By Steven Kirwan, Executive Director, ASA

I have been working on my screenplay, "Hard Drive," methodically and diligently for over a year. I wrote, then rewrote, and then rewrote again. I shared my writing in peer groups and table reads, took copious note, and then re-wrote again. And again. And again. And again. In fact, I edited and rewrote nearly the entire screenplay 12 times.

When I use the term "rewrote," I don't mean the little tweaks that we all constantly make to our work. I mean scene shattering, story changing, climax shaking edits that impacted the screenplay drastically. And once all of those changes were made, I shared and sought feedback from a variety of peer sources.

Finally, after a seeming eternity, I was done! Time to celebrate. I knew that what started out as a big, bloated chunk of creative mush had been cut and polished into a rare gemstone of cinematic mastery. In other words, I thought it was pretty damned good.

I was so sure of its monumental greatness that I decided to prove it by commissioning a professional coverage. I purchased a basic coverage from my good friend Jim Cirile's company, Coverage Ink. They have a great reputation for helping screenwriters find agents and managers, and ultimately to help sell their screenplays.


Coverage is the industry term for an in-depth analysis of a screenplay.
There are varied levels and styles and prices of coverage,
so read feedback, do your due diligence, and select wisely.


I sent in my screenplay (via PDF), and waited.

Then it happened. I received MY COLD SLAP IN THE FACE!

Here is the intro to the coverage:

"That’s a very good start. The script needs work in the areas of story, plot logic, and character development. Below are some notes that should help you with crafting your next draft. Thanks for letting us take a look. Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it."

Next draft? Really? My beautiful, wonderful, perfect gem? A draft? How could you?

Then I read the rest of the coverage. As I read it, I referred back my screenplay and realized my folly. Every point in the coverage was spot on. My self-proclaimed gemstone was still a pretty, but incomplete lump of coal.

Here is the moral of the story: You can't self-assess your work if you ever want to sell a screenplay. Peer readings and editing are helpful, but can't provide the in-depth industry analysis you will receive with a professional coverage. Yes it may cost a little coin up front, but the value received is both invaluable and incalculable.


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The core mission of American Screenwriters Association (ASA) is to support, promote, and assist
emerging screenwriters to ensure that they have all the tools needed to hone
their skills and sell their screenplays. We are dedicated to creating a dialog between
screenwriters, producers, filmmakers, actors, and industry to ensure mutual success. © 2017 S.Kirwan

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