Sunday, June 29, 2008


Hi folks, here are the writers who have made the Writers on the Storm 2008 quarterfinals so far. These are folks who sent their script to Coverage Ink for analysis and received a free contest entry. Their scripts scored a 'consider with reservations' for script or better--which is right around top 10% of submissions (same as if you submit it directly to the contest at

Congrats, folks!

Heather Upton, Belfast Boys
CA Bennett, Death Valley Dig
Kelly Murry, La Matadora
AC Yacobian, Rasta Pasta
Aaron Marshall, The Last Adventure of Martin Finch
Alan Sproles & Lizanne Southgate, Eden Lost
Rich Sheehy, Sliding Into Home
Paul Sargia, The Man Who Could Stop Time
Steven Zawacki, Orcadia
Suzanne Darling, Brush With Fame
Dennis Bailey, Pound For Pound
Chris Jopling, Blacklights
Andrew Zeoli & Christian Wagner, Blue Ballers
Attila Nagy, Garen Inboden & Gilbert Inboden, Enlighten Up
Russ Meyer, Organic Svengali
Vito LaBruno, Last American Guido
Adam Nur, Jetpack

Contest regular deadline is 7/11. Final deadline is 7/27. Check out the website for more info. So let's all root these guys on! And still time for you to get yours in, too. We look forward to you blowing us away!

Jim C.

Showdown of the Godz at Comic-Con!

Coverage, Ink's first production, the 15-minute comedy Showdown of the Godz, premieres on the west coast at Comic-Con 2008! Needles to say, we're pretty stoked.
The film screens Saturday, July 26 from 4:15-4:50pm in room 26AB.
Jesse (David Gasman) is the world’s biggest Japanese monster movie fan. Trapped in a stultifying insurance job and a deteriorating marriage, the only bright spot in his life is his obsession with a certain Japanese monster, which he shares with his adorable 7-year-old daughter Cassie (Ayla Guttman.) Jesse’s power attorney wife Mary (Alixx Schottland) drags them into counseling, where Jesse reluctantly promises he will forgo all things monstrous for one week to focus on the family.

But when Jesse sees a rare monster toy on display at NYC’s Monster Sushi, he challenges proprietor Ono (George Takei) to a Japanese monster trivia contest. If Jesse wins, he gets the coveted toy. If he loses, he owes Ono $1,000. Ono accepts on one condition: Jesse must face “a representative from Monster Sushi” -- legendary Japanese monster movie archivist Matsuhisa Jin. Jesse goes into geek overdrive preparing for the showdown. But on the eve of the event, Mary leaves him. Devastated, Jesse is a no-show. But wise Ono has one last surprise up his sleeve that may just pull the family back together...

Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Script Girl Report Fri June 20th 2008

Who is she? We don't know, but she's got her finger on the pulse, and she's bringing it to the people! Here is the latest Script Girl spec sales report. The fact that there's enough activity to even warrant these reports is, of course, awesome.

Click above to watch!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


by Jim Cirile

We first learned about last year. Run by a mysterious entity known only as “The Insider,” is a real, live industry tracking board. Uh... what’s that? Well, actual movie industry development folks --- agents, managers, creative executives and assistants -- use this board to swap info about specs going out, who’s looking for what. It’s a peek behind the curtain -- but if used properly, it can also be a significant marketing tool. How? Read on.

We caught up with The Insider, where he was busy doing… we can’t tell you. Anonymity is fine by us when we can be the beneficiaries of his (or her) cunning ;)


Jim Cirile: Tell us, what was the genesis of

The Insider: was started to provide an open online network for entertainment industry professionals and aspiring professionals to share information. It has since evolved into the #1 interactive online tracking board in Hollywood. The site draws the tastemakers and buzzmakers of the entertainment community: A-list screenwriters, directors, and producers, top agents, elite managers, and executives from the major studios and production companies, as well as those aspiring to these positions.

Jim: For those not in the know, gives us a quick primer on what tracking is. Many writers have no clue tracking even exists.

Tracking is essentially the sharing of information between entertainment professionals. This includes new scripts/books/comics hitting the market, up-to-the-minute tracking reports on which literary properties are getting heat or selling, cool industry jobs, executive hires and fires, and other industry news.

Jim: But why is it beneficial for companies who may be rivals, say, both bidding on a script, to share information?

Insider: If someone is bidding, they won't share the information... but the agent or manager sure will in order to try and create a more intense bidding situation. People know that sometimes you've got to give to get. As more and more members join and start contributing, our site gets even better, and that benefits everyone.

Jim: Tracking can kill a spec faster than a poison arrow to the heart... or it can help create buzz.

Insider: Yep. When a script is listed on our site, it's amazing how quickly a writer and their representation receive interest from a who's who of the Hollywood community. was created as a positive and productive place for the entertainment community to conduct business. We track a spec's positive movement mostly. If something isn't connecting or selling, it's obvious...

Jim: Okay, so can you give us a heads-up on how works?

Insider: If a literary property is going out from legitimate representation, the rep/writer/producer lets us know and we get it up on the site. Then, the fun begins as reps receive requests for the script. We track the script's progress as it moves into production companies and studios and progresses towards a potential sale or pass. We also post a ton of other valuable information, as well. One very popular section of our site is our jobs section, where we list great inside job listings that you won't find anywhere else. These include: creative executive positions, jobs assisting executives at companies like Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and even openings to assist A-list actors.

Jim: Cool. Who are some of the agencies, prodcos, etc., who use trackingb?

Insider: You name the studio or agency, and we've got someone from there on our board. The William Morris Agency, CAA, Paradigm, UTA, Paramount, Universal, CBS Films, Fox, Katalyst Films, Flower Films, Gold Circle Films, JK Livin, Infinitum Nihil, Kaplan/Perrone, Energy Entertainment and the list goes on and on... People are always surprised at the high level of execs trolling our board.

Jim: Can someone who signs up for trackingb post anything they want to the boards, or are they just a fly on the wall? And if you can post, how do you prevent someone from just spamming the whole group and thus turning execs off?

Insider: The board is run by The Insider... Only (s)he can put up a post in order to protect the integrity of the board. However, comments on posts are allowed. We only list literary material that we can confirm is going out from legitimate representation.

Jim: So clue us in on how subscribing to trackingb can be useful to a writer.

Insider: Obviously, the more you understand the game, the better chance you have of winning at it. Seeing the kinds of concepts and scripts that generate interest from representation and executives can be enormously helpful for a writer interested in selling scripts to Hollywood. As is knowing who the players are and how the process of selling a spec script works. The more informed you are as a writer, the better chance you have of succeeding. We're just a piece of that info puzzle.

Jim: What are some things writers who sign up for trackingb need to be aware of -- rules of etiquette, pros and cons?

Insider: Just understand that we're not an agency. We're here to report on scripts that are represented and being taken out to the market. Our screenplay contest is our vehicle for helping new writers connect to the industry. And from our inaugural contest, a bunch of our award winners
secured legitimate representation, and one has major interest in his finalist script right now. We hope to be reporting its sale on our site soon!

Jim: Thanks so much for your time, dude... or dudette. Anything else you'd like to tell our readers?

Insider: Yeah... Get The Inside Track today! Only $69/year. Cue the used car salesman, "This deal won't last long!"

Check them out at

Writers on the Storm... Stormwatch!

Hey Stormies!

Things are getting pretty busy around here, and that’s the way we like it. It’s always like that as you enter the final weeks of a contest. I hope you’re all shining that script to a blinding brilliance. When ready, dazzle us! And yes, if you need extra time, our final deadline is 7/27. It’s $40 until 7/11, but the price goes up $10 after that.

And now just like last month, it’s my pleasure to present our current quarterfinalists. These are folks who entered the contest via submitting their scripts to Coverage Ink for screenplay coverage, and they represent approximately the top 10% of submissions to CI since the contest began.

Congrats to our Writers on the Storm 2008 quarterfinalists so far:

Heather Upton, Belfast Boys
CA Bennett, Death Valley Dig
Kelly Murry, La Matadora
AC Yacobian, Rasta Pasta
Aaron Marshall, The Last Adventure of Martin Finch
Alan Sproles & Lizanne Southgate, Eden Lost
Rich Sheehy, Sliding Into Home
Paul Sargia, The Man Who Could Stop Time
Steven Zawacki, Arcadia
Suzanne Darling, Brush With Fame
Dennis Bailey, Pound For Pound
Chris Jopling, Blacklights

As always, you can enter either through Coverage, Ink or directly to the contest at We’ve also enabled entry through, so if you already have your information uploaded there, you can enter WOTS zippy quick. Some of you are even -- gasp! -- still sending in hard copies via U.S. Mail! Amazing how few, though. The age of the PDF is upon us for sure!

And now, I’ve got scripts to read! Lots of ‘em. Strangely, a lot of you out there want to win 10 grand. Nowadays, that’s a good three fill-ups! (not really laughing.)

Love y’all!

Portia Jefferson
Writers on the Storm Contest Coordinator

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pitchfest! Go! Now!

Interview by Jim Cirile

Great American Pitchfest blazes into the Marriott Burbank Hotel & Convention Center this weekend (June 20-22). Over 100 companies are slated to attend. You ARE going, aren’t you? ;)

Why do we love Great American Pitchfest so much? Simple – unlike other pitch fests that limit you to 4 or 5 meetings, with Great American Pitchfest, the average is **12-20 meetings**, sometimes more -- all for the same flat fee. Plus all day Saturday they’ve got an incredible array of FREE seminars by top screenwriting gurus like Blake Snyder and Michael Hauge. So even if you’re not pitching, stop by beautiful downtown Burbank this weekend! Pitches are on Sunday, and there’s no better way to barnstorm a whole passel full o’ industry lickety-split.

Coverage, Ink has been to many pitch fests, but we really like the way these guys run their ship. Like CI, the principals are writers themselves and really do care about empowering emerging screenwriters. For more about the Pitchfest, including companies list & bios, and to enroll, please visit their web site at And don’t forget the discount code listed above to get $50 off!

We chatted with writer/producers Signe Olynyk and Bob Schultz, partners in the Great American Pitchfest, to find out exactly how their event works and what to expect.


Jim Cirile: One thing that always petrifies me going into one of these events is not understanding how it works. You don’t know what to expect. Are you going to be herded into lines? Will you get to meet with the exec you want? Give us an idea of how the mechanics of the Pitchfest work.

Signe Olynyk: Ours is quite different from any other pitch event out there. First of all, we take the biggest ballroom that we can find, and we have at least 100 companies throughout this room. They’re all spread at least ten feet apart so there’s privacy between the tables. And in the hallway outside, we have 100 corresponding lines. Say you want to meet Village Roadshow at table 30. You would get into line 30. And you also get the booklet, and the booklet is probably also worth the price of admission. The booklet has all 100 companies listed, but it also has at least a page for each dedicated to what they’re looking for, what their credits are and what they’ve done in the past.

Bob Schultz: What they’re *not* looking for can be just as important.

Signe: Exactly. It’s also got information about stars they have relationships with, budgets they work with, advice to writers and their contact information. At some other pitch fests, you don’t even get the name of the person you’re meeting with. You also get this information in advance, so you know which companies to target specifically for your project.

Jim: How do you manage 100 lines?

Signe: You have a great guy like Bob involved.

Bob: Armed with the booklet, most of the participants arrive with a strategy in mind. You have people who know exactly what they’re going for when they get into that line. So managing the lines is not that difficult. Controlling 500 participants is not that hard when we’ve given them the information ahead of time.

Jim: Let’s say you’ve got a big producer whom everyone wants to talk to, and that person has 25 people on line. But maybe there’s a lesser known or emerging producer with only two or three people in line. Is it a concern that some participants might exhaust all their time waiting in line for the big boys?

Signe: For every five participants who attend, we invite another company. So the lines rarely get longer than five people on average. And for those companies that we expect to be more popular, we try to get more than one representative from the company. That right away cuts the lines in half.

Bob: Also it’s a strategic choice. Some people are going to target one company in particular, and they’re satisfied because they’re focused like a laser beam on exactly who they want. Other people’s strategy is to pitch to as many people as possible. So the different approaches (people take) helps our lines stay more even-keeled.

Jim: How do you manage the timing? Does everyone get five minutes, and you just ring a buzzer at the end of each round?

Signe: We have a cowbell that rings at five minutes, and we also mark the 4-minute mark so they know they have a minute left in their pitch. But the meetings can be as long as the executive wants. All we do is simply hold the line.

Jim: Really? Does that happen often? And does it create any sort of resentment?

Bob: One of my favorite aspects of our event is the atmosphere of community, “we’re all in this together.” Even if I’ve been waiting on line for two or three rounds for, say, 20th Century Fox or Lionsgate, when the writer who got the extended meeting comes out, he’s getting high fives and fist bumps. Everybody is excited to cheer on somebody who found success. It inspires everyone else. A rising tide raises all ships.

Jim: Wow. Okay, let’s say an executive decides to keep a writer for an extra two minutes. They’re now three minutes into the next pitch cycle. What do you do at that point? Does the next guy only get three minutes? And if you hold the line, what does the executive do in the meantime — sit staring into space?

Bob: We encourage the executives to do things such as drink water and use the restroom as well.

Jim: Oh, you fiend! So it would actually behoove an exec to hold a writer for an additional 30 seconds past the beginning of the round, then kick him to the curb so he can have 4½ minutes off, right?

Bob: (laughs) Unfortunately, labor laws prevent us from chaining our executives to their seats.

Jim: It all sounds ridiculously organized. How did you guys arrive at this system?

Signe: I started the event in Canada, actually. I had gone to a number of screenwriting conferences in Los Angeles as a writer and as a producer, and I got very frustrated. I felt they were disorganized and had a lot of problems. For the record, I want to say I encourage everyone to go to every event they can, because every opportunity you can get to meet someone who might further your career is something you have to do. So I started the event in Canada, and it worked great, so I thought we should take this to LA because I didn’t see the events in Los Angeles were getting any better. I felt writers were being taken advantage of.

Jim: At this point, how many companies do you have attending? And how many are last-minute additions?

Bob: Over 100. We wound up with a grand total of about 110 last year. We probably (confirmed) as many as 50 or 75 of them in the last week. The industry is so built around networking that as soon as we got two or three really good companies, then suddenly the number of companies grew exponentially because everyone calls their friends. Next thing you know, executives are doing all our work (recruiting other) executives for us.

Signe: We’ve got companies like Village Roadshow this year, Morgan Creek, Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight… we’ve got more agents contacting us than we’ve ever had. This is the best year that I’ve seen yet for our participants to really get some consideration, be it getting their scripts optioned, hired for writing assignments or signing with agents or managers.

Jim: One of my best connections in town I met at a pitch event 10 years ago. I think it’s important for writers to keep in mind that it’s not just about selling something or getting signed but possibly creating new long-term relationships.

Signe: It happens all the time. A woman called me up just a few weeks ago to tell me that her short was being screened in Cannes. She got the short made through connections she made at our Pitchfest. We’ve had lots of people sign with agents or managers. We’re around 60 success stories now. Every year we get at least ten more.

Bob: Last year I ran into a couple of friends of mine at my college reunion and told them what I was doing. They loved the idea of Pitchfest and decided to come out. They’re now moving forward with their pilot. They went from having this idea collecting dust on a shelf to in a matter of weeks actively developing a show with a producer. Coming to the event can definitely be the spark that starts the fire.

Jim: Thanks, guys, for hosting such a great event. See you there! for more info


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Yes, a year later, we are still getting some play on Writers on the Storm 2007 Runner Up script “Algo Por Mi,” written by Juan Sebastian Jacome. Just this week the script was requested by George Lopez’ company Encanto Enterprises, as well as by Gregory Nava’s agent at ICM. Sometimes these things take time to build a head of steam. In the meantime, Mr. Jacome is building quite a head of steam on his own, and he wrote in to share this great news: “I got a screenwriting fellowship in Spain. It's kind of like a big deal. It is a Lab organized by Fundación Carolina and Ibermedia (like the Sundance Lab). Only 16 Latin Americans get in every year. I am one of them this year.” Jacome’s strong showing in Writers on the Storm helped get him in. Big round of applause for Juan! Go, go, go!!!!