Script Coverage Services & Pitchfest Scams?

by ScreenCraft on February 18, 2013

Yesterday on Deadline Hollywood, David Konow published an excellent article entitled “Are Script Expos, Coverage Services & Pitchfests Scams?”


The article emphatically states:


“Yes, the business of screenwriting will always attract shysters willing to prey on people with a dollar and a dream. Yes, there are many people who talk a similar rhetoric about ‘paradigms’ and ‘character arcs’ so it all feels like a con or cult built around scripting for showbiz.”


Many of the responses to the article agreed with the above assertion, and you want to know why? Because it’s true.


Let’s be blunt. This is Hollywood we’re talking about. Greed, groupthink, insincerity, cheating, bald-face lies, backstabbing, scheming…it’s all part and parcel of Tinseltown. Everyone wants to make money, and those that are making money want to make more money and show it off. This is a town driven by commerce, and anyone in the Industry who claims to not care about money is full of it. Even the legions of starving artists…those denizens who live 8 to a room in Silverlake  and Culver City and swear they’ll never compromise their art…not one of them would turn down a check for $100,000 if a producer dangled it in front of them. Money talks.


There are dozens of coverage companies and individuals who offer to read your script and provide notes for a fee. There are legions of screenwriting blogs and competitions, workshops and collectives. It’s a cottage industry that’s been around since the late 80s, and it’s here to stay.


Many of these outfits are indeed scams, either inadvertently or intentionally. Plenty promise to give you the notes that will transform your script. Plenty promise to get you an agent and get your script read and sold. Very few of these companies can deliver those things, even if they genuinely believe that they can. I know about this firsthand because I worked for miserable wages for several of these companies when I first got started in the Industry.


The obvious question you should be asking now is “is Screen Craft different from the rest?”


We firmly believe that the answer is yes, and we wouldn’t be entering the fray and trying to make a dent if we didn’t. Yes, absolutely, we’re a business. We want  your money. If we can’t cover our overhead and turn a profit, we have no reason to be. But we’re also about providing a quality consulting service and we want to develop and nurture symbiotic relationships with great writers.


We’re in the business of harvesting stories…great, diverse stories by writers with exciting, commercial voices that are begging to be heard. We don’t see ourselves as an open-and-shut, cookie-cutter notes service. We’re an independent development arm that aims to provide new and worthy but unproven writers with access to traditional channels they might not get otherwise.


We’re radicals who are willing to hunt for the diamonds in the rough that major studios and production companies don’t have the means or inclination to find themselves. We’re treasure hunters with autonomy and means. We’re independent and part of the system at the same time, and that’s a unique status to have.


What sets us apart? In a nutshell, three things: the quality of our notes, our access to readers and development personnel at major companies with cachet, and our accessibility and transparency.


Whereas most script contests and consulting firms remain shrouded in remote anonymity, we’re approachable. You can talk to us on the phone. You can reach us by email. We’ll tell you exactly what we think, where we’re sending your script, and we’ll keep you in the loop all the way. It’s in our best interest to find and nurture great material and develop ongoing relationships with quality writers, so we have every incentive to go to the mattresses for you. Give us a chance to try. We don’t promise miracles…just honesty, valuable expertise, and fairness.

That may not be the moon, but for Hollywood, it’s pretty good.

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