Posts tagged ‘script coverage’

March 9, 2012

Talentville: Taking Up Residence in the Virtual Screenwriter’s City

Writing is a lonely profession. Most writers come up with their ideas alone, write them alone, and rewrite them alone. If we’re lucky, we get some knowledgeable friends and family to read our stuff. If we’re really lucky, we get contacts in the industry to take a look.

Benjamin Cahan, co-founder and former CEO of Final Draft, has come up with a better way.

Over the last several years Ben has been building Talentville, the Screenwriter’s City. The site is a virtual community in which writers can read fellow writers’ scripts and give them feedback. In exchange, writers earn TalentDollars which they can then use to “buy” coverage for their own work.

I recently spoke with Ben to get an inside look at the City.

LA Screenwriter (LA): What have you been up to since leaving your post as CEO of Final Draft in 2001?

Benjamin Cahan (BC): When I initially left Final Draft, my intention was to take a break of a year or two and come back. Building a company from nothing but an idea was a huge responsibility that was both exciting and stressful. When the company was to the point of running itself to a large degree, my own gas tank was running close to empty.  So I packed up and moved to Boulder, CO, to get reenergized in the great outdoors, then I moved to Miami. It was there that I decided to relinquish my stake in Final Draft and seek other ventures.

As you can see from my creation of Talentville and my return to Los Angeles, I have come full circle. But I hope I have returned a bit older and wiser, ready to once again roll up my sleeves and make a difference. 

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September 22, 2011

Quote of the Day: Julie Gray

Good feedback is kind, thorough and timely. It’s professional and focused. It leaves the writer feeling challenged to do better but great about their strengths. Even if that just means the location they chose was cool. Give your feedback relative to the skill set of the writer. Never lie or obfuscate. Just serve it up gently. An upset writer isn’t going to hear your points anyway. But an encouraged one will. Trust me on this.

April 20, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Script Coverage Services

This article by Ray Morton is a response to another writer’s attack on script coverage services. Ray raises a number of valid (and thoroughly explained) points about the value of quality script coverage.

My only word of advice on the topic is this: If you’re going to spend the money on a coverage service, be sure to pick one that is well-reviewed and well-respected. A lot of people claim to be able to help you with your script, but not very many actually can. Take the time to do your research before handing over your script and your cash:

A few weeks back, Chad Gervich created quite a stir when he wrote an article for this website advising aspiring screenwriters not to use script coverage services. As I am a professional script analyst who—in addition to assessing scripts for producers, production companies, and screenplay contests—works for a coverage service (ScriptXpert, which is owned by Final Draft, Inc., the company that also owns this website), I had some strong reactions to Chad’s piece. I posted some of them in the article’s comment section, but wanted to offer a more detailed and thoughtful response here.

For those that don’t know, coverage is the name given to the 3-5 page reviews written by script analysts (also known as readers) of the screenplays submitted to their employers (producers, production companies, studios). These reviews assess a script’s strengths and weaknesses in a number of areas (premise, story, characters, dialogue, writing), as well as its suitability for production (a judgment arrived at by considering the quality of each script along with the needs/interest of the production entity—for example, if the producer wants to make a horror film, then a reader obviously wouldn’t recommend a romcom). Coverage is an internal document used by a production entity’s development staff and principals as a guide when deciding whether or not to proceed with a particular screenplay. It is usually confidential and not distributed to the writers of the script or anyone else outside of the production entity.

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