As a producer, it can be overwhelming to decide what screenplays are deserving of development and attention. According to the Writer's Guild, approx 50,000 screenplays are registered each year, presenting an overwhelming problem for production companies: which scripts deserve to be read?
Two ways producers vet screenplays are through contests and coverage.
When a script places highly in multiple contests, it is usually an indication that the story and characters are well developed, and if the contest or program is well-respected, those scripts often get read by multiple agencies, management companies, and production houses.
One of the things that confirmed my instincts regarding Vivian's screenplay for SCRAP, in addition to the short film's festival success, was that the feature film script had placed highly in many contests and labs, including:
- Second-Rounder in Sundance's Development Lab
- Top 10 Finalist in Final Draft's Big Break
- PAGE International Screenplay Competition (Top 10%)
- Second-Rounder in Screencraft Film Fund
- Semifinalist in Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship
Coverage is also an incredibly valuable tool. Many producers hire assistants to help them go through submission piles and write brief reviews and analyses of the producibility of the script. There are also many well-respected private coverage firms, and one of the most well-known is WeScreenplay.
Below is a brief glimpse of some of the praise Vivian's script received from the professional WeScreenplay analyst. It's rare for an independent film script to receive such favorable feedback, and re-confirmed for me why I was passionate about producing this film. I hope this gives you some insight into this part of the development process!