Saturday, October 08, 2011

Coverage Ink/Writers on the Storm Newsletter 10-11

1) Intro Letter and Shorties
2) Agent's Hot Sheet - Back in Black
3) Test Your Screenwriting IQ with Steve Kaire
4) On Creative Screenwriting

Hi folks,

My screenwriting brethren,

We've got a pretty jam-packed newsletter here full of good news -- and one big piece of kind of sucky news. By now many of you have heard about Creative Screenwriting. We broke the news earlier in the week that the magazine is ceasing publication and the enterprise may be on the ropes (read the full story right here.)

This is a blow to the screenwriting community, and it may be a while before we know the full ramifications. Regardless of anything, Creative Screenwriting has been a damn good magazine for over a decade, rich with content and assembled by people who actually gave a crap, and their Expos and contests, while perhaps flawed, challenged and engaged and launched careers. Let's hope they somehow pull this one out of the fire and continue on in some way, shape or form.

It was my privilege to write the Agent's Hot Sheet column for CS for the last decade; one way or another, I'll find a way to keep bringing all of you the inside skinny direct from the top lit representatives in town. And certainly new media will step up to fill the void. Former Script magazine West Coast editor Josh Stecker is launching a new online writing magazine/community which will also feature a free screening series. It's called The Script Reporter, and Coverage Ink is pleased to be a part of this new enterprise. We'll let you know as soon as it's ready for lift-off.

Oh, and I did mention good news. Our CI team and clients have had a crazy amount of success lately. You'll see we really do back up our "The Industry Experts" slogan. On top of that, the spec market is back with a vengeance, so we're launching a huge-ass sale so all of you can get out there and make it happen. All this plus the latest in Steve Kaire's excellent Test Your Screenwriting IQ series, Agent's Hot Sheet explains how the Black List works, and way more, all hurtling at you right about now-ish.

Jim Cirile
Coverage Ink
Writers on the Storm


P.S. See the Writers on the Storm quarterfinalists right here. Semifinalists dropping imminently! Feedback forms are being sent out now (this will take about a week or so to get them all out). If you do not receive your feedback by 10/15, please email us. (Coverage Ink clients who entered the contest through CI received long-form coverage and do not get the contest feedback unless they resubmitted a new draft directly to the contest.)



WRITERS ON THE STORM QUARTERFINALISTS. We announced the Writers on the Storm QF's last week (if you missed it, click here to see them.) The top 50, otherwise known as our semi-finalists, will be announced right here within the next few days.

THE SPEC MARKET KICKING ASS. Man, this is a great headline to write. According to the Scoggins Report, 2011 is the best year for spec sales since 2007-2008.  Warner Bros. has bought 11 specs so far this year, up from its industry-leading 9 last year. And while DreamWorks has said they're done with buying for the year, the recent executive shuffle over there could change that picture in a hurry. After years of discussing the decline of the spec market in our Agent's Hot Sheet column in Creative Screenwriting, it is exhilarating to report that things have turned around. In fact, savvy readers may have noticed that our panelists Mike Goldberg from New Wave Entertainment and Emile Gladstone from WME called it a year ago, both predicting a big 2011 sales uptick (based on the studios having nothing on their slates for 2014-2015.) So if you've been feeling dispirited about the chances of breaking in of late (and who hasn't?) here's a whole bunch of happy for ya! (And don't forget to take advantage of our sale below to get your specs polished up and ready to rock.)

TRACKING B FINAL DEADLINE. We run our own contest of course, Writers on the Storm. Yet we have to give a hat-tip to our buddy The Insider and his amazing Tracking B Screenwriting Contest. Their final deadline is charging in fast (October 30th,) and if you enter no other contests this year, you should enter this one. Why? Because Tracking B is the most expensive contest around ($85 for "really late entry") and it offers no prizes per se. Wait, huh, wha'? Okay, we'd better explain.  See, it's worth it, because Tracking B is the ONLY contest around that gets their winners signed, promoted and produced regularly. Last year's finalist John Swetnam got signed thanks to Tracking B; his movie EVIDENCE just wrapped production. The amazing thing is, he's the rule, not the exception. And lest you think it's too pricey, if you submit two scripts you get a free 1-year subscription to, the real-life industry tracking board (a $79 value.) Head on over to and investigate for yourself.

O'Hare celebrates.
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE FOR CI ANALYST. The string of good luck continues for both CI and for our analyst Kevin O'Hare, who has for the second time sold a TV pilot to Universal. "Just got an offer yesterday for another one of my spec TV pilots," says O'Hare. "Still in shock because it literally happened in two weeks. Just signed with ICM last month, they asked for any work I had laying around, and it just so happened I had another pilot no one had seen (very 'Lost') - they loved it, got a producer to take it into Universal because they bought that other pilot of mine, and sure enough Universal put in an offer to take it off the table." The deal also earned O'Hare enough points to get into the WGA. You rock, man! By the way, TV (and feature) writers, O'Hare is still available for coverage. Submit online at and just put "I'd like reader KO, please!" in the comments box. (See "Sale!" below.)

BACK IN PRINT. Last year we bemoaned the loss of The Hollywood Reporter's daily print edition. We tried to like the new weekly magazine format. We really did. And truth be told, it's slick, well-done bathroom reading. But it's not like the old THR, chock full of reviews and obits and minutiae; it's now more glammed out and superficial, in our opinion. And their daily email? We never even bother to read those. Another e-mail--who cares? Well, one of our staffers had a radical notion a few weeks back, and she went and subscribed us to Variety. Glory, glory, hallelujah. In-depth, daily entertainment news, on paper, is once again arriving at the CI offices. And, brothers and sisters, that is a beautiful thing. If, like us, you've grown dispirited over THR, give Variety a chance. You'll be very glad you did. Yeah, sorry, THR. You kinda suck.

COLLEEN'S GOT THE EYE OF THE TIGER. Our client Colleen Houck, who consulted with us on her entire book series, has optioned the film rights to her New York Times bestselling teen novel “Tiger’s Curse." Ineffable Pictures grabbed up the rights, and they aim to start production on the film within two years. This is especially gratifying to us here at CI, because one of the main areas we consulted on was in making the material as cinema-ready as possible. "Tiger's Curse" is the first of five planned novels following 17-year-old Kelsey Hayes as she tries to break a 300-year-old Indian curse that has turned a prince into a white tiger. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ineffable Pictures founder, Emmy-nominated producer Raphael Kryszek, says he read the book at the urging of his 11-year-old cousin. Way to go, Colleen! Visit the book's website right here.

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE FOR ANOTHER CI ANALYST. CI Senior Story Analyst (and "Liberator" director) Aaron Pope has been busy on the for-hire writing front, recently landing assignment work on horror flick CROPSY for director Tom Holland ("Fright Night") and the family comedy I MISSED THE BUS for Vendetta Filmworks. Both are slated for principal photography in early 2012. In addition, Pope has other projects percolating at big prodcos all over town. And yes, he is still available for coverage as well! Just ask for AP when you submit. And speaking of "Liberator"...
Lou Ferrigno returns to superheroics in "Liberator." Photo by Russell Griffin.
OPERATION: LIBERATION CONTINUES. Coverage Ink's latest production LIBERATOR finished reshoots and pickup days in September, and the stuff looks fabulous. We were fortunate enough to have a stunningly successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign, raising $24,650 (our goal was $18,000.) We funnelled that money right back into the production, and we were finally able to get the shots we always wanted (which we did not have the time or money to shoot during the main shoot in June.) Liberator stars Lou Ferrigno as a disgraced, former superhero whose secret black ops past comes back to haunt him. The film also stars Michael Dorn (Star Trek: the Next Generation,) Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita) and Ed Asner (Up). Watch some behind the scenes footage right here, then "like" us on facebook! And if you want to find out all about Liberator, listen to Director Aaron Pope and Executive Producer Jim Cirile talk about the film on the podcast SciFi Diner right here.

CI POST-CONTEST SALE! With the spec market on a tear, it's time for all of us to get a piece of the action. It's our first sale since launching Writers on the Storm in the spring, and we're making it up to you guys in a big way: 20% OFF ANY SCRIPT SUBMISSION. Just submit your script to CI for analysis and use this discount code in the text box: CINEWSLETTER20. Hurry, sale ends 10/31!

"Hannah's Law" writer John Fasano
THE WESTERN IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE WESTERN. The old west has had a tough time of it lately at the US box office; while most of us love a good oater, they're unwanted as spec scripts. But the genre thrives on the small screen -- specifically on the Hallmark Channel, which has been blessing us with an avalanche of original, high-quality western telefilms and miniseries. Their latest flick is Hannah's Law, directed by Rachel Talalay (Freddy's Dead) and written by Coverage Ink's good pal John Fasano (Tombstone.) The film stars Sara Canning (Vampire Diaries,) as a strong-willed forntier gal who corrals Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp to help her town take a stand for justice. Hannah's Law also stars Billy Zane and and Danny Glover. The film is shooting in Canada and will air on the Hallmark Channel in 2012. Way to go, JF!

Anjali Patil in "Delhi in a Day"
FOXY. The hit parade for CI analysts continues. This time it's Billy Fox, who did story work for Director Prashant Nair on the new feature film DELHI IN A DAY. The film is now screening at festivals and has its Indian premiere in Mumbai on October 14th. The cross-cultural dramedy is getting fantastic reviews and won Best Feature Film award at the Houston Indian Film Festival. Its next US screening is at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival 10/23. "CI was indeed instrumental," says Nair. "We are finally pitching to distributors in the coming weeks - goal is a small theatrical release in India, UAE and UK. So keep fingers crossed!" Nair has put together a mesmerizing little movie, and we are proud to have helped it to the big screen. Visit the film's website to see the trailer and sign up for the mailing list. 

Paul Moxham
CI CLIENT MAKES PAGE ACTION TOP 10. Hot young Australian writer Paul Moxham reports his script BLIZZARD, a Writers on the Storm honorable mention, has hit the top 10 of the Page Awards. Moxham's crackerjack writing landed him a manager earlier this year, and his scripts have placed highly in several contests. We have a soft spot for this little snowbound action/thriller about a man returning to his Montana hometown only to find his father--the Sheriff--has been kidnapped by the thugs he used to run with. We really hope this one cleans up. Show 'em how it's done, Paul.

Ever wanted to turn the tables on an exec at a pitch fest? We thought so.
WRITER WISH FULFILLMENT. Tell us if this sounds like a cool premise to you: at a screenwriters' pitch event, a vengeful writer turns the tables on an arrogant studio executive, ordering him at gunpoint to pitch a good story or die. As the clock ticks down, the exec gets a lesson in truthfulness and storytelling, but will he learn in time to save himself? Yeah, we thought you guys would dig that! That's the premise of Slamdance winner DEAD IN THE ROOM, a new short film burning up the festival circuit right now. "I got the idea for this after having attended a few pitch events myself," says writer Margie Kaptanoglu. "I just thought it might be interesting if an industry exec had to learn what it feels like to be 'under the gun' so to speak." DEAD IN THE ROOM screens next at the Red Rock Film Festival, Saturday, November 12th, at 2:30 pm in St. George, Utah. "Like" it on Facebook.

CI SCORES HOLY-CRAP!!!-HUGE NEW CLIENT. One last bit of amazing news for now. Coverage Ink recently landed our biggest client ever. This is a major production company with a a pipepline of huge studio movies. We really wish we could name names here. We would maybe make it our new slogan or something -- Coverage Ink, the script development service used by Holy Crap!!!-Huge Productions. Has a nice ring to it, huh? We've helped them with two projects so far -- an international best-seller we've all read, and an original period piece based on a true event.

Continue on to:

Agent's Hot Sheet - Back in Black
Test Your Screenwriting IQ with Steve Kaire
On Creative Screenwriting


1 comment:

jcporter said...

Really bummed to hear about Creative Screenwriting. Love that magazine. Great informative articles that I clipped and copied and sent around to writer pals.

However. CI is a great entity and I love the energy here. Good fortune to you and I shall continue to turn to this site for the inside information and news from the top.

Re: Variety, they have a great twitter presence too.