If you are thinking of seeking screenplay coverage by a professional reader here are some words of wisdom.
1. Remember to seek out professionals with a credible history and reputation. While the unskilled screenplay reader can provide feedback on their initial reaction to the concept and story, it is the practiced and skilled screenplay reader who really understands story, character development, effective structure, and all the other required elements that make for great storytelling.
2. Make sure your reader is skilled. Calling one’s self a screenwriter or writing screenplays does not necessarily make one a professional or skilled screenplay reader. Like most professions, becoming a screenplay reader requires education and a solid understanding of screenplay structure. Paying more for a reader doesn’t automatically mean they have better skills.
3. Seek out more than one reader to gain a wider perspective of how your screenplay is being viewed. The common practice is that if the writer receives similar comments from two or more readers then this is an area that the writer should focus on and consider in a re-write.
4. As a writer be objective about coverage. Don’t react emotionally. The screenplay coverage report is there to guide and mentor you. However, as the writer you must decide what you consider to be valid. A coverage report is nothing to become upset about – it is a learning tool.
5. Writing is a creative process. The most valuable part of screenplay coverage is not the coverage report, but the telephone or verbal consultation in which an exchange of ideas is provided. I recommend that if you are able to purchase telephone consultation that you seek this out. It is an energizing process for both the writer and the professional reader. The writer gains the opportunity to hear the reader’s insight and the reader gains the opportunity to hear the writer’s point of view. All of this makes for a dynamic flight of imagination.