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. 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 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


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 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.


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