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SNS™ Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about the SCREENPLAY Development Centre's Coverage/SNS™ service.

1. What is Coverage?
2. What's the difference between Coverage and your Evaluation service?
3. What about such-and-such internet spec script market? I can get my script listed for free. Why should I use your service?
4. If I participate in your workshops or use your services, will it help me get on the SNS™?
5. How long does it take?
6. What does it cost?
7. What format should my screenplay be in?
8. How do I know you won't steal my idea?
9. What if my screenplay gets a "Pass"?
10. Can I re-submit?
11. Doesn't the Australian Writers Guild offer an assessment service? And isn't it cheaper?
12. What can I do to guarantee that I get on the SNS™?
13. Do you accept submissions from writers outside Australia?
14. What if I don't like the Coverage?
15. Do you offer discounts for re-submissions?
16. At what stage should I submit for Coverage?
17. Will you act as my agent? Or do you take any commission if I find a buyer through the SNS™?
18. I notice you promote Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000®. But I use Microsoft Word® (or Final Draft®, or whatever). Does this mean I can't submit to you?
19. I've got a script that's ready to go. How do I submit it?


1: What is Coverage?
A: The answer to that is found on the Coverage/SNS™ page.

2: What's the difference between Coverage and your Evaluation service?
A: Coverage is written from the production company's perspective. Coverage assumes you're submitting COMPLETED work that you believe is ready for serious consideration by a legitimate buyer.
The Evaluation service, on the other hand, is written from the writer's perspective. Evaluations assume you want helpful and constructive in-depth feedback on your work, to help you to the next draft stage.
Please note:
Coverage is generally written in a stronger tone than an Evaluation, and Coverage IS NOT CONCERNED WITH MAKING THE MATERIAL BETTER. Coverage is a market-based consideration of the merits of the project. Put simply: "Should a production company seriously consider buying this script right now?"
Evaluations are written to help the writer hone, craft, shape, perfect and pinpoint the problems in their screenplays. Evaluations ATTEMPT TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MATERIAL BETTER.
Ask yourself this:
READY TO SELL YOUR WORK? Submit for Coverage.
NEED HELP ON THE NEXT DRAFT? Submit for Evaluation.

3: What about such-and-such internet spec script market? I can get my script listed for free. Why should I use your service?
A: The free internet spec script markets have no quality control. You're basically posting your (presumably valuable) idea on the internet for all to see. Do you really expect a producer -- who doesn't even have time to read your script -- to scour the internet for un-filtered screenplays? And do you really want your idea out there in the public domain riding on such a gamble?
The difference with our service is quality. Our readers and story analysts have extensive professional experience reading screenplays for production companies and agencies. When they suggest to "Consider" or "Recommend" a screenplay, it carries some weight. That's why dozens of production companies eagerly await our SNS™ bulletins.

4: If I participate in your workshops or use your services, will it help me get on the SNS™?

A: No. There is absolutely no obligation to use any of our services, attend any workshops, or make any purchases to use the Coverage/SNS™ service.
Our reputation, and the reputation of the SNS™ are too valuable to risk playing favourites. The workshops, software and other services are offered for your benefit, and may help you improve your skills, but they do NOT guarantee a place on this service.
There's only one way to get on the SNS™ -- write a screenplay that we can "Consider" or "Recommend".


5: How long does it take?
A: Coverage generally takes 2 - 4 weeks, depending upon our workload at the time we receive your screenplay.
Evaluations generally take 4 - 6 weeks, depending upon our workload at the time we receive your screenplay.

6: What does it cost?

A: AUD$330 (GST inclusive) for a properly-formatted screenplay 120 pages or less (Evaluations $495). Add AUD$5 for every five-page increment over the standard 120 pages.
120 pages or less = $300 + GST
121 - 125 pages = add $5 +GST
126 - 130 pages = add $10 +GST
131 - 135 pages = add $15 +GST
136 - 140 pages = add $20 +GST ...etc

(In case you're wondering why it's priced this way -- a properly formatted spec script should generally be no more than 120 pages in length. By keeping it within our base rate, you've got a better chance of getting a serious look!)


7: What format should my screenplay be in?
A: We accept ONLY the international standard screenplay formatting. This means Courier 12 point font, with margins of no less than one-inch. Page numbers in the upper-right corner.
Screenplays MUST be formatted properly. If you do not use dedicated professional screenwriting software, please click here for a sample page. Ensure that all margins and tab settings match the sample.
If your screenplay does not conform to this standard, it will be returned UNREAD with a refund cheque minus a $55 administration/processing fee deducted.

8: How do I know you won't steal my idea?
A: The beauty of the SNS™ system is that the production companies get notified simultaneously, meaning that if anyone takes the idea, everyone else will know about it.
It's important to note, also, that the cost of BUYING your screenplay is much less than the cost of fighting you in court over it. Additionally, the cost of the screenplay is a small fraction of the total production cost of a feature film. It would be far too risky to invest millions of dollars into a stolen property. Production companies WANT to find writers with original and commercially-viable stories.
And as for us, we deal with story ideas and screenplays on a daily basis, and have no interest in stealing your idea. The SCREENPLAY Development Centre was established to HELP you get your screenplay written and SOLD.
Consider this: Wouldn't it be better for us to discover you and facilitate the selling of your script? Would we stand to gain anything out of it? (Answer: You bet we would!) Rest assured -- we're here to help.
For your own general protection, it is always advisable to register your screenplay with the Australian Writers Guild, the Writers Guild of America, or the US Library of Congress before submitting to any production company. (We recommend the Writers Guild of America, which has an online registration service that does NOT require joining. Visit www.WGA.org for full details.)

9: What if my screenplay gets a "Pass"?
A: Don't feel bad -- the majority of screenplays get a "Pass" result. We use the highest standards production companies must use. Just be relieved that you didn't send it to the production companies directly!
In fact, getting a "Pass" from our Coverage service would make it the most worthwhile investment of a screenwriter's career. Why? Because you get a completely razor-sharp, real-world analysis of your material without anyone ever knowing.
By using our service, you can give the Coverage some thought and determine the best approach to your project. You may want start another project, or you may want to re-write and re-submit your project. Remember, if your re-submission gets you onto the SNS™, no one will ever know that you got a "Pass" the first time around.

10: Can I re-submit?

A: Yes. All re-submissions must follow the same procedure as first time submissions. Your script will be read by a new reader to ensure that it is covered objectively. Note that we cannot guarantee that a re-submission will receive a "Consider" or "Recommend". All submissions are assessed on their own merits, regardless of which services you've used or how many times you have submitted for Coverage.
Again, the only way to guarantee you'll get on the SNS™ is to write a screenplay we can "Consider" or "Recommend".


11: Doesn't the Australian Writers Guild offer an assessment service? And isn't it cheaper?

A: Yes, they do. And yes it is. But there are some key differences that make it a comparison of apples and oranges.
For one thing, we represent producers and production companies that actually BUY screenplays, and HIRE writers. What this means is that our Coverage service is real-world and industry-based. The perspective of the Coverage is from the production company's point of view -- not from an assessor's point of view. Remember: Assessors don't buy screenplays -- production companies do.
The reason for the price difference is simple: the Guild is subsidised by the government, and pays its readers more than it charges you. So, really, the taxpayer is covering it. An indepedent free-market company that is NOT subdised by the government (in an effort to maintain its independence) simply must pay fair market rates for skilled readers.
It's important to note, also, that ALL our readers have extensive hands-on experience reading at production companies and agencies. We do not hire readers from university, as they do not have the real-world skills that make our service the quality that it is. You can be assured your script will get a thorough, genuine read from our Coverage service. And we're hoping yours is "recommend-able".


12: What can I do to guarantee that I get on the SNS™?
A: Write a screenplay we can "Consider" or "Recommend". There is no other way. We simply cannot jeopardise the reputation and integrity of the service by playing favourites. The only way the system works is if it genuinely promotes only the best screenplays.

13: Do you accept submissions from writers outside Australia?
A: Yes. Note, however, that if you're writing for the Australian market, you should have a grasp of the Australian culture if you want your work to be taken seriously by Australian production companies. Most Australians do NOT sound like Steve Irwin.
The growing list of production companies who receive the SNS™ bulletin includes many international companies, but our primary focus is the domestic Australian film industry.

14: What if I don't like the Coverage?

A: If you think the reader "missed the point", understand this: so too will the producer or production company. We read and cover the scripts exactly as if we WERE the production company -- because in essence, we ARE.
We do guarantee that your script will be properly and professionally read and covered by an experienced script reader/story analyst. We do NOT guarantee that you'll like the Coverage. Why? We can't.
The nature of script coverage is that a reader is being paid to read your script and determine whether it's worth forwarding to producers and production companies whose criteria the reader understands.
If the Coverage is not what you were hoping for, or not what you were expecting, take the opportunity to see how your writing is being perceived by actual industry eyes.


15: Do you offer discounts for re-submissions?

A: No. Your re-submission will be treated exactly like your first time submission, because the same work is involved in covering it the second or third time. As a result, we cannot offer discounts of any sort for this service.


16: At what stage should I submit for Coverage?

A: Submit your screenplay for Coverage at whatever stage you would normally send your work off to a production company. You can send an early draft of your screenplay to get a sense of how your work is being perceived, or wait until you've got a finely-polished draft you're convinced they'll love.


17: Will you act as my agent? Or do you take any commission if I find a buyer through the SNS™?

A: No. We are not an agency. We are an objective filtration service for the producers and production companies. We will not agent or negotiate any deals for you on your behalf. And we do not take any commission if you sell your work as a result of being listed on the SNS™.


18: I notice you promote Movie Magic Screenwriter 2000®. But I use Microsoft Word® (or Final Draft®, or whatever). Does this mean I can't submit to you?

A: All submissions for our Coverage service must be hardcopy only. That means that we don't know what you wrote it on -- and we don't care. You can use the lesser-quality programs if you really want to. (Oh c'mon... have a sense of humour!)
Look, as long as your script is formatted properly, we'll read it like any other. Be sure to follow the international standard format. If you need a sample, click here.


19: I've got a script that's ready to go. How do I submit it?

A: Simply follow the link to start the submission process.

And good luck!

Click here to submit >

 

 

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