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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS




CATEGORIES







Coverage Report

What is coverage?

Coverage is a report, generated by a reader, which consists of:

1. A logline - the story in a nutshell

2. A synopsis - approximately two to three pages which summarize the script

3. Comments - approximately one to two pages where the reader details what worked and what didn't and why.

4. A chart with grades awarded for Premise/Idea, Plot, Characterization, Dialogue and Writing with an overall assessment of either a Recommend, Consider or Pass, for both writer and script.

Coverage is used to determine whether the script merits further attention. Although there are many excellent screenwriting books out there, the one thing they can't offer you is feedback and feedback to a writer is essential. Coverage is one of the best forms of feedback that you can get and if you get it from a secure, private source like SellAScript.com, then no one in town will know that your script isn't ready. You can take the time to perfect it, without using up that all important first impression. Coverage is a part of Hollywood for a very good reason - it works. Everyone uses it and the system isn't changing anytime soon.

What is a reader and who are yours?

When you submit your script to anyone in Hollywood, whether it be a studio, production company, independent producer or agent, the first thing they will do is give it to a reader in order to generate a coverage report.

Readers are most often college degreed, working industry professionals, with extremely good writing skills of their own. Our readers have generated thousands of script coverage reports for many of the top studios, agencies and producers in town. They are well versed in the elements that make a screenplay work and are industry savvy. We've hand picked our readers in order to provide the best possible service.

Can I see a sample of your coverage?

Of course, just click here for our sample coverage. (in adobe acrobat format, you can download the free viewer here.)

What's to stop someone from stealing my idea?

We have no interest in stealing your script or treatment and neither do our readers, and contrary to industry myth, neither does Hollywood - it's much easier to option a script than it is to deal with the expense of legal issues. For these reasons, theft within the industry is a rare occurence.

Your work will be looked at by many people once you start sending it out, many more than you might realize, so it's best to relax and realize that is part of the submission process. It is, however, your responsibility to protect your work and we strongly urge you to do this before you send it anywhere. The Protect It! and U.S. Copyright Office are both excellent resources for this.

What if your reader doesn't like sci-fi movies and they get my sci-fi script to read?

Our readers know good material when they read it. They are required to cover all genres as part of their job and would never let personal tastes interfere.

Do I really need coverage, or are you just trying to take my money?

Our experience has taught us that good coverage is extremely important. It's a necessary tool that the film industry uses and believes in and any writer that wants to be successful needs to know how to use it to their advantage. Our prices are competitive and extremely fair and we aim to offer the very best service in return. So whether you have your script covered here or elsewhere, it's a very small price to pay in the scheme of things.

If you don't want to get your script covered - maybe you're not ready or you're still unsure of the benefits, you can still take advantage of all of our free information and services. Our website is an online community where you can just hang out, make friends, seek advice and feedback, find useful information, check out the latest film reviews and Hollywood news and above all pursue your dream of being a writer and selling your work.

Check out our Sell A Script page for more information.

What happens if I'm unhappy with my coverage report?

It's not easy to put all of your time and effort into your script, only to have someone point out what's not working and why. But the whole point of coverage is that it is professional, objective, constructive and above all honest. The reader's job is to help you make your script the very best it can be - as the old saying goes "you have to break some eggs in order to make an omelette". It's important to learn what an industry professional thinks of your work and don't forget, you choose whether to follow their suggestions or pay heed to their criticisms, it's up to you! We screen our reader's work in order to ensure our high standards are constantly met, but if you're unhappy, for any reason, then please contact us so that we can address your concerns.



Development Notes

What are development notes?

Development notes are far more in-depth than a coverage report and allow the reader to delve into the script in great detail and offer notes on how to improve it. These notes are used by the savvy writer, who wants to get a fresh perspective on their work, often before a rewrite. It's easy to overlook certain elements within a script, once you've lived with it day and night for months and this is where these notes can be invaluable - perhaps show you a direction you hadn't thought of or where to add the spark that's missing. Check out our Sell A Script page for more information.



General Questions

Is there an industry standard for scripts?

Yes, and Hollywood adheres strictly to its rules on this matter. If your script doesn't look right, it will set off warning bells (amateur!) - you don't want to do that.

1. Use courier font in size 12.

2. Keep your script between 100 and 120 pages.

3. Print it out on good quality, plain white paper.

4. Use two strong brads and fasteners to secure it.

5. No gimmicks, no colored paper, no pictures.

Check out our column "How To Make Your Script Look Professional", for the full lowdown.

How long will I have to wait for my coverage and/or development notes?

Please allow 10-12 business days, from the date we receive it.

What if I need rush delivery?

No problem - just add $30 and we'll get it to you within 7 business days from the date we receive it.

Will you return my script to me?

Yes - if you enclose a stamped, addressed envelope.

What happens to non-returned scripts?

They are shredded (for security reasons) and thrown away. All scripts are kept for at least three weeks after the report is returned to you, in the event you have any concerns.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept checks, money orders, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal and Discover.

How can I contact you?

You can visit our contact page for a variety of ways to get ahold of us.

Do you take any commission from scripts that are sold using your services?

No. There are no hidden charges - it's as simple as that.

Why don't you have a membership policy/fee?

Our site maintains an open door policy, whereby an individual need only pay for a service on a per use basis. The site is designed to provide maximum information with minimal outlay and in fact, most of our information is absolutely free. Although at present you do not have to be a member to use any portion of this site, except our discussion forums which are usable on a free membership basis, our Script Marketplace does use a member admission section as this is necessary to ensure security and professionalism. As before, an individual need only pay for a service on a per use basis.

Why don't you offer mentoring?

Mentoring can be an extremely costly option for a writer and we believe that our story development notes can offer the same information at a fraction of the cost (Why pay a mentor $5,000 or more for the advice our industry professionals can give you for 1/20 that amount?). We are also more than happy to answer any questions emailed to us at questions1@sellascript.com and this is completely free!

Why don't you have an advisory board?

An advisory board may look and sound pretty impressive on paper, but we're more concerned with giving you actual results (rather than inflated credits!):

1. A comprehensive network of information designed to help you make the right choices.

2. Access to professional Hollywood readers who know how to help you make your script the best it can be.

3. Access to top agents and producers, should your script be considered ready for Hollywood, by our readers.

4. The Hollywood Bugle, Script Express and online Script Marketplace designed to help you get your script in front of the people that matter.

So, yes, we could put together an advisory board, but with services like this - why bother?

Why don't the links work on your site?

Many of the links on the site will open in a second window. If you have popup stopper software installed, this will prevent our site from opening links in the second window. Disable the popup software and the links will work just fine.

Why am I having problems ordering a service or updating my listing in the Script Marketplace?

You may need to adjust the security level settings on cookies in your internet browser for our order/update forms to work. Please click here for assistance.

What file formats can you accept?

We can accept submissions in Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Wordperfect, Rich Text, Plain Text, Final Draft, Scriptware or Movie Magic Screenwriter format.

Do you only work with writers from the United States?

No, we work with writers from any country.



Screenplay Competition

Why should I bother entering a screenwriting competition?

If you win or attain a notable place in a reputable screenwriting competition you will stand out from the crowd - it's as if you have attached a calling card to your screenplay, notifying everyone of its higher than average status.

What are the contest rules and regulations?

Please refer to our Official Rules page for the complete All Access Screenwriting Competition rules.

Who is going to be judging my screenplay?

Your work will not be given to readers. It remains in-house and is judged by both Paul Harvey and Donna Milazzo who will be the sole judges in the All Access screenplay competition. Paul and Donna have a combined 20+ years in the business, focusing on film production, marketing and development and you can read more about their credentials in the About Us section. We respect your submission and treat it accordingly.

Do you accept entries from writers living outside of the United States?

Yes, we accept entries worldwide, however, the script must be written in English.

What payment options are available to writers living outside the U.S.?

We accept two methods of payments:

Credit cards (with information as listed on the entry form) and Money orders in US dollars drawn on a U.S. bank.

We cannot accept personal checks drawn on non-U.S. banks.

Will you accept cash as payment for the entry fee, or does it have to be in the form of a check or money order?

We cannot accept a cash payment. Please make a check or money order payable to "SellAScript.com". If you choose to use a credit card, you may do so by filling out the information on the entry form.

Do you want the writer's contact info included on the title page?

Yes, please include your contact information on the title page. Please do not put your name on the actual screenplay pages themselves, as each screenplay will be judged anonymously after being assigned an identifying number.

Do you want the title of the script written on its spine?

No, please leave the spine of the script clean and clear.

Do you want a synopsis included with the script.

You may include or omit the synopsis, as you see fit.

Are you accepting all genres?

Yes.

Should my script be bound and if so is there a special binding needed for my script to qualify?

The industry standard will suffice, i.e., 3-hole punched paper, 2-3 brass brads, and cardstock for the cover and backing. If you submit your script online you do not have to worry about this issue.

Do contestants get any feedback from their script if they are not one of the finalists?

No feedback will be given on any competition submission.

I have some other notes, cast lists, pictures etc that I would like to attach to my submission, what else can I send in?

Please do not include any of the above attachments. The only items that we will accept are stated on the entry form.

Apart from the difference in prize money, it seems whether I place in any one of the three winning spots that the benefits of Hollywood exposure and access are same. Is that right?

Yes, that's right. Winning prize money is nice, but the real prize for any aspiring screenwriter is getting their foot in the Hollywood door and looking forward to a career.

What happens if my screenplay is optioned or sold as a result of taking part in your screenwriting competition?

Congratulations, we don't take any fee or commission, your success belongs to you.

When will I know if I've been placed or if I've won?

Please see our Competition Rules page for the relevant announcement dates for the competition placings.

We will also send an email to all who enter, with the results for each round as they occur.



Script Express

What should my e-query letter contain?

Your query letter should be informative but concise. You should include a logline (one to two lines at most), genre, brief synopsis (one paragraph) and a brief writing history if you legitimately have one e.g. first place in a notable screenwriting competition or two screenplays under option etc.

Writing a good query letter is an art in itself and will tell the person reading it a lot about you. Can you spell? Can you string a sentence together? Can you convey information in a concise manner? All of these are traits that a good screenwriter will possess.

What will the subject header say?

Our subject headers get right to the point - "Query - screenplay title". If your screenplay is called Logan's Revenge it will read - "Query - Logan's Revenge".

When does my e-query go out?

Depending on when you submit your query to us, USA Pacific Coast time, your query will go out within 24 - 48 hrs at most. The time period could be increased depending upon the number of existing Script Express orders waiting to be sent.

When can I expect to receive a response?

Depending on the strength of your query letter you could be receiving responses within hours, it depends on the individual responding. You could still be receiving responses from one-two weeks later.

Do you have an example e-query I can look at?

Yes. Look at our example e-query here.

Should I attach my screenplay to my e-query?

No. Never attach your screenplay to your e-query. An e-query is a request to an industry professional to consider reading your screenplay. To attach it at this stage would seem naïve and unprofessional.

Should my screenplay be completed before I send an e-query?

Yes. Writers cannot just e-query a pitch or idea. There must be a completed script available upon an industry professional's request.

Can I change my e-query once I have submitted it?

Yes. We advise you to spell check and proof read your e-query carefully before submitting it, preferably by having it ready in another word processing package and then cutting and pasting it into the e-query submission. There is a window of time, once your e-query has been submitted and before it is sent out, whereby you can request changes to be made, or you can request to see a proof of your query letter before it is sent.

Is there a certain format the screenplay has to be in?

Yes. The screenplay must be in standard industry format. If you are unsure about this aspect, take the time to read books or invest in software that can solve the problem of formatting easily. We have many good selections in our Writer's Resources section. It's important to make sure that your screenplay is ready before you submit an e-query, so that you are able to deal with any requests within a positive amount of time.

Can you guarantee that my screenplay will be requested using your Script Express?

No. Although we wish it were possible, not every writer will sell or option their screenplay by using Script Express or any of our other services. On average, approx 80,000-100,000 scripts are written in the USA alone each year and only a fraction of those make it through to be considered for production and an even smaller fraction to the big screen. We're offering you exposure to real industry executives and professionals and the chance to put your best material forward, the rest is up to you and your screenplay.

Can you guarantee that my e-query will be read?

We cannot force any industry professional, whilst accessing their own e-mail account to read an e-query, nor can we force them to request your screenplay. Who knows what will inspire anyone on any given day. We can only guarantee that your e-query will be sent to valid industry professionals, the rest is up to the individual executive and your e-query itself.

I'm unsure about sending my logline and synopsis by e-query, what if someone steals my ideas?

Always protect your material, by registering it with the WGA or any other recognized copyright protection organization. Apart from that, you have to push your material out there in order to get it read, in order to get it sold. Incidents of screenplay theft in Hollywood are actually extremely rare, producers and studios don't want the hassle of lawsuits to contend with and would rather option a screenplay legitimately. Don't forget, all you send is a logline and synopsis, not the screenplay itself. You only give away as much information as you feel comfortable with.

Can I see who has received my e-query?

Yes. Once your e-query has been sent, you will receive a confirmation e-mail listing all the recipient companies. We do not give out individual names or e-mail addresses, in order to protect the privacy of each recipient.

How do you verify the credentials of any industry professional who receives my e-query through Script Express?

We use respected industry sources and our own personal database in order to verify information for each recipient. We cannot guarantee the scruples and good business practice of any industry professional and we, therefore, always recommend that you protect your material and only send your screenplay to those that meet your own criteria and pass your own credential check list. Decide which risks are acceptable to you and which channels are worth pursuing.

How easy is it to send my e-query through Script Express?

We've made the whole process as quick and simple as possible and you will probably find it much easier than expected.

If I sell my screenplay through Script Express, do I have to pay you any commission?

No. It's your work, it's your money. Unlike other sites, we do not charge our writers any commission or hidden fees, on any of their screenplays sold, using any of our services.

Why is my Script Express order delayed?

If your query does not go out within 48 hours after your order, that means that we are operating with a slight backlog. We can only send a limited number of queries per day so as not to overload our recipients. Your query will always be scheduled on the first available business day.



Script Marketplace

Should my screenplay be completed before I place a logline and synopsis on your website?

Yes. Writers cannot just post pitches or ideas. There must be a completed script available upon an industry professional's request.

Can I change my listing info in the Script Marketplace?

Yes. You are given access to your own listing so that you can make changes to every aspect of it, except the title, which you will be unable to change throughout the duration of the listing. We're aware that you may want to make changes to your screenplay during its six month listing and that you might want to reflect these changes in your listing. You will have full control to make these changes.

What kinds of screenplays do you accept?

We accept any full-length feature screenplay, as well as television scripts.

What about the content of the screenplay?

We will accept any screenplay, unless we deem its content to be pornographic in nature. See Rules and Regulations for details.

Is there a certain format the screenplay has to be in?

Yes. The screenplay must be in standard industry format. If you are unsure about this aspect, take the time to read books or invest in software that can solve the problem of formatting easily. We have many good selections in our Writer's Resources section. It's important to make sure that your screenplay is ready before you submit a listing, so that you give both it and yourself, as a writer, the best possible chance.

How does an industry professional search for material in the Script Marketplace?

A search can be based on any single or numerous criteria. It can be as specific or as general as the industry professional needs, so enabling them to access the Script Marketplace, find what they're looking for as quickly as possible. The Marketplace is extremely flexible and easy to use.

Can you guarantee that my screenplay will be sold by using your Script Marketplace?

No. Although we wish it were possible, not every writer will sell or option their screenplay by using Script Marketplace or any of our other services. On average, approx 80,000-100,000 scripts are written in the USA alone each year and only a fraction of those make it through to be considered for production and an even smaller fraction to the big screen. We're offering you exposure to real industry executives and professionals and the chance to put your best material forward, the rest is up to you and your screenplay.

Can you guarantee that my screenplay listing will be viewed or my screenplay requested?

We cannot force any industry professional, whilst accessing the Script Marketplace, to be inspired by your logline and view your synopsis, nor can we force them to request your screenplay. Who knows what will inspire anyone on any given day. We can only guarantee that your logline will be viewed, the rest is up to the individual executive and your logline itself.

I'm unsure about placing my logline and synopsis on-line, what if someone steals my ideas?

Always protect your material, by registering it with the WGA or any other recognized copyright protection organization. Apart from that, you have to push your material out there in order to get it read, in order to get it sold. Incidents of screenplay theft in Hollywood are actually extremely rare, producers and studios don't want the hassle of lawsuits to contend with and would rather option a screenplay legitimately. Don't forget, you aren't putting up the whole screenplay, just a logline and synopsis. You only give away as much information as you feel comfortable with.

Can other writers view my listing?

No. The Script Marketplace is open to industry professionals only i.e. producers, agents, directors, managers, etc). A writer may only view their own listings.

Can I see who has read my synopsis?

No. You can see how many times your synopsis has been viewed, but we do not provide information on who has viewed it. This has proved to be a tempting distraction to some writers, which in turn has caused some industry professionals to think twice about using such online script listing services. This does other writers a disservice and can deprive them of valuable contacts. Imagine this - a writer accesses their listing and discovers that a major studio has read their synopsis. The executive, who read the synopsis, decided not to pursue it any further and moved on within the site. The temptation on the writer's part, is to contact that executive and discover why they didn't like it and what they would like. The executive begins to worry that this will happen every time they look at a synopsis, perhaps 20-30 in any given day and decides they don't have time to deal with such queries and therefore won't use the site anymore. We took this decision in order to bring as many industry professionals to our site as possible, to make them feel secure whilst accessing our site and to give you, the writer, the best possible chance of getting your work sold!

How do you verify the credentials of any industry professional requesting membership for the Script Marketplace?

We carefully review each membership request before granting membership to any industry professional and operate within strict guidelines. We use respected industry sources and our own personal database in order to verify information for each recipient. We cannot guarantee the scruples and good business practice of any industry professional and we, therefore, always recommend that you protect your material and only send your screenplay to those that meet your own criteria and pass your own credential check list. Decide which risks are acceptable to you and which channels are worth pursuing.

How easy is it to place my work in the Script Marketplace?

We've made the whole process as quick and simple as possible and you will probably find it much easier than expected.

Who are your contacts in the industry?

Our contacts are studios, production companies, independent producers, agents and managers in the USA and internationally that use us to find screenplays.

Do I have to pay to become a member?

No, but you will need to pay to get your material placed in the Script Marketplace. Placements in the Marketplace are $35 per screenplay, per 6 month listing and can be renewed every 6 months (for $30). The 6 month listing starts the day the material is placed in the site.

If I sell my screenplay through the Script Marketplace, do I have to pay you any commission?

No. It's your work, it's your money. Unlike other sites, we do not charge our writers any commission or hidden fees, on any of their screenplays sold, using any of our services.



Writer's Rolodex

Why can't I view my submission detail from MY CONTACTS?

The submission detail is viewed in a popup window. If you have a pop-up stopper application installed, you'll need to disable this when using the Writer's Rolodex.

How do I add a submission to a company?

To add a submission, first you'll need to add a company to your 'MY CONTACTS' section. Once you add the company, simply click the button labeled 'ADD SUBMISSION' under the contact information for that company.

Will I lose my submission information once my subscription to the Writer's Rolodex runs out?

No. Your open and closed submissions will always remain on our site, linked to your customer number and viewable only by you. When you purchase another Script Express or Writer's Rolodex subscription, your existing submission information, and any saved contacts will already be in your 'MY CONTACTS' section.

How do I add a company to 'MY CONTACTS'?

To add a company to your "MY CONTACTS" section, you must go to the "PRODUCTION COMPANY", "LITERARY AGENCY", or "LITERARY MANAGEMENT COMPANY" sections. Find the company you wish to add and, under its contact details, click the button marked "ADD TO MY CONTACTS".



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