A reader named Mike sent me a question that I've gotten in one form or another over the last few months:
Of all the script coverage services, which would you recommend that would include a referral to producers, after of course receiving positive coverage. I've read of a few but which do you recommend?
As I've said before, there are some perfectly good reasons to pay a consultant to do coverage on your script. However, I don't really have enough experience with those services that I feel comfortable saying, "Yes, give all your money to Company ______."
If it was me, I'd look at the referral as a bonus - nothing more. Some of those services tout all their many connections, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Most of those sites should have some kind of "Success Story" section. A quick glance at ScriptPimp's site reveals that they have had a few six-figure sales and a couple produced projects, in addition to the usual boasting about finding their clients representation. In looking at ScriptShark's site, there are several listings from the past year alone about their clients finding representation, though I don't see any recent sales.
But here's where your own instincts have to come in. I wouldn't look to these companies to get you a sale. Look at the agents, managers and producers they seem to be associated with, and then do your own due diligence on those people. Are the producers the kind of people who would respond to your material? What can you find out about those reps? Are they strong sellers or are they small-time?
Remember, getting representation is a step, but it's only the beginning of the journey. Even a great agent can only do so much. They can open doors, but your material has to be strong enough to advance further. Plenty of people get an agent or a manager and then spend years trying to get a sale.
The consulting services primarily exist to give feedback. Anything beyond that is gravy and I think that's the attitude you have to take when evaluating them. We all want to sell our material, looking to these services from the perspective of "which one will make that sale happen?" is a little like wondering which type of canvas you should buy so your painting ends up in the Louvre.