Don’t pay for cheap, quickie script coverage for your screenplay because you will get cheap, quickie notes that will not get you any closer to your craft and career goals. Many inexpensive coverage services employ unqualified readers with no industry experience who will only scan your screenplay.

Screenwriters: don't pay for script coverage!

I would like to tell you the truth about screenplay coverage, how it is used in the movie industry and how it is misused in the script consultation services business.

Firstly, why I am qualified to tell you this: I am a former major studio Reader who has written hundreds of coverage reports on screenplays, books and other pieces of material like films, comic books, newspaper stories and graphic novels. I worked as a Senior Story Analyst for years for Miramax Films (no, I didn’t work with Harvey) and Dimension Films, Staff Reader for Fox 2000 (Twentieth Century Fox) and freelance reader for several other employers, including the former production company of Oscar-Winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs). I worked as an A-list Reader for the movie executives behind Oscar-caliber films like CHICAGO and CHOCOLAT, popular franchises like SCREAM and SPY KIDS, and audience favorites like The Wedding Singer. I was chosen to read hot material like The Sixth Sense, Limitless and Artemis Fowl, when they were first sent out. (To clarify as I am always totally transparent, I didn’t work on those specific films, but I mention them so you can see the level of the development execs who entrusted me with screening their incoming material.)

I have worked as a private Screenplay Consultant and Writing Coach for over two decades with hundreds of private writers, giving them detailed analysis and advice in regards to their screenplays and careers. Many of my clients have credits with all the top streamers and companies, like Netflix, Amazon, Warner Brothers, HBO, Disney, Hulu and more. I am the author of the best-selling Story Maps series of screenwriting books. And last, but not least, I am a professional Screenwriter who has been hired on assignment by many clients to fix their screenplays. I’ve worked on all genres of film and television. (Again, to be transparent: all of my assignment work has been done behind the scenes on projects that have not yet had the luck to make it into production. If you’re only interested in working with writers with flashy credits, you are welcome to do so, but I recommend you make sure they also have lots of experience as teachers and mentors.)

When it comes to the topic of screenplay coverage, I know what I’m talking about. I have the specific experience in the industry that the majority of readers who write coverage do NOT have.

And here’s the basics that I would like you to know…

  • Script Coverage is an evaluation of a screenplay in terms of its craft and its potential to become a successful movie for a specific production company or agency in the entertainment industry.
  • Script Coverage reports are written by Readers/Story Analysts in these companies and they are not shared with other companies. They are proprietary material and do not come from a general database (like Coverfly) that all the major players in Hollywood draw from. Each coverage report is specific to its company.
  • Script Coverage reports are not used nearly as often in the industry any more as a result of shrinking development budgets.
  • Script Coverage only contains one page of actual script analysis, with a good majority of that often being synopsis or very general comments.
  • “True” industry coverage is never shared with the writer nor is it intended to be helpful to them to improve their craft or chances at a sale. It is an anonymous, brutal, terse internal document meant only for employees.
  • The industry does not use Coverfly or any kind of point-based ranking system. They do not scour Coverfly or the Black List website for diamonds in the rough. They use their own people whom they trust to read incoming material, and they either like your submission or they don’t. It’s either right for their company and mandate or it’s not. They don’t care about what percentile your feature or pilot is ranked on those sites.


  • The Script Coverage that you purchase from a website is not “true” industry coverage.
  • “Web Coverage” (for lack of a better term) is a short, quick evaluation that usually does not go into the type of detail that a writer needs to really analyze and improve their script.
  • Many websites hire unqualified readers with no industry experience and a questionable understanding of screenwriting. I’ve found that many inexperienced readers like to tell you how THEY would write your screenplay.
  • Many websites pay their readers as little as $10 to read and evaluate a screenplay. Many contests pay nothing, “hiring” readers/judges as interns. If a person is being paid that little, or nothing, to read and evaluate your script, how much time do you think they will dedicate to the task? How deeply will they analyze your narrative, skills on the page and commercial instincts? Will they spend 8-10 hours on it like I do in my Full Consultation? Will they get to know you, your goals for this piece of material and your career like I do for my coaching clients?
  • Let’s say a website is only charging you $49 for coverage, I’d estimate that at most they’re giving the reader 50%, otherwise it would not make financial sense for them to even stay in business. So in that scenario, your reader is only making $25. How much time will they really spend on your script?
  • Many websites will assign an anonymous reader to your script coverage. You may never know who’s reading and evaluating your work. I highly recommend never paying for notes from an anonymous reader, no matter the level of the service.

That’s my experience, coming from years as an industry professional, seeing many of these coverages and having heard many horror stories from clients and friends about the terrible notes they received from a cheap service (or an expensive con artist). I’ve even seen a service that looks to be using AI to read and evaluate your screenplay! Unbelievable.

I believe that if you are looking for insight and guidance with your screenwriting, you should invest in an experienced professional like myself who has years of experience working with writers like yourself and for top producers in the industry. You will pay more than you would pay for a coverage report, but I guarantee you that my insights will take you 100 times farther in your craft. My clients have amazing credits with all of the major studios, streamers and networks like Netflix, Amazon, Warner Brothers, Disney, Max and more.

My consultation packages have multiple features, and one of the best is my own evaluation notes sheet that I call the “15 Crucial Questions Sheet.” This is MY version of coverage, if you will, and I’d like to show you the difference between mine and standard web coverage.

Here’s a sample of just the first 6 questions from my 15 Crucial Questions Sheet

…now compare this to a sample “Coverage” on the same script…which is based on samples sent to me by recent clients and friends…

I encourage you to look around my site and learn more about how I can help you to develop your craft and career as a screenwriter. As always I say…

Good luck and happy writing!

-Dan Calvisi

Where are you at in the screenwriting process?

To book a Consultation or ask a question… Email me.