Having seen how much my own writing has progressed, and how many deals our students have been making over the past few years, I heartily endorse our classes.
Script Magazine had some great articles both for and against getting script coverage.
Of course, you know what side of the fence I’m on – but here they are!
Many writers aren’t convinced of the value of coverage. I understand – I was skeptical at first of script consultants when I first started out as an assistant.
A couple years of experience later, and now I’d always recommend some coverage before submitting your scripts to a producer or production company.
One of my more interesting duties as an assistant to ScreenwritingU (and the related Class 3 Entertainment) is being a reader – giving basic (or more detailed) coverage on submissions before they go to my bosses and other industry professionals. Reading through dozens upon dozens of pitches and scripts for tv series and features has taught me a tremendous amount about the industry, but the one thing a screenwriter should know from a reader is this:
If you don’t hook me, your script never gets read by anyone “important”.
Not interesting by page 10? Trashed. And, worse – your name goes down into the auto-trash list. Once you’re on there with a particular producer or production company, it’s nearly impossible to submit something again to that company. You’ve just eliminated one possible door into Hollywood… and this practice is industry-standard.
Now, some aspiring screenwriters are holding gold when they submit their script for the first time – but the fact is that most aren’t, and won’t know it until it’s too late. The door’s already closed, and you often don’t even get a rejection letter. You’re just done.
The reality of the industry can be harsh, and if you’re not already in touch with it, the truth can be a rude awakening. One of the best ways to find out if you’re ready for the industry is professional coverage. I heartily endorse getting into a writer’s group to have other writers help you develop your script, but unless you’re working with a well-paid professional screenwriter, you’re not dealing with an industry insider – and industry outsiders just haven’t experienced the script vetting process.
Even if you never use my services, if you’re looking to break in, getting professional coverage BEFORE you submit your script to a production company is a great service to your coming career. Don’t submit rough material and get your name on the bad list.
And if you haven’t been hit with the reality of the industry yet – go check out Unknown Screenwriter. I’m still pretty positive (I rather love film and writing), but he gives a great reality check.
In the quest to keep my muse unhindered, I happened upon an article that referred to “Morning Pages”, something that I was unfamiliar with previously. A creative concept from Julia Cameron, morning pages are three pages of continuous, stream-of-consciousness writing performed in the morning to get your mental juices started for the day. The pages can be writing on literally anything, and are meant to flow without any critiquing. They are also kept private.
As one of the main problems I’ve run into is the first motion of getting started writing for the day, this was another key to getting back into writing regularly. With the morning pages being written out by hand, though, I found it hard to adopt this practice as part of my daily routine.
Fortuitously, a friend mentioned 750Words.com to me. Privacy concerns aside, it was an easy way to get out three pages worth of stream-of-consciousness writing, and it includes some tracking features that excite a lot of my brain (I’ve always been a fan of graphs and charts). Since I’ve started to use it, it’s increased the amount of writing I’ve done daily significantly; like stretching before exercising, it really helped me get started.
The kind of writing also became therapeutic. Without any direction or topic, or pressure or requirement on the writing, I’ve found it’s become akin to a journal, where I write out worries, problems, and concerns, and get them out. Putting these things down has helped me get them out of my head and away from obstructing my creativity.
I’d suggest you try it if you’re finding it hard to write every day. The results can be very encouraging.