What Is Movie Script Coverage?


One way to learn how to write a great script is to send it out for coverage. Not only does this point out the strengths and weaknesses of your screenplay, it also gives development executives and producers a rapid way to get a snapshot of your scriptwriting.

It is slightly different to script analysis in that studio style coverage often has a top sheet with a grid so the reader can rate each category.

The final grading of coverage is PASS (around 90% of scripts), CONSIDER (around 9% of scripts) and RECOMMEND (around 1% of scripts).

Typically, coverage consists of a title, genre, logline, short (1 paragraph) and long (1-2 pages) synopses, summary, character breakdowns and a grid.

The relative strengths and weaknesses of a film script are also scored across a variety of parameters:

CONCEPT: Is the central idea movie worthy? Is it big enough? Or intimate enough?

LOGLINE: Does it capture the essence of the story in 1-2 sentences?

PLOT: Does the main character drive the action through decisions and conflict?

CONFLICT: Is there enough in most scenes to maintain interest? Do the stakes rise?

CALL TO ADVENTURE: AKA Inciting Incident. Does it set the trajectory of the story?

HOOK: What draws your audience into your story? Is it unique?

CHARACTER: Is there a clear protagonist, antagonist and supporting roles?

DIALOGUE: Is it authentic to the role?

SUBTEXT: What do characters really mean as opposed to what they say?

THEME: Does the story explore a central idea?

EMOTIONAL RESPONSE: How do does your audience feel after your movie? Is it intended?

STRUCTURE: Are the key turning points in the right places? Are sentences short, choppy active verb-led?

TENSION: Creates emotional highs resulting in emotional investment by the audience.

PACING: Is the story rhythmic with natural ebbs and flows?

ACTION: The text beneath the scene heading and surrounding the dialogue.

VISUALS: Can you picture your scenes or do they consist of talking heads?

CLARITY: Is the story logic consistent and coherent?

TWIST/ ORIGINALITY: Is there an individualistic spin on the story highlighting your character voice?

CREDIBILITY: Is the story believable even within the fantasy realm which relies on suspension of disbelief?

SATISFYING ENDING: Is it strong enough for the audience to take home the film’s message?

MARKETABILITY: Is there a defined audience for your script?

BUDGET: Is it micro budget, studio or mid range?

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