Script coverage is an essential part of the development process, but many screenwriters and even some producers are in the dark. If you’re pursuing a job in the entertainment industry, keep reading.

This post will guide you through the entire process of script coverage, including how they rate scripts and places for you to find professional resources and script coverage jobs. Plus, we include a free script coverage template.

Watch: Anatomy of a Screenplay — Ultimate Guide

Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.

A Complete Guide To Understanding Script Coverage 

What is script coverage?

Script coverage is a report that provides analysis of a screenplay. It’s used by a variety of industry professionals including agents, managers, producers and studio executives. If storyboarding is the foundation of the visual image, then script coverage is the foundation of the written word.

There are professional services like WeScreenplay and consultants like Nick Fore that provide professional script coverage for production companies, studios, and producers looking for reliable, accurate, and trusted coverage. 

If you're looking for scripts, a trusted service like WeScreenplay is akin to a finding a reliable realtor when buying a home. Films commonly cost millions of dollars to produce, and every dollar relies on the quality of the script. 

These story notes allow decision-makers to prioritize the many projects they have on their plate; deciding which should move into production, and which should take a back seat. It also lets them screen the enormous amounts of material they receive every day.

Any executive worth their salt knows that competent readers who can produce comprehensive script notes will generate value. One of the primary roles of the assistant is to provide these notes, acting as a kind of gatekeeper for the massive amount of material that moves through their offices.

Script coverage is not only a decision-making tool used by professionals but a mechanism to help writers shape their content to better appeal to the wider entertainment industry.

Let’s say you’re an aspiring writer. You’ve just finished the final sentence of your masterpiece screenplay “Moby Dick 2: The Ghost of Ahab,” and want to send it out to the world. 

Script coverage Template-ahab-studiobinder

Good script coverage has become the elusive whale to many executives, Moby Dick, (1956)

Well, if you haven’t received industry feedback, or understand what executives and agents typically look for in material, then you’re selling yourself short.     

This is why script coverage is essential for both the writer and reader.

Download Circle Blue

FREE Download: Script Coverage Template

Free Script Coverage Template - StudioBinder

Download your FREE printable script coverage template below.
Just enter your email address and we'll instantly send it to you!


What's on a Script Coverage Template?

Now, you may be asking yourself what exactly does the script coverage template include?  

Free Script Coverage Template - StudioBinder

Download StudioBinder's Free Script Coverage Template

    The script coverage template is broken into four parts: 

  • A cover page that lists the script’s vital information (author’s name, genre, length of the script, etc.) and contains a logline and brief evaluation of the material.
  • A 1 to 2 page synopsis of the script’s story highlighting the main characters and the events surrounding the tale.
  • A 2 to 3 page comments section in which the reader provides their review of the story.
  • A final ratings page rounds out the script coverage template.


    On the ratings page of the script coverage template, the reader either recommends, considers or passes on the material. 

    Here's a closer look: 


    This is the highest rating a script can receive, but as you probably guessed, the rarest. When a reader recommends something it’s like saying to their boss, “If we pass on this, then we’re passing on the next Old Yeller!”

    A “Recommend” should only be given to scripts that are ready to be green-lit. This is rare so don't get heartbroken if your first script doesn't land this coveted status.


    This is the second highest rating and is very beneficial to the writer. 

    Although the reader may not have felt their project was the next “Old Yeller,” their writing and concept impressed them enough to consider sending it along to the development team. 


    Unfortunately, the most common of the ratings is the “Pass.”

    Now it’s easy to get discouraged when your script is passed on and want to spend the rest of your life hiding under a pile of blankets. 


    How Do I Write Script Coverage?

    Now, of course, anyone can copy down a script coverage template, but the point is to understand the screenwriting process as much as possible to provide the most effective coverage.

    Here are some tried-and-true practices to consider when writing screenplay coverage:

    • If the story doesn’t make sense in the script, then don’t fill in the holes in the summary.
    • It’s not necessarily about whether or not the script is good, it’s about whether your bosses would want to make it.
    • Remember, you don’t need to include every plot detail in the summaries. Of course, you want the analysis to be thorough, but it should be economical as well.
    • Don’t get too opinionated in the script coverage comments section. This isn’t about your personal tastes, but about presenting the facts of the story and whether they suit the needs of your company. 
    • There’s a number of screenwriting blogs out there that not only examine screenwriting and script coverage, but also offer important ways to think about story when engaging with a screenplay.
    • Script Magazine
    • The Script Lab
    • Screencraft


    Is there a free peer-to-peer script coverage service?

    If you're looking for a completely FREE peer-to-peer script coverage service, you're in luck. Head on over to coverflyX.

    What this allows is for you to exchange script notes with other screenwriters while using using coverfly's peer script exchange.

    The coverflyX peer exchange ensures a valuable experience for all users by using scores.  Every time a reader provides script coverage, they’ll get a reader rating from the writer. Readers with great ratings get priority access. If readers do not complete their coverage on time, they'll be penalized with “strikes”.  Too many strikes, and the reader’s account could be suspended.


    Are there script coverage jobs?

    You’re probably thinking look, life’s hard enough. I have bill’s to pay and the dog just chewed up my favorite Patsy Cline record for the fourth time.

    Is it even worth my time getting involved with script coverage?

Educating yourself on script coverage is well-worth the effort. Turner and Hooch (1989)

The answer is yes, of course! Since story is at the heart of most creative endeavors, being exposed to it, and having the ability to present key themes and ideas in a thorough yet concise manner is essential.

That’s what makes script coverage jobs ideal for writers looking to get into feature and television development.

Script coverage jobs also benefit actors who are hoping to hone their craft by becoming more familiar with screenplays.

Again, story is at the heart of all artistic endeavors, so whether you’re a writer or performer, familiarizing yourself with the narrative process is incredibly beneficial.

Now, show me the money!

Script coverage salary can range anywhere from $50-500 per script.

This is dependent on whether you’re hired on as a freelancer or an in-house studio reader.   



Coverage for writers


Okay, you’re a writer who wants honest screenplay coverage.

Yes, you’ve tried showing your mother your masterpiece but she just keeps saying, “Well, do they have to rob a bank? Can’t they just go to lunch instead?”

Mom knows a lot, but script notes may not be one of them. Throw Momma From The Train (1987)

You’re desperate, sweaty and you have no idea where to turn.

Well have no fear, the Black List is here.

Founded by former Universal Pictures executive Franklin Leonard, The Black List uses industry professionals, ranging from agency assistants to studio presidents, to deliver some of the most in-depth and trusted script coverage in the industry.

These readers rate Black List scripts on a scale of 1-10.

Those ratings are then aggregated to create a real-time list that’s filterable using a variety of criteria, allowing members to search for the scripts that will be most relevant to their needs.

As founder Franklin Leonard says:

“It's about making the work the focus and creating an infrastructure where the best of it can rise more quickly to the top.”

Over 300 Black List screenplays have been made into feature films, generating a jaw-dropping 26 billion in global box office.

Also, The Black List’s official blog Go Into The Story is run by screenwriter Scott Meyers. With over 30 projects to his name, Meyers offers Black List visitors superior knowledge about screenwriting and story development. 

Besides The Black List, there are a number of sites that will provide in-depth, studio-level script notes to meet one’s desires.  

Most will have package-deals depending on what services you’re interested in.

Some, like Scriptshadow, will even offer the opportunity to have your material reviewed on the main site. Writers can submit to Scriptshadow free of charge, and if selected, their script will be reviewed and posted in its entirety on the Scriptshadow website.

A word of caution: make sure the service you choose is reputable.

If you can’t tell who’s running it, or if the site looks like it would be comfortable existing on the dark web, then stay clear.

Make sure you know who's running your script coverage service. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) 

Always consider customer testimonials, the interactions you have with site hosts and the fees. Remember, it's possible to pay too much.   

Here are the best screenplay coverage sites and their price points:


With the rise of social media and online communities, outlets for obtaining reliable script notes and story coverage have risen. Enter Reddit Screenwriting.

The site offers a forum called Reddit Screenwriting that offers users the opportunity to post and get their material reviewed by fellow Redditors.

Besides the script coverage itself, members of Reddit Screenwriting will recommend books, video, podcasts and provide script coverage samples to assist the writer in improving their work.

Reddit Screenwriting also permits users to request and post both classic and contemporary screenplays, helping the budding writer to educate themselves further about what works and doesn’t work in story.

Perhaps more than most services, Reddit Screenwriting is beneficial in that it allows the writer to get notes from a large social community. 



The Lowdown on Screenplay Format

Story is the foundation of the creative process. If any one of the screenplay’s complex components is out of place then the whole production suffers. Ridley Scott said, "Once you crack the script. Everything else follows."

For both industry professionals and aspiring writers alike knowing how to utilize script coverage is essential. By understanding the script coverage template and its elements, one can be sure the story produced is of the highest caliber. But why stop there? Check out our next article to walk you through essential tips on formatting a screenplay like a pro.

Up Next: How to Format Your Screenplay →
Solution Icon - Screenplay and Documents

Write and produce your scripts all in one place.

Write and collaborate on your scripts FREE. Create script breakdowns, sides, schedules, storyboards, call sheets and more.

  • Matthew Vasiliauskas is a graduate of Columbia University. His work has appeared in publications such as Conjunctions, Berlin’s Sand Literary Journal, Chicago Literati and The Pennsylvania Review. Matthew currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy link