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A headshot of Derek Quick

Writer Spotlight: Derek Quick

By Success Stories

Derek Quick is making a name for himself in the industry after landing the most meetings during Coverfly's Pitch Week. His screenplays have helped him join the 2023 Writers Guild Veteran program, the NBC Universal sponsored Native American Media Alliance Feature Writers lab, and the the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab.

We sat down to talk with Quick about how he navigated Pitch Week, made his screenplays, Maid to Steal and Rez Nation, stand out to financiers, and the future of his career.


CF: You landed the most meetings during this season’s Pitch Week. What was it like?

DQ: I had the best time during Coverfly Pitch Week. The current environment in the industry is tough, coming out of a strike and with another potential IATSE strike pending. It has made even general meetings hard to get for even seasoned WGA members. Being able to pitch my projects, Maid to Steal and Rez Nation, and connect on a personal level was phenomenal, and Coverfly made things happen. Managers and producers requested multiple projects of mine, which was a huge plus!

CF: Tell us about the pitch. What kinds of things did you focus on? What was your strategy for making it appealing to financiers?

DQ: My main focus during the pitch was to open up and share my unique vision for my stories. I believe the best projects usually start with a pitch that is so connected to the creator that only they can tell the story. I also wanted to connect personally and not make it solely about business or selling the script.

I created teaser trailers and visuals that I shared alongside my screenplays after the meetings. Since film is a visual medium, I believe using visuals in addition to a well-polished script tremendously helps convey your vision. I enjoy the process of making a teaser trailer, and it's even better when people think it's an actual film and are excited to see it!

A grayscale image of a man talking to another man over laptops; Coverfly Spotlight: Derek Quick

CF: What are your favorite elements of Maid to Steal? What do you feel makes it commercially and culturally relevant?

DQ: My favorite element of Maid to Steal is its personal connection to my own experiences. As a homeless, disabled veteran living out of my Jeep, I worked cleaning mega-churches in Texas during the global financial crisis. The disconnect between mega-churches and the hidden homeless community is a concept I found fascinating to explore. I wanted to dive into what it would be like to have a child while facing homelessness while at the same time hiding it from everyone and the lengths a mother would go to secure a safe life for her daughter.

Maid to Steal is (Breaking Bad) meets (Good Girls), where struggling mothers venture into a risky criminal world. They establish a cleaning company as a cover to launder money and conduct church heists with their team of immigrant workers. I love that the protagonist, Emma, is also struggling in a custody battle, willing to do anything to give her daughter a better life. It's reminiscent of (Kramer vs. Kramer) but shows the mother's side without taking sides. Mike, her ex, is a great father, making the struggle even more saddening.

When my parents divorced, we moved away with my father while my mother relocated to England, we faced many financial hardships during this time. We didn’t see my mother for a long time, but she reconnected with us after half a decade, and our relationship improved over time. I was always curious about what my mother was doing while away. She wrote every week, but as teenagers, we often ignored her, which must have been heartbreaking. I wanted to place my lead character, Emma, in a similar situation.

I love the juxtaposition of these characters being role models to their children while doing whatever it takes to survive. They grow and discover their strength as mothers—they aren’t just maids. What makes this story relatable and commercially viable is that many parents can connect with it, especially in the current economic hardship where even the upper middle class in America is starting to struggle.

CF: How did Pitch Week create momentum for your career?

DQ: Pitch Week opened many doors for me. I was recently accepted into the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab, so I've been busy with that. I've won a few competitions listed on Coverfly, too. Coverfly was the reason I applied to RespectAbility. Through this, I've been meeting various leaders in the entertainment industry, including executives and recruiters from Disney, Warner Bros, ABC, Paramount, and Sony.

I believe this is going to be a challenging time for people in the industry due to the current economic environment and the potential for further strikes, but it will also create new opportunities. When following up with managers or producers, it's nice to have something to break the ice. I can mention Coverfly Pitch Week and talk about the great people I connected with. Managers appreciate proactive clients, and being involved in these events demonstrates that quality.

Derek Quick in a military uniform; Writer Spotlight: Derek Quick

Derek Quick

CF: What are you working on now?

DQ: Currently, I am working on my commercial feature screenplay titled Donor. It is based on true events from my life, where a U.S. Navy SEAL goes AWOL at Christmas to donate his kidney to his critically ill wife, pursued by military police and a billionaire organ trader. It’s John Q meets John Wick with the classic holiday heroism of Die Hard.

My wife had double renal failure and needed a transplant to save her life. My struggles in taking care of her while being on active duty in the military were immense. It was tough balancing my duty to her and my service to the country. I was often away on deployments, and it is one of the reasons I wanted to tell this story along with the extreme cost and failure of the US medical system.

Currently, a lot of seasoned writers and showrunners are having trouble getting work on TV or selling pilots, so I have been focusing on my feature screenplays more as they have a better chance of getting read let alone made.

I really would like to encourage writers to use Coverfly. They have numerous free opportunities! They even have a place where writers can exchange scripts and give notes for free.

If anyone wants to check out my projects or just connect, please visit my website and reach out.

Thanks again to Geoffroy and Delenn at Coverfly and V for this interview and the staff that worked behind the scenes on making Coverfly Pitch Week such a great event.

Pitch Week

Pitch Week Prep: What to Do With Your 12 Minutes

By Uncategorized

With another season of Coverfly’s Pitch Week just on the horizon, we wanted to dive in and explore how you can set yourself up for a meaningful and productive interaction with any participating industry professionals!

Any time you have an opportunity to meet with an industry member, it’s important to assess what the meeting was scheduled for, what you want out of the meeting, and what you can conceivably accomplish in the short length of time you have. Much of the important work will happen before you get into the room itself, but here are some helpful tips for how you can make the most of your short time with an industry pro.

The First Minutes

Be affable and ask questions! You’ll want to use the first part of the pitch to introduce yourself and get a good understanding of what the person on the other side of the conversation is looking for. If you launch straight into your memorized pitch, you might miss an opportunity to connect in a more meaningful way.

You don’t want to spend the entire conversation going over your life story. Instead, focus on the main points of what brought you to writing. You can prepare an elevator pitch about yourself. More than a description of your journey, you should focus on what makes you and your writing stand out, what ties your body of work together. This will make it possible for the person you’re talking with to ask questions, too. 

The Pitch

The middle part of your conversation will vary depending on the type of meeting you’re having

  • If this is a general, you might talk about your whole portfolio, your writing style, or your past work experience. Make sure to touch on thematic elements in your writing and how you see your background and your stories talking to each other.
  • If you’re in a meeting about potential representation, you might be going over some very specific career goals you have for yourself and getting to the bottom of whether or not you would be a good fit for each other. Remember, having representation is important, but it’s best if that representative shares the same vision for your future.
  • If you’re pitching a project, this is where you would get into the details of your feature, short, or television script. What’s the elevator pitch? How is this story relevant to you and what you’ve already discussed in the meeting? Tailor the pitch to what you know about this person and the company they represent, and above all focus on the big picture of your story and not a minute-by-minute plot summary or a list of characters.

The big caveat is that none of this should feel rehearsed or tired. You’re a writer talking to another person about what you’re most passionate about. If you sound disengaged (even if it’s because you’re nervous), that’s going to be a red flag.


The Final Minutes

You’ll want to leave room at the end for questions about you and your project. The final minutes are meant to open the door to continued conversation. Establish the next step. Perhaps they’ve asked to read the script you pitched or are interested in following your career. Either way, the point of a short pitch like this one is not to make a sale or secure an offer of representation on the stop. It can happen, but in most cases, your goal should be to leave the door open for future conversations. 

If you’re confident, passionate, and concise, you’ll have made an impression. 

Hopefully now you have a better idea of what to expect when you head into your meeting with an industry member. Good luck on your pitch. And remember -- you got this!

How Coverfly Helps Screenwriters Get Discovered

How Coverfly Helps Screenwriters Get Discovered

By About Coverfly

Want to take your career to the next level? Here's how Coverfly helps screenwriters get discovered.

Coverfly is blowing the world of talent discovery wide open through a platform meant to bring writers and the industry together. With so many opportunities, it can be hard to figure out what is right for you at each point during your screenwriting journey. Here are just a few ways you can use Coverfly to reach your audience and stand out from the crowd.

Your Writer Profile

Marketing yourself using Coverfly’s writer profile

Filling out your profile to its fullest, including demographic information and writer bio, helps give our team and industry users (reps, agents, producers) the information they need to discover you. If your profile is blank or doesn’t feature any discoverable projects, you’re less likely to come up in industry searches.

By that same token, adding your Coverfly-qualifying competition placements to your profile gives industry members confidence in the quality of your writing. Making those same projects discoverable gives you a few more opportunities to reach the audience of industry pros looking for a project like yours. 

Coverage Marketplace

Improve Your Projects Through Vetted Coverage Providers

Coverfly has compiled some of the most well-respected coverage providers in one place where you can receive feedback on scripts at any stage in the writing process. Got an idea and a treatment? There's coverage for that. Ready to send your polished script out to producers? There's coverage for that, too, and everything in between. 

Coverfly coverage marketplace

Many writers see coverage as an integral part of developing a script idea and a useful way to get feedback from professional readers even before they begin entering competitions. Plus, Coverfly-qualifying notes and coverage can have a positive impact on your Coverfly Rank (we’ll get to that in a second).


Find the right one for you

Most Coverfly writers submit to at least one competition, fellowship, or grant opportunity through the site. We feature only the most well-respected programs in the industry and review them for the value they provide writers. Search for competitions based on their primary benefits, price, upcoming deadline, and accepted formats.

Your writer portal makes it easy to track submissions, review additional feedback, and most importantly, keep all of your accolades and scores in one place. 

The Red List and Coverfly Rank

A look into where your script stands 

As you amass more accolades and high scores from the Coverage Marketplace, you’ll see your Coverfly Rank go up. This is a great tool to keep track of your own progress as your script climbs the charts. 

An ancillary benefit of having a high Coverfly Rank (or an active month in Coverfly) is appearances on The Red List. Think of The Red List as the website’s leaderboard and listing of the movers and shakers in the competition field. Being on The Red List certainly doesn’t equate to overnight success, but it does mean you’re putting yourself and your work out there and moving in the right direction. 

Other Coverfly Programs

More FREE opportunities

We also offer several completely free opportunities to screenwriters. These include our bi-annual Pitch Week, bi-monthly Virtual Reads with The Storytellers Conservatory, a fee waiver program, and a Monthly Career Mentorship with Act Two Podcast. Find out how to apply for these programs under the “extras” tab at the top of your writer portal. 

We have had multiple writer successes come directly out of these programs, including a script optioned, writers staffed on television shows, and many who found literary representation.

Endorsed Writers

Giving those writers on the verge, that push they need to break in

We track placement lists, great coverages, and recommendations from our readers to highlight the best scripts and writers. Our writer development team is able to meet with dozens of writers a month to discuss their career goals and potential job opportunities. If we think they are poised to break in and just need that little extra push, we feature those writers in an email to industry users with our official endorsement

Endorsed writers often see an increase in industry script downloads, meeting requests, and other opportunities. In an industry that runs on recommendations, it helps to have Coverfly adding to the chorus of people who are already championing your work.


Connect with other writers

If your script isn’t quite ready for a professional reader, but your friends and family are tired of reading drafts, coverflyX provides the answer. The free service allows you to exchange your work with other screenwriters on Coverfly. This service runs off of a token exchange, strikes, and feedback ratings to ensure quality control over the notes you receive. If the feedback you receive really resonates with you, there are ways to reach out to the writer directly to collaborate with them further. 

Industry Dashboard

Where Hollywood finds screenwriters

The Coverfly Industry Dashboard is where roughly 2,000 industry professionals consisting of literary managers, agents, studio + network executives, and producers come to search for clients and projects. All industry accounts are personally vetted beforehand by Coverfly to ensure anyone granted access is providing value to our writers. Industry users have the option to view the latest trending writers, competition results, + Red List and Coverfly rankings, or search for specific projects + writers based on format, genre, writer background, or premise.

Take a trip around Coverfly and use this as a guide to plan your stops. And if you have any questions, be sure to check out our FAQ database, or reach out to our customer support team directly if you still can’t find what you’re looking for. 

The Greatest Year of Success Stories in Coverfly History

By Success Article

Coverfly was conceived, launched, and operated with the founding principle of helping writers. Navigating a career in the entertainment industry can be confusing, self-contradictory, defeating, and expensive. By building a platform that would provide writers with tools and insights into tracking their growth while providing an overall diagnostic of how others were responding to their material, we hoped it would offer clarity and opportunity.

But we always knew there needed to be a human component. In an industry built on relationships, there would never be a replacement for introductions, personal referrals, or finding the personality people can believe in. Coverfly’s Writer Development efforts started with one person, then another, then another, and then another until it became a full-fledged department, always with the focus being how we could bridge the gap between the talent of the writers on our platform and the opportunities in the industry. As our team and reach continued to grow, the sheer magnitude of what we saw writers accomplish in 2021 didn’t sink in until we took a step back to appreciate it.

  • Over 300 writers signing with representation or landing their first paid opportunity
  • Over 1,000 free consultation and career development provided to Coverfly writers
  • Over 200 writers participating in Pitch Week
  • Over 30 writers receiving episode credits on their series

Some of the most impressive stories within those high numbers seemed emblematic of what Coverfly is supposed to be about.

Providing Opportunity

Staffing positions in writers rooms feel like the elusive treasure for emerging writers and even their reps-- you’ve heard they’re out there, but never seem to find one. Not a problem for Kyra Jones, who met with an executive during Coverfly’s free Pitch Week while the exec was staffing a series and was a staff writer on a Hulu series a week later. She has since signed at a major management company, agency, and been staffed on an ABC series.

Championing Underrepresented Voices

We found industry members using Coverfly to discover the writers, projects, and voices that didn’t have an existing reliable discovery mechanism breaking them into the industry. So when we knew Netflix was looking for romcom features from new perspectives, Shiwani Srivastava’s WEDDING SEASON was at the top of our list. Since packaging the project at Netflix, the film has been co-produced with Imagine Entertainment, was shot in spring 2021 and will be released next year. 

Providing  Free Resource to Everyone

Of all the deals, signings, staffings, and options we saw, the milestone we were most proud of was the number of writers we were able to reach and help take the next step in their career regardless of what that step was. Having a platform you can turn to for guidance, support, and advocacy was what we always envisioned providing when we launched the site way back when. To have personally interacted with over a thousand, and provided feedback + opportunity to thousands more was easily the most exciting development of the past year.

Looking Ahead

As our team continues to grow, we will have more and more chances to connect with amazing writers and their projects. To those out there we haven’t had the chance to work with yet-- congrats on the goals you reached this past year, tackle the ones you didn’t next year, know Coverfly is here to help however we can, and always always always keep writing.

Looking forward to 2022.

Highlights from Coverfly Career Lab 2.0

By Uncategorized

It’s hard to believe Career Lab 2.0 is over. It’s been quite the journey from learning how to develop your voice as a writer to maintaining a career once you’ve “made it”. We made this a 6 week event to help writers delve deeper into craft and career so you would walk away with a clear and personalized strategy of how to move forward in your goals, whether that’s finding representation or simply building out your portfolio. 

While you’re able to rewatch any of the Pro Talks on the Career Lab, we also thought it best to summarize key takeaways from each Session of Career Lab:

Session 1: Straight Talk about Writing in Your Voice, a Conversation with Ed Solomon.

Session 1 focused on helping writers find their voice. Voice is your unique perspective woven into the story through your choices on focus, characters, and description.Your voice is the atmosphere of your script and evolves as you evolve as a writer. And the only way you can develop your voice is by writing. While it takes a lot of scripts before your voice starts to emerge, Ed Solomon had a few tips:

  • Write what you’d like to know
  • Write from a place of expansion
  • Write where you’d like to be
  • Just write. You can’t just write when you’re feeling inspired. That’s a pretentious way to procrastinate. You have to do the work. 
  • Think about who you are as a human being and how you articulate and make others feel that - when you make others feel, you are expressing your voice. 

If you still feel lost on where to start, here’s an Ed Solomon-recommended exercise:

As you start working on a script, think about 3-5 movies you were inspired by. For each movie, watch it once to see how it makes you feel. After a few days, watch it again, paying attention to the structure of the movie and how it functions with the emotional journey. Watch it a third time with a writing software open and transcribe the movie. That last step could take some time (6+ hours), but what you learn from this exercise is incredible.

A recurring theme: 
You Just Gotta Keep Writing

Session 1 Resources (check them out)

  • Pro Talk: Discover Your Voice
  • “Define Your Voice” Worksheet
  • Scott Myers presents: Narrative Voice Using Screenplay Style to Express Your Voice.
    • Pro Tip: If you haven’t read his blog yet, you’re missing out on some valuable screenwriting information. 
  • Presentation Notes from the Pro Talk

Session 2: How the Industry Really Works, a Conversation with Gabriela Revilla Lugo and Cate Adams

This session focused on helping you get a sense of the entertainment landscape. Whether you’re pursuing a TV or Film track, make sure:

  1. You have a solid script as your calling card with at least two other great scripts in your portfolio to show your talent
  2. If you get an interview or meeting, make sure you do your research on the studio/show/showrunner/executive/titles so you know what you can bring to the table. 
  3. Talk about your personal connection to the material, whether it’s yours, an OWA, or a TV Show and know why you should be the one to write it.
  4. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a job. Most of the time you don’t get a job isn’t because of your talent. It could be a budgeting issue, or something else. Be persistent.
  5. Build your network and be humble. Many jobs are found through referrals and connections, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be open to receiving and taking notes. 

There were so many other great lessons and insights from this talk. If you want to get a better idea of what it takes to get staffed in a writer’s room, how to get your indie feature off the ground, or learn more about Open Writing Assignments (OWA), rewatch this Pro Talk!

Session 2 Resources (check them out):

  • Pro Talk: How the Industry Really Works
  • Presentation Notes from the Pro Talk
  • “Finding your way in TV” Worksheet
  • “Finding your way in Film” Worksheet

Session 3: Building Your Essential Career Toolkit, a Conversation with Matt Lieberman and Richard Kahan

For Matt Lieberman and Richard Kaha, the biggest difference between professional writers and hobbyists is discipline: having the discipline to have and keep to a regular writing schedule. It doesn’t mean you have to write everyday, but you have to write regularly. This is work, after all. If you want screenwriting as a career, you absolutely need these in your toolkit and skillset:

  1. A regular writing and script-reading schedule
  2. A group of people you can get honest feedback from.
  3. Thick skin - writing is rewriting
  4. Knowing how to Pitch yourself and your projects (this includes knowing how to craft loglines)
  5. Networking - your network is so important. Cultivate your relationships, and be normal.


Don’t do this. 

Session 3 Resources (check them out):

  • Pro Talk: Building Your Essential Career Toolkit
  • “Building Essential Services” Worksheet
  • Key Takeaways from Workshops - Workshop Notes

Session 4: What Makes me Sign a Writer, a Conversation with David Baggelaar and Pamela Goldstein

So what is the difference between an Agent and a Manager anyway? Generally, Agents are licensed and legally permitted to negotiate contracts for work. They are the primary dealmakers for writers. A lot of times, Agents sign clients that are recommended by managers, after a writer has built up a portfolio for themselves. 

Managers are more involved with writers on a day-to-day basis. They help provide career guidance, give notes, track down pieces of IP, and provide business management. Managers are like partners in crime. 

Once you’re ready to find representation, first do your research. Your manager or agent will be working closely with you, so you want to make sure you’ll be working with someone you get along with. If you’re sending out cold queries, keep them short, sweet, and personalized. They’ll know if you’re sending out the same letter to 300 other people. And set your expectations. Just because you’re signed doesn’t mean you’ll be showered with deals and assignments. Sometimes it can take years for that first job to happen. Just remember...

Session 4 Resources (check them out):

  • Pro Talk: What Makes Me Sign a Writer
  • “Getting Signed” Worksheet
  • Key Takeaways from Workshops - Workshop Notes

Session 5: Getting Your First Job

In Session 5 and Session 6, we had two separate tracks, Television and Feature Films, to provide more focused insights for writers. In Session 5, we talked with Ed Ricourt on how to get your first job in film, and Simran Baidwan on how to get your first job in television. 

Getting Your First Job in TV

In our TV conversation with Simran Baidwan, in getting your first job, she recommends that you first understand how TV is made. From the spec to studio to writers rooms to production, knowing how TV is made helps you understand your role as a TV writer better. 

You should also follow writers and TV shows on social media. It’s a great way to get to know people, and some folks are even putting out jobs and opportunities through Twitter. 

Most importantly, you need to connect with people and build your network. Have your connections understand what you want to do, who you are, what you can do for them, and what they can do for you. Don’t forget this is a two-way street! Listen, have a positive attitude, be a problem solver (not just a problem identifier), and be helpful. 

Simran also had excellent advice and insight on the TV interview process and how to move up in the industry from support staff to showrunner, which alone makes the Pro Talk worth rewatching. But our favorite piece of advice from Simran: 

“There is no one way to get into the industry. It’s work, and it’s a hustle, but start somewhere, and other opportunities will come along.”

Getting Your First Job in Film

In our Conversation with Ed Ricourt, getting your first job in film means starting with an idea or a pitch. If it’s good and it passes through the gauntlet of readers, managers, executives, etc., then you get business. But how do you know when your script is ready? It takes a lot. You have to know your craft, you have to have read a lot of scripts so you have a sense of how yours is, and you always have to be learning and writing and improving at your craft. Make sure to hold onto that script until it’s ready to go. 

Once it’s ready to go and you start pitching, make sure you practice your pitch. Know why your project should exist today, what it’s about, or why you should be the one to write it. Say your pitch out loud and practice, practice, practice. And if you get told “no”, don’t take it personally. Film is a “no” business, it is a very risk averse business. Those “nos” aren’t about you or your project. 

Most importantly, as you’re pitching and taking meetings, you should always be honing your skills and writing constantly to build your body of work. You have to establish trust and show you have a track record of being able to constantly put out scripts. It shows executives that you can execute your ideas. 

But don’t forget to live your life! Your scripts are your interpretation of the world around you. 

Want to hear what Ed said about chasing the money or to listen to how he wrote and sold “Now You See Me”? Rewatch the Pro Talk!

Session 5 Resources (check them out):

  • Pro Talk: Getting Your First Job in Film
  • Pro Talk: Getting Your First Job in TV
  • “Preparing for Your First Job” Worksheet
  • Key Takeaways from Workshops - Workshop Notes
  • Emily Carmichael’s Slide Deck on Outlining an Action and Adventure Film

Session 6: Maintaining and Growing Your Career 

After learning how to get your first job, you want to know how to maintain your career! For our final Career Lab Session, we had two separate Pro Talks where Billy Ray and Judd Apatow discussed tips for building and maintaining your career in Film and Television. 

Maintaining and Growing Your Career in TV, a Conversation with Judd Apatow

Judd has had a storied (ha) career in both television and film. As you move through your career, Judd recommends that you adjust and pay attention to what you’re good at. Sometimes it’s not what you expect. For example, Judd started out wanting to be a stand-up comedian, but by paying attention to what he was good at (and getting paid for), he was able to grow and maintain his career into what it is today. 

But to really have a long-lasting career, you need to have passion for your work and not just do it for the money.  This one of the big takeaways: if you want to survive in a writer's room, come prepared to work.  Be the writer who reads the scripts and reference materials well beforehand.  Make notes in the script.  Come up with a variety of improvements and ideas.  Then, enter with a collaborative spirit ready to build something exciting.  Strangely, Judd mentioned that many writers will not take these steps and will not find themselves called back for a second season.

Why you are writing is more important than the kind of writer you are - are you doing the work to dig in and be brave and vulnerable? Are you leaving your ego at the door? Have a good heart and be respectful. 

In addition to being a good person, you always have to be learning, reading, managing your time, and writing. Judd’s biggest tip for new writers to keep moving forward: always be working on the next thing. You should be writing because you like writing, and you want to write for yourself. As you write, you can only get better. And the hard part about this is getting good, not finding someone to read your script. When you have something great, people will notice. So write and finish things. 

Aaaaaah.  More writing.

Maintaining and Growing Your Film Career, a Conversation with Billy Ray

Billy Ray started the Pro Talk with a bang, giving a high-level overview about story structure, boiling it down to a single question: What is the simple, emotional journey? Think about what is broken about your main character that only your movie can fix. 

For Billy, screenwriting is meant to elicit emotions from other people. As people are reading your script, if they’re responding intellectually, your script isn’t ready. Once people start responding emotionally, you’re getting closer. And if people say they enjoyed your script, they’re lying. You’re looking for those emotional responses! 

Understand that screenwriting is hard work. Billy talked about his research and writing process, emphasizing that sometimes you just have to grind, and that’s the only thing you have control over. Don’t think of writing as art, think of it as work, and have respect for your craft. Saying you can only write when you’re inspired is a pretentious way to procrastinate. (Sound familiar?) So do the work, and never write a movie you wouldn’t pay to see!

As you build your career in film, know that it’s an expensive and collaborative business - it may be  your script, but it’s their movie. So leave your ego at the door and don’t expect to have total control over the finished product. Instead, think about how the actors can bring depth, about what the director brings. When you get notes from others, even if the note doesn’t make sense, try to get at the problem they’re trying to address. 

For his big finish, Billy wants writers to know that screenwriting and film is a hard business in a hard time, especially given the past year we’ve all had. But remember, nobody has your voice, your history, your pain, your insight, your ability, no one but you. There are screenplays that you can write that no one else can write. You have a voice that no one else has. So you can write forever as long as you keep maximizing your voice. Don’t doubt yourself, and keep writing. 

Session 6 Resources (check them out):

  • Pro Talk: Maintaining & Growing Your Career in Film
  • Pro Talk: Maintaining & Growing Your Career in TV
  • “Setting Goals for the Future” Worksheet
  • Key Takeaways from Workshops - Workshop Notes

tl;dr: We had a few recurring themes throughout Career Lab:

  • Cultivate Relationships
  • Have a writing routine
  • Write what you’re interested in, not what you think the market wants
  • Be humble and stay open to feedback
  • Know Your Craft
  • Live Your Life
  • Be normal...yet uniquely you

We would like to thank our non-profit partners for making Coverfly Career Lab 2.0 such a success.  Proceeds from your registration helps them continue their missions in helping creative talent of all ages and experience levels.

  • Motion Picture Television Fund - a charitable organization that provides a wide variety of programs and services to take care of those in the motion picture and television industries. 
  • Kids in the Spotlight - empowering Foster Kids through Filmmaking. KITS is on a mission to help foster youth heal and grow from trauma through the power of storytelling and filmmaking.
  • 826LA - dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.

We’d also like to thank and shout-out our screenwriting partners.  We’re excited to see their continued focus on helping writers advance in their craft and career.

And thank you! Career Lab couldn’t be what it is without writers like you joining us. 

Remember, if you want to rewatch any of the Pro Talks or download the worksheets (which are excellent for helping you craft a strategy on how you want to move forward), you can find them all on the Career Lab Dashboard.

Keep an eye out for our future events, follow us on social media, and write on.

The Coverfly Career Lab Team!

5 Keys of Networking Online for Screenwriters

By Advice

Building a network is one of the most important things you can do for yourself as a screenwriter.

Networking helps you connect with other writers to encourage and support each other; helps you meet with other creatives to start bringing your vision to life; or even meet with an executive, producer, or teacher to bring your work and career to a new level. 

Even without the strange year we all had, the world of networking was bound to expand into, and take place largely on the internet. While in-person and online networking have a lot of overlaps, going online allows you to leverage new tools to help you stand out and meet new people you could otherwise never meet in person. 

Without further ado, here are five tips to help you build your network online. 

Leverage Social Media

Social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are great options for screenwriters to build their network. But not all social media is built the same. Each platform has and attracts a different audience and different content. You wouldn’t use Instagram the same way you’d use Twitter, so you shouldn’t use Instagram to network in the same way you’d network on Twitter. 

For example, Instagram is a great place to share pictures and stories about the projects you’re working on, and to see what others in your community are working on. Post pictures or stories of your writing space for today, online events or classes you attended, post what inspires you to write, ask your followers about the same. Use Facebook groups to have more intimate and focused discussions with like-minded (or nearby) writers. See what the audience is like on each platform and whether they’re aligned with your personal goals.

And if you’re serious about building a network, there’s no better option than Twitter. Increasingly, there are more and more people looking for writers via social call-outs on Twitter. Make sure you have your profile ready to share so it stands out for those call-outs. Use your Twitter account to interact with others through updates, questions, or asking for general advice. Ask the Twitterverse what they do when they have writer’s block, and retweet responses you like. Ask if anyone has seen any great films from the 70s recently. Make and respond to polls about when to outline or when to free write. 

Don’t limit yourself only to those social media platforms. Others, like Twitch, TikTok, LinkedIn, Discord, or Reddit are also great ways to meet with fellow writers and creatives in different ways. Explore and see which ones you enjoy using the most. And don’t forget to #hashtag your posts. 

Put Yourself Out There

If you’re networking to promote your scripts, you have to put yourself and your scripts out there. This means when using social media, share, retweet, or regram stories or articles that spoke to you, share useful links, show the world what you’re working on, follow people or topics you’re interested in, and engage! No one networks in person by lurking in a dark corner, so don’t do that online either! Reach out to and follow other writers with similar interests. You can network with everyone, but you can really start connecting and building your online community with like-minded writers, and you can only do that by putting yourself out there. 

Also, put yourself out there on Coverfly! It’s a great way to get feedback on your script and to meet peers. Coverfly has share options on your project page to help you promote your work. And many writers will screenshot their badges and post them on social media. This helps not only to get the word out but also to spark up a conversation with fellow writers on Coverfly. A big part of networking is not showing off what you’ve done but showing people what value you can offer and finding a connection.

Join in a (Free) Online Event

Especially in the last year, many in-person events have moved online, and many more have been created. Lots of organizations have online events, classes, and programs, many of which are free! As an example, check out the offerings from ScreencraftCoverfly, and the WGA for informative and useful sessions on the craft and business of screenwriting, with Q&As afterward. 

When you attend these events, don’t go with the intention to plug yourself. Go there to discover other writers and professionals. Listen and learn from their goals, passions, or struggles. This isn’t to say you should hide your accomplishments or not talk about what you’re working on, but that shouldn’t be the reason why you’re attending. Go with the intention to learn instead of brag; to listen instead of talk; to have a good discussion instead of monologuing. And if you feel like you’re talking too long or the conversation is slowing down, have an open question that everyone can participate in ready to go, like “has anyone read anything recently that sparked your creativity?”

Don’t forget to share your experience on social media!

Keep it Short and Personal

So you’ve posted on social media, gone to events or classes, and have a nice list of emails of people you want to reach out to. Fantastic! Follow up with them and nurture those connections. When you email them, keep it short and keep it personal. When in-person (or over video), a good conversation is hard to beat. But online, the last thing you want to do is sit down and read a long message. 

As the great bard said, “Brevity is the soul of wit”, so keep your messages concise, easy to read, and easy to understand. And when you reach out, don’t reach out with just a general ask or a generic message. Get personal and specific. See how the other person is doing and how their project is coming along. Think about the next steps you want to take to develop your relationship with the other person. It should be easy enough. We’re all writers. 

Be Yourself

Just like you need to write stories that speak to you, you should network the same way. Sure you may need to step out of your comfort zone from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you have to develop a new persona just to network with people. Find your own voice and be genuine when you network. 

Most importantly, as you network, think about how you can add value to your new connections. Don’t just reach out asking people to do things for you or pester someone incessantly to read your script. Offer to help others, ask to volunteer at an organization’s event, set up a monthly Zoom coffee break one-on-one or with other writers, offer to read scripts, think about how to connect your networks or how you can make it about the other person, not yourself. 

Networking is about finding and building your tribe. As you continue to move forward in your craft and career, these will be the people you will rely on and who will rely on you.

A Screenwriters Guide to Nailing Pitches, Generals, and Meetings

By Advice

While virtual industry meetings have become increasingly common over the past year and a half, they haven’t gotten any easier. Writers often come to Coverfly ahead of industry meetings with questions of what to expect, what to say or not say, do or not do, or what the point of the meeting even is.

Never fear. As we prepare for Pitch Week, an event that has seen writers staffed on series and sell their projects, we have compiled a quick guide for any virtual meeting based on the hundreds we consulted on.

Know what type of meeting you are having

Not all meetings are the same! Some will want you to pitch a project while others will want to get to know you as a writer, and you need to know the difference so you don’t waste the opportunity.

While meetings come in all shapes and sizes, here are the main types emerging writers have:

  1. A Pitch Meeting-- a producer or company wants you to pitch a project of yours or your version of a project they are developing
  2. A General -- while not considering a specific project, an industry member wants to get to know you and your work better to see if there is a way to collaborate
  3. Prospective Client Meeting -- a manager or an agent wants to discuss the prospect of working together with you as their client

If you are unsure, best practice is to treat every meeting like a general unless you were informed in advance that you'll be discussing a specific project.

How should I approach the different types of meetings?

It is important to approach each meeting type differently, and the best way to do so is to have a clear goal for the meeting and a clear next step you are working towards.

Pitch Meeting-- sell a specific project or your take on a specific project, so come prepared with your take on a story

General-- pitching yourself, your talents, and your body of work for any current or future collaborations, so know what you have to offer

Prospective Client-- have a clear idea of your career goals + ambitions to see if working together with the potential rep makes sense for both of you

What can I do to prepare?

Research! Research! Research!

For the company you are meeting with, look at the types of projects they have made or are currently making. Do they have a website or mission statement? Credits? How and when were they founded? Are there recent articles or interviews about them in the trades?

For the individual, likewise understand who they are, what their job is, what sort of responsibilities they have + problems you can fix, their own personal interest or passions, what they like to work on, if they have any social media or previous interviews.

For both, it is important to show that you are informed but also allows you to cater your presentation to be as personalized and relevant to them as possible.

WARNING: DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Just because they made horror films last year does not mean that is their focus. The best way to learn about them and their company is by asking questions. Obviously don’t ask questions you know the answer to for the sake of asking questions, but to learn more or get clarification.

Baby Steps: Set Reasonable Expectations

We understand the pressure to squeeze every ounce of opportunity out of the meeting whether it is 15 minutes or two hours. There is only so much that can be accomplished in the set amount of time, so don’t make it any harder on yourself by cramming everything in or trying to take five steps at once. Remember, the goal is NOT to sell or package a project or even sign with a rep during the meeting; the goal is to make a connection and keep the conversation going. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of the Meeting

Finally, the part you’ve all been waiting for! While there are exceptions to any rules, these are the best practices we have found:

    • DO NOT over-rehearse or recite a presentation word for word, approach this as you would a conversation
    • DO ask them questions and always leave room for them to ask questions
    • DO Clearly articulate your writing style in a thematic, stylistic, or philosophical sense, to avoid pigeonholing yourself to a specific genre
    • DO NOT pitch a project until you have a sense of what they prioritize and are looking for— then tailor accordingly
    • For reps, DO clearly articulate your career goals to see if they align and if it makes sense for you to work together
    • When pitching a project, DO focus on what the audience will feel and experience, not scene by scene what happens
  • DO NOT spend the entire time talking about craft. Get to know one another as people and talk about yourselves, your interests, and working together!
    • DO Be concise in discussing your bio or background. Always great to talk about yourself and your experiences so long as it informs or contextualizes your writing in some way.
  • When pitching a project DO NOT name all of your characters if you can help it. Usually too hard to keep track of and really who cares what the lead’s support character’s friend’s name is?
  • DO NOT panic or pander. Cliche but calm down and be yourself. The goal here is to have a good convo and form a genuine connection
  • DO BE CONFIDENT! There are thousands of writers and projects and this person CHOSE to meet with YOU!

What to do after the Meeting

So you had an awesome meeting and made a friend but don’t have a super clear next step. Now what?

Find ways to stay in touch with them so long as you are not asking them if they read the sample you sent. Trust me, if they read and loved the sample, they would have reached out to you. Plus, it is perfectly acceptable if not preferred to check in to see how THEY are doing and if there is anything you can do to help them.

Keep them updated on your developments. Placed in a contest? Have an upcoming meeting and want their advice? A project you discussed in your meeting is drawing interest? Shoot them an email so long as you aren’t pestering them. Keep them informed and trust that, if and when it makes sense for you to collaborate, you will

When in doubt…

Email Coverfly! We’ve seen it all before and are always able to answer any questions or help however we can.

Contact us here.

Share Your Projects

By Uncategorized

Coverfly allows you to host unlimited projects for free, but until now, it wasn’t always easy to share your project and its most recent draft with others.

Now, you’re able to configure your project’s permissions with much more granularity, and share your project’s page or draft with whoever you want--whether that’s any Coverfly member, or specific people--even if your project is set to “Private”.

If you share your project’s URL or download link with someone else, and subsequently update your draft, there’s no need to update the link you’ve shared. Anyone who has access to your project will automatically see the latest updates. Plus, you’ll receive an email notification anytime someone downloads your project!

To configure your sharing permissions, just go to your project’s page and click the sharing icon next to your project’s Discoverable/Private setting. Once you've specified who you want to be able to access your project, you can copy the URL by clicking "Copy Link", or simply copy and paste the link from the URL address bar in your browser.


Happy sharing!

Saying Goodbye to the Coverfly Score

By Uncategorized

When we launched the Coverfly Writer Portal almost 4 years ago, we knew we wanted to create a top rated chart for the most-awarded projects on our platform to help elevate writers. We built a dynamically-updated live ranking of projects, The Red List, based on all of the placements, scores, and information we had on a project. We called it the “Coverfly Score.”

The dynamic top rated chart has been a resounding success. It’s given writers something to achieve and celebrate, and, more importantly, built heat around writers that’s given them career traction. Today we’re generating a new “writer success” nearly every day where a writer is discovered by an industry exec or rep off a Coverfly list or through a Coverfly initiative.

But the underlying score these rankings are based on, known as the “Coverfly Score,” hasn’t had as smooth a ride. Some of its flaws were gradually exposed as it struggled to adapt to the growing needs of our industry and writer audience.

I can summarize the problems with the Coverfly Score as:

  1. It doesn’t reflect both a project’s quality and relevancy (or “heat”) simultaneously.
  2. It fails to react to new information or data points the way one would expect it to.
  3. It doesn’t convey enough information.

Problem #1: Reflecting Quality and Relevancy

In terms of quality, the Coverfly Score has proven difficult to “game” - that is, projects with very high scores are almost definitely of high quality. There aren’t false-positives, which is great! But the score does a poor job of highlighting projects that don’t yet have a lot of data. It misses out on quality projects that are new, or only have a few recent placements.

And in terms of relevancy, or “heat,” it totally misses the boat. The Coverfly Score, by design, doesn’t go down. That means projects retain their high scores as time passes and remain at the top of The Red List years into their existence. As the industry has increasingly adopted our platform for talent discovery, we have hundreds of execs scouring our lists every day, and many of them are looking for new, hot projects--they’re not always as interested in ones that have been collecting accolades for a few years.

Problem #2: Reacting to new information the way one would expect it to

Since day one, we’ve struggled to explain the Coverfly Score to writers simply and in alignment with their expectations. That’s because the Coverfly Score calculation is quite complicated - its variables include scores, placements, competition ratings, historical reader bias, number of scorecards for the given project, and more, into every calculation. We believe all of this information can be relevant to helping find scripts the industry will be excited about, but it’s difficult to boil down into a simple algorithm.

A complex or opaque algorithm wouldn’t be an issue in and of itself if its result was predictable, or at least within the realm of what we’d expect, but the amount of time our customer support team spends answering the question “Why didn’t my score go up?” is evidence that something isn’t right. 

Why is it so unpredictable? If your script becomes a Semifinalist in Nicholl, your score should go up, right? Well, not if the previous 9 scorecards we have on your project were great and raised its score already. But try explaining that to a disappointed writer who wants to celebrate every success--and rightfully so. Since Coverfly Scores can’t go down, we designed the algorithm to be really careful about letting them go up. That means your score might jump on a placement you think is “low-value,” but stay the same on a placement that you think is “high-value.”

Problem #3: Conveying Information

If you tell a producer that your project has a 640 Coverfly Score, it conveys almost no information about the quality of your script. Even if the producer is familiar with Coverfly Scores, they don’t know how hard it is to earn a 640, or how many projects are above a 640. What if 90% of the projects on Coverfly have a Coverfly Score over 640? That 640 isn’t so great anymore. 

By the way, in reality, a 640 Coverfly Score is insanely high, and represents the top 0.001% of our database. See? Presenting it that way conveys much more information. Oftentimes sharing the percentile of a score, rather than the score itself, is a much better indicator of the value of the score. “This project is in the 10th percentile of 40,000 projects on Coverfly” is much more powerful and understandable than “This project has a Coverfly Score of 520.” You’ll notice a lot of other popular scoring systems around you are relational in this sense. Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t use a raw number as its score - it uses percentiles of critics’ ratings. IMDB’s star meter is based on percentiles. That way, if internet traffic quadruples across the board next year, that kid in your improv class doesn’t have a star meter higher than Anne Hathaway’s in 2012. Most standardized tests convey the test-taker’s performance as a percentile-based score. To receive a 700 on the GMAT (a test for admission to business school), you need to perform better on the test than 90% of the other test-takers. No one cares about the percent of questions you answered correctly, though. Relational data is much more informative.

The most visited FAQ on our support page is “What’s a good Coverfly Score?” My answer has always been “a score higher than the next person's.” The true value of a Coverfly Score is that it places you higher on a list than someone else, and that leads to additional exposure on Coverfly.

The Solution

At the end of April 2021, we’re retiring the Coverfly Score in favor of a percentile-based ranking system with a new underlying metric. This underlying metric will have the following characteristics:

  1. The rank will always go up when a project receives a new placement.
  2. More recent placements will receive a value bonus that will diminish over time, but will still retain some value, even years later.
  3. The value of a placement will take into account the amount of submissions selected for that placement by the program, as well as the quality of submissions submitted to that program.
  4. After a certain number of top placements for a project, the value of additional top placements for that project will start to count less.
  5. Writers will have access to their percentile of this metric, but the metric itself will not be shared with anyone (including writers).

This solves a few problems:

  1. By reducing the “relevancy” value of a placement over time, projects with more recent placements will have an advantage and rise to the top of our top rated charts. This will surface more writers and give our industry members exposure to more timely projects and writers, which ultimately translates into more opportunities for more writers.
  2. By accounting for quality and recency in a placement, projects with only a few top placements per year will rank high on the charts.
  3. By recording your highest rank on the charts with our new badges, you'll be able to more easily switch focus to a newer project without feeling like you're abandoning a score or a hard-won rank on the top rated list.
  4. Because the underlying metric will move more predictably (and rise when a new placement is added), so will the project’s percentile ranking. We want movements in a project’s rankings to make sense.
  5. By focusing on the percentile/ranking instead of an arbitrary number, we’re able to better convey information about a project’s relevancy, which in turn helps industry members looking for great scripts.

In addition, we’ll be introducing the concept of Badges to writers’ profiles. Inevitably, there will be projects that rise to the top of the charts, but over timeas the placements that got them there age and diminish in valuefall off of the top rated chart. The writers of those projects should have something to show for their months or years of hard work, which is why they’ll receive a “Top 5” badge on their project page, for example, along with the date the badge was achieved.

Good for Writers; Good for the Industry

Within the next couple of years, we expect the majority of new paid, working writers in Hollywood to have been discovered through Coverfly or a Coverfly-qualifying program. Being a professional writer shouldn’t be dependent on who you know or whether or not you can afford to make the move to LA to start looking for work. We believe that, as much as possible, your chances of breaking in should be based on how good your writing is. Our goals are lofty, and in order to hit them we have to adapt quickly and attempt radical strategies. The new ranking system will help us better highlight projects and writers for our growing industry base; they’re hungry for fresh perspectives, and we know they’ll find them on Coverfly. We can’t wait to see the incredible writers who enter the industry through our pipeline in the coming years.

April 7th, 2021 // By Scot Lawrie, Co-founder

Coverfly at 2021 ScreenCraft Writers Summit

By Uncategorized

We're excited to participate in this year's ScreenCraft Virtual Writers Summit on April 9 - 11, 2021.  In addition to hosting two panels, we'll also be holding Booth Workshops, where you'll have an opportunity to work with our team to improve your strategies for building your writing career.

See below for the full schedule.

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Friday, April 9

2:00p - 3:00p PDTWriting Concepts that Sell (and Pitching!)Booth Workshop @ Expo
3:00p - 4:00pHow to research ideal fellowships and competitionsBooth Workshop @ Expo
4:00p - 5:00pHow and when to seek representationBooth Workshop @ Expo

Saturday, April 10

10:00a - 11:00a PDTFinding the right repBooth Workshop @ Expo
11:00a - 12:00pWhat makes a great Story Analyst?Booth Workshop @ Expo
1:00p - 2:00pInside Screenwriting Competitions & FellowshipsPanel @ Main Stage
2:00p - 3:00pImproving your Online Profile for Industry InterestBooth Workshop @ Expo
3:00p - 4:00pDiscovering, articulating, and marketing your brandBooth Workshop @ Expo
4:00p - 5:00pRevising the first draftBooth Workshop @ Expo
5:00p - 7:00pNetworking Mixer with Room ExpertsMixer @ Rooms

Sunday, April 11

10:00a - 11:00a PDTCreate a personal blurb, bio, and pitch yourself as a writerBooth Workshop @ Expo
11:00a - 12:00pHow to get the most out of your coverageBooth Workshop @ Expo
11:30a - 12:30pSelling Scripts: What Works and What Matters?Panel @ Main Stage
2:00p - 3:00pImproving your Online Profile for Industry InterestBooth Workshop @ Expo