I had the pleasure of spending a few extra minutes after our Script Writers Workshop last Saturday discussing with the other writers their experiences and questions about script hosting services like Coverfly.
These websites all vary slightly, but they are all used as a way to try and get your script noticed by industry professionals. Most generally, you upload your screenplay to the website, and maybe a VIP will want to read it. They also offer other services, like free peer-to-peer script notes and an easy way to submit to competitions. Coverfly is free, while The Black List is $30/script/month. And the others are somewhere in between.
In my research, I found this informative thread on Stage32 (Stage 32 is another good resource for writers) where writers are discussing their experiences with these various script hosting sites. I also did a search of conversations on Facebook screenwriting boards for writers' opinions on Coverfly specifically. Here are some comments I found:
"Blacklist - probably most expensive. American centered. Useful if you score well on paid evaluations. Inktip - cheaper than blacklist but tend to see much lower budget limits on their email list. Coverfly - free as far as I know. I had a prodco reach out via coverfly and they are pitching my pilot around now. Script revolution - free, seems like its good. I don't know if any successes from it but C J Walley is a good guy and he runs it." - Dec 2021
"So Coverfly is dope because they host scripts AND if your projects are submitted to contests through their portal, a score is associated with how well they do. Based on a projects score, your script can make it to their “Red List” which will host the project for free where industry pros can request. Downside? This site makes you want to keep boosting your score, which means entering more contests, which means spending more money." - April 2021
"One of my projects made the red list on Coverfly and a producer requested a download!!! I am beyond happy I never in a million years thought that would happen." - Dec 2021
"A site for submitting your scripts to other festivals and collating all your results in one place; sometimes people can find your script if it does well enough." - Dec 2021
"Easy to use, connects to all screenwriting competitions, lists your feedback score...so I recommend it." - April 2020
"I’ve heard a lot of writers call it a scam but it put me in contact with a producer so I love it." - April 2020
"You can ignore requests if you don't feel comfortable with the person -- I've allowed some, ignored a few. But being discoverable also means you can get industry downloads (I've had about 4-5 of those), at least I think." - June 2021
"Coverfly: I've had one industry download a couple of months ago. Heard nothing else about it. Didn't really expect to, tbh. Other than that, can't say I've really got anything out of Coverfly personally, but I know others have. They run a number of free programmes (Pitch Week, Mentoring, etc.) and they're pretty good for sharing even the smallest success stories on Twitter to amplify their users. ISA: Reached Elevated Consideration on a writing gig a while back. That's about it. Most writing gigs just sit at "Sent" for several months before changing to "Passed". No evidence the majority of submissions are even being read. Still, the little icons on the profile are nice! Blacklist: Can't afford it. Hosting + evaluation fees are simply too much for me and the hosting is worthless without the evaluations. Script Revolution: Been on it for a few months. I like it. Most of the downloads I've had are from fellow writers rather than industry folks, but tbh, since I've only put pilots up at the moment I can't say I was expecting anything else. CJ is extremely responsive to emails and does a good job at keeping the site free of a-holes. I think it'll be more useful once I've finished up some low-budget feature scripts." - Jan 2022
One of my favorite comments I read, however, was the following:
"Overall, the best way to get your content out there these days is simply to make it yourself and peddle it to smaller festivals for two reasons... that's a better way to spend your money than on the 'hope machine.'"
My feeling is if you have some money, or some time, to spend on these sites, then why-the-hell-not. You could get useful feedback, and maybe even make some progress with selling your script! But what I don't like about these script hosting sites is what they allow us to become: passive. We write our scripts and then put them on these sites, waiting for someone to find them. If that is all you're doing with your script, I would recommend doing more. Never wait for someone to discover you. Create your success.