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Philosophy

On Coverage – “Why does it take so long?”

You’ve spent months, maybe years writing your screenplay. Therefore a proper analysis should take longer than just a few hours, which is what most readers spend reading your hard work and writing coverage, especially the “gatekeepers” who have very limited time.

 

I take up to two weeks to provide you with Standard Coverage (sometimes up to 3 weeks on Development Coverage)* because it is my belief the most valuable comments can come from both first impressions and deep reflection on your script. I will generally read your script right away and write some initial thoughts. Then I will spend a few days thinking and brainstorming on how to make your script better, writing the coverage as I go along. I will then present the final coverage with suggestions on what works and what needs to be improved.

 

Every screenplay is different — some may take less time because they are a breeze to read; some may take longer because they are intelligently dense. I will spend the time to read your script and try and understand what you are going for, and even give it a second read, if necessary. It is to your benefit to give me the time to help improve your screenplay.

 

*Timeframe based on my schedule/workload, could possibly take longer, so ask if you’re under a deadline.

 

 

On Query Letters

Sell, sell, sell. That is the idea for your query letter. The whole point of a query letter is to get that producer, development exec, investor, or talent to read your screenplay. It should be no longer than one page and you need to make your script stand out from the thousands of others out there.

 

 

On The Truth In My Critiques

Brutal honesty.  The truth about your screenplay.  That is what I offer.

 

Screenwriting is an art form.  Not everyone can do it, not everyone has talent, not everyone can accept and utilize constructive criticism to make their screenplay better, and not everyone has the drive to work on draft after draft until their script is solid.  If you have the perseverance to achieve success in this difficult cutthroat industry, then wouldn’t you value an honest opinion?

 

If you ask a friend or family member who’s not in the business to read your script, are they truly going to give you an honest critique?  Or are they just going to make you feel good, tell you parts they like and maybe offer a couple of quick fixes?  Do they even have the knowledge to offer you a professional opinion?

 

Let’s say you’ve made contacts in the industry.  Do you really want to send out your screenplay before you are secure in knowing your script is good, that it will stand out from the rest? Remember, you are asking someone to spend at least 2 hours of their already busy schedule reading your script, and at least another 2-3 if they are going to write up a truly helpful critique.  If you want to know how some professionals in the industry feel about reading scripts, check out Josh Olson’s (screenwriter of A History of Violence) rant in The Village Voice “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.”

 

I offer an honest critique of your script, just as if I was reading it for a film company and writing coverage for a producer or manager. If your screenplay is a “Pass,” I will tell you that. If I honestly feel it’s a “Consider” or even better a “Recommend,” I will tell you that as well. But wouldn’t you rather find out beforehand, so you can make improvements, rather then sending it out to the industry, and having them pass on it.

 

Remember, the standard rejection in Hollywood is to pass nicely, meaning no one wants to make enemies. No one wants to be called out on passing on an American Beauty (ala Scott Free Productions, Ridley & Tony’s company, passed), therefore most in Hollywood will make up an excuse, saying it’s just not right for them, they’re not sure how to market it, etc. Rarely is anyone going to give you real advice on improving it.

 

Not only will I tell you what works and doesn’t work, but I will provide suggested revisions for a new draft. I will work with you on as many drafts as it takes to make the best possible draft of your screenplay, if you are willing to put in the necessary work.

 

 

Contact me now for an honest critique of your screenplay.

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