Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MORENA BACCARIN Announced as Star of "Malevolent"

Morena Baccarin, who received an Emmy Award nomination for her work on Homeland, has been cast in Coverage Ink Films' new production MALEVOLENT. 

The animated horror feature film, directed by Jason Axinn (Starpocalypse), concerns a dying, wealthy industrialist (Ray Wise, Robocop, Twin Peaks) who calls his estranged kids together, ostensibly to discuss his will -- but what he has in mind is something else entirely. Baccarin stars as Gamemaster, from an alien race that stages bloody conflicts among humans and then wagers on the outcome. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story.


Ms. Baccarin is of course well-known to genre fans due to her roles in Joss Whedon's Firefly, Stargate and V. MALEVOLENT also stars Bill Mosley ("The Devil's Rejects") and Dani Lennon ("Bite Me"). The film is executive produced and written by Coverage Ink's Jim Cirile and Tanya Klein ("Liberator") and produced by Cindi Rice and Paige Barnett (Space Guys in Space, Bite Me.)

Please follow Malevolent on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Dog and Pony Show

Hi, folks!

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting Agent's Hot Sheet - Live! for the second straight year at Great American Pitchfest. Once again, we had a killer panel of heavyweight Hollywood literary reps, and we discussed all manner of things. We'll be bringing you video excerpts right here on our blog over the coming weeks. Humongous props to UTA's Amanda Hymson, Benderspink's Jake Wagner, Circle of Confusion's Jairo Alvarado and Chris Mills from Magnet Management.

One of the things I had to ask the panel was about the necessity of being "good in a room." We've all heard this expression; in short, it means being compelling, knowledgeable and personable. But this concept seems oddly incompatible with being a screenwriter. In fact, I know a lot of writers who are the exact opposite -- kinda introverted, quiet, neurotic, etc. -- heck, the reason we pursue writing in the first place is because it's insular. Walk into any LA coffee shop, for crying out loud, and you will see twenty screenwriters cranking away on their laptops -- together in a group yet interacting not at all. I wanted to know if simply being a great writer is enough for Hollywood. Watch this video to see what our panel had to say:

Not long after moving to Hollywood two decades ago, I scored an agent, and one of my comedies went out as a spec. A couple of companies were interested, chief among them New Line Cinema. I was ecstatic - I figured all we had to do was go in there and answer some questions. But the producer who was attached, to my shock, explained to me how things really worked. "They probably have not read the script," he said, although they no doubt have skimmed the in-house coverage. But how could they take a meeting on a project they haven't even read? "Happens all the time," he noted. And then he explained that for the most part the people you meet with in these types of meetings are just filling up their day to justify their salaries. No, he said, we had to put on a dog and pony show.

What that meant telling them the entire story from beginning to end, in the most insanely high-energy, unforgettable way possible -- literally putting on a performance. Frankly, this pissed me off. As the writer, I felt the words on the page should stand on their own. Further, I resented having to go in there and be a performing monkey for some bored, ADD middle management creative executives.

Yeah, whatever. Naturally, we worked out the mother of all dog and pony shows.

The producer and I went in there and spent a good half-hour literally running like madmen all around the room, reenacting all the major set-pieces, tag-teaming off of each other. One of us would do the set-up; the other would kick it into the goal. And so it went for a half hour, until by the end we collapsed -- exhausted, glistening with sweat, but still beaming these huge, dumb-ass smiles, 'cause you see, we had to pretend to enjoy this charade as well as project "these guys are super cool and easy to work with." It was one hell of an effort.

Well, we made it all the way up to Mike DeLuca, who was running the show over there at the time, and of course we did the whole dog and pony show again from the top. And... ultimately they passed. But still, that was my first experience with trying to sell a script to Hollywood. The screenplay was merely the ticket to entry. I've never forgotten that pitch, one of the more elaborate ones I've ever done. There have been many others, but the one thing they have in common is that at all times, I try to make it clear that I'm easy to work with, I respect their time and opinions, and that I'm a pro who will get it done (whether or not any of those things are actually true.) The screenplay really is just half the battle. Once someone calls you in for a meeting, it becomes all about them weighing whether or not they can work with you. Because we're talking what could be a protracted period of development, especially if the project gathers momentum. The exec, agent, manager or producer needs to know that you're someone who can communicate their story verbally as well as not be a looney or a pain in the ass or paralyzed in a sea of neuroses. Who wants to deal with that person for six months or more?

So this means that many of us who are not necessarily the best at presenting or public speaking have to find a way to become so if you want to make it as a screenwriter. Here's a simple but obvious tipper: plan everything out in advance. P.P.P.P.P.P., as the Rogue Warrior himself Dick Marcinko says -- Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. You should write out your pitch and rehearse it, just like a stage actor for a performance. You don't have to necessarily memorize it, although that helps -- a few glances at notes every now and again is fine. But the main thing is to be upbeat and keep eye contact, which forces the people you're meeting with to stay engaged. And do some research into who you're meeting with (hello, interwebs) so you have a few things to discuss, and connect the dots in a friendly (and non-stalkery) way. Maybe they went to college in your hometown or grew up near you, or you know the same people or like the same teams. Check out the company's slate so you can talk knowledgeably about their projects. Above all, just try to be cool -- even if you're a nervous wreck inside. Don't ever let 'em see ya sweat, as they say.

I know none of us signed up for this writing thing to be performers. But there it is. Crap! So: embrace it. Who knows, you might find out that, shock of shocks, the people you're meeting with are actually kind of cool. Before you know it, maybe you'll even be knocking back a few beers with this person you were so nervous about meeting. And if all else fails and you're losing 'em, run around the room like a maniac and shock 'em out of their torpor. Like it or not, they want to be entertained. (Woof! Neighhh.)

Jim Cirile, Coverage Ink

Coverage Ink Films Announces MALEVOLENT

We are super stoked to announce we are in production on our first feature film MALEVOLENT, an animated horror/thriller with a sci-fi twist. The story is sort of like SAW meets GROUNDHOG DAY. As of this writing, we cannot announce our star yet, although we can say she is well-known to genre fans. Our cast includes Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop), Bill Moseley (The Devil's Rejects) and Dani Lennon (Bite Me for FEARNet and Machinima) as Miriam, our beleaguered heroine. 


This is the first feature film for Coverage Ink, a leading indie screenplay development service established in 2002. Their previous short film/pilot LIBERATOR, starring Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Peta Wilson (La Femnme Nikita), Michael Dorn (Mr. Worf) and Ed Asner (Up), won ten awards and is currently available on iTunes and Amazon streaming

MALEVOLENT is being directed by award-winning filmmaker and commercial director Jason Axinn (Starpocalypse) and is being produced by the team behind Bite Me, Space Guys in Space and Dungeon Bastard. The film's writers and exec producers are CI's Tanya Klein and Jim Cirile.

Team "Malevolent" at Sonic Fuel Studios

“CI has always been about indie empowerment,” says Cirile. “You can make great movies without a lot of money. You just have to take the time to get the script right. Why wait around for someone to tell you you can make your movie? Just do it.”

Find out more about MALEVOLENT and keep track of upcoming developments at:



Save 15% on Barri Evins' San Fran Screenwriting Intensive

Our pal Barri Evins shared with us this cool event. If you're anywhere near the San Francisco Bay area this month, you'll want to check this out. Barri knows her stuff! She is a producer/exec, formerly president of Debra Hill Productions, and she has set up projects art Warners, Universal and HBO to name a few. This is an intensive weekend of education at a great price.

Use this discount code: "CINK" and receive a 15% discount on the seminar when you write signup@bigbigideas.com with the code. 


San Francisco Big Ideas Screenwriting Intensive July 25-27 

Make Breaking Into The Film Business A Reality:

• Understand the Industry from The Inside
• Create Concepts that Ignite Industry Interest
• Harness Your Passions and Showcase Your Strengths
• Stop Endlessly Rewriting!  Shape and Hone Stories on a Single Page
• Confidently Pitch, Structure and Develop Ideas with Powerful New Tools
• One Year of Individual Mentorship Keeps You On Track for Success 

Special Guest: Former LA Literary agent listens to your polished pitches and gives you advice on the marketplace for your idea.

This is THE LAST BIg Ideas Seminar to offer a full year of one-on-one mentorship to develop your idea and offer career advice -- worth thousands.  

$395 per person. Sign up today and don't forget the discount code! 



e-book, 343 pages
Author: Howard Casner
$2.99, Kindle only

Review by Tanya Klein

We’ve all been in this situation: we enter our masterpiece into one of the myriad screenwriting contests out there… and it doesn’t even make the quarterfinals. A script we’ve worked hard on, maybe we even got glowing coverage on it; yet, whoever read it for the contest simply didn’t like it enough to advance it. Why? How could they? What the #$%#!? In the same vein, often we send a script out for analysis and when the coverage comes back, it seems like the person didn’t even read the script we wrote, and we’re baffled by notes that seem to come out of left field. Again we wonder: what the bleep!?   

In his e-book “Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader,” Howard Casner attempts to answer all of our bleeping questions. Casner is a longtime reader for several screenplay contests such as Slamdance and Final Draft Big Break, as well as a script consultant. His book includes lessons he’s learned by seeing screenwriting contests up close and personal. He shares with us why he advanced some scripts while passing over others, as well as the biggest turn-offs for readers as well as the sometimes heated discussions that go on behind the scenes before all of the entries are whittled down to the top ten.  He also shares his musings on different genres, his dislike of formula and several screenwriting essays culled from his blog as well as many movie reviews.

The book indeed succeeds in probing the mind of a script reader -- that elusive person sitting at his or her desk reading script after script after script.  Yes, we all hate a verbose narrative and our eyes glaze over quickly while reading Faulkner-like denseness. And some will barely glance through never-ending action sequences and overly descriptive character introductions. As Casner notes, every reader hopes to get a script with characters that are so fresh and alive that they jump off the page and a story that is unique. 

Casner’s book isn’t – and doesn’t purport to be – a screenwriting manual. For someone looking to sharpen their screenwriting skills, there are many “how to” books out there. This isn’t one of them. Casner does share his “Ten Commandments of Screenwriting,” (and one can agree or disagree with them) but those won’t necessarily make you a better writer. The book comes alive when Casner gets into the nitty-gritty of a script reader’s life, from drunkenly kvetching to other readers about the terrible scripts that were submitted to facing moments of terror and panic when called upon by a contest coordinator to justify his selections. This is juicy inside-baseball stuff and is fascinating to read. One wishes that this was squarely the focus of the book, but Casner at times loses his way in general musings on screenwriting and genre proclivities as well as way too many movie reviews, which frankly we're just not as interested in.

If you want to know what the bleep goes on in a script reader’s head, Howard Casner’s “Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Consultant” is a good place to start and it’s currently available on Amazon. 


Tanya Klein is a New York writer/director/producer/actor living in Los Angeles.  


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 www.coverageink.com 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 www.coverageink.com.

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 Ink.com 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 (www.coverageink.com) 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 www.pitchfest.com.

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 coverageink.com 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.

http://www.amazon.com/Showdown-Godz-CoverageInk-Films/dp/B00FL977F6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401928524&sr=8-1&keywords=showdown+of+the+godzEnter 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 www.coverageinkfilms.com.) 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 www.facebook.com/malevolentmovie


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 www.pitchfest.com 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.