After finishing draft 14 and spending nearly 3 years working on it, Chris and I decided to send Detox for coverage. Script coverage is, according to Wikianswers, a filmmaking term for the analysis and grading of screenplays, often within the “script development” department of a production company. While coverage may remain entirely verbal, it usually takes the form of a written report, guided by a rubric that varies from company to company. Criteria includes, but is not limited to:
* IDENTIFICATION: Title, Author, Type of Material, Locale, Genre.
* LOGLINE: A one sentence summary.
* COMMENT SUMMARY: A paragraph summary of the analysis.
* GRADE: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor for categories that include characterization, premise, storyline, production values, dialogue and more.
* SYNOPSIS: Summary of plot: 1-3 pages depending on script quality.
* BUDGET: The script reader’s estimated budget.
In our case, the “grade” was either a pass, consider or recommend.
We got our coverage through ScriptShark. Chris ordered the 3-reader pack to get a variety of feedback since it’s all so subjective anyway. The first issue was length, which somehow the script ballooned the past few drafts and we never went back to trim it down. This also lead to some comments about pacing. Both fairly easy fixes. There was also an across-the-board comment on the characters. They wanted them to more fully developed. Even so, there were comments that the characters were something top talent might be interested in. We knew all of this before sending the script in, but it was good to hear from an objective party that we knew what we were doing wrong with some concrete ideas on how to fix it.
They did, however, very much like the dialogue. This was an area Chris was nervous, but I always thought our dialogue was good. Natural, but cinematic. My concern was two of the main characters might have been too similar, but they thought the dialogue defined and differentiated the characters.
Then there were a couple of characters they felt weren’t necessary. They felt there was padding to keep the plot points in their proper places. Various stuff like that. In all, though, the comments were positive – or at least constructive.
As for grade, we got a “Pass,” a “Reluctant Pass” and a “Consider.” Getting a consider made our script eligible for their scouting services to agents, producers, etc. We have until about April to refine the script to be submitted to that service. Pretty good news.
When I sent in Under as a trial run, knowing it was pretty bad, they tore it apart, so I knew they were capable of being heartless and cruel. And hearing their comments on Detox made us really re-evaluate what we were trying to do and say with the script. t made us a lot more focused. So we think the next draft should be pretty damn good.