Coverage is your script boiled down to a 2 or three page document expressing the essential elements of your work. The document contains title, author, page length, genre, location, time period, logline, plot summary, comments, and finally a grade for the work on a scale of excellent to poor in the following categories: premise, storyline, characterization, dialogue, structure, pace and appeal. Last but not least, it includes a recommendation: pass, consider or sometimes consider writer, but not material.
Coverage is used by most of the players: managers, agents, producers, and studio / network executives. Depending on how trusted (new vs. experienced) the coverage writer is, coverage efficiently determines whether a project will be considered. If you’re a writer looking to break into the business, it is useful to hire a coverage writer or consultant to cover your work. This test coverage will give you an impartial, unbiased view of your work and how it may be discussed by reps and executives around town. The cost is well worth it, especially if you’re only getting reads by friends and family.
The best option is to get your work covered by a consultant. It may be obvious but it’s always better to use an independent consultant vs. using someone who works at a studio or agency as they may log your work into the system and hamper your chances there if the coverage isn’t great.
When thinking about hiring a consultant, keep in mind there are many to be found by ads in screenwriting magazines and websites or even via google search. Just like shopping for any other services, get references and check credits.