Screenwriting : RED LIST on Coverfly by Mehdi Javaherian

Mehdi Javaherian

RED LIST on Coverfly

Is there anyone here familiar with the Red List on Coverfly? I've just got an increase in my Industry Score™, and I would be eligible to be on this List if I make my screenplay public. I would be grateful if you could share your knowledge with me here on this matter.

Frankie Gaddo

I heard of it recently but I still don't quite get how it works.

Dan MaxXx

Meh. Another snazzy website masquerading as "Industry."

Mehdi Javaherian

Frankie! Me too. But I went public on their site hoping for the best.

Mehdi Javaherian

Dan! It's not that much snazzy... do you have any experience or do you know anyone who achieved anything on the Red List? I haven't heard anyone talking about it so far.

Mehdi Javaherian

Dear John! You are right; but for your information, Coverfly is a platform for submitting screenplays to Festivals, and they would give you scores based on the evaluation you receive in the competitions. They claim producers have access to the screenplays achieved the highest score on the list....

John Ellis

It calls itself the "industry's largest database of screenplay contest entries and script coverage evaluations" - I don't know, it strikes me as exactly what CJ calls it. The worst thing in the "break-in industry."

Doug Nelson

CJ - I don't know that Coverfly is the single worst thing to come out of the film industry this year but it certainly is right up in the running. You mention the coming year; Where do you see the industry going? I have my own prognostications but I'm curious about your views from the UK.

Myron DeBose

A minor player today is a major player tomorrow

Dan Guardino

These people will probably end up making a lot of money because screenwriters will try anything to break in. I wounder what they charge for that BS they're selling?

S.J. Robinson

Dan, the way it works is you buy more and more script feedback from us and pay to enter our contests and your score will go up.

I can attest that I got feedback from their readers and saw my script deteriorate but still my aggregate 'Coverfly' score made it to no.13 on their list. I requested for it to make it public on their site and they never did, so I took the money I was spending on their feedback/contests and invested in a good editor instead... I have to say that this has been a much more rewarding and enjoyable experience overall.

Pierre Langenegger

I've had a quick look at Coverfly. They don't appear to have their own competition or feedback/coverage service but merely utilizing those services from existing competitions.

I compared the cost of one of the competitions in their competition list (PAGE International). The entry fee is the same regardless of whether you enter through PAGE or Coverfly, so I can only assume that PAGE will relinquish a booking fee to Coverfly if you use that option.

It also seems that the Coverfly ratings you receive to determine your placement on their Red List is determined by an algorithm using a mixture of your placement in various competitions that you enter, PLUS the feedback from those competitions (provided you pay for the feedback) and Coverfly claim that you will do better by having all of that information stored in their database for industry executives to peruse. As a result, a strong script entered in more competitions will earn a higher score than an equally strong script entered in only one competition, therefore the more you pay to enter, the more Coverfly will make in commission.

Hmmm. It brings back memories of Blacklist's attempt to charge exorbitant fees to have your script evaluated using their AI software, except Coverfly will be charging the competitions and coverage services, who in turn will be making more from you because you'll be striving for that higher score. Regardless, it's the desperate writer who is being asked to pay more and more every year just to make them think they're getting better exposure, without realizing that it's quality that sells a script.

This is all based on my assumption derived from a quick scan, the above could be wrong.

Dan Guardino

S.J. I think investing in a good editor instead was a wise choice.

Mehdi Javaherian

Dear Sj, Pierre, CJ, and Dan! Thanks for the input and sharing your experience.As an Iranian, we don't have such services in our country, and even if you want to get a producer reads your script, there is no clear procedure. Because of the nature of my screenplay, I am trying all the options in English and hope for the best.

S.J. Robinson

CJ, I think it's a money turner for sure. They even say it themselves, keep paying for our products (script reads and contests) and we will bump you up to the top (even if it's slowly but surely). What this ultimately means is that money is the name of the game, and not merit. So if you have enough money to waste, you can still rise through the ranks, even with a mediocre script. In the world of publishing, you would never pay an agent to read your novel and agents who charge 'reading fees' are frowned upon.

I have to say that discovering Stage32 was one of the best things for my screenwriting, and I am so thankful for RB and team for creating it. Where else can you actually talk to producers directly and hear what they have to say...invaluable! Since joining just in August of this year, I've found a great editor, got two of my scripts edited, pitched my projects, incorporated the feedback, met loads of interesting people and started a new creative venture. Plus the pitch sessions are very reasonable, considering the administration costs involved. Give me s32 over the Red List any day!

David Downes

Ah, the screenwriting version of simony. Got it.

Jerry Robbins

I entered one of my scripts in the Screencraft Family contest -- and yesterday got an email from Coverfly with an "industry standard score." I had never heard of this Coverfly before, and was confused if this was part of ScreenCraft -- the email said "complete setting up your account." I never put IN for an account -- I only entered a contest! I looked the CoverFly page over and there was my name and script title, but no logline ($5.00 to add it) and no script (5.00 to add it). I'm not going there because those little bells went off in my head and glad to see the comments here which have confirmed my bells.

Chris Bancel

I never post, but I feel compelled to in this case regarding Coverfly/Wescreenplay.

I've used We Screenplay extensively for feedback on my work. They are WELL PRICED and prompt. Additionally, you get a bio for your reader so you have some point of reference. I've used many coverage services (Scriptpipleline, Screencraft, Tracking board, Screenplay readers, Stage32 and more). Coverage and paid coverage IMO is an essential part of getting your work ready. Coverfly and the Red List cost NOTHING so don't see what the beef is. YES it's pay to play, but if you are not willing to put some financial skin in the game (albeit I would never pay for an agent or manager), then WTF do you expect - get your sister to read it. The coverage I've gotten from WeScreenplay has been terrific (99% of the time), Scriptpipeline (10% of the time), Tracking board (80% of the time) ,Screencraft (75% of the time) and Stage 32 (90% of the time). I've got two projects that qualify on the Redlist (one higher than the above mentioned if you look at the last year as opposed to this month) and while I expect NOTHING to come of it, since I'm NOT PAYING to be listed or hosted(Blacklist) I have no complaints.

If you are looking for a low cost and fast read I could not recommend WeScreenplay more with Stage 32 a close second.

I am not affiliated with any of the above.

Stop whining and put your money where your mouth is. If your work isn't worth investing $5 go home.


Mehdi Javaherian

Dear Chris! Thanks for sharing. I can Agree no more with you. The coverages I've received from screenplay has been the best so far regarding how useful and prompting they were to me.

My very best wishes for your writing!

Jerry Robbins

I have used Wescreenplay, and also Screenplay Readers and Stage 32 for coverage on early drafts; and I agree they are a huge help and are essential. My comment was that I had never heard of Coverfly before and I seemed to have been automatically signed up after entering a contest. I just like to sign up for things on my own, not have it done for me - and at the very least Coverfly should have explained who they were, and how they were connected to the contest I entered - it has nothing to do with spending five bucks.

Chris Bancel

Ah. Got it. I’m surprised at the 5bucks. I’ve also entered a few contests and the Coverfly interface didn’t charge me or try to.

Jerry Robbins

It was confusing; Shortly after I entered the contest I got the Coverfly email and when I looked at the page -- my title was listed, but it said the screenplay and logline were not uploaded - so I had some panic stricken moments thinking my script upload had failed (I was still thinking this was this was from the contest)... so I came here to Stage 32, searched "Coverfly" and found this thread - which is where I started putting it all together as to who they were.

Philip Sedgwick

Free or not, there are issues with Coverfly... two I consider to be serious.

This morning I entered a short in Hollyshorts. Shortly thereafter I received an e-mail from Hollyshorts (which was actually Coverfly pretending to be Hollyshorts) indicating I should manage my script(s) on Coverfly. My scripts on Coverfly? Am I sleepwalking?

I never posted anything to Coverfly. To access my scripts I had to log in, which means create an account. So I did.

Coverfly has four of my scripts, three shorts and one feature.They have the logline and script available for download. I never authorized Coverfly to have access to my scripts, loglines or competition scores, and never authorized any rights for my scripts to be on their platform.

I looked at the entry rules for the contests via the entry platform I used. Only one entry page had any reference to Coverfly and that was that Coverfly was an organizer, but no where did I see that the script would be posted on Coverfly.

I have a feature on Coverfly that won a festival and was official selection and finalist in many other contests and competitions (eight in fact). However, Coverfly has a paltry score for this script. Their information pages indicate that the more "affiliated" festivals you enter the higher your score will rise... ah, so the festivals I've entered are not worthy. I'm not a lawyer, but this smacks of bait and switch.

I have a short that was an official selection in one of the affiliated festivals. Coverfly indicates the script as "no placement" by that festival. In another location they indicate the script was "eliminated."

They have algorithm scores based upon festivals and competitions who keep their scoring internal. So, they're psychic, too? How can they give you a score without access to internal judging information? An arbitrary number based upon selected or not not selected? They don't even get that right.

Here's a really big one. They have access to the credit card information used on the entry platform. On my account page is the last four digits of a credit card that is the same as one in my wallet. They claim they do not store your CC info, but they received a "token" imprint from the credit card system "Stripe." If in the future, you want to enter a festival through them or pay for any other service, they have your information - evidently one click away. I did not authorize them to have access to any credit card information, direct or otherwise. While they claim they would never ring up a charge without authorization, they still have access to financial records. I want to know who the hell they have in charge of their website's security.

Read the TOS. By being on the platform you give them a heap of rights to use, reproduce, etc. etc. your content to any 3rd party you request. They claim scripts can be downloaded only after your public authorization. Do you receive any warranty that if you go public with your profile that you will be seen only by industry professionals? No. They say only industry pros, but I see no indication of vetting. Also, they reserve the right to change terms without notice.

Regardless of how TOS claims to protect your rights, I remain flummoxed and steaming that they have my intellectual property on their site without my conscious approval. I chose to remain dubious of the TOS claims.

I decided to close my account. In the profile there is no means to do so. I searched through FAQ and found no article to close my account. Nor is there any help for deleting screenplays. Uploading a new version, sure. Piece of cake. Delete content - I have found no way.

I have e-mailed Coverfly with my concerns, asked to close my account and purge my scripts from their platform and insisted that my credit card information be removed.

Should there be any interesting developments, I will post again.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Philip S. I agree a hundred percent. I want to cancel and have found no way. Very bad way to do business. I wouldn't trust them to do anything on my behalf.

S.J. Robinson

Me too, I want my material taken of Coverfly. I never once asked for it to be stored on their database. They have no legal right. Please let me know Philip who to write to.

Philip Sedgwick

Hey S.J. You can write to

It is true they have no legal right. Since posting the previous I reread the Hollyshorts e-mail. It claimed to be Hollyshorts, and signed the e-mail as Hollyshorts, but it originated from

I forwarded the e-mail to Hollyshorts and asked if they knew Coverfly was posing as them.

I will keep posting updates. The fact that they have access to my credit card or someone who gets into their website can, is not acceptable.

Philip Sedgwick

Coverfly replied.

They told me there is a way to delete an account but they did not indicate how.

They did not address the unauthorized posting and scoring of scripts. They said they are a script management service for festivals.

They completely ignored the question about the authorized storage of my CC info.

They told me I could boost my scripts score if I manually entered other contest scores (yeah, like we get that information) and festival wins. They asked what fests and competitions I wanted to see them work with. And they said that if I entered more of their affiliated contests and used their coverage services I could boost script scores - bait and switch, perchance.

I wrote back and asked that my credit card be deleted and that they tell me how to close the account. I also asked for contact information for a corporate principal... phone, e-mail with an actual name, mailing address. We'll see what I get.

As soon as I get delete account info I will post it here.

I'm done with them. My sniff test sensors are on overdrive.

David Downes

Any screenwriters that also happen to be attorneys? My guess is one call or friendly letter from an attorney hinting at the phrase "class action" would have the desired impact.

Philip Sedgwick

Officially I have Coverfly fatigue. This will be my last post on the matter.

They have removed my credit card information, put me in e-mail contact with their founder, and are working to close my account.

To close an account you must e-mail and request that they do so. Any currently active submissions will be essentially disqualified.

I have had extensive e-mail with their support team, and they have hung in with my questions and attempted to provide answers.

The reason they must delete an account is that they are a screenplay management system, submission portal, and means for festivals to monitor scoring. Any deletion could interfere with the festival/contests data.

They have sold themselves to festivals as a management platform. As I understand it, any affiliated festival has hired them to keep track of scripts, readers etc. They have stated to festivals that they are offering a tracking tool for screenwriters in a completely separate manner.

I do not see it that way. I see blurred boundaries, a tentative algorithm, inattention to detail, and the ability to change terms at any time without notice.

That is a summary of what I now know. Again, Coverfly has been communicating, as has a festival that uses their services that I reached out to. Regardless, I am deleting my account.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Philip S: As ways, you are a gentleman and friend to your fellow writers. Thanks for posting the Coverfly email. I've not used them for contests.

I've sent Coverfly a polite but firm letter requesting they delete my account. I also cautioned them that failure to do so would result in me publicizing that to my numerous writing friends and colleagues at S32, Facebook and Twitter. I'll post their response if and when I get one.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

I received a message too. I'm supposedly being deleted today. I hope so because I want no part of that website. I like user friendly sites where I can better control my content.

Scot Lawrie

Hi - Scot here. I’m the creator of Coverfly and have been developing the platform for the past two and a half years. I worked closely with screenplay contests, writers, industry execs, and literary managers to try to create a platform that is useful to everyone. Often times, a screenplay contest mostly helps just the winners. At a fundamental level the goal of Coverfly is to allow writers to use semi-finalists and finalist placements in contests they're already entering to help promote themselves to the industry. Nothing is perfect, especially upon launch, but we’re always open to feedback to improve the service.

Writers were already entering most of the competitions on our platform before we came about - we just built a layer on top of them to consolidate, track, and add transparency (by displaying scores, etc) to screenwriting contests. We have an industry-facing dashboard that we’re recruiting literary managers, executives and producers to to peruse projects, and we’re about to onboard a full time “lit manager” of our own to promote top projects. We’re passionate about great writers, and we think that if we can turn competition successes into career successes, everyone will want to use our platform.

To answer a few questions and concerns I’ve seen in the thread:

Is Coverfly posting information about my scripts without my permission?

No -- Your Industry Score is only for you as a writer. It is completely private and cannot be seen by industry members or even contests you’ve entered unless you choose to make it public to the industry. It is a combination of your scores and rankings from all contest entries that are currently partnered with Coverfly. We’d love to have it include 100% of festivals and contests, but we don’t currently have the bandwidth to manually add all those results. Also, the way it is calculated is completely transparent. Here is a post including the exact calculation we use:

Why does Coverfly have this information available for writers?

Virtually all contests use some service to manage all their entries - Google Drive, Sales Force, WithoutaBox. Coverfly is just a platform, like Google Drive, that contests use to administer their contests. We do make more information visible to the user, but none of this information is visible to anyone else. All contests need to use some form of management - Coverfly is a tool specifically designed for this. The big difference is Coverfly also gives writers visibility to their projects, results, and the ability to update things like title, authors, and even drafts.

Is Coverfly making money from all of this?

We charge festivals and contests a small fee for using our platform, but our rates are a lot cheaper than our competitors. As an administration platform, Coverfly charges festivals 5%, compared to the 8.5% Withoutabox and FilmFreeway charge. We also have significantly more features that make judging fairer and easier – like normalization of scores to help balance “tough” or “easy” judges. As a hosting platform, Coverfly is $0 for unlimited scripts versus Inktip which is $15/mo or BlackList which is $25/mo. One way we make money is through the $5 updating your draft fee that certain contests allow – this is a totally optional feature that allows writers to send in an updated draft into the contest for a $5 fee instead of completely resubmitting. The goal was to get contests the best drafts, prevent writers from having to pay for a full resubmission and allow Coverfly to earn some profits to keep hosting free. To clarify – it is free to change your logline, title, writers, or any other information. The fee is only if you update the PDF of the script.

If you have any other questions or concerns at all, feel free to reach out to We’re always updating the platform to make it as helpful, fair, and transparent as possible. We’ll be adding a team page to Coverfly shortly and including more education on the site about exactly what an Industry Score is and why it’s private only to the individual writers.

Dan MaxXx


Congrats, you made a better mousetrap.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy


It's great that you came on to explain the platform services. My concern is that When I looked at my Coverfly page/membership a few weeks back and wanted to change or remove scripts, I couldn't easily see a way that was achievable without going through Coverfly. Additionally, you don't allow members to remove content or delete their accounts.

As a client of IMDb, Stage 32, Inktip, Script Revolution and a few other websites, I've always been able to easily control, edit or remove content and I don't see that you've addressed that issue in your contribution to this thread. I'm not sure why both Philip Sedgwick or myself (Phillip E. Hardy) had to request to have our pages removed. This is an issue I've had with ISA over my paid status as a member. I want to be able to terminate, edit or change as I deem fit without have to ask permission to leave or end service. Moving forward, you may want to provide that autonomy to your users. Until then, I wouldn't use Coverfly or recommend you to other screenwriters.

Scot Lawrie

Phil - thanks for the feedback. We will add that functionality as soon as possible - it will be done within two weeks.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Scot: You are welcome and I'm sure your clients will appreciate that.

Scot Lawrie

Hi Phil - I'd like you to know that users can now scrub all of their data and delete their account from Coverfly in a single click via their dashboard, as requested. We've also whipped up a brief introduction to Coverfly here for people just discovering us:

Let me know if you have any feedback on anything else!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Scot L:

Thanks very much for hearing the feedback and doing something about it.

Philip Sedgwick

Appreciate the receptivity, Scot. Watching for other progress. Here's a question, if someone enters a contest from Coverfly, who lets them know the status of judging? With Film Freeway and WAB they do when the fest notifies them. Also fests and competitions often, but not always send e-mail. Where and how would Coverly maintain a submission profile and communicate with writers?

Scot Lawrie

Coverfly keeps track of status of judging for the majority of our competitions (we clearly mark the ones that we're not tracking), and writers can view those statuses in their dashboard. Coverfly, as of now, does not contact entrants with announcements - we leave that to the competition. We may decide to implement that functionality if it seems like competitions and writers want it, although my feeling is that this should probably be left to the competition, not the platform the writer submitted on.

Philip Sedgwick

And some festivals never contact you if you are not selected.

S.J. Robinson

"By submitting any intellectual property, content, or information to the Company or any 3rd party affiliate of the Company, you grant to the Company and its parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and licensees the right to use, copy, reproduce, display, and distribute worldwide and royalty free to any 3rd party you request the data be sent." ???? I'm SHOCKED by this. Fiona I have had a similar experience to you in fact. Coverfly cannot legally procure scripts in this manner, especially unbeknownst to the author. My work is strictly copyright protected material. I want it removed right away. This is surely not legitimate business practice in the U.S. At what point did you give Coverfly these exclusive rights, Fiona??!

S.J. Robinson

Just scrolled the thread, thanks Philip Sedgwick for providing the email. Appreciate your trouble!

S.J. Robinson

I gave Coverfly the benefit of the doubt, until I read the excerpt from the TOS you quoted above, Fiona. From scrolling the thread, Scot Lawrie you seem to be putting the onus on the script writers to seek you out and look up what you are about and to find out what scripts of theirs you have procured, without you making any initial point of contact to state to the writer that their private Intellectual Property has been lodged to your site's database. As far as I know, you should really get some professional legal counsel on whether you can rightfully do that. My understanding of contract law says that you have no right to do that, as you are a separate business entity to the screenwriting contests. I don't see how there can be a third party relationship with you, especially if the author does not even know of it? If the contests are employing you to manage the script entries, then each contest should have a separate database on your system, right?

S.J. Robinson

I just emailed. Fiona, I think you should email them first to get more clarification.

Scot Lawrie

Hi Fiona and S.J.,

Thanks for airing your concerns - hopefully I can help alleviate them somewhat here. First of all, if you haven’t yet read our introductory post, it may help clear some things up:

We are, essentially, a screenplay contest management platform (like Withoutabox, but a lot more features for film festivals and screenwriting competitions).The difference is, you’d never have access to a contest’s Google Drive or Dropbox folder, but Coverfly is trying to put that data in the hands of the writer (and give the writer the ability to remove it altogether, if they'd like).

I had a closer look at the terms of service you quoted. The purpose of this service is NOT to steal anyone’s IP. That sentence is intended to allow us to share your script with contest judges (for scoring in competitions) and industry members IF you authorize us to (“to any 3rd party you request the data be sent.“) - it does NOT allow us to post your script behind your back or without your permission. In fact, the Terms state very clearly (and in all caps): YOUR SUBMISSION DOES NOT GRANT THE COMPANY NOR ANY THIRD PARTY ANY OWNERSHIP OF YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. By the way, very similar language to the part you quoted exists in section 6 of Blcklst user policy, section 7.2 of FilmFreeway, and section 11 of Withoutabox.

Fiona, we’ll put up an “About” page this week so you can “meet the team” - thanks for that suggestion.

We're happy that dozens of top industry organizations are finding value in Coverfly, including PAGE, Final Draft, Nashville Film Festival, ScreenCraft, Napa Valley Film Festival, HollyShorts, Script Pipeline, The Tracking Board and many more.

We've only been a writer-facing dashboard for less than 4 months and already we have thousands of writers using our free service and dozens of industry professionals using the industry side to discover scripts, contact writers - and some exciting success stories are already playing out. We'll have some big announcements soon.

Our #1 priority in all of this is providing real value to emerging screenwriters. That said, if you have further questions or concerns, feel free to shoot me an email at In the coming weeks, I’m going to make a big push to add some more education around what and who we are.

S.J. Robinson

Scot Lawrie I really think you need to assess the legality of what you are doing. From what I know of contract law, none of the writers have any contract established with you and it is not up to them to discover that they have been added to your database. That is the same thing as trying to say that if a customer is not happy with the meal they have at my restaurant, that I can say hey look take it up with our food supplier, it's got nothing to do with me. I don't want to see your introduction page, it is your duty to write to each writer personally to inform them that you have their script and to make sure they have accepted your TOS. At present, as far as I can make out, there are only two contracts that are legally in force: #1 the contract between you and the individual contest, and #2, the contract between the screenwriter and the contest itself. The question here is whether you are employed by the contests to perform a service or you are the one employing the contests to be on your list? If you are the employer of the contests, and the contests are YOUR clients, then you do have a legal relationship with all of the screenwriters who submit their scripts.

Scot Lawrie

Just to be clear, Coverfly does require the writer to opt-in and agree to Coverfly's terms when they sign up (see attached screenshot). Later in the process, Coverfly gives the writer the option to either sync their past submissions and set them to private, or to make them public (see other screenshot).

I'll talk with our design team about making the terms agreement more prominent during the signup process so there's no confusion.

Your agreements with each Coverfly partner allow them to use Coverfly as a submissions management platform and I firmly believe this is a major upgrade for writers over the way contests were administered before Coverfly.

Your projects are private and secure and your IP is 100% not compromised. All of your data is set to private by default, and only you can make it public. Have you tried getting Industry interest via Coverfly? You might be pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest your project could garner from our dozens of industry pros. The industry side is growing quickly - we’re adding more each week and organizing focus groups with managers, agents, etc on how to present the writing talent we have on our platform to them.

Thank you for raising these concerns and opening a dialogue - as always, let me know if you have any other concerns.

Scot Lawrie

The second screenshot didn't attach to the previous message. Attaching here.

Dan MaxXx

What is this trademarked "Industry score"? Something you made up ? And what's this $5 fee? It is such a small amount that is genius way to make money.

Scot Lawrie

Yes, Industry Score is something we designed. The $5 fee is for updating your submission in competitions (which most competitions didn't even allow before). It's the only time we charge the writer for anything, and it's obviously completely optional.

Dan MaxXx

Cool. Whats your entertainment background that makes you suggest Hollywood is broken?

S.J. Robinson

Scot, I am withdrawing from this discussion. I prefer dealing with people who are 100% open and transparent from the get-go, and who have a good understanding of and respect for the golden rule of business, namely that "The Customer is King", which in this case is the writers.

S.J. Robinson

Ugh is right!

Dan Guardino

Scot. Posting someone's screenplay without their permission is a violation of copyright law.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy


Where's the Facebook thread at? I'd love to read it.

Victor Titimas

Facebook into meltdown? What does it mean?:(

Scot Lawrie

Hi Dan Guardino, I appreciate the comment, and I fully agree - Coverfly has NEVER and will NEVER post someone's screenplay anywhere without their express permission. Full stop. Wherever this idea came from is the result of misinformation. We are very sensitive to the fact that writers' intellectual property must be protected. Additionally, we'd love to provide you with more info, consider any suggestions for features or interface improvements, or answer any questions about Coverfly. Feel free to email or email me directly at

Philip Sedgwick

I know I said I was out of this thread, but I gotta chime in here.

Four scripts I entered into three contests appeared on Coverfly without my permission.

Scot, you claim that the scripts will not be made public without writer's consent. That is not the point.

The scripts were on I did not enter a contest and authorize Coverfly to put my scripts on their site in any capacity or for any reason.

You are failing to grasp that scripts on your platform without a writer's specific permission is not okay. In my mind, you have violated the intellectual property rights of four of my properties. It does not matter if the public can see them or not. You had mined my property from festivals and competitions, seized it, and it appeared on Coverfly. Evidently those scripts, until I requested to be removed from the site, were part of your database's number count.

Your Facebook page touts the fact that you have "quietly " helped contests and competitions with screenplay management and as a result you have amassed what you claim to be the industry's largest database of unproduced screenplays. How can you declare the right to claim possession, stewardship, or usage of those scripts for any purpose outside of your charge with festivals and competitions, without a legal document authorizing that usage from the screenwriter?

By maintaining this database and mining the screenplays you have been hired to manage and protect, and that by virtue of the fact that the scripts are on Coverfly, protected, private or otherwise, you are, in fact, in physical possession of screenplays you are not authorized to possess in any capacity not affiliated with contests/festivals/competitions.

Your website clearly and proudly claims access to these screenplays.

I stringently object to your semantic justifications.

Nicole Jones

I am new to the screenwriting world. But I have already had a play I wrote, stolen by an A list actor who came to see my play, and it ended up getting turned into a short film without my consent. Because they did not profit off of it, lawyers told me it would be a very expensive process and most likely not worth it. I was also a stand up comedian, no idea was original and comedians would always accuse each other of stealing material. My point to all of this? I have found material is never safe. I have chosen to not worry about it anymore. My first script is now doing extremely well on Black List, they tweeted me out, I'm on the top list and trending. (I just put it up there a couple of weeks ago.) I bought just a couple of reviews, scored a couple of 8's, so they gave me freebies which elevated my position on that site. I put it up on Coverfly yesterday. It's now on The Red List #2 for the week. My script placed in the top 15% in the Nicholl Fellowship so it all linked together to give me a score of 540. Coverfly has tweeted me as well, so it's just more exposure. This may mean absolutely nothing. I have no idea. But so far both Black List and Coverfly have been nothing but helpful and good to me thus far. Coverfly was really great in how fast they supported me. So I don't see the problem. I registered the script. The idea is truly original and specific. So if someone steals it? I will have a lot of proof it's mine. I don't believe they would get away with it. I have no representation, I have no clue how to even get representation. So I've been told this is one way to do it. I'll let you know if it works. We shall see. But I'd rather roll the dice and throw my script out there, rather than be overly protective and risk a far worse fate... it just collecting dust on my shelf.

Matthew Corry

I've only been hanging around the writing community for I'd say about the last 5 years and in that time I've seen a growing and disturbing trend about writers being convinced to pay money to try and break into the industry via many different ways. The fact is that 98% of people who attempt to write screenplays will NEVER make money off of them and paying money isn't going to change that. So yes, you'll get the odd person who'll say "X website worked wonders for me! Now I'm a paid writer!" but that person will be a very rare one when you look at the numbers. It's desperation that is driving these businesses and personally, I won't touch a lot of them with a 400 foot pole.

Dan Guardino

Nicole. I don’t enter contests because I don’t want or need to. Most people in the business don’t steal screenplays but they do take ideas from them and make them their own. I had a producer ask me to do do that once. If they do that there is nothing you can do because ideas aren't protected under copyright. You do have to get your script read and some people think contests are a good way to go but they are still a long shot. Even the ones that win seldom ever get sold or made. If someone wins or places it does gives them something to stick in the resume which is good if they don't have anything else. So they should be considered just a stepping stone into the business. If this is the same screenplay the A list Actor used to make the short film, your lawyer should at least send the Actor a strong letter notifying him or her that they are that they are infringing on your copyrighted material and stop using it. If you don’t hate that person and he or she is a bankable Actor there is another way might be able to take advantage of the situation without taking any legal action. The person that stole it is pretty stupid because if you sell it to a large studio or a big production company that has a lot of assets because they will crush them like the cockroach they are because they won't want that short floating around.

Nicole Jones

The play I referenced was from a long time ago. It has nothing to do with the script I currently am doing well with. The actor who took my play and made a short was a friend of a friend, so through our social circle it was called out, and I let it go after that. It would have not been worth alienating myself by doing anything more than saying “not cool” and moving forward. Regarding the script contests, it has been helpful to reference all of this to get people I know to read my script and take it more seriously. Again this is just my two cents.

Dan Guardino

Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it was something that happened recently. I’m not against other people entering contests it is just something I don't care to do to do myself.

Ian Davies

I've been having coverage from WeScreenplay for a couple of years now. I've always found their coverage to be excellent. I had some more this month on a script after a bit of a break, and found myself on Coverfly.

In principle, I don't mind the concept of Coverfly. Comments made on here about a threat to IP are relevant of course, and I hope they are clarified very soon.

The 'Industry Score' (the golden number to reach is apparently 500?) doesn't really bother me as in the end I just want good, honest coverage, which I feel I have always had with WeScreenplay.

According to Coverfly, my current score on a script is 486. After 3 extremely positive reads it had leapt up to 482 from 411. The readers gave top percentile scores of 95-100.

More coverage purchased.

Then a slightly strange occurrence when I received just a WeScreenplay percentile box with 'Pass' and a low score. I had no coverage with it.

I obviously replied wondering if there was a problem? I then received the actual coverage via a Word doc. As per usual, the coverage was excellent. The reader was, like the others, very positive about the script while pointing out some relevant niggles, and gave me a 'Consider' rating.

This was at odds with the percentile scoring and a 'Pass'. I therefore received a Coverfly score of 4 instead of previous 20's. I emailed asking for clarity and apparently the low percentile score was down to 'marketing'.

I was left still confused so went ahead with another read from another analyst. Got it back this morning with 'junk' score of 53 , a 'Pass' and a Coverfly score of...0.

Knowing that this is, like all creative arts, down to the taste of the reader, I accept not everyone will like my story. But it just seems that surely, everything here is working....backwards?

David Chester

Reading this thread has been very, very discouraging. I am sure I have experienced many of the things other writers on this thread have. I came here to see if there were any reviews of "Coverfly."

I am not convinced it is worth getting involved with, despite the founder coming on here and trying to clear things up.

I think the truth is, as someone else pointed out: it's now essentially pay to play. I feel that screenwriters are being fleeced on all fronts for almost everything, even a wisp of hope of having someone, anyone, become aware of their screenplay.

I think writers must find ways to raise money and make their own films, whether short or long. It might be a faster route. I don't know the answer; I wish I did.

Matthew Corry

Yes this "pay to play" aspect of the industry is disturbing. I get that production companies/agencies/management companies have to sift through garbage to find gold but the amount of money that can be poured into one script that goes nowhere is ridiculous. 99% of us will have no success and thats a winning business formula.

Matthew Corry

It seems that a LOT of competitions are affiliated with Coverfly. I just entered a script into a competition and a Coverfly account came up which I registered for. I was very surprised to discover another script I entered the previous year online which I could download. I don't remember being told my script would be uploaded to Coverfly or having the option to opt out. Its very disconcerting to see my work on a website I had no idea it was on.

Philip Sedgwick

Cambridge Analytica for screenwriters. You can write them and tell them to cancel your account and remove your IP. Several of us have done that. What they are doing should be illegal... but if not illegal, the elastic ethics of it should speak to even the most avaricious of tech titans... or in this case, maybe not.

Ian Davies

Have the number of contests affiliated gone up then? I try not to 'look for demons' as such but my one worry is that if one affiliated contest rejects your script, the others will as well regardless.

Matthew Corry

I took a gander at the Red List and wow, the amount of money some people throw into one script is insane. One had multiple placings through about 8 competitions and like 5 coverage services had rated it. Lots of money.

Mark Thomas

Hi Scot Lawrie I'm looking for that 1-click delete-everything button that you told Phillip "The Man Who Can" Hardy 4 months ago on this thread had been added to the Coverfly Dashboard .... could you post a screenshot indicating where it might be found? (Thanks for engaging everyone on here and on Reddit so thoroughly btw.) (Giving up figuring out how to tag people on here)

Nicole Jones

Richard what you are describing is separate from what is actually helpful about these contests. I also find it shady that the blog you posted was written by an anonymous guy "James" with no background listed. And you don't have much listed either. So your blog seems very fishy. Coverfly has worked for me. I have received very specific good critiques from both the Academy Nicholl Fellowship and The Black List. Both organizations showed me incredible support. Then I signed up for Coverfly and they said basically the same things. As far as my information being used incorrectly, well, I'm also on Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. If anyone is like me, our information is easy to access. I want more companies that support writers, like Coverfly, to do well. If you are a member of a diverse or under represented demographic, these contests succeeding IS incredibly helpful. For instance, I posted on my Facebook page, "Hey, I was just named a semifinalist for Screencrafts Fellowship." Within in minutes I receive a few people reaching out to me, one was a private email from one of my Facebook friends saying, "Hey let me help put you in contact with Geena Davis..." I have no idea how that will turn out, but that's the demographic I'm trying to reach. If you have a script like mine with a 62 year old female protagonist, these contests, and placing, and having them as something to "brag" about, is helpful. It has already helped me tremendously.

Victor Titimas

They basically "own" all the script notes/contests I ever thought about using for my screenplays... Where then should I turn now as I can't exactly call Steven Spielberg or James Cameron to ask for script notes...??

PS: Remind me to call Morgan Freeman when I'm done eating lunch. We'll discuss my latest work at my mansion in the Hills... He gives me notes, we can make a video conference with my old buddy DeNiro, see how he feels about a role.

I have a problem though: How can I meet Leo în Paris without Luc Besson figuring out... He always insists on directing my works, but I keep telling him he's not my style...

Me, I play golf with Michael Bay, and Jerry Bruckheimer, then we have a few beers, chill out and we exchange ideas about my scripts.. Yeah, who needs those script services and contests anyway??

It's not like I'm just a regular nobody with no connections, living outside US and having no one to turn to except those services... Me, I just turned down Bruce Willis, only to have Will Smith attached instead....:))))

No offense though, Bruce always gets my choices. He offers great notes and I can always give him a call...

PPS:I really considered using WeScreenplay at some point, because it looked ok to me and the prices were good. How involved was it with Coverfly? :(

Scot Lawrie

We're completely open to discussing our platform and company. However, we're not going to engage with a person hiding behind anonymous aliases online who is spreading falsehoods with no accountability.

We’ll continue to focus on building an awesome, free platform that helps screenwriters get discovered. We’re proud of the early success stories ( that Coverfly has already facilitated for emerging writers (one more just announced today), and we look forward to sharing lots of good news (and some game-changing new features) in the next couple weeks. Our team is hard at work developing this platform every day.

We’re open about how we collect and use data, and about the fact that our parent organization also owns other respected companies dedicated to developing and promoting talented emerging writers and filmmakers ( - and we welcome further questions anytime if you’d like to reach out directly or on our social media. I’m personally open to any and all feedback, whether praise or concern. Feel free to email me directly anytime:

Ian Davies

In danger of repeating myself here, but I have used WeScreenplay quite a few times for coverage.

With one or two exceptions, I have always found their notes excellent. I have used other services as well to compare.

My only issue generally with online coverage services is the utterly unpredictable randomness of the notes. One reader will give a recommend, another will give a pass. It's almost as if they have read two totally different scripts

Pierre Langenegger

At the risk of repeating myself, and I really don't want to offend anyone but, a writer paying for coverage, from a service, that provides a Recommend, Consider or Pass grading, is meaningless, pointless and an absolute waste of money. That grading can't be used for anything so why waste money paying for it. Pay for feedback if you want but never coverage.

Ian Davies

So would you sat Stage 32 feedback and coverage services are a complete waste of money?

Nicole Jones

You're not offending Pierre, but you should speak for yourself. I personally don't think the coverage service is a waste of money. It's a matter of taste if they recommend or not, however either way you are getting their notes along with it. I like knowing if the person who did the coverage would have recommended the script to those they worked with or not, (and I take it with a grain of salt.) But then I imagine what I would do if I had to accommodate their notes. I know I have to learn how to be flexible while not losing my original voice. I don't change my script every time I get notes, but I do use it as an exercise every time to see if I could make their notes work if I had to. And I think of ways I would debate not changing it if I really feel the note was wrong. It causes me to think about the business aspect of getting a script made in ways I hadn't thought of before. Being pragmatic and taking emotion out of it, this is all very useful and helpful if you look at it the right way. Coverage itself also gives me different options of ways to describe my script to other people.

Pierre Langenegger

Coverage is a service that is intended for the studio/producer to advise them whether they should consider investing any money in this project. Coverage needs to be specific to the needs of the studio requesting it as not all projects suit all studios. Thus it is not intended for the writer and therefore, is meaningless to the writer. Coverage to the writer is a waste of money regardless of who is offering it.

If paid feedback comes with a coverage section or coverage comes with a decent amount of constructive feedback, then that's fine but if any writer pays for just coverage, then they're throwing their money away. I provide feedback but I don't call it coverage or include coverage because that seems dishonest to me. I couldn't take someone's money for coverage because I know it won't help them.

Screenwriting is a highly competitive market consisting of tens of thousands (if not more) hopeful writers that are so desperate to get an advantage over others, with a high percentage willing to pay money for that advantage. Stage 32, like most other organizations, recognizes that fact and is happy to offer a service that people are willing to pay for. The problem with coverage alone is that it does not benefit the writer. It cannot help you improve your script.

Matthew Corry

I have used coverage and mostly have had a good experience. They genuinely can help you improve your work, especially if you're a beginner. I refuse to use the Black List and their ridiculous evaluations. Completely random nobodies who give a 7 then a 4 or an 8 then a 3. Waste of cash.

Ian Davies

That sounds very similar to my experience with Coverfly, I have to say....interesting that...

Mark Thomas

Don't know what to make of the "Coverfly expose" blog. (It does look like FilmFreeway doesn't include ScreenCraft among its associated festivals, but maybe they never did?) What I do know is that Scot Lawrie got back to me regarding my request for help in finding the "Delete Account" button on the Coverfly Dashboard. Scot didn't just point out where it was; he replied by saying he had just made it more visible, i.e., had given "Delete Account" its own tab on the user's Account page. Sure enough, there it was (is), in plain sight (, accessible from My Dashboard using My Settings located in the drop-down at upper right). I'll admit I found his responsiveness refreshing, even reassuring. Admittedly, I haven't actually tested that button... perhaps some of the posters who have expressed a desire to delete their information from Coverfly could try it out and report their success/failure on this thread?

Nicole Jones

Thanks for the comment Mark. I think your experience is one of the reasons why I do like Coverfly overall. Not sure what more you could ask for.

Scot Lawrie

Please see our open letter to the screenwriting community regarding some of the allegations made against us by the anonymous blog poster on this thread and elsewhere:

As always, please feel free to reach out directly if you have further concerns -

Leona McDermott

Lucy V Hay of Bang2Writers has been in contact with/has info on the person/organisation behind the original Coverfly blogpost.

Peter Roach

Leona, B2W has been banging on Coverfly. Following her on Twitter. WW3 going on there, or simply writing the truth.

Leona McDermott

Peter, never heard of Coverfly until a few days ago with all the drama. She's done a good job of gathering facts so people can make informed opinions. Nice to have someone with actual connections looking out for us writers (even though she runs a business).

Mark Thomas

8 hours ago Lucy wrote in support of Coverfly on this Reddit thread ( So I doubt it's Coverfly who's on the attack. And now her original (supportive) post on this thread is gone, though the thread remains (as of this writing). Maybe Coverfly is not the bad guy here?

Nicole Jones

Coverfly isn't the bad guy, and at this point I would hope it's obvious to everyone. This will be lengthy, but I'm tired of people anonymously talking on the internet so I want to be very transparent. At this point, the way this thread has evolved, I don't want to talk to people hiding behind a computer screen so I'm going to address this as if I was in front of you face to face. My motive to write this is I want to see Coverfly succeed because I'm lazy and their site makes things easy for me. There. That's my motive. And my other motive is the internet has begun to scare the crap out of me. Whether it's sabotaging websites or elections... I'm fed up with cowards anonymously having an impact.

I have no affiliation with Coverfly other than I entered a couple of contests just to see what the process is. I had never invested in a script in this way so I decided to try. Either way, my script will get made. Whether I win or not, it's not going to make or break my project. The only thing I hoped to gain from a contest is the possibility of a speedier path. If I win, I feel my script does deserve it, it's timely, and original. If it doesn't win... I have a life. I'll move on. Either way, I spent all day yesterday with screenwriters who've won all sorts of contests, and none of them do much for you if YOU don't work it. Which is why Coverfly actually does work because it helps you stay organized and it gives you an easy link to send to people to verify your successes.

If you want to discredit Coverfly, then tell me who you are. I want details.

Either way, I guess if I'm going to come out strongly defending something, then I too should do what I'm asking you to do. Here are my details. I have ran two successful businesses that I won't talk about here, I'm not going to exploit that for this. But I will exploit my husband, (he won't mind... ) who is also a successful business person. He was an editor of movie trailers who decided to start his own post production, movie trailer company a little over a decade ago. He started with just a few people and now has over 150 employees. We just went to the Golden Trailer Awards, and this company, Buddha Jones, was nominated for 30 awards. Dan built this company purely off of a good name, and a good reputation. He's a dude everyone loves because he is also transparent and open. I mention this because it gives legitimacy to what I'm saying, I do know how to tell a good business from a bad business, and now I am no longer anonymous to anyone on this thread. You can look for yourself, find out if what I just said was true, then once you believe me, hopefully you'll hear me out.

Being successful in business is all about reputation. Coverfly has not shown anything serious that warrants a negative reputation. And it is up to us to stand up for it if we want to use it. And I do.

The internet is dangerous as we all know. I don't want people to ever trash something that is working for other people. But if you feel you must... then YOU HAD BETTER BE FULLY TRANSPARENT. And I want to know your motive. You had better handle yourself professionally.

Blabbing on line just to blab without listing background or credentials isn't professional.

As screenwriters I think our best line of defense, if you have a legitimate issue, is to start internally. For instance, I once took issue with The Black List. I ordered a few reads, I got a couple of 8's... they offered me freebies, I accepted them, and decided to buy couple more. Then my script was read by a couple of people who clearly didn't like the genre of script I wrote so their scores reflected that. This took my rating, which was a 7.5 and was on their top list, trending, and they were tweeting me out, to no longer getting that attention. I was ticked off, because here I spent some money, only to shoot myself in the foot. But I didn't bad mouth them anonymously online, I contacted them directly. To their credit, they were extremely cool. But they did say that is the risk you take when getting too many reads, by numbers alone, your score will most likely go down. With that said, they still have been actively promoting my script in other ways, and all is well.

So with that story in mind, the issues people claim to have with Coverfly could be handled in the exact same way. Coverfly does respond quickly, efficiently, and if there are any issues it's clear their motive is still a positive one.

I don't understand why anyone would take the time to try and tear that down unless it was for sinister selfish reasons.

I spent this time writing this because if behooves me to help Coverfly stay afloat. I like the notes, I like the simplicity of the site. I use other similar sites as a director to submit films I've done, and this type of setup is what works for me.

If you are someone who wants to tear down Coverfly, tell me who you are, why you are doing it, and why you think you are benefiting me personally. Does your slander help me? I won't speak for any other screenwriter. Based on what you just read please answer that question. I want accountability. Or I want you to stick a sock in it.

Nicole Jones

CJ Walley, you also said, "Fuck off Shill" on twitter to me too when all I did was say I disagreed with your tactics, (much like what people are doing to Scot Lawrie on this thread.) It seems it's ok for you to have an opinion, but if anyone disagrees with it, you viciously attack. I don't know any of these people. I don't know Coverfly, and I don't know you. But Coverfly has responded properly to every question, comment and concern I've ever had. You said "Fuck off". In my opinion the only one I'm steering clear of is you.

Nicole Jones

At this point who cares about Coverfly I sure as hell am not getting paid. I don't know them from a hole in the wall. CJ... you're unprofessional and cruel. If anyone challenges you in a professional way you say, "Fuck off Shill". You are regularly condescending and it's creepy. I looked on your site before I knew anything about this. I WAS going to sign up for Script Revolution, but YOU creeped me out. This is exactly what I said, "Do you go to Vegas and warn people about gambling? Contests are a gamble. And we are grown ups who know this. We don't need you to "protect" us. Your tactics are condescending." To which you replied "Fuck off Shill" which seems to be your catch phrase. Then I said, "Cool! Learned a new word. “Shill: an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.” Thanks! I just love it when white men teach me new things." I was using humor to offset your insult. I have posted on twitter about screen craft, coverfly the black list and about the successes of my short film "Four Day Weekend". I soon will be posting about another film I directed called "Big Break". I originally used to post about an old blog I did that has 30,000 followers on YouTube and 30,000 followers on Facebook. Not bad for a crappy lil blog, but I made money off of it, and I wrote a book that did well. I took all that down because I often talked about sex and my two boys became teenagers, and I didn't need to embarrass the crap out of them by having a mom who writes about that kind of stuff on line. So that's why what you see is all recent. I switched to directing and screenwriting. And here I am. Now... once again... I am telling you exactly who I am and why I feel qualified to call you out specifically. You aren't doing any of that. Your behavior is childish, not professional, and creepy. I will reply to you all day long. I don't insult people and walk away. Like you just did... again.

Matthew Corry

Myself, I was surprised to see a Coverfly account set up after I entered a Screencraft Horror competition. I received no notification that a Coverfly account was setup and it was a little strange to see my script uploaded to a website without my knowledge. I don't know the full details of all of the accusations and the companies/competitions involved but there's a fair bit of smoke so far.

I've seen a good few prominent screenwriters on Twitter run down the competition/coverage industry in general as being filled with countless "experts" who have got zero experience in actually producing anything or having anything they've written put to screen. They're promising connections and not delivering. I have used coverage services and entered competitions but the truth is only a tiny handful of competitions will get you noticed like Nicholl or Austin. The coverage services out there with people who have no accolades of any type are ridiculous. They charge a fortune but have zero real experience. Once again, there's a very small handful that would actually be beneficial to writers and get them noticed.

In regards to Script Revolution, CJ has started that as a completely free service to help writers avoid spending the ridiculous amount of money that some have in the past. I have seen people listed on the Red List with 8 placings in competitions and 5 "recommends" from various coverage services all on the same script but still unrepresented and unproduced. Myself, I wouldn't touch places like the Black List with a 400 foot pole as you have zero idea who is evaluating your script, what their qualifications are and if they're actually reading the script in it's entirety. They make a fortune out of amateur writers hoping for their big break and have about a .002% success rate. At least when you pay for the pitch services on Stage32 you at least know it's going direct to the actual person and you can target their specific needs instead of blindly querying.

At the end of the day, it's up to individuals to judge what they do and don't use but the industry does need to clean up and stop rorting peoples wallets and taking advantage of their dreams.

Nicole Jones

I can see your point Matthew but I can't understand why anyone would think the right way to help screenwriters is to be so vicious and unprofessional. Script Revolution may be a good concept in theory, but the guy who runs it is clearly unstable. I wouldn't trust my work in his hands. But that's just me. Best of luck to you though on everything.

Nicole Jones

Matthew does seem to understand what you were trying to do. I hope he takes the idea, and does it right. There is a way to do it. But bullying, being cruel, and hurting screenwriters you don't agree with with verbal attacks isn't the way.

Matthew Corry

I certainly won't be attempting to take over from CJ with my own system because he's doing well so far. I haven't had the same interaction with him as you and I can't speak on the ones between you two either. I think it's relatively unfair to call anyone unstable or insult them because they don't agree with your point of view. My opinion still stands and I'll add to it, I wouldn't trust 90% of services/competitions out there.

Nicole Jones

Fair enough Matthew. I am posting this based on his personal attack on me which I don't deserve. Again we can all agree to disagree, but I can tell anyone on this thread to look at what this man has called me and other people. That is slanderous and I will continue to defend myself if need be.

Nicole Jones

Your anger has been really toxic. Why do you feel it's necessary to slander something that works for other people in such a vicious way? It works fine for me for what I'm doing. You seem to have a personal vendetta. And that vendetta could cost me, and others like me the reputation of something that works fine for us. I mentioned you being a white man as a joke, but there is something to that, because you aren't taking into consideration people who aren't like you. Your assumption that we all need you to destroy this process doesn't help those of us who are marginalized and finding creative ways to offset that. All the screenwriters who I was with yesterday were mostly all writers of color and women. They all do the contests, not to get some sort of golden ticket. They do it to get read. Or to put a toe in the water. None of us are stupid or so naive that without your help we are getting taken advantage of. I'm asking you this in a civil way. I don't want to fight, but I also will not shy away from standing up to you.

Dan Guardino

Matthew.These people are not part of the movie industry and as long as aspiring screenwriters are out there trying to break in there are going to be people out there trying to make money off them.

Nicole Jones

Hey Dan, I respect your point, but that is not true of all of us. I'm not sure where you assume none of us know our industry. I'm not sure what your background is, but some of us just enjoy certain aspects of it, and are very clear on what it is we signing up for. With that said, I'm not trying to talk anyone into contests, I'm just trying to stop the unnecessary bashing for no reason.

Lucy V Hay

So we're clear. There was and is no 'promotion' of Coverfly by Bang2write. If you don't know me, B2W is a screenwriting website with lots of free resources, articles, video, you name it with advice and help for writers. I'm an author in that I sell books and courses, plus budget-friendly paid-for script advice but that's it. There's no big cabal here, I'm literally a woman working out of her kitchen in Devon.

There is also a free Facebook group where I post daily and encourage peer review (yes, a paid-for script reader who positively encourages peer review!!!). Basically, no one need ever pay for anything, there's acres of stuff for free on there that could keep you going for years. I've even had Eric from this site on there, in fact.

So, this is what really happened re: my post on Coverfly, since CJ Walley is keen to obfuscate the issue even further (thanks Leona and any other writer from my free community for the vote of confidence).

I gathered the information and presented what I had found out. I reached out yesterday not only to Coverfly, but people at Screencraft; as well as another contest, Shore Scripts who actually use the platform (and are not part of Red Ampersand); PLUS a number of individual script readers who use, or have used it.

I asked them what Coverfly was for; how Coverfly was meant to work; plus why they thought all this bad feeling could have happened. I then wrote a lengthy post summarising these VARIOUS POVs, so my writers could make up their own minds. It's called 'due diligence'. I posted to the B2W FB group and to reddit (my post miraculously disappeared after CJ Walley referenced it on Twitter btw. I'm sure that's just a coincidence, though).

According to CJ Walley , I did a BAD THING, trying to protect my writers and give them information. He called me a 'shill'. Turns out he called others 'shills' too. What he could have done for the sake of his 2K writers in his community was actually reach out to his contacts and ask Qs on their behalf. He did not. He prefers instead to tweet about the imaginary contests I apparently run and how he won't allow them 'award status' on his Script Revolution site. Productive!

It should be noted B2W has no personal skin in this game. I don't enter script contests; I don't use screenplay hosting sites. However, lots of my Bang2writers do and as Nicole Jones says, many marginalised writers use screenplay contests as a potential strategy to break into the industry. Whether you personally think this works or not is immaterial; this is what they do.

So, with THIRTEEN years of (free!) community building with writers under my belt, I try to keep an eye on what is going on and if I can step in to allay my B2Wers' fears, I will. If people have left my Facebook group because they can't process 'due diligence', that's on them. Since I am the admin and can see who has left though, I know who has and whether they have a particular grievance over this, because I asked them.

If you want to engage with me about this, please do. I have an email contact form at I have ZERO to hide - you can literally see my stuff all over the internet if you Google me, including my own writing background - and I am always keen to hear from Bang2writers and help them wherever I can. This is what I do and B2W welcomes you with open arms. FOR FREE.

Dan Guardino

Nichole. I’m not bashing anyone. I just responded to what Mathew said about how the industry needs to clean up and quit taking advantage of screenwriters. I just said that will never happen. I never enter contests, pay script consultants or pay for feedback but I never suggested other people not do those things because I don't care what other people do. To answer your question my background is screenwriting.

Dan Guardino

CJ Yes, you have a good reputation and it hasn't change in my mind.

Lucy V Hay

Again CJ Walley wilfully misinterprets what I say. 'Due diligence' and offering writers actual information instead of online rumours is not 'throwing a community under the bus'.

But he knows this really.

The real irony is, CJ could easily save face by admitting he a) didn't have any real clue what was going on with any of this stuff AND b) he was fanning the flames of writer paranoia because he himself was alarmed by the rumours.

And being alarmed is understandable. There are real conversations to be had about IP and data in the post-GDPR age. Some of you may remember that free, cloud-based online screenwriting software company that had MASSIVE data loss a few years back and everyone lost their screenplays. No one wants to go through that type of thing again. But instead of losing our shit, I believe it's more productive to ask around - from more than one source - WTF is going on, instead of community leaders freaking out and then freaking out their communities.

Plus if CJ doesn't want to be associated with the May 24 blog in case of legal issues, it would be a good idea for him to stop calling out others' attempts to simply offer information up from a variety of sources so writers can have the background/facts and make their own minds up. LITERALLY trying to obfuscate the issue and ensure that writers can't access 'due diligence' is an extraordinarily ill-advised move.

But anyway, I need to actually go and write something, so I will bow out of this thread. I have made B2W's position clear and if CJ - or indeed anyone else - wants to confuse 'due diligence' with somehow trying to trick writers, I literally can't help them.

I will however end with a personal message to CJ:

Look CJ, I am sympathetic. All of us get it wrong sometime online, or about how careers work on our journeys to becoming pro writers. Maybe you don't understand how something like Coverfly works, or how due diligence works. Or maybe you have had your fingers burned by a particular service and now are scared. Or maybe you feel frustrated or 'locked out' of the industry, so these rumours with Coverfly feel personal; or maybe your writing career is not going the way you want it to. Maybe all of these things. Maybe something else. Who knows. Whatever the case, your persistence in going after Coverfly - in the face of the actual information and calling out those who ask a variety of sources about it - suggests a personal wound of some kind, reading your posts.

I've seen the above over and over, with writers in the last thirteen years. I know their hopes, so I know their fears too. You are no different in this regard. But B2W could literally have helped you, at least with Script Revolution if you had just asked me. I'm a fan of 'free', so B2W would have been happy to suggest to my writers - again for free! - about Script Revolution. I might have said it was worth a punt for listing their screenplays since they had to pay no $$$ upfront; or perhaps we could collaborated on some (free!!!) outreach. What a wasted opportunity.

Anyway, that's it from me. You can call this 'pop psychology' CJ or you can suck it up and move on.

For anyone else still reading:

I'm interested to see what happens next with Coverfly and yes, I will be sharing anything I find out about it (or indeed ANY OTHER service or product for writers) with my community in the name of 'due diligence'. This is so my writers can make informed choices about IF and WHAT they spend their money on, such as screenwriting contests. I've been doing it for 13 years and I'm not going to stop now.

Ian Davies

Lucy V Hay, I've just tried to open your website link at it gave me '403 Forbidden'....

Ian Davies

....and just read your post on FB....hope you get it sorted soon.

Nicole Jones

To Dan, I didn't think you personally were bashing, I understand your point. You and I also spoke earlier on this thread about another thing CJ directly insulted me about that I want to clear up. CJ said, "Put down the crack pipe and go back to claiming an a-List actor stole your short script." I'm not anybody of note obviously, but I've been around a lot. CJ, since you are insinuating I'm lying about that, which is also slanderous and meant to discredit me, I will be more specific. The "A list " actor I mentioned that took my play is still alive so I won't mention their name. But the actress who told me about my play being stolen is now deceased so I can mention her. Her name was Brittnay Murphy, who probably most people don't even know who she is anymore. She was a casual friend of mine. We were not close, but we both had a love of theatre so she always came to my plays. She told her friend about my play, then that friend had a husband who turned my idea into a short. Brittnay called me, told me, and felt terrible about it. There was nothing she could do, and nothing I could do. And I'm not mad about it, in a way I was flattered. But regardless it proves the point, no idea, or script is ever completely safe. I'm being specific, because I'm asking the same of everyone here. I'm sniffing around trying to assess what is good community, and what is crap. I personally know a lot of people, but all of them casually, none of them would I ever just approach and say, "here read my script". BUT as I have posted positive results I've received in contests, or things of that nature, the people I know casually, have actually been contacting me. Their interest was directly linked to my post. So that is how contests have been working for me. A lot of people are like me. We have some success in some areas, but are also torn on how to move forward in other areas. Which leads me back to CJ. I am not insulting you for being a white man, I live with 5 of them, including two white male cats. I love them all. But your path is different then mine. That isn't an indictment it's a fact. I will probably bail on this conversation now too, unless I procrastinate in another area of my life... again... to dive into this heated debate. To everyone on this thread who played nice, thank you for the debate. I do appreciate everyone's opinion and wish you all the best.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

I just opening and it's working fine.

Happy writing and reading!

Nicole Jones

A.S. Templeton that would be me. I'm not sure why I would owe CJ an apology. CJ said, "Fuck off Shill" after I asked him something that was direct, and to the point. If he wants to issue one to me though, I'll take it. I have never been in a debate online before like this because I usually like to look people in the eye and know exactly who they are.If you'd like to tell me more about yourself, then I'm all ears to listen to your criticism. I don't want to offend any other screenwriter. I'm taking issue with one person who verbally attacked me. And that does give me the right to reply back that I think he is creepy. With that said, I will now take my 15 year old sons advice at this point, he just read all of this over my shoulder and said, "Mom, you're wasting your time." I just spit out my coffee laughing. So all is well. I do hope everyone gets what they want out of their career.

Dan Guardino

Nicole. I never suggested you weren't telling the truth about your material being stolen.

I do remember Brittany Murphy. It is a real shame she is no longer with us. She stared in one of Michael Z Gordon’s films who I have worked with before and wrote a couple of screenplays together and consider him a friend. As they say Hollywood is a small town.

Anyway, like I said I don’t have anything against contests. Personally, I just don’t have a need for them. If I want someone to read one of my screenplays I just call my agent.

I do have some experience in the business. I worked as a Staff Writer and a Script Consultant for two different production companies and wrote a few screenplays on assignments. I currently have five feature films in various stage of development including two I am producing with Judy Norton and one with Smith Glover.

Dan Guardino


I agree with your son. It is easy to get into these types of discussion, but they usually turn out to be a complete waste of your time. The only thing I have to sell is my time and my talent I probably don't have enough of either to waste.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy


Awesome journey you've taken on this Coverfly hoopla. I commend your pragmatism and intestinal fortitude in the process of extracating yourself from the what became a vexing situation. And, thanks for sharing it with the readers of this thread.

My take away is if the fly doesn't bother me, I won't bother it.

Mark Thomas

I would pay to see that doc.

Martina Cook

Well, at least now we know. Strange not everyone sees a breach of trust on their behaviour. Coverfly’s answer seems to say they do nothing wrong, which is very seen so far.

Matthew Corry

Yeah I wouldn't use the Black List ever again. Charging the amounts they do with the teeny tiny success rate they have and no-name readers with random evaluation scores, doesn't make me a fan. Screencraft was getting called out fairly heavily on Twitter only days ago by John Gary and Josh Olsen for having less than clear terms and not being able to give straight answers to questions.

All in all, CJ had reason to apologize but we all have reason to be wary. Amateur writers are targeted by opportunists on a daily basis promising stuff that 99% of us will never see. We all need to be wary and make our own decisions. A lot of actual working screenwriters say competitions did zero for them in regards to being repped and produced. I'll use only specific ones from now on but I still think that writing a specific genre, having a solid number of decent scripts under your belt and pitching directly is the way to go. There are other ways and i'll try them but slamming thousands into competitions and coverage services isn't one I'll ever do.

Matthew Corry

Ok Nicole I think you should just drop it. Dirt was thrown in both directions, CJ apologized and has clearly done enough and what has happened here has got zero to do with ageism the same way it had nothing to do with mansplaining or CJ being white. The only identity politics here are being brought in by you. Be a grown up and move on, stop trying to milk it.

Matthew Corry

Once again it's about identity politics. What does the percentage of women on Script Revolution have to do with any of these conversations? Nothing. Just stop.

Matthew Corry

I don't need an apology. I just don't like it when identity politics are forced into an argument or conversation. Argue on facts and I'll be right there with you, bring in identity politics and you'll lose me.

Matthew H Emma

For what it's worth, the limited amount of success I've had was due to receiving notice on sites akin to what CJ has created. I thank CJ for giving writers the chance to showcase their work.

Michael Lederer

I am an American writer from Palo Alto now living in Berlin, Germany. I have published two novels and two short story collections, have written articles for Politico and others, and 18 months ago decided to dedicate myself -- quite late in the game, as I'm now 62 -- to learning how to write screenplays, basing three so far on my own novels and short stories.

A medical student must pay a zillion bucks for medical school before reaping the rewards of their chosen profession. That is how I see my own substantial investments in...Black List evaluations, Stage 32 pitching and coverage feedback, online writing courses with the likes of Richard Walter, former head of the UCLA screenwriting program, and finally, most recently, contest submissions with feedback. Not having an inside industry track, how else to better my scripts but than to subject them, time and time again, to industry scrutiny via these platforms? Even when getting feedback with which I at times disagree, usually there has been at least SOMETHING, and often a great deal, in that feedback that has helped me improve my scripts.

Coverfly has been one of the many resources I have used. Recent feedback from WeScreenplay was particularly helpful, encouraging, and appreciated. I have placed as a semi-finalist in two Screencraft competitions, separately am now a quarter-finalist in the Slamdance competition, and believe by exposing my work any and everywhere I can, including via Coverfly, that I am marching my way to writing the best scripts I have in me. That is my realistic goal. If anyone can report that Coverfly has hurt them, share that. My own experience is that it is another helpful piece of this puzzle I am trying to put together. And I am grateful for this added resource.

Dan MaxXx

I hope no one deletes this thread. The best!

Eric Christopherson

I've been on the Red List with a script. The exposure didn't lead to anyone contacting me about the script, though it'd attracted two producers previously. I suppose it didn't hurt though.

Michael Lederer

As screenwriters on the Red List are named -- purpose of the beast -- I suppose a bold move would be if someone would contact them directly (maybe they're Stage 32 members, on IMDB, or even via FB) and canvas as to how many report their placement there has advanced their scripts, and/or careers. Hearing straight from them, as in the case of Eric above, would confirm -- or not -- if Red List really makes any difference for a writer. I've currently got a script with a 485 score on Coverfly, within shooting distance of a Red List placement, and after reading the above thread wonder if I'm waiting for the Easter Bunny, or if that might yet translate to a real-world something.

Nicole Jones

Hey Michael,

Since you asked, here's my experience with it... (for anyone else on this thread, I will continue to respond to anyone new. I think most of us are done with this conversation otherwise.)

I personally use The Red List very strategically and that HAS been working. But if you aren't like me, either way, in my opinion The Red List just puts all your successes in one place so you don't have to babble off all your "contest placements", which some may say sounds amateurish. (John August and Craig Mazin have a podcast Scriptnotes, where they say mentioning all of these things isn't good.) So with Coverfly, you don't have to say a word, it's listed there for anyone interested. However, people like John August and Craig Mazin who say the traditional route is the only proper way can't really speak with experience for people like you and I in 2018 where there is so much more need for content, and more people are producing things independently. So while I appreciate their input, I take their advice with a grain of salt. (It reminds me of dating sites, ten years ago they were considered an embarrassment, now most people use them.)

I've only put one of my scripts out there this year for the first time. I have a 577 on Coverfly. I placed as a quarterfinalist in Academy Nicholls 2018, a semifinalist in Page Awards 2018, a second rounder in Austin Film Fest 2018, (I am going to the festival to accept all the perks that come with it. Could be a waste of time I don't know.) a quarterfinalist in Slamdance and Finishline and still in the running, Screencraft fellowship 2018 semifinalist, Screencraft Sci-Fi finalist 2018, Bluecat semifinalist 2018, and on The Black List, I was tweeted out as a best script of the week recently, got a couple of 8 reviews, (however with The Black List, it did backfire on me, because I took advantage of the freebies, and the free readers did not like my script so that brought my average from an 8 down to a 6.8, so that hasn't been too helpful.)

Out of all of this, I've only had a couple of producers reach out and a couple of agents. Nothing else happened.

To be fair, my script has a 62-year-old female protagonist and that has been a hard sell regardless.

With that said, as I mentioned in the beginning of this, I had a plan regardless. I'm independently producing my script. And I'm filming a documentary on ageism in Hollywood while doing it. So this all plays into that. And I am active on social media, so when I post a placement, or a Red List number, THAT has been causing a lot of people to reach out to me indirectly. With the help of these contests and The Red List, I've managed to raise half the budget needed to actually make this film. Without all of these placements, and without The Red List, I would NOT have been able to do that. I can't just tweet out, "Hey I have a script I want to produce, anyone interested?" But can I tweet out, "Hey I'm the #1 Fantasy Script for the year on The Red List".

If you are not doing any of this with a plan of action, it becomes a lottery ticket to an extent. It does work for people on occasion, and I do think as the entertainment industry evolves it's fair to say not to rule out anything. What might not have worked as well even a few years ago, is changing daily. So I don't think any of this is a waste. And you get notes regardless if you want to. Most of the top contests have given me really great notes. And The Red List is a free place to keep it all organized. I see nothing wrong with it no matter how well it works for you.

Michael Lederer

Hi Nicole,

So grateful for the time and care you took with your above comment. You offer hope, at the same time pop the bubble a little when it comes to this writer's fantasy that with placements like yours, doors crash down as agent after manager rush forward with drawn fountain pens to ink contracts. Anyway, with markedly less screenwriting success than you've had, I'm nevertheless pursuing a similar strategy of getting my scripts out there to any, and now every, reputable, even half-reputable, venue I can reach. No one's going to rifle through my drawers or hard drive to find the stuff. So best to get it out there. Good to hear that Red List has served you well. Your experience, and the kindness of your response, are encouraging. Thanks.

Michael Lederer

P.S Nicole, I just checked out SHRIMP on the Red List. Well done! Like your protagonist, I'm also 62. The hero of my script SAVING AMERICA, a man in his 60s, is paired with a 19-year-old travel companion (Sancho, to his Donkey Hotey) to reach across the generations...via the box office. My one other script I'm now circulating, CADAQUES, based on my novel, is part auto bio and there I reached back to my 33-year-old self, again partly for box office consideration. The ageism you speak of, like other isms, is the bane not only of the screenwriter, but of us all. I hope to see your documentary one day!

Kevin Carothers

Hmmm... Coverfly.

I've got some scores there for some screenplays -

They seem to be an addition for every time you submit and are accepted through them to a festival. And you score more for every round your work enters.

So - Is there a difference if Screenplay A is submitted and accepted by five festivals against Screenplay B that made finalist at another? That whole process seems opaque to me. But IDK.

Nicole Jones

Michael, thanks for the kind words. Your scripts sound very interesting. Cadaques sounds really promising. Your age and experience is a huge asset to writing it. I would love to see more mature characters period regardless of gender. It's new territory, and allows for more layered stories. So cheers to you, I wish you all the success in the world. Kevin, I spoke with Scot Lawrie at Coverfly about this very thing. There are specific analytics Coverfly does use. If you ask yourself, I have found them to be very transparent. It isn't arbitrary. Keep in mind, all the contests that allow their placements be listed there, (including Nicholl Fellowships,) would not allow their name be linked in anyway if it were otherwise. If this was not the case, I'd be the first to call it out.

Michael Lederer

Excellent point, Nicole. Austin, Page, Nicholl...I also don't believe these top contests would link to a second grade service. The old saying: the company one keeps reveals a lot.

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