GoCoverage.com creators return online revamped

Creators of last year’s controversial dot-com failure GoCoverage are trying their hands at the online script services game again.

And this time, they’ve got support from the industry to which they’re catering.

Storybay.com has officially bowed as a way for new scribes to get their scripts read by professional Hollywood readers and, if worthy, onto the desks of producers and agents with whom it has exclusively paired up.

Operating off the GoCoverage.com platform, new site has been running as a test venture for the past six months and recently bowed its official redesign.

But Storybay isn’t GoCoverage.

In October, GoCoverage was set up to provide overnight coverage to production outfits — even studios — through a staff of its own readers, for a fee. Coverage appeared on the site whether positive or negative and would have been accessible through a searchable database. Operation was shuttered only a week after launching. Threats from agencies, including possible lawsuits, made sure of that (Daily Variety, Oct. 18).

“GoCoverage.com was a completely different business,” CEO Brad Warrington told Daily Variety. “We developed Storybay based on the feedback we got from executives, the agencies and writers. Storybay now focuses on the new writer.”

First-look option

This time, writers submit their work, which is read by Storybay’s staff of 20 readers. Buyers then see the screened work. Partnered agencies or producers receive a first-look option for these properties and the right to negotiate with the writer directly.

Writers pay $175 to receive analysis of their work. For $300, scribes receive consultation, which includes notes to improve the script. Company plans to begin soliciting novels beginning Oct. 13 through its Gotham digs.

Even without advertising, venture currently receives 50 scripts per week.

What will help the venture compete with rivals such as ScriptShark.com, GoodStory.com and HollywoodLitSales.com is a referral program it has set up at production companies and tenpercenteries.

Through an exclusive arrangement, all unsolicited scripts are sent back to writers with a letter that refers them to submit their work to Storybay.com.

Company has already inked exclusive agreements with more than 30 producers, managers, agents and production companies, including Blue Tulip Prods., Overbrook Entertainment, Konrad Pictures, Kopelson Entertainment, MTV Films, Industry Entertainment and tenpercentery Endeavor.

Strong board

Storybay advisory board members include writer-director Brad Silberling (“City of Angels,”), Bob Wallerstein, attorney with Armstrong-Hirsch, Howard Bragman, CEO of praisery Bragman, Nyman, Cafferelli, producer venture capitalist Andrew Meyer, Saturn Films’ Norm Golightly, Larry Kopald, CEO of 120 Advertising/Marketing, and Persistent Pictures’ Matt Rhodes.

“In just under two months of on-line service we already have success stories of placing new writers with representatives and producers,” said Bill Papariella, senior veep and co-founder. “At the same time, we have been able to guarantee new writers a new avenue into Hollywood and a true foot in the door.”

Jon Danzinger’s script “Dead Pool” was recently downloaded 92 times by industryites, resulting in 19 meetings. Less than two months after sending the script to Storybay, Danzinger signed with agent Caren Bohrman.

“Agents are always looking for new talent, producers are always looking for new stories,” veep Ray Miller said. “We create an easy opportunity for them to find something good. At the same time, a lot of writers are naive to the workings of the film business. Unless you know somebody, no one’s going to look at your screenplay. If you’re not from New York or L.A., it’s very difficult to get into this business.”

Storybay is funded by private venture capital outfit IdeaSpring, founded by Richard Bard and Alan Gotcher.

Rounding out Storybay’s new management team is chief operating officer Dan Kurtz, chief financial officer Dan Arenberg, directors Kelli Smith, Shannon Vistins, Sara Stockton and Mike Buha.

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