Sunday, October 22, 2017

What "coverage" looks like

When writers turn in screenplays, producers, agencies, and studios generally hire people to read them and submit a report.  These reports are called "coverage."  Many times projects live or die based on their coverage.  As an example of one, here is our coverage for the screenplay we wrote for VOLUNTEERS (which eventually became a movie starring Tom Hanks and John Candy).  Once you read it you'll know why I saved it all these years.   If only all of our coverage from all of our screenplays could receive this kind of reaction. 


John Hammes said...

Speaking of 1962, President Kennedy addressed the nation on the Cuban Missile Crisis this very date, 55 years ago.

Speaking of President Kennedy, Vaughn Meader and company recorded The First Family album (the first of two records) the very same night, October 22, 1962. No idea how much the cast or audience knew what was happening that evening: something of an insight into a world without social media.

Meader would enjoy at least a year of national celebrity.

Breadbaker said...

A highlight of our recent Cuba trip was to see some of the actual missiles and the U2 they shot down during what the Cubans call the October crisis. I was six and had little idea how close we came to World War III.

Arthur Mee said...

Almost *exactly* a year of national celebrity, in fact.

"The First Family" was issued on LP in November of 1962, first getting airplay on WINS in NYC on November 13th, and spreading across the country to LA's KNX by the 17th. The resulting public demand for the "First Family" album was instantaneous, and utterly unprecedented in scale. By the week of November 19th, 10 pressing plants nationwide (owned by RCA, Columbia, and Capitol, amongst others) were being leased to crank out copies, and a single company in Indianapolis had to lithograph a million album covers in a two-week period. Two other lithograph companies were quickly hired on to assist, as by December, the album was selling a million copies a week.

Of course, Meader's career (and celebrity) came to a complete halt November 22, 1963.

Incidentally, the cast had heard the Cuban Missile Crisis speech just before the performance, and they were convinced -- because of the resulting tension -- that the material would flop in front of the audience. The reaction they got led them to conclude that the audience (or at least the majority of the audience) were unaware of the speech.

Earl Boebert said...

Well, James Hammes conjured up the memories. I was active duty Air Force for the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of JFK, and the Tonkin Gulf Incident. Interesting times.

Liggie said...

I ordered coverage of the first screenplay I wrote, from a service designed to help new writers. They didn't include a summary like above, but they did include a logline, page length and genre. Plus they added very helpful fields like strengths, weaknesses, comments on dialogue, tone, character development, grammar and formatting, and where I stood on the pass-consider-recommend scale. They also added a miscellaneous section for other items; e.g. is Mexico considered part of North America, like one of my characters said? This was all useful stuff, and helped me greatly on my rewrite.

@John Hammes: Twenty years later, Rich Little had a "First Family Rides Again" album focusing on the Reagans. It was pretty tame, but had some entertaining bits like Reagan being visited by Lincoln's ghost:

"You're an actor? I was shot by an actor."; and

"So,,Mr. Lincoln, which presidents since then have you liked?"
"I liked President Haig."

Earl Boebert said...

Sorry, should have been John Hammes. Too many memories, I guess :-(

Diane D. said...

Wow! What a thrill that must have been. Having seen the movie, I can attest to the accuracy of the coverage. I own the DVD, and will be watching it again tonight.

"intelligent and witty"---if only that could be said about more comedies.

John Hammes said...

@Earl Boebert: No worries: I'll answer to anything, I've probably been called everything.

@Liggie: Was in High School in the early '80's, and remember very well purchasing and listening to the Rich Little "First Family Rides Again" album. Compared to my Dad's copies of the original "First Family" albums, the writing here was never really as sharp, but as you said, had entertaining bits none the less. The poker game with Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan was fun.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Off Topic: Have you watched Morgan Spurlock's mockumentary based on 'Homer at the Bat'? It was on Fox today after football. Some of the players involved in the episode are in it, along with Costas, Eucker, Buck, and others.

bruce said...

I may have commented this in the past, but Walter Parkes was the TA for Steve Kovacs' Film Aesthetics
course that I took as a first year math grad student at Stanford in 1974. I doubt the calculus students I
was a TA for still remember my name!

Kevin FitzMaurice said...

Vaughn Meader participated in Rich Little's album, playing Reagan's first Attorney General, William French Smith.

Anonymous said...

Finished watching "Das Plane" from Wings for, maybe, the 15th time. One of my all time favorites. Stuffing the regular characters into the plane with Carlton (one of the most annoying characters Ive ever seen in a sitcom) was a wonderful idea.


Jed said...

Nice report, I agree with it!

Nice little bio of Meader.

He was one of my early comedy favorites, in my early teens, like 12 years old.

mdv59 said...

Apparently Walter Parkes (author of the coverage) has good instincts... IMDB Walter F. Parkes

Mrs Dotson said...

I loved doing this job (albeit for novels so the nerd version I guess). Literally nothing better in life than finding the next gen.