Monday, June 30, 2014


Ahoy, fellow scribes! We here at Coverage Ink have something mighty cool we're whipping out on ya.


Here's how it works. For a limited time only, two incredible literary representatives -- Jake Wagner from Benderspink and agent Chris Mills from Magnet Management -- have agreed that they will personally read any scripts submitted to Coverage Ink for script coverage that garner a "Consider" for script (roughly the top 5-10% of submissions on average.) Wagner will read the feature scripts and Mills will read the TV pilots.

So here's your chance, folks.  The door is open.  If you've got the goods, you've got a real shot of getting a kick-ass manager. Bring it!


UPDATE 7/11 -- Craig Berger's TV pilot HEREDITARY scores a Strong Consider, making it the first script in this promotion which we will kick along to Chris Mills. Way to go, Craig!!!!



1) Go to or click the SUBMIT IT button:

2) Fill out the release form and the order form and then upload your screenplay or teleplay.
3) You will receive a confirmation from us and a Paypal invoice from CI for the screenplay analysis.
4) You will receive your analysis back within ten calendar days. If you wish to receive it faster, select semi-rush ($25 additional, 5-day turnaround) or RUSH ($59 additional, 48-hour turnaround.) 

Considers will be sent to Mills and Wagner with our recommendations and the coverage. Script submissions that score below consider ('Consider with Reservations' and 'Pass') will not be forwarded, but you will have a solid road map for how to make your script rock in the form of a detailed, thoughtful and empowering script coverage report. 

Please note that if you select rush or semi-rush, you may have a chance to polish and resubmit before the 7/10 deadline, giving you a second chance.

STANDARD COVERAGE COST: $129 for features, $99 for 1-hrs and $79 for 1/2 hrs. This includes a very detailed 10-14 page coverage report analyzing every aspect of the screenplay. For more info please see the FAQ page at

We're very excited to be offering this, and we hope this will be the first of many such opportunities for writers. Good luck, everyone!


  • You may submit as many screenplays as you wish before the deadline.
  • All scripts entered will receive full screenplay coverage from an experienced analyst from the Coverage Ink (CI) team.
  • Only screenplays and teleplays that receive a "consider" for script will be forwarded to Wagner for features or Mills for TV.
  • Offer ends at 12:01 AM 7/14/14.
  • Offer only valid on screenplays submitted for coverage to Coverage between 6/30/14 and 7/13/14.
  • Allow 10 days to receive your standard analysis back from CI.
  • Offer open to everyone over the age of 18 worldwide where permitted.
  • All genres are accepted. 
  • Feature scripts must be below 125 pages to qualify; TV pilots below 65 pages for a one-hour. 
  • Short film scripts, treatments and outlines, plays and manuscripts are not eligible. 
  • Screenplay and Teleplay submissions must be in industry standard format.
  • If your script receives a consider, please allow 4-6 weeks to hear back from either Wagner or Mills. If they are interested, they will contact you directly. If they are not, Coverage Ink will get back to you with the reason they passed. 
  • Coverage Ink is entitled to no compensation for any deals that may occur with your material. We are merely providing an introduction and validation. We are not attaching ourselves in any way.
  • By participating in this offer, you agree to have your screenplay sent to Mills or Wagner for consideration for possible representation. If you do not wish to have your material sent out, just let us know.
  • The decision of the Coverage Ink reader is final.  
  • The decision of whether or not to offer representation is up to Mills and Wagner.
  • If you receive a Consider, you may elect to do a polish draft based on the coverage before submitting to Mills or Wagner (recommended.)
  • Coverage Ink is not affiliated in any way with Benderspink or Magnet Management.
  • Coverage Ink team members, partners and associates are not eligible.

Since 2002, top-rated Coverage Ink ( has been a leading independent screenplay analysis/development service used by emerging writers, established scribes and management and production companies. Coverage Ink is currently in production on its first animated feature "Malevolent," starring Morena Baccarin, Ray Wise and Bill Moseley. Follow us on Facebook!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Agent's Hot Sheet - Live! at GAPF

Agent's Hot Sheet - Live! returned today to Great American Pitchfest. I had the enormous privilege of moderating a panel of literary representatives and asking them a ton of questions of interest to screenwriters. The panel featured Amanda Hymson, feature lit agent at United Talent Agency, Jake Wagner, head of lit at Benderspink, feature lit manager Jairo Alvarado from Circle of Confusion, and Chris Mills from Magnet Management's television department. The rollicking 90-minute discussion dug into what they're looking for and how to get their attention, as well as strategies to pump up your writing and precisely target the marketplace. Video to come soon!

We had a great time meeting so many of you guys today at Great American Pitchfest. We heard lots of compelling stories and saw the fire in your eyes. So for everyone pitching at the event, best of luck, and do let us know how you do. A gajillion thanks to Bob Schultz and Signe Olynyk for putting on the premier screenwriting event. For more details please visit

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"1969" Reading Wows at LA Film Festival

Stephany Folsom and Clark Gregg
Tonight we had the pleasure to attend the Black List Live! staged reading of 1969: A Space Odyssey, or How Kubrick Learned to Stop Worrying and Land on the Moon. Writer Stephany Folsom's crack screenplay was brought to life by folks like Clark Gregg (Agents of SHIELD,) Jared Harris (Mad Men,) Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) and Lance Reddick (Fringe.) A packed house at the historic Los Angeles Theatre delighted to a stage full of insanely great talent and a good story compellingly told.

The script details how the US Government recruited Stanley Kubrick to fake the moon landing when it appeared the real thing might not be feasible. The conspiracy theory  behind the story has been around since the '70s, and Kubrick himself liked to tease the audience by planting Apollo 11 clues in his films. Folsom's script takes that ball and runs with it, throwing difficult Kubrick into an almost buddy-movie situation with feisty government agent named Barbara Penn. The yarn is clever and seems to get Kubrick right.

1969 made the Black List last year and launched Folsom in a big way. She recently landed a deal to adapt Harlan Coben's best-seller "Missing You" for Brett Ratner and Ratpac Entertainment. Given the big industry crowd tonight, can a movie be far behind? perhaps not, as Kurtzman + Orci are attached as producers. A big win for Folsom and screenwriters everywhere.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

AGENT'S HOT SHEET - The New Paradigm Pt 2

Are TV specs are the new feature specs? More than ever, baby writers need to be all things to all people. Our panel of top Hollywood reps shows you how.

by Jim Cirile





Hollywood is making less fricking movies than ever. This creates a ripple effect affecting pretty much everything -- less scripts being sold means less opportunities to break in, which even means less interest on the part of agents, managers and development executives for reading spec material, and on and on. Ugh. Taking up the slack has been TV, which has been boomtown lately. As a result, some reps like Jake Wagner from Benderspink, long-known for setting up feature specs, have shifted focus towards TV (hence the whole ”paradigm shift” thing. With me? Good.) 
Richard Arlook, Arlook Group

Can a writer still break in with “just” a killer feature spec? “We target clients that can do more than one thing,” says APA feature lit agent Adam Perry. "Obviously, I hear legends of the days 10 or 15 years ago where you’d go out with a (feature), and almost every other spec sold for a high price. Now it’s more that the people we target, A, we think they can play in the studio feature game, and B, they can be attractive to the TV market as well.” Jake Wagner says he still encourages his clients to write spec features. “Hopefully, we’ll sell it, but if we don’t, hopefully it serves as a sample to break them into TV. I’m finding a lot of new people I’m signing are off of original spec pilots. For original ideas, (the place to go is) TV.” Arlook Group’s Richard Arlook puts it like this: “If you’re a typical motion picture lit agent, who used to rely on selling specs, you have no choice but to seek alternative revenue streams. If you’re still in this business 5 or 10 years later, the only way you’re surviving is because you’ve become entrepreneurial within that agency. You’ve learned to pursue reality stuff, television, packaging, all of those things any smart representative would be doing.” 

Says Perry, “I’m on the feature side, so obviously (a writer has) to have a good feature or I’m not really interested. But we really beat home in the meetings, and when we’re putting a team together to go sign someone, that we hope you have TV aspirations.” And if you don’t, he says, well, buccaneers, you’d best start. “There are lots of networks now, and all these new places popping up – Crackle, Hulu, Yahoo!, all these new channels – are looking for studio writers or just big feature writers in general. They (often) have big show ideas that we can develop and sell to a network or to one of the cool cable channels. At least at our agency, it’s very important that the feature agents are always talking to the TV agents and vice-versa. So without saying it’s essential, it’s definitely more than 50/50 – I’d say 80/20 – that we want people who can do both.” 

So this means you should probably have a good feature sample AND a good TV pilot sample before you go rep hunting. Aw, come on, it’s not so bad. 1-hour TV pilot scripts are half the length of features. Piece of cake. Well, except for plotting out the full multi-season arc and all the character bios and show bible and so forth… hrm. Damn. 

Well, if you’re just not feeling the TV side, fear not. There are other paths yet. Says Perry, “The one good thing about the studios making less movies is that there are more non-studio financiers popping up. There are new opportunities every day for writers to set up some projects. Some of these places will make the projects that the studios won’t make any more.” Indeed, earlier this year, Perry set up Alexis Jolly's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the Mr. Rogers biopic, at Treehouse Pictures. “That movie has no place in the studio system,” says Perry. “But for $10 million with the right actor and right director, they can get hopefully good domestic results out of the Fred Rogers story.” Adds Arlook, “There’s always a new kid in town. Somebody comes in with a development fund and 5,000 agents descend upon them. Maybe you get lucky, maybe you don’t. They’re not necessarily gonna pay you a big quote anyways. But maybe it can keep things going or open a door.” 

And on the feature side, don’t underestimate the power of the Black List. Even if a script doesn’t sell, getting on there can launch or revive a career. Says Arlook, “I represent (a writer) who’s been around forever, 30 years or so. He’s had some success, some not-so-success, but he’s always kind of made a living.” Eight years ago that writer’s studio movie opened but underperformed. Soon he was forced to take jobs well below his quote just to keep the lights on. “Finally he got an opportunity based on his (studio) script two years ago to do a discretionary fund project,” says Arlook, “and literally got paid (half his quote) to write the script. He took it because he liked it and thought he could do a good job. Well, he wrote a great, great script. It ended up on the Black List. (An A-list actor) loved it and committed to it, and now it’s getting made and he’s getting big assignment work at the studios again and making well beyond what his quote was at the time. What I’m saying is you can turn around. I still believe that if you’re in Peoria right now or wherever you are and you write that brilliant script… the cream always rises.” 

The key, says Perry, is “write something that is unique. Then (when you) give it to someone, the topic’s going to be so cool and so interesting that they’re going to want to pass it to their friends. And amongst those Hollywood execs, it goes viral. That’s how you land on the Black List. That’s how you sneak a sale in there early. So write about something one, that you’re passionate about, and two, that you think has the possibility to raise a lot of eyebrows. Whether it be someone’s biopic that people are fascinated with like Rodham, from last year -- for a young writer to tell a true story and tell it in a unique way, I think it opens a lot of eyes. And by the way, the Rodham script (by Young Il Kim) was discovered by our own Richard Arlook. “That was off a query letter,” Arlook marvels. “That was a one in a million, but it was a query letter. There was something in that query that struck my fancy. I forwarded it to (Jason Hong) and I said, “This sounds interesting. Read it. And he read it and he said this is really good. So I read it and I said, ‘Shit, it is really good.’ Look where that guy is.” Rodham is currently fast-tracked with James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) attached to direct. 

So whether you’re working on a TV pilot or a feature spec, remember to bring the uniqueness, bring the voice. It has to be different enough to stand out from the pack. Competency is no longer good enough. Safeties off, boys and girls! Go get ‘em. 


Jim Cirile is a writer/producer living in Los Angeles and the owner of leading discount screenplay analysis/development service as well as Coverage Ink Films. His latest movie is the animated horror feature Malevolent. His previous AHS columns written over the course of a decade for Creative Screenwriting magazine are available as an e-book: Agent’s Hot Sheet – Ten Years of Screenwriting Wisdom from Hollywood’s Top Reps.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Coverage Ink June 2014 Newsletter - Agents Hot Sheet Live! and More

1) D-I-Y Is Not a 4-Letter Word 
2) Agent’s Hot Sheet – Live! At Great American Pitchfest 
3) Black List Writer Stephany Folsom's Staged Reading - Starring Clark Gregg 


1) D-I-Y is Not a 4-Letter Word 

Hi friends!

I used to be all about spec scripts. I’d bang out two a year like clockwork – well, a semi-broken clock that is perpetually late – to varying levels of success. Sometimes I’d make a little headway, make some money. More often than not, however, those projects would soon join their brethren on the “Material to be revisited” shelf (which is now more like a big stack of musty, dusty boxes in the garage.)

Strangely, after about 15 years, that kinda started to get old. I mean, I’m stilling pulling boots out of my butt from the previous failed attempt... and I’m somehow supposed to do this again? Urgh. HD camera, editing software, and the promise of being able to make movies on the cheap. Oooh… enticing.

Thus about 6 years ago I coalesced some NYC indie filmmaking community friends, including the talented writer Aaron Schnore and well-known Brooklyn Halloween Show producer Robert Troch, to make Coverage Ink Films’ first movie “Showdown of the Godz.” SHOWDOWN is a fun little cautionary tale which shows what obsessive devotion to Godzilla can do to a marriage and a career.

Boy, did we get our asses handed to us.

Perhaps I should have also credited Mr. Murphy and his infamous law, because he was in full force on that particular show. Everything that could go wrong and all that -- from a DP who didn’t know how to operate the camera (or clean the lens,) to abominable sound, to a checked-out art and costume department, to an inept still photographer and practical FX team, to an editor who held our negative hostage… and oh, so much more. This necessitated thousands of dollars in painting out dust specks, rotoscoping, and CG repair work.

www.liberatormovie.comThe final result came out flawed but pretty cute. It stars George Takei and you can watch it on Amazon and Indieflix. But oy, YEARS of hassle – for a 12-minute movie. And when was all over, what did I do? The whole damn thing all over again! Because even though I threw away a lot of money and everything went wrong, it was still a more rewarding experience than writing a spec that goes nowhere.

Thus, armed with the multitudinous lessons gleaned from “Showdown,” we set out on our next cinematic adventure – an 18-minute short film/pilot, LIBERATOR, starring Lou Ferrigno as a disgraced, washed-up ex-superhero, along with a panoply of genre stars like Peta Wilson, Michael Dorn and Ed Asner. Yep, Mr. Murphy raised his ugly mug again, but this time we were better able to keep him at bay. LIBERATOR, partly crowdfunded, cost about as much as a really nice new car, went on to win a plethora of awards, and just last week it was released on iTunes and Amazon.

So now Coverage Ink is not just a coverage company. We are a full-fledged prodco (see We are currently shooting our first feature MALEVOLENT, an animated sci-fi/horror film starring Ray Wise ("Twin Peaks,") Bill Moseley ("The Devil’s Rejects") and a third star we cannot disclose yet (but chances are you have a huge crush on her). This time out we have a slick, professional team and everything is ridiculously organized and on schedule. And we’re still keeping the costs super-indie-low. Lessons learned.

More satisfying than racking up passes on a spec? Absolutely frigging correct.
Now look, this is not to say we’re not ALSO still writing specs. Everyone at Coverage Ink is doing exactly that. But most of us are also shooting stuff now, too. And that is a beautiful thing. Because, folks, why should you let other people have the power over whether or not you get produced? You just need three things – Drive, the Right People, and a little bit of Dough. Drive – nothing is going to happen unless YOU will it into existence. If you have a compelling script (that you’ve taken the time and effort to make great,) and you say, “I am shooting this,” then people will come aboard your bandwagon. Enthusiasm and vision are infectious. Right People – clearly, this is probably the trickiest bit. Work with close, reliable friends and only use Craigslist when absolutely necessary. Over time you will build up a list of people to work with (and ones you will never hire again.) Dough? Hell, you can shoot something on your iPhone for free. If you want to step it up, you can buy an HD camera for $250 and a basic lighting kit for $150. (Try not to skimp on sound though – in-camera sound sucks.) Crowdfunding is harder than ever nowadays, but is still possible especially if you attach a genre star (who may be surprisingly affordable.) And don’t overlook Bank of Dad and Film Financing By Mastercard.

The time is now. Take back the power, my friends! Make something. If it doesn’t turn out great, chalk it up to learning the ropes and go make something else. To quote a certain chrome-dome starship captain, “Make it so.” And let me know how it goes.

Jim Cirile

P.S. Please “like” MALEVOLENT at


2) Agent’s Hot Sheet – Live! at Great American Pitchfest
Once again we are returning to Great American Pitchfest for another Agent’s Hot Sheet – Live! panel. As many of you know, I wrote the Agent’s Hot Sheet column for “Creative Screenwriting” for a decade, which was well-known for its incisive advice from the industry’s top reps on how to break in and stay in, what to write, and how to avoid the myriad landmines on the way.

Last year's panel packed the room at Great American Pitchfest and was a huge hit. This year we will again be interviewing five top industry reps in a rollicking, fun and no-punches-pulled 90-minute panel. This event will sell out, so register now! Use this and get 10% off: JCGAPF11.
Then stop by the Coverage Ink booth after and say hello. Great American Pitchfest is an amazing resource - a whole room full of people who might potentially launch your career. You just have to blow them away. If any of you need help bulletproofing your scripts, of course we are here to help.

Great American Pitchfest: 6/21 and 22, Burbank Marriott Hotel. Agent’s Hot Sheet panel: 3-4:30 PM Saturday 6/21. Visit to register and for more info. See you then!


3) Black List Writer Stephany Folsom's Staged Reading - Starring Clark Gregg
Stephany Folsom’s script “1969: A Space Odyssey,” about the US government enlisting visionary director Stanley Kubrick to fake the Apollo 11 moon landing, lit up the Black List last year, and her career has been white-hot ever since. If you haven’t read our interview with this amazing lady, check it out right here.

For those that haven’t had the pleasure of reading Stephany’s unusually great script, well, how would you like to see it performed live on stage starring Clark Gregg (“Agents of SHIELD”)? The script will be performed in a staged reading at the LA Film Festival on Saturday 6/14. Get your tix now.