...because I sure have! Don’t get me wrong; all but one of my coverages has been very positive (though with the usual “But”... cropping up, of course). They seem to love the originality of my show’s concept, setting, and dialogue, and to a lesser degree like the characters, and think I have a good sense of their voice. And to be honest, I’m perfectly willing to entertain the possibility that some of the problem may lie in the fact that my series concept, and hence the pilot script for it, are a little bit different from what they’re used to. For one thing, it’s specifically designed to be a serial drama as opposed to a series comprised of “stand alone” episodes, like a Procedural; set in the Acadiana (aka “Cajun Country”) region of Louisiana, I frequently describe it as a “Southern Gothic Soap Opera”, or as being like “Dark Shadows (the original) meets The Sopranos meets The Long Hot Summer”. There are several reasons why I decided to do the show in that format: foremost because I firmly believe that it is the best, indeed the only real way to properly do a show in the Southern Gothic genre; also, I believe that it allows for better, deeper story and character development; finally, it helps keep the quality of the storytelling high, by preventing it from degenerating into a “Monster of the Week” show (a real concern, since things like voodoo and supernatural beings are definitely a part of the genre). Often, script coverage reviewers start off seeming to “get” this, but as they continue, they almost invariably seem to make comments that seem to be more germaine to a series with a stand-alone episodic format. For example, they frequently criticize the pacing of my pilot, seemingly ignoring or forgetting that in a serial drama, plots can and often do unfold more slowly; also, I’ve been criticized for not engaging “show, don’t tell” as much as I should, when while it is just as important in a serial drama as in a standard episodic format series, serial dramas also tend to be more “dialogue heavy”, due to the fact that they are often a particular mix of plot driven and character driven elements. And even when they do seem to really get that it’s supposed to be a serial drama, I’ve occasionally been told things like that I should have each of the arcs in an episode end on sort of a “end of chapter” note before continuing on in the next episode, instead of a “cliffhanger” one. Also, there are aspects of the show and script that, though I try to make them clear through both action and dialogue, the reviewers just don’t seem to “get”. A frequent one is that the patriarch of the protagonist family is not only a local “captain of industry” and land owner, he’s also an old school southern “town boss” of the town he lives just outside of , and which his ancestors founded three centuries ago (much like, say, Will Varner in The Long Hot Summer), which means among other things he engages in various illegal actions (including ones you could get busted under the RICO Act) in addition to his legit ones. However, he is not “OC”; he does not head up a “crime family” like the Mafia or even a syndicate. He does have people in his employ who serve as his “enforcers” (e.g. collecting money from people who run local illegal enterprises, but have his permission to do so, which means in exchange for a percentage of their profits, he uses his influence and money to ensure they are not harassed by the local police), but they are not analogous to “made men” or even associates. Yet what happens? They almost invariably assume he’s also the head of a Mafia-type outfit! Also, because he allows a few pot dealers to operate, and makes the arrangement with the source from which they are to obtain their wares, they think he’s supposed to be a drug lord, when the script makes it clear that he’s merely a “fixer” of sorts in that regard. Finally, I also occasionally get really strange comments that leave me scratching my head. Like one coverage where the reviewer gave nearly all the elements of my script very good marks (7 or 8 out of 10 for all the areas that company grades on). She did criticize me for violating “show, not tell” in one scene (even though the thing she thought I should have shown probably would have caused people to correctly guess a plot point in one of the story arcs that at that point I wanted to leave open to question, as well as would have defeated part of the purpose of the scene, which was to show the often-contentious nature of the relationship of the two characters in the scene). What was really strange was at the end, after all the praise, saying the show would likely not sell because there were no strong female characters with their own stand-alone arc, and that producers would never buy such a “male-centric” series. Wait, whut...? I mean, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire...? And all of the four major female characters in the pilot (three protagonists, one antagonist) are strong women, including the matriarch of the family (she is a housewife, but she runs a plantation mansion, is active in the community, and has no problem standing up to her strong-willed husband). None of them are mere appendages to the male characters, not even the girlfriend of the youngest son of the protagonist family. And one of them does have an arc that’s independent of the male characters (true, in the pilot she is just visiting from out of town, but events in later episodes will force her to move back to town — and she would hardly feature as prominently in the pilot if she was not o be a regular character). There there was one who criticized me using parentheticals to convey the tone of a person’s voice when saying a line (something I don’t do all that often), and another that thought that the main female antagonist (a voodoo priestess) needed a sample of a person’s DNA in order to cast a spell on them (again, Wait, whut...?). Anyway, I’m not writing this post to whine and complain, but to relate some of the things I find frustrating when dealing with script coverage services, and to wonder if it’s because they’re reading my script with certain assumptions which don’t necessarily hold true in my case, or if despite what I think are my best efforts to make things clear in my script, somehow I’m failing in that regard, and asking if other screenwriters out there have experienced the same frustrations.