Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interview with Brandon Barker

Brandon Barker is on a roll. As a result of his scoring a “consider” for his feature script "Nottingham + Hood" in our Get Repped Now! promotion in fall 2014, we hooked him up with Benderspink’s Jake Wagner, who signed him and launched his career with a bang. Incredible things happened for Barker very quickly. We caught up with the now in-demand scribe to find out how things are going (the answer: pretty damn great.)


Jim Cirile:  Dude! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get into writing?

Brandon Barker:  I grew up in the suburbs of San Diego on Nintendo, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars. I've been writing and making movies since I was eight. I don't think a month went by where I wasn't working on some movie thing with the kids in the neighborhood. I grew up a big Spielberg and Lucas freak and still am. 

In high school I was a drama geek, a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. Went to UC Santa Cruz which was a magical place and then transferred to NYU film school. Moved to LA after graduation. Met my wife on a blind date at Disneyland. I did not have a lot of incredibly interesting jobs save for a year as a sixth grade teacher. That was just way too interesting. 

JC:  What was the inspiration for "Nottingham + Hood"? 

BB:  I wanted to do "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" in the middle ages. I had never seen a buddy movie in that time period and thought it sounded fun. The story evolved from a generic knight and rogue character to the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood. I rewatched "Midnight Run" and thought it was an even better template. Just kept evolving from there.

JC:  The mash-up is definitely "Midnight Run" meets Sherwood Forest. How does it feel to be at Benderspink? What's that ride been like?

BB:  Feels great! I am really impressed with Jake Wagner, his smooth moves, his network, and his relationships - that's what it's all about. I was not an obvious choice and he really took a chance on me. And meeting Jake would have never been possible without Coverage Ink. Honestly, out of all the services, you guys had the smartest coverage. Some very exciting things are happening that I can't even talk about and it's killing me not to, but hopefully I can spill it soon!

JC:  Okay, before everyone hates you for having this amazing good fortune, you'd better give us an "always darkest before the dawn" moment. We all have a time when everything writing-wise looks bleak and we're ready to throw in the towel.

BB:  I had a little success right after film school with an option that got pretty far up the chain. Unfortunately, the execs I was dealing with were let go, and there went my project. At the time I did not know this was a common experience. I thought it was unique to me and such a tragedy that I gave up writing for about five days. It made me realize how hard it is to make a living as a writer and how long it takes and that's when I started getting into teaching. Though I never stopped writing after that. I believe in the whole "Outliers" 10,000 hours thing. That book should be required reading. It's all about hard work and falling on your face over and over and over again. Luck, timing, and talent are all factors but pale in comparison to hard work... and meeting Jake Wagner.

JC:  Right on. What are your favorite genres to watch and/or write?

BB:  Action/adventure with a sense of humor. That's what I want to do. "Guardians of the Galaxy" is a perfect example. That was my kind of movie. Great balancing act between organic, believable characters and a goofy sense of humor. More than one friend said that movie was totally me!

JC:  Now I know there's all sorts of coolness going on with "Nottingham & Hood" that you can't talk about yet. What else are you cooking up?

BB:  A sci-fi actioner... with a sense of humor!

JC: I walked right into that one. Continued success and thanks for your time.

BB: No, thank you! You really got the ball rolling for me, man. Seriously - THANK YOU!! Query letters did not work for me - it was your site and promotion that really did the trick!!


Coverage Ink's Get Repped Now! runs from 10/13 to 11/9/14. Enter now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paul Zeidman Interviews CI's Jim Cirile

For some bizarre reason, Paul Zeidman thought it would be wise to interview ME for his Maximum Z blog as part of his series of grilling screenplay consultants...

Ask a Straight-Talkin’ Script Consultant!

Jim Cirile - Coverage Ink

The latest in a series of interviews with script readers and consultants who would be worth your while to work with if you want to get your script in shape. Today’s spotlight is on Jim Cirile of Coverage Ink.

1. What’s the last thing you read/watched that you thought was incredibly well-written?
After binge-watching “Sons of Anarchy” season 6, you really have to marvel at the craftsmanship. The upheaval and complications are so constant as to be ludicrous, yet it’s so devilishly well-written that you just strap in and hold on tight. And blowing our own horn a bit, the last script I read which was truly special was Brandon Barker’s “Nottingham and Hood,” which we found as part of our last Get Repped Now! promotion this summer. We got him into Benderspink, where he’s now working with their head of lit Jake Wagner. So, win-win. A real talented guy with a bitingly funny comic voice.

2. How’d you get your start reading scripts?
Kind of fell into it, really. I originally founded Coverage Ink to offer my small handful of analysts, whom I’d assembled to help develop my own material, to other writers at low cost. Getting feedback from smart readers is a major part of my process and always has been. In fact, the very first person I met when I moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago was a union studio reader, and that fellow was enormously gracious in giving me feedback and teaching me how the biz really works. Over time, as a writer myself, I gave feedback to plenty of other writers and realized I had a lot to say in that regard. Our approach is based around writer empowerment – giving constructive feedback as opposed to humiliation. This is in part a reaction to some of the astonishingly humiliating and unhelpful coverage I’ve received on my own scripts and have seen others receive over the years. I figured there had to be a way to give helpful guidance without belittling the writer. So all of that combined to get the CI ball rolling in 2002.

Read the rest right here!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Coverage Ink's GET REPPED NOW! Returns
We got Brandon Barker into BENDERSPINK. Are you next?


Summer 2014 we launched our first Coverage Ink's Get Repped Now! The response was tremendous. Five scripts were judged “considers” – four features and one TV pilot. We’re enormously pleased to report that Benderspink head of lit Jake Wagner is now working with writer Brandon Barker based on the strength of his feature spec “Nottingham and Hood.”

For a limited time only, three incredible literary representatives:

Jake Wagner (Benderspink) Chris Mills (Magnet Management), and Jeff Belkin (Zero Gravity) will personally read any scripts submitted to Coverage Ink for script analysis that garner a "Consider" for script (roughly the top 5% of submissions on average.) Wagner and Belkin will read the feature scripts; Wagner and Mills will read the TV pilots.

That’s all there is to it.  The door is open.  If you've got the goods, you've got a real shot of getting a kick-ass manager. Bring it!


1) Click the SUBMIT IT button.

2)  Fill out the online release and order form and then upload your screenplay or teleplay.

3) You will receive a confirmation and a Paypal invoice from CI
for the screenplay analysis within 24 hours .

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.) 

*NOTE: If we are at capacity, we may have to push your coverage delivery back. Due to the huge response last time we were running about 4-5 days behind at the end of the Get Repped Now! promotion. We’ll let you know when you submit if we anticipate a delay.

Considers will be sent to Belkin, 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 enter early enough, or select rush or semi-rush, you may have a chance to polish and resubmit before the 11/9 deadline, giving you a second chance (please check on rush availability before submitting)

STANDARD COVERAGE COST: $129 for features, $99 for 1-hrs and $79 for 1/2 hrs. This includes a detailed 10-14 page coverage report analyzing every aspect of the screenplay. For more info please see the FAQ page at

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 or teleplays 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 and Belkin for features or Mills and Wagner for TV.

* Offer ends at 12:01 AM 11/10/14.

* Offer only valid on screenplays submitted for coverage to Coverage between 10/13/14 and 11/9/14.

* Allow 10-14 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 for the Get Repped Now! promotion (however, we do review these all the time and are happy to do so! Contact us for more info or a quote.)

* 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 Belkin, 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 Belkin, 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 Belkin, Mills and Wagner.

* If you receive a Consider, you may elect to do a polish draft based on the coverage before submitting to Belkin, Mills or Wagner (strongly recommended. That’s what coverage is for in the first place – to help you iron out all the bugs before making those crucial submissions.)

* Coverage Ink is not affiliated in any way with Zero Gravity, Benderspink or Magnet Management.

* Coverage Ink team members, partners and associates past or present are not eligible.

Founded in 2002, top-rated Coverage Ink is 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. Visit us at