Screenwriting : The Difference Between COVERAGE and SCRIPT NOTES/CONSULTING by Danny Manus

Danny Manus


I think this is an important topic because I see these words being used interchangeably, and while I understand why... they are very different things! Here's how I differentiate them - Coverage is written so that no one else has to read your script. Notes are given so that everyone else will WANT to read your script. Coverage is a 3 page document with a short synopsis, 1-2 pages of basic general thoughts on the script and its weak/great points, and usually some little 5-point grading sheet. And it's usually not done for the writer. Coverage is what you learn in your first week as an intern. Coverage is usually done by interns, assistants and readers. Notes are in-depth feedback (usually 4-15 pages) to the WRITER going through all the elements of the script that need work, and also constructive suggestions and options on HOW to fix it, as well as the writing in general. Notes should be done by those with experience dealing with scripts, writers, development, etc. And they take a pretty darn long time to learn how to do well. Coverage probably should not cost you more than $75. Notes are often much more expensive...and expansive. I know we will go on using these terms of coverage and notes interchangeably, but just know when you are asking people for coverage, you're not actually asking them for NOTES. And If you are a new writer, you probably do not need Coverage at all. You need notes.

Dina Arsenault

Thank you for this, I had no idea about the distinction!

Emi Sano

I've been a script reader and written coverages. Although it's nice to see your weak and strong points, I feel as a new writer you'd want to know what you need to fix as a whole. The place I interned at did want me to indicate the exact lines of the script that I was referring to, but I'm not sure if that's true for others. And on another note, if you want to learn or grow more in your writing, I suggest being a reader and write the coverages, because I've learned from others mistakes and successes.

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