Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

How to Write a Coverage Sample

As a screenwriter, you're likely familiar with script coverage. Or, maybe it's something new to you, and that's okay too! Many writers receive coverage from either professional services or other writers. Some screenwriters find work providing coverage themselves. Often coverage services want a sample of script coverage from any potential screenwriters they hire. Keep reading to find out how to write a coverage sample!

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What is Script Coverage?

Script coverage is a written report based on a reader's screenplay feedback. You may also hear coverage referred to as "notes," but those terms can often refer to the same thing. 

There's no standard way to write script coverage. Different production companies, screenplay contests, or coverage services might go about giving notes in different ways.

Some common categories coverage usually includes are: 

  • Characters

  • Concept

  • Plot

  • Theme

  • Marketability

  • Pacing

  • Genre

  • Dialogue

  • Tone

  • Presentation

  • And a final rating of "recommend," "consider," or "pass"

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Write a Coverage Sample

How to Write a Coverage Sample

Writing screenplay coverage doesn't have to be overly complicated. When considering what to include in your coverage, keep the following categories in mind:

  • Name of script you're reviewing
  • Coverage by (Insert your name)
  • Logline (1-2 sentences summarizing what the script is about)
  • Give the following categories a score based on 1 out of 10:

    Concept:
    Characters:
    Structure:
    Plot:
    Theme:
    Pacing:
    Presentation (typos, formatting):
    Dialogue:
    Marketability: 

  • Write 1-2 paragraphs explaining your scoring of the previous section

    Describe what worked in their script and what didn't. 

  • Audience:

    Describe the target audience for this script.

  • Final thoughts or give a Pass, Consider or Recommend rating

    Either type up a couple of sentences summarizing where you believe the script stands or end your coverage with a pass, consider, or recommend rating. 

    Note: I don't always do the rating at the end of my coverage, especially if I'm doing coverage for friends. I find giving a few summary sentences is more helpful.  

    For example, "This is a strong, early draft of Example Screenplay. With more focus on adding depth to the characters and further developing the main themes, this will make for a compelling action film that audiences haven't seen before."

Screenplay Coverage Templates

If you still are unsure how to format your coverage sample take a look at the following templates from Screenplay Readers. This professional coverage service provides five different downloadable templates. 

Script Coverage Examples

To get a better idea of the different ways coverage may be presented or the types of areas it may include, check out these examples:

WeScreenplay is a coverage service I've used and had positive experiences with. They share how they approach giving coverage in this category-by-category breakdown on their blog

Hollywood Script Express is a company that provides coverage, proofreading, and script polishing services. They provide an example here of how they go about giving coverage.

Assemble Magazine has a helpful article that looks at coverage for an early draft of "Bill and Ted Face The Music." This is a great example because you don't see coverage samples from production studios often due to confidentiality agreements.

How do you gain practice writing coverage?

A good way to gain experience writing coverage is by providing coverage to friends and fellow writers. Screenwriting websites, like Coverfly, offer a peer-to-peer feedback program which can be a good way to get used to giving feedback on scripts. Use the opportunity to format and structure your coverage in a professional-looking way. This is one way to grow coverage samples before being hired by a company or writing contests to provide coverage.

Practice with existing work

You can also try practicing writing coverage for screenplays you find online. This can be a helpful exercise that forces you to look critically at films or TV shows you're familiar with.

Hopefully, this blog was able to teach you about writing script coverage! Remember, there's no industry standard format for providing script coverage, so the criteria might vary based on who's providing the notes. If you're applying for a position providing coverage service, check to see what the company requires from you. Some companies may request an already written coverage sample; others may have you write coverage for a script that they provide you.

Happy writing! 

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