverage with your script— send in the script by itself.

  21. CJ Evans

    Thanks for the article Stephanie! I’ve been asking these very same questions — almost finished with my first screenplay. Do the companies/individuals you’ve listed do notes as well as coverage?


  22. Maya Contreras

    Thanks for the coverage suggestions. I did try Blacklist in the past. For me it was a ‘too good to be true’ situation. Low cost for coverage = low quality coverage. While I had two great reviews, they got my character’s names wrong in the coverage sheet as well one of the plot points. They send you a time stamp of when it’s downloaded by the reader. The fact that my coverage was written 30 minutes after they had downloaded (my pilot was an hour long drama) made me realize that the readers had just skimmed it. I still think Blacklist is a decent service for those that are budget conscience like myself, it’s nice to get coverage from someone other then your friends, I just wouldn’t put a lot of stock in Blacklist. My two cents.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for sharing, Maya.

      The Black List provides a vast database of projects for executives and producers to search and has a stellar track record of identifying top writers and projects. It has made a significant contribution to the business, but for new writers who are looking for script notes or coverage, I suggest getting dedicated coverage from another service first. If the coverage is exceptional, then it’s time to start marketing your script and the Black List can be a very effective tool for writers who rank in the top tier of submissions.

  23. Chandra Moore

    Thanks for this!

    I always read the articles and appreciate the insight – but this was something I had no prior knowledge on.

    My question is – Is script coverage forever attached to your script? And do the readers of script coverage services send it out to agents, managers, studios, etc?

    I’m mostly wondering because if you’re truly a newbie to the business of promoting your scripts and you’ve gone through the process of honing your script with groups, friends, etc and are ready for script coverage but not necessarily ready to submit to agents and the like – will this coverage follow you – and if it’s negative – affect your ability to get other scripts read as mentioned above?

    Or do you still have to find the open doors to get your script to agents, managers, studios and submit it yourself when you’re ready?


    • Stephanie Palmer

      Great question, Chandra, and an important clarification!

      If you pay for script coverage from a service, the coverage is only shared with you and is confidential. While the coverage service likely keeps a record of it, it is typically “for your eyes only” and doesn’t have the negative baggage, even if the coverage is a Pass.

      If an agency, production company or studio has a reader do coverage of your script because they received it as a submission, that company pays the script reader for their work and the company owns the script coverage and will keep it in their internal coverage database. As an additional note, script coverage is expensive, so many agents, executives, and producers share coverage with each other to save money. For example, if two spec scripts were sent out the same week to a bunch of production companies, if I was an exec, I might call my friend who works at a different production company and say, “I’ll get script A covered if you get Script B covered and then we’ll trade.” I know this seems unfair to the writer, but with the volume of scripts that executives have to read and process each week, most have to take short cuts and sharing coverage between companies on the down low is one of the ways they do that.

      Good news is if you pay for script coverage from one of these services or others like these, you are in control and you decide whether you would like that coverage shared or to be kept private.

      To make this a little more complicated, some of the script coverage services offer promotional opportunities where you could elect to have your coverage shared if it is positive, but that would only happen with your permission.

      So, polish your scripts with your writing groups and friends. Then, pay for script coverage to see if it’s ready. If changes are needed, make the changes, and send in the script for coverage again. When you have excellent coverage from a script coverage service, you’re ready to start marketing your work.

  24. Jeff Guenther

    Thanks very much. I read the 7 coverage samples. Extremely interesting. The quality seemed to vary, some, but I’d say roughly correlated with cost. The notion of $25 coverage is bizarre. That might pay somebody barely enough to skim through the m/s, look for too many signs of amateur writing, and write a one paragraph assessment. Maybe some writers are okay with that, so it probably meets a need.

    People say, “You only get what you pay for.” Well, that’s not accurate. You get NO MORE than you pay for; sometimes you get a lot less.

    You might want to explore the pros and cons of getting reads from relatives (never), friends (rarely), or workshop acquaintances. I’ve critiqued a couple of scripts recently; they’re extremely time-consuming to read and challenging to write up in a positive yet honest way. Screenwriting is the most difficult writing there is. Script reading isn’t much easier.

    Thanks again.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks, Jeff. I agree that script reading and writing coverage takes time and skill to do well.

      • Gary Spangler

        I’ve been giving the topic of getting your script read before you get it “read”. Has anyone considered a strategy of providing the title, 2 sentence logline, and summary of 300 words or less that hits all the the beats. Essentially, it would be a one page document that could be in the body of an email. I realize it doesn’t address issues of dialogue or scene structure but perhaps it will make it easier for someone to say “Sure, I’ll read those paragraphs.”

      • Stephanie Palmer

        I think that could be a successful strategy, Gary. Thanks for sharing! I’m curious as to how you use those 300 odd words? Do you focus on the set up and protagonist intro or do you do a summary of the movie? And in terms of logline, have you considered trying to pare it down to one sentence?

  25. JR

    Great stuff Stephanie. This is very inspiring.

    I agree with your take on the Blacklist. They are grossly underpaid. So of course they skim through it. Also they give a disclaimer that their coverage is geared towards what is “marketable”. I doubt David Lynch could get more than a 1 from them on anything. I’m surprised they don’t dole out negative number ratings. But if you give them a Dinseyesque prime time G rated story, I’d think you have a better shot. Read through the ones they rate highly. I think the Nicholl is similar that way. But maybe it’s just me.

    I’ve had similar experiences with contests including Bluecat and Slamdance.

    The issue I find is that these readers are very judgmental and can take the story very personal. They use words like “disturbing” and “offensive” Well if you write stories about human trafficking, or prostitution, then yeah, they are meant to be disturbing. There should be no room for personal value judgement in coverage. I’m not asking readers to live in the worlds that I write about.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Good tip to read through the projects/coverages that rate well for contests before submitting to see if your project fits the criteria of the contest.

      One clarification on the Black List. Franklin Leonard emailed me that the Black List doesn’t provide coverage, but rather evaluations which are shorter. This is what is detailed on their site and I appreciated his note and he’s right. My intention wasn’t to slam on the Black List, but rather to focus on the script coverage services that I have worked with and where my clients have had good experiences in the past to help narrow down the many options available.

      Really appreciate you sharing your experience.

      • P

        Evaluation or not. If someone tells you you’re great or terrible but doesn’t tell you why, that’s a problem. Even small examples would suffice from the Black List.

        It’s the equivalent of getting a report card with a grade but no note as to why. I like Franklin too, I think he’s a great businessman, but he needs to find better readers for these EVALUATIONS. The site is limited to depending on the evaluations, so the least you could do is make sure the readers are serious about their job. I really hope he fixes this problem in the future. It’s at a point where too many people feel the same way.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Thanks for your comment.

  26. Dorian Cole

    Interesting to get updated on the state of the industry. I was a senior development analyst for 10 years for Writers Workshop circa 1990, in LA, which was supported by all of the major studios, which offset the cost. I read and offered development feedback to hundreds. It was good but very inexpensive coverage – writers are usually broke. Value is hard to judge, but criticism is free. I was never a “reader.” I rarely do it anymore. In all of that time I only saw 1 script that on first visit was commercial, even among studio writers. The rest needed a lot of work.

    It usually took me around 5 hours to read, figure out the concept and synopsis, if there was one, and rate the script, and make some recommendations about how to improve the story. Maybe I’m a slow reader. At least half of them gave me a headache. I question if people who write scripts know how time intensive this process can be.

    I view script writing as a development process. The most important quality is a unique and compelling idea. It doesn’t matter if you are the best writer in the world, if the idea doesn’t grab people, it’s going nowhere. The next important thing is where does this potential story fit in the market. That’s not a popular idea, but If you really want to be among the under 15 independent scripts that Hollywood (or Louisiana) grabs each year, it might be something to think about. You can see more about that at

    Friends are generally useless, unless they are screenwriters who like your genre. If Blacklist does what it says (market), that would be the inexpensive and probably best place to start. Rewrite, and then move up to others who can help you with specific aspects of your script.

  27. Parzan Dhonsi

    This may be a short response and to the point because I have had the experience on ‘the other side’ of the industry.

    I have worked for two production companies, several feature movies and have made one sale to a major, as well as signed several small agreements.

    In my experience, at no point did either a manager, agent, producer, director, actor etc look at script coverage. In fact, every time a new script was thrown onto the table, it was purely that script that was flicked through alone. I have asked the question before, “do you no check the script coverage”, and the boilerplate answer that came with that question was “if the script is good, it will sell”. These guys have always kept it simple, read the script yourself. Granted, I know producers and production companies who have ‘readers’, and their job is specifically to read these screenplays and to tell the development executive their own professional opinion. I also know writers who literally knock out a screenplay over 4 or 5 weeks and call up a producer and say “can I have 10 minutes of your time to pitch a movie” and have either got a “yes”, “no” or “go do a rewrite” from that initial meet.

    With my sale, I knew the producer, but all that got me was a meeting with some executives. That’s it. It was the script that was sold. They don’t like to read through a coverage. It means nothing to them. It is a third party business that fool writers into feeling like they have a shot. But if your script is good– it will sell. That’s all there is to it. The producers want to meet you, the writer, they want to know if they can work with you– in the long run. You are a potential investment and asset to them. A script coverage is merely a piece of paper on which they will have to rely on, rely on someone else’s word whom they don’t even know exists.

    That’s from my experience. Other people may have had luck with coverages, but most certainly not in the commercial industry with major studios.

    I hope that has brought some light to this thread and I’m happy to answer more questions.

    Keep smiling 🙂

  28. Eric Kinloch

    Hey Stephanie,

    Great post! I love script coverages because it provides feedback on a professional level. So far I used script a wish and Danny’s No Bull script services. They were both great and I would recommend them. I made a mistake in sending my first draft of my first script to Script a wish lol. I learned a lot from the notes I received and it made me a better writer. I know better now lol

  29. John

    Not a fan of the Blacklist. The “coverage” was as you mentioned, and although they replaced it free of charge, the second wasn’t really any better. Facts stated were incorrect in both and there was just a sense of not much thought put into it, though I did come to the same assessment as you (what do you expect when the readers are getting $25/read?). Probably more troubling was doing a query on their services and seeing not only a lot of unhappy campers, but Leonard quite frankly trolling most of the boards people were ranting on. To his credit, he’d take the time and explain in detail how he chooses his readers, the process, etc., but after several different boards it was somewhat problematic to read, particularly when he flat out told someone at one point “if you don’t like our service, stop paying for us to read.” Very well then.

    I’ve never used Scriptshadow personally, but I question the level of quality one might receive from just reading some of the reviews/articles he posts. No goal in Shawshank Redemption? The inciting incident in Titanic happens two-thirds of the way in when the ship hits the iceberg? Really? Pass.

    Scriptshark can be hit or miss, depending on the reader chosen. Some have absolutely no business providing coverage as evident from what I received where the reader droned on about some minor detail that wasn’t related to the story. There are a couple who have been very good, but after using the same ones multiple times, it becomes evident how subjective their readings really are (they’re much more receptive to certain types of material while other genres seem to fly over their head.)

    Script Pipeline was fair. Only used them twice, but really was indifferent and I didn’t know who in particular read my script and thus didn’t know their background.

  30. Irene

    Wow, this post was an onion of information. Odd metaphors aside, I really enjoyed reading this! And I would be very interested in hearing more about the archives of the MGM Story Department. I once saw an original page of “Some Like it Hot” and am pretty sure I stopped breathing for a moment.

    I have a little experience with Slamdance, the Black List and Scriptshark. Slamdance was for a short screenplay, and was ultimately unhelpful. It turned me off to getting coverage as part of contest entries.

    Regarding the Black List, I agree with what most people have said here as far as getting what you pay for. However, overall I’d say I had a satisfactory experience with them. We ended up getting a total of five evaluations, two of them because the scores were so divergent. Some of them were helpful, others not so much. The cumulative effect was that it exposed the major problems with our script, because even the unhelpful, scathing evaluations pointed out the same problems as the helpful ones.

    We used that information for a few rewrites before buying coverage from ScriptShark. I thought the comments were pretty insightful, and the reader had some good ideas for our rewrite. I think we’ll be using them again in the future.

    Going forward, I think the struggle for me will be knowing when to send it for coverage. It doesn’t seem smart to spend the same time and money this time around getting all those evaluations from the Black List before getting coverage. We got a “consider” from Scriptshark and were invited to their scouting service, and I am trying to replicate that for our current project.

  31. Nidhi

    I just used Coverage Ink and am very happy.

  32. pete

    I’ve had a good coverage experience with PAGE, the ones who do the PAGE Screenwriting Awards. I’ve heard about the databases you mentioned. Is there a main database that everybody in the industry can view? I hate to think it goes that far. I suppose the way around it is to use a pseudonym for a new project if you got a rejection.

    • Paul

      Same here Pete. I entered a script into Page and got great advice in the notes from the judge/reader. I’ll be entering there again, and paying for feedback on the script too.

  33. Erik

    I’ve used Script Shark and Spec Scout and found them to be good to very good. (And Jason Scoggins seems to genuinely care).

    I agree, the Blacklist coverage has been bad to awful. I complained about one that was inexcusably bad, and got a defensive response from the woman who coordinates; I gently re-engaged and got the same push back, so I’ve stopped using the site altogether. Also, their “featured script” was advertised as one that got “consistently high marks”, but when I had the highest rated script on the “Top List” for a whole month and didn’t get featured, they replied that it was not based on scores at all, but whatever the office staff felt like featuring.

    I’ve also used and liked Pilar Alessandra, fyi. But she doesn’t do traditional coverage, it’s more like a ‘consult’ (but she spent 90 min talking with me about my 1/2 hour pilot!)

  34. Melanie

    Thank you for this. I read it, but I’m still unclear – once I get script coverage, what do I do with it? Put it on the front of my script before submitting? Don’t production companies want their own readers to read any way? And wouldn’t different readers give different feedback, so what is the meaning of Pass/Recommend/Consider from a paid script reading company in terms of me getting my film made? Confused!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Great questions, Melanie. Getting script coverage is something that you can do (but is not required) to help you see if your script is ready to market. For many writers who live outside of LA, they are writing away, but really don’t have a sense of how good their material is and paying for coverage can be a way to get a sense if they are way off or on the right track.

      Before spending lots of time, money, and effort to move to LA, I recommend getting coverage to see where your scripts rank. It’s a highly unscientific process, but if I was contemplating making a career change or major move based on my writing, I would want to know if my work had a shot— Am I getting an A+ or a D-? Are all my scripts getting clear passes? That would help me decide whether to make the move. Basically, coverage is a tool to help make decisions as the coverage you pay for is frequently similar to the coverage you would get at a production company.

      Yes, production companies use their own readers, they do not want to read your paid coverage, and readers often do give conflicting feedback. The meaning of a Pass/Recommend/Consider from a script reading company is for your information, but has no effect at all on getting your film made.

      • Melanie

        Thank you Stephanie! 🙂

      • Ken Sullivan

        Yes! Thank you for another helpful article.

  35. Zoey

    To clarify: I have warm relationships with a couple major executives, a couple of major managers, and a handful of working writers in television and feature. My intention is to find a producer/production company to collaborate and direct my film. I’m on the 4th draft and have a lovely friend who is my script consultant for a reasonable fee. Would there be any reason or benefit to getting script coverage? Thank you.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      No, not for you, Zoey. Paid script coverage is geared for the person who doesn’t have a consultant or friends who are working in the business who can read their work and give feedback.

      • Zoey

        Thank you Stephanie! This really helped. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the “what else should I be doing…” game. XO.

  36. avesta

    Thank you so much dear Stephanie .

  37. Mark

    Hey Stephanie, I read the examples and I thought some of them offered awesome advice. I did notice that there were some grammatical errors in some of them. Is this a red flag, or not a big deal? I would imagine if someone is hired to critique your writing, there’s would be on point as well. However, I know they may be in a rush to get it done and may miss some points, which is fair. What are your thoughts?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Both. It is a red flag, but I would focus more on the content of the critique rather than making sure the coverage has been thoroughly proofread. I hate typos and try my best, but I still make plenty of errors especially when I am rushing.

  38. Laura Gilliam

    Stephanie… you’re unbelievable. Such great insight and practical knowledge. I have some information to help others. John Rainey Script Consultant is an excellent service. He is expensive, but worth every penny. He has precise attention to detail and gives constructive criticism… to guide you on how to be a master at script writing. Not only that, but John has written scripts himself and had them produced. I don’t know if many consultants could claim that. I would recommend writers to at least check out his website.

  39. Luca

    Dear Stephanie,

    do you know any script coverage service for spanish scripts?
    I would like to ask for an analysis before the translation to English.

    Many thx

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I haven’t worked with any, Luca, but I imagine that they exist. If you find a company and have a good experience, please let me know.

  40. Genevieve Castelino

    Hi Stephanie,
    I read the coverage samples from the list you provided. Thanks to the comments in this post I discovered Industrial Scripts.

    The biggest challenge with my screenplay was that I knew what was working, and sensed what wasn’t, but couldn’t separate the forest from the trees. I just received their coverage and it was brilliant, thorough and objective. They didn’t just make recommendations on the big picture, but took the time to quote pages and specific examples of things that worked or could use improvement.

    Thank you for your post….it helped nudge me out of my spin cycle and finally get it out for objective and independent assessment.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      So glad to hear it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Genevieve.

      • Victoria Carrington

        Thanks so much for your kind words about our services Genevieve and to Stephanie congrats on such a crisp, informative blog!

        We were established in early 2010, and have 20 different script development services, focussing heavily on in-depth, written reports. Our “Film Forensic Notes” services delivers 14+ pages of analysis, and hopefully lives up to its title. Here’s a link to our 20 services –>

        Our “point of difference” is that a couple of years ago we signed up to Google-approved reviews platforms, to allow our clients to publicly reveal what they think of us! Risky, I know. But it’s paid off, and keeps everyone honest, the process transparent and ensures new clients know our testimonials are genuine, and rubber-stamped as authentic. Here’s a link to one of the reviews platforms we use –>

        Stephanie – our blog (“Character-Driven”) has just had an overhaul, and we’d love to include Good In a Room on our blogroll page of recommended screenwriting blogs. We’ll get in touch directly about that, and you can check out our newly refurbished blog here –>

        Finally, if anyone would like to write for our blog (paid), please get in touch here –>

        Thanks all and sorry for the essay-like message!

        Victoria x

  41. Brian

    Great article, Stephanie! I would’ve loved to be in your shoes when you discovered some of that old MGM coverage you mentioned. Super inspiring! Although I’m proud to say that, unlike MGM, in the 15 years we’ve been doing coverage at Screenplay Readers, we have *never* given a PASS to any script by F. Scott Fitzgerald or Billy Wilder. 🙂 (What am I saying? Those guys would probably go with Coverage Ink anyway.) Great great stuff, and thanks for the post!

  42. Bill

    Thanks for all the great info. After moderating some panels at a film festival, some of the screenwriters had me excited post an adaptation I did of my novel and post it on the Blacklist website. Thinking through whether to get coverage and whether to do that in any way in conjunction with the Blacklist post. Thank you!

  43. James Tl

    Hello Stephanie,

    Any recommendation for proofreading service?? English is my second language and my finished script has grammar mistakes. I really appreciate your help!

  44. Bujor Ovidiu

    I recommend you to remove ScriptXpert from this list. They are amateurs. Their readers are no “industry professionals” and have no clues about script writing.

    I had a confirmation from them when asked for a refund that their so called “industry professionals” are studio “readers”. They never really worked on a set or anything else in the actual movie industry. They refused to tell me names or anything else. They are amateurs at best.

    People should avoid them like plague.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience, Bujor. I have removed the recommendation.

  45. David


    Is it possible that sometimes, even the best consultants/coverage services are (for lack of a better word) “wrong” about the advice/opinion about your story?

    In other words, when should you listen to the comments they give you and when should you ignore them?


    • Stephanie Palmer

      Yes, this is absolutely possible. I recommend looking for patterns in the feedback you receive. If everyone who reads the script mentions the second act drags, then very likely that is an area to improve. But if only one person does and you have strong reasons to keep it as is, feel free to ignore any notes you don’t like.

  46. Karen Bayly

    Hi Stephanie

    Love your blog and its refreshingly upfront and accessible information.

    What do you think of the coverage at Stage 32? It seems to hit the right buttons and it was recommended to me by a couple of fellow screenwriters. I haven’t heard anything bad but perhaps you know something I don’t?

    List of the people it has doing coverage here:



    • Stephanie Palmer

      I haven’t had personal experience with it, though I like the people who run it and I haven’t heard anything negative. Positive recommendations from friends sounds good to me. Let me know your experience so I can include it when I update my recommendations later this year.

  47. amar

    Great article, thanks. I’d recommend Launch Pad’s script coverage. Have had excellent notes working with them twice:

  48. Amanda


    I’ve read your blog and I love it — and I could use some advice.

    I’ve been working on a screenplay that from its first draft until the current has generally been very well received by coverage services, but for some reason my gut is telling me that my script just isn’t as great as people have been saying. Up to this point I’ve gotten more considers than passes. My most recently copyrighted draft got a double recommend and I don’t really know how much stock to put in it.

    How accurate do you think the numbers they give such as “Consider” falling in the top 5% or “Recommend” falling in the top 1% are? It’s hard to be sure if it’s just my own “raw talent” so to speak that’s scaring me or if there is something legitimate to my doubt. What do you think?


    • Stephanie Palmer

      That’s great news, Amanda. Here’s my thinking – if this is your first script, put it away for now and write another one. If you already have at least one additional script that is at or near the same level of quality (getting Considers and Recommends), then it’s time for you to access your network and get your best script into the hands of a VIP (or gatekeeper to a VIP).

      • Ian

        I’ve been using WeScreenplay for my coverage, and on the whole I think its been excellent…I sent my third draft for further comments and I got an interesting response really…one reader gave an enthusiastic Consider with a score of 89…the other give it a close, borderline Pass/Consider with a score of 74…..but another reader give it a blunt Pass with a score of 53… about a wide range of views!….the first two did suggest it was pitchable now…..but why such a wide ‘score’ range?

      • Stephanie Palmer

        It is surprising that the three ratings varied so widely from the same service (I assume these were identical drafts being reviewed by three readers). I would expect some variance as script coverage isn’t a perfect science. I suggest asking WeScreenplay because it does seem odd to me and not very helpful for you as you evaluate your next steps.

  49. Mariann Steffen

    11 Feb 2016

    Hi, Stephanie,

    Thanks for the email re. script coverage. I’m going to review the script a few more times
    and select one of your recommended individuals.

    Best Wishes

  50. Jerry Robbins

    Thank you for this article, Stephanie. While I’ve written close to 500 audio drama productions with my company, Colonial Radio Theatre, it’s only in the two years that I started to focus on screenplays. My first, an animated musical based on one of our audio productions, got an 8 rating on the Black List.
    I made some revisions based on the notes, re-submitted, and got a 7, more revisions, got a 6.
    One of the readers didn’t seem to understand musicals. So, I stayed with what I had, it remains a 6.6 rating, and is the top downloaded animated script of 2016 in both the represented and unrepresented categories. I sent it to Screenplay Readers (after my first Black List review) and boy, their script notes ripped the story to shreds. Of course I was angry, but once I huffed and puffed I decided to re-write based on their notes; and low and behold, the story was transformed.
    So many things I had missed and couldn’t see, characters being changed or added – for the better.. etc. I sent it back again after another revision, got a higher rating (but still a pass), but must admit that notes were so detailed and succinct, that I believe using this service was the best thing I did to help make the script better.

    My second screenplay, a horror tale, went through the same process with Screenplay Readers, and 4 drafts later posted to Black List, got a review back in just two hours, obviously from someone who dislikes horror movies (the notes were not so much constructive as they were dismissive) and got a rating of 4. The Black List reviewer also contradicted a lot of the Screenplay Reader notes, and actually even suggested removing a character that Screenplay Readers suggested I build up (which I had done). Still, I think the Black List is one of, if not the best place to have your script seen. But I don’t know if you get any attention unless your script is rated by them.
    I never expected to get a manager or an agent from Screenplay Readers, just new eyes to tell me if I had a good story or not, and how to improve it. And they deliver 100% on that; I may not like the notes, but so far, everything they said made sense in the long run for improving my scripts.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Really appreciate you sharing your experience, Jerry.

  51. Putting Your Best Film Script Forward: 5 tough questions

    […] unbiased third party. The worse thing they are going to do is confirm what you already suspect. Professional coverage is everywhere. Coverage is a small price to pay vs. going to the trouble of making a bad […]

  52. Kevin B Trainor

    This is one of the most useful articles written about acquiring screenplay coverage. I did have a very good read of my script from Black List but, also, a very, very bad one. The writer was almost bitter calling my fictional detective/fantasy story preposterous. I have started the preclude.

  53. Rick Werner

    Hi Stephanie, I’m back! May need your services soon (TBD), but looking for coverage options right now for two projects born and bred out of UCLA’s film shack..

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Excellent, Rick! Industrial Scripts has been doing a great job lately with some client projects, so I suggest checking them out as an option. Whatever service you decide to use, I’d love to hear about your experience so my recommendations are up-to-date.

  54. Gino Crognale

    Hey Stephanie,
    I keep crossing paths with you online, crazy. I wrote you last week about finishing your book GOOD IN A ROOM and loved it. Tonight I was searching for good script coverage and I ended up on your sight. Anyway, I had my script coverage done by David Trottier (author of THE SCREENWRITER’S BIBLE), he did a good job and pointed out some good stuff. I’ve done two passes since then and now want to send it out to someone else for coverage. I will search through your list coverage companies.
    Thanks again,
    Gino Crognale

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much, Gino. I’d love to know about your experience with the coverage service that you decide to use.

  55. Curt Allen

    Can u send me script coverage examples.Thanks

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Yes, I will email them to you, Curt.

  56. pete

    I have been looking for a coverage service for a few weeks now and to be honest I am appalled at their websites which put me off straight away. They all look cluttered and amateur and look as if written with OS/2, or circa late 90s. A website is your shop front! They bang on about spending money and getting ‘final draft’ or other high end product to be professional yet they have not spent anything on their website. Some are even written in screenplay font to be clever but they dont seem to grasp that a different medium such as a website requires a better font. I am seriously blown away with how bad the majority of screenplay services are. Poor layout, cluttered, clunky and old. Why is this? They look dodgy. Even some of the better services you mention have a poor website. I am yet to hand over my hard earned money to anyone.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I agree that there are lots of outdated sites, but I think that is more to do with these being very small businesses. While having a decent site is important, I would suggest contacting the companies that you might consider to see how they answer your questions and if they respond in a professional manner. The skillsets for writing excellent coverage and designing a website are different, but many coverage services are run by a single person or a very small team with a limited budget. And also, no need to pay for a coverage service at all as it is just a service that is available, but definitely not required.

  57. Gretchen

    I did not see The Script Lab (TSL) mentioned in your article or in the comments. I found their link on the WGA site when I was registering my screenplay and decided to try them on a script I’ve worked on at juried workshops. I received 4 pages of very insightful notes, and the reader gave specific and helpful suggestions (all for $75). However, because the reader was very positive and gave it a “Recommend” – and because TSL is not on your list – I am now doubting the validity (thinking they just “Recommend” to everyone). Your thoughts?

    My other question is about how to use the coverage. If TSL is recognized by industry people as legit, can I use the coverage as an introduction to agents and production companies?

    Thank you!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Congrats on getting a recommend, Gretchen! While I have heard of The Script Lab, I haven’t had clients who have used their service enough to recommend them. Very glad to hear that you had a good experience and the notes were helpful. To your second question though, agents and production companies are unlikely to be swayed by positive coverage, no matter the coverage service. It’s a tool for you to help judge when your work is ready. Agents and production companies primarily find scripts based on referrals.

  58. Patrick Gamble


    Interesting article and it all makes me realize the huge hurdles it takes to break into this industry. The first big hurdle is spending years building up the skill set to be a decent writer. The next hurdle, writing a great script. Then when you have the skills (or you think you have the skills) and the amazing script (well I think all my scripts are amazing!) the next hurdle is the professional coverage. This isn’t loose change and if you live outside the US, the exchange rate can make this coverage even more uninviting.
    I have gotten peer reviews on scripts that fluctuates from brilliant to a heap of crap all on the same script. I’ve also had feedback from contests with the same results and I end up unsure whether I have the goods to make it in this business or am just a worthless hack wasting my time. There are also sites like Zoetrope full of writers that have been slugging away for years and are no closer to breaking in to the industry. Many seem to have some mediocre success making the quarters or semis in a well known contest and then plateau out. So my question is – will a review from one of these 10 services give a clear indication on ones ability and whether their script is any good? Do you recommend submitting your work to one of these services or a number of these services?

    My other main concern is – what happens next? Say you get over this hurdle, you finally have a script with a great review from one of these services. What then? I guess this is a subject for later discussion but wouldn’t it be great if these services also forwarded your script onto agencies/Companies etc if they find that gem.

    Anyway am enjoying this information. Much appreciated.

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  61. Patrick

    You only list eight script coverage services. Do you like Wescreenplay?

  62. Matt Brookens

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’d like to recommend The Writer’s Store here in LA for high quality coverage service. They give you all the bells and whistles with their full coverage option including logline, synopsis and a fun chart that rates your story Act by Act on several factors.

    That said, my experience with coverage has been hit and miss. I had to learn the hard way that their coverage is only an opinion and their recommendations should be weighed carefully before implementing them. I submitted a script three times, each time making their recommended changes and each time it was rated worse. Ha! Take their advice if you want but trust your gut. Remember what made you excited about the story in the first place and be true to that!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Really appreciate your feedback and experience, Matt.

  63. Annette Hummell

    Should I ever send a script to an actor or someone like Rick Gervais?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Only if you have a referral from someone they know or if know them personally. Unfortunately, unsolicited submissions are almost always a waste of time.

      • Janice

        Thanks for the great article. A few comments and a question: I also found the evaluation on Black List to be very high-level and not thorough. Blue Cat was better, and ScreenCraft’s was exceptionally thorough and specific. Here’s my question: do producers “share” script readers such that a screenplay’s coverage from a reader in the business will be accessible to multiple producers/studios, almost like a public record? Thanks.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Janice. While not a public record, producers do share coverage with each other at times in an informal way.

  64. Wendell Thorne

    Hi there,

    I entered the BlueCat Screenplay contest and made it through the first round, which was cool. I did get a decent amount of feedback, mostly positive, from a reader who obviously read the script carefully. I was happy that the reader mentioned small but important details I was hoping would catch somebody’s eye. As I said, the treatment was quite positive, and the three points the reader thought needed work included two technical matters and one easy character fix.

    I should say that i worked with a great consultant, Doug Klozzner, over the course of a year and a half who helped me adapt my short story for the screen. He called it a “home run,” when it was finished. Unfortunately, Doug passed away last month, and I’ll miss his guidance and friendship. That all said, I’m wondering if I need further coverage prior to entering the major contests? If I do, I’m leaning towards ScriptRreaderPro…maybe.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks so much.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much for your detailed comment, Wendell. I’m sorry for the loss of your consultant as having a friend in the business (and in life) is so beneficial. It’s a special thing to fine someone you trust and who champions your work. It’s really up to you as to whether you want additional coverage. It sounds like you benefitted from working with a consultant, so I’d recommend talking to some other consultants to find someone who is a good fit.

  65. Paul

    Hi, Stephanie,

    Do you have any experience with the WeScreenplay coverage service?

    Thanks a lot.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I do not, but perhaps some of my readers do. Anyone used WeScreenplay and would share your experience?

  66. Stephen C. Settle

    I recommend Craig Kellem of It may seem a dorky title, and the website could stand some work, but Craig himself is a gem. He works with writers to emphasize Story, story, STORY, all the while applauding and encouraging whatever other talents they may possess with respect to character, theme, concept, etc. His services are quite reasonable as well, in the $230.00 range. He’s a former agent at ICM, former development director at two major studios, a founding father of Saturday Night Live, and has taught screenwriting at the university level. And he stays in touch with his clients to see how they’re faring. An overall tremendous screenwriting consultant and guru!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks for the recommendation, Stephen. I appreciate you sharing your experience with Craig.

  67. Jerry Earl Brown

    Hi, Stephanie,
    Thanks very much for your savvy advice and information. I’ve read the posts re Screenplay Readers but would like to know if you or anyone in the stream knows anything more about them or would recommend them for script coverage.
    Thanks very much,

    • Stephanie Palmer

      At this time, the readers featured in the current version of the post are the ones I recommend. However, at some point I will be updating this post and my recommendations may change, and I’ll notify you (if you’re on my list) with any changes.

  68. Sergio Hira

    wow…very interesting !

  69. LaQuita

    Which company would you recommend for faith based projects?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I don’t have a specific recommendation, LaQuita.

  70. mike oppenheim

    I paid for coverage from Script Pipeline — not the $225 you listed above but the $95 add-on when you enter its contest. The result was about three single-spaced typewritten pages with plenty of opinions, analyses, and suggestions. I felt I got my money’s worth; in fact it was a bargain if the prices you list are typical.

  71. Session #18 – Coverage – Writers Group Therapy

    […] Notes: Articles on Coverage Script Coverage – Is it worth it? When is the right time to get analysis? Why You Shouldn’t Use a […]

  72. Susan Kaufman

    I went through the screenwriter U pro series program as a virgin screenwriter. I’ve gone off track for a few years taking a full time job. I’m back and seriously want to sell, sell and sell. Any readers you can recommend? Best. Susan

  73. Willa

    Hi Stephanie, I really appreciate your insights on script coverage!
    Here’s my question: If I used one of your coverage recommendations and have done a rewrite based on their notes, do you suggest sending it to another service for a fresh set of eyes on the material, or is it OK to resend to the same coverage service? Please let me know. This is the 2nd time I post this comment. The first one didn’t get a response. Thanks in advance!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Willa, My apologies to you as your prior question didn’t get answered promptly! Yes, you can definitely send the script back to the same company that reviewed it initially (some companies offer a discount for this) or send it a new company for a fresh perspective. Both strategies can work.

  74. Carlo

    Hi there Script Reader Pro is a TOTAL ripoff. they don’t even read the script and gave me notes that could be pasted into any review. generic as hell. I have used both and a few others but these two are the worse. Maybe other people have good luck with them?

  75. Bill Bursia

    Sigh. No offense… but Industrial Scripts…seriously??? The balance of the article is spot on and you make awesome points about the nature of getting notes. But, and no offense, with Industrial Scripts up there I can’t take your recommends seriously. Again no offense. Whoever Industrial Scripts had read my script was, again sorry, a moron. They couldn’t spell, couldn’t punctuate, and had no idea what they were talking about. Worse still they got nearly every point in my synopsis (or whatever bs title they called it) wrong. Like, very wrong. Like-that-is-not-even-in-my-movie wrong. I don’t mean to cause trouble, but I just think it isn’t fair to have that company being one you recommend. Like I said though every other thing on this post is great and I thank you for sharing it with us. It is invaluable but the recommends make me hesitant to try any of the other people on your list. Peace.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      I’m sorry to hear that you had a negative experience and I appreciate you letting me know, Bill. I recommend getting a refund or having them redo the coverage with a different reader. Let me know how it goes.

      • Mitch Hruby

        Hi. Oh GOD I agree. I used Industrial Scripts and Coverage Ink for my spec animated series. Industrial’s notes didn’t seem to understand that it was animated and reviewed it as if it were a feature film. (Yes. A 57 page” feature film” like they apparently make all the time. NOT). Asleep at the wheel both times I used them. Asked for my money back and never got it… As for Coverage Ink, guy had an heart attack yelling at me when I had the audacity to email him nicely about his reader’s absolutely horrible critique. Top to bottom with errors and got every single plot point wrong. To be fair he (she?) understood it was animated at least but no way will I ever do business with the screaming owner of that place. You have been warned, folks. But thank you for your article. I don’t mean to be insulting. Just stating my opinion.

      • Stephanie Palmer

        Yikes! I’m sorry to hear you had negative experiences and I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

  76. Victoria Carrington

    Hi “Bill”, “Chel” and “Mitch” – I’m the General Manager here at Industrial Scripts and wanted to reach out personally firstly to say how sorry I am that you had a disappointing experience with us (we can’t please everyone, but we genuinely try and our track record stands up with the best – and to try and help you resolve any issues you had with us. Obviously without knowing your real names it’s a little tricky to dive in to individual cases but if you’d like to email me (or Stephanie), attaching the coverage you received I’ll work with you to either set you up with a full refund or a fresh report, for free, if appropriate. If you have any questions or queries at all please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Best, Victoria

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Thanks so much, Victoria. I appreciate your professional and prompt response. I’ve had additional offline interactions with Industrial Scripts and I recommend your company.

  77. Veronique

    Hi Stephanie. I don’t know when your article was published, but by looking for opinions about script coverages, I came across it, and I wanted to talk about my experience with The Black List. I think this service doesn’t give a real deep feedback, it’s just there to say if your work could be produced or not. It’s what I have understood with my feedback. I’m a beginner, totally self-taught, and I don’t know to work with didactic books, even if I wanted. I work with films above all and feedbacks. So, I sent them a first work very difficult to read. I got a 3. Normal. Some tears (story written with all my heart and my soul). And the day after was another day. The reader didn’t give advices, but just this note : impossible for the market. He or she talked about a few big problems, but also about good things I regular think about for motivation. Even if the feedback was not complete and detailed, it totally shook me and took me out of my own world. I was wide of the mark. I asked the right questions, and what I write now is really better and corresponds to me. I think I had a good and kind reader, professional, You can see it in the reader’s writing.
    But for the new version of my script, it’s clear that I look for more detailed feedbacks (without leaving The Black List), and I’ve read about Spec Scout, in the same spirit of The Black List, with three reviews but a little more expansive of course. For now, I must finish my script. Thank you for your blog. I don’t feel alone.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      You’re very welcome, Veronique! Best of luck with the writing!

  78. Chris Ashworth

    Thank you for a very well-written and informative article Stephanie! I really enjoyed reading this and am going to check out many of the links you listed above. Have a great day!
    Chris Ashworth (Sergei Malatov, HBO’s THE WIRE 😉

  79. Tim

    I am a newbie who just completed his first script. I fumbled my way through online software and tips on the internet. I think it would be best to find someone who can polish up the formatting and other basic essentials before submitting to a pro reader. Are you able to make any recommendations on that front? Cheers!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Tim – Thanks for your comment. Please email me at and I will send you a recommendation for someone who can polish the formatting and basic essentials of your script. Thanks!

  80. Yolanda

    Excellent article! We are a new agency in South Africa and as such the screenplays we get are 90% sub standard because it is the unknown, new screenwriters who were ignored previously, who send us screenplays. This article is going to be invaluable to them! I’m going to share it on our blog and have already shared it on our Facebook page ( Thank you so much for taking the time to compile and write this article.

    • Stephanie Palmer

      You’re very welcome, Yolanda. Thanks!

  81. Don Wenzel

    Used Industrial Scripts last year. Their website was non-intuitive and the interaction complicated. I proceeded, nonetheless, and had 2 great critiques. Since then, no way! Customer service is non-existent. They never did the critique on my last screenplay, which I had prepaid. I’ve tried reaching them using multiple email addresses and have received no reply. I just instructed my VISA Company to stop all payment to them!

    • Stephanie Palmer

      That’s very unfortunate to hear, Don. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Victoria Carrington (Industrial Scripts)

      Donald – I’m going to speak freely if that’s ok. You displayed a staggering lack of engagement and/or interest in the processes we use to both assess material and handle customer service. You ignored upwards of 5 emails inviting you to submit a support ticket and endlessly, incessantly emailed internal Industrial Scripts email accounts. Each of these emails was responded to, inviting you politely to submit a support ticket via the official channel. You’d also ignored, by this point, clear instructions on how to submit your script. You then reneged on a contract you’d committed to for an OVERDRIVE membership (more to follow), all the benefits of which have been successfully delivered to you. I’d love to ask you – what is a public facing company to do in this scenario? We handle a considerable volume of scripts and as stated previously, our track record holds up (indisputably) with the very best: recently we passed 1,000 testimonials verified as genuine by 3rd party. But, speaking freely, we have to draw the line somewhere at dealing with clients who are so incredibly reluctant-slash-incapabale of following really basic instructions. We are also incapable of assessing material that has not been submitted – either properly, or otherwise. We could not assess the script, because it wasn’t submitted correctly, and we could not respond to support queries…because one was never submitted.

  82. Devin Overman

    Just wanted to drop by and give my support for Screenplay Readers! I was cruising your site looking for info on TV pitching and a link led here. I was surprised not to see them on the list, but I see them in the comments a few times.

    I’ve submitted 3 different scripts from very different points in my writing career, and the responses are always thorough and respectful, even when it’s clear the reader was not a fan (probably because it was bad).

    Worth looking into for anyone interested!

  83. Quentin LeFevre Smith

    hi im interested in coverage services

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Quentin – Thanks for your comment. Hope the article helped you decide on what coverage service you wanted to go with.

  84. Lynda

    How can you ensure your idea will NOT be stolen?

    • Stephanie Palmer

      Hi Lynda- Thanks for your comment. This article should help answer your great question.

  85. Tony is also missing. Fantastic notes, not coverage.

  86. Barkley

    I’ve used several of the companies recommended above, and many others, and tbh the whole coverage market is a crapshoot in my opinion. So much hinges on what reader you get, whether they’re in or out of “form” etc. Of the recommended ones above the best was Industrial Scripts (who I’ve since used several times), followed by Script Pipeline and Coverage Ink. Others I’ve used include Screencraft (meh) and the worst I’ve had was probably Script Reader Pro (amateur, not “pro”) and Screenplay Readers whose coverage was the definition of a skim-read. That said, I stand by my original point: while it’s a necessary evil, script coverage has a lotto element to it, but then again so do contests and everything else. It’s all just subjective to the nth degree!

  87. Why Screenwriters Must See The Big Picture of Script Coverage Fees

    […] are discussions worth having, and they’re had often (this post, from Stephanie Palmer of GoodinaRoom, is one of the best), but they provide only a very immediate […]

  88. H. Ingram

    After reading this article, I decided to purchase a script report from Industrial Scripts.

    As of now I am still waiting for that report, and it’s been twenty-seven days!

    So, if you are someone who is impatient, I would NOT recommend Industrial Scripts.
    As a customer, they make it impossible to reach them–The only way you can get through to someone is by sending a ticket (which they check in 14 days).
    I am disappointed and tired of waiting.
    I would HIGHLY recommend ScriptReaderPro’s coverage services.
    They have great customer service, quick turnaround times, and they even allow you to ask your reader a few follow-up questions after the coverage is sent (and they actually answer them).
    I have used ScriptReaderPro three times, and have not been disappointed once.
    Oh, and you get a 10% discount after your first script report.

    Also, I have entered into BlueCat a few times and the free coverage is useful and they are professional. However, they were a day late in sending one report, which was annoying because they constantly send out emails on how all entries submitted by X time receive analysis by X time.

    In summary, Industrial Scripts for me has been slow, made it hard to raise a complaint on slow turnaround, and it was also more expensive.

    ScriptReaderPro for me!

    • H. Ingram

      After experiencing an initial hiccup, I would indeed recommend Industrial Scripts.

      The feedback was extremely valuable and much more than I expected.
      I still think the process to submit and script could be more streamline, but overall I am pleased and would consider using their service again
      Representatives from Industrial Scripts reached out to me about this comment, and were respectful and helpful.
      Ben, also was in contact with me about making sure I received the adequate service.

  89. Jamed Benjamin Shannon

    I’m need a script coverage for my script

  90. Ed Boase


    Enjoyed reading this thread, very interesting to hear other people’s experiences. For what it’s worth I’ve directed three features (2 features distributed worldwide, 1 just finished) and have always found Industrial Scripts to give insightful, useful, actionable notes. I might not always agree, but they are definitely beneficial as a jumping off point for discussion. I should point out that I’ve not used any other script reading services, though – am UK-based and IS are the only really decent option I’m aware of here. They also aren’t ridiculously expensive, which is a major plus for someone in the indie sector.

    Best of luck to all screenwriters!

  91. Kenneth Molloy, Jr.

    I found Industrial Scripts to be well worth it. They earnestly try to help you become a better screenwriter. I’ve used them a few times and found each reader to be quite knowledgeable and helpful.