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LIMAMA 12-09-2012 09:47 PM

Spec Scout
 
For $147 you get your script judgd by 3 readers...as if you need to be told your script sucks 3x.

jscoggins 12-10-2012 02:04 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Haha. We're much more diplomatic than that. And in my experience, getting a sense of what more than one reader thinks about each of 10 attributes of a script can be pretty helpful.
- scoggins

P.S. Happy to answer any questions about the service, here or offline.

LIMAMA 12-10-2012 02:47 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Jason, nice to see you here ready for questions (or barbs). I'm a little confused by your website, though. Who determined all these top repped and unrepped scripts? Your readers? Is there an example of their coverage somewhere on the site for prospective writers to see?

With the $147 do you also get access to this Coverage Library?

What makes your site different--or better--than Franklin Leonard's Black List, as it seems to be duplication in a sense.

Is there a FAQ which gives more details?

Once you get this coverage and if you score a 60, is the coverage contained on a dedicated script page online that prospective industry players can see or is it just lumped in a database? Or is that what the Coverage Library is?

How many scripts do you have on this library/database? How many industry people have signed up? Do they pay a fee too?

I'm sure others will probably chime in with questions.

:)

jscoggins 12-10-2012 03:49 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
My pleasure! Happy to take questions, and my skin is plenty thick enough to handle barbs as well. We've answered a bunch of questions on the "For Industry," "For Writers" and "About Us" pages on the site, but I'm really pleased to have the opportunity to respond here, too. I'll try to answer all of the above in one reply here, and I hope you'll forgive the lengthy post in advance.

"Who determined all these top repped and unrepped scripts? Your readers? Is there an example of their coverage somewhere on the site for prospective writers to see? With the $147 do you also get access to this Coverage Library?"

We're tracking the spec market daily, just like I've done for the Scoggins Report for going on four years now, and similar to what we did at ItsontheGrid.com (you may or may not know I left there in April 2012). We just launched SpecScout.com a few days ago, so at this point, the "repped stuff" is almost exclusively scripts that have hit the market. The unrepped stuff is material that's been submitted for our paid coverage service and has a high enough Spec Scout Score to be favorably compared with material that's gone to market from agents and managers. Over time, we hope repped writers will use our coverage service as well to vet their own material before it goes to market.

We don't have an example of coverage available on the site, but that's a great idea and we'll definitely implement it so prospective clients can see what they're getting.

The Coverage Library is only for industry pros who are in the business of discovering and acquiring screenplays, which for the most part means agents and managers, producers and directors, and executives and their assistants.

"What makes your site different--or better--than Franklin Leonard's Black List, as it seems to be duplication in a sense. Is there a FAQ which gives more details?"

The two key differentiators of SpecScout.com are the coverage library and our scoring system. The combination of the two makes it possible for industry pros to spend more time asking "Does this project fit my mandate, and is it something I can get excited to develop and produce?" and less time asking "What is this script about and is it any good?"

For industry pros, one of the cool things about the coverage library is that it provides access to the "long tail" of the spec market. Historically, a spec would hit the market and if it didn't sell within a week or two it wasn't going to. Now, though, buyers can pop into the coverage database and easily search around for good stuff that didn't sell.

Speaking of "good stuff," that's where the Spec Scout Score comes in. We've come up with an algorithm that takes our readers' ratings across 11 different attributes of a script (Overall, Premise, Characters, Dialogue, Tone, Structure, Craft, etc.) and crunches them down into a single number on a scale of 1 to 100. (That's why it's important that we have three readers read every script, too -- it minimizes the grumpy/distracted/jaded reader factor, and we found through our testing that the Spec Scout Score doesn't change much once you have three sets of reader ratings.) The higher the score, the better the script.

For writers, one cool result of having a standardized scoring system is that we can apply it to all scripts, whether by an established writer or someone who's just now trying to break in. And as I'll discuss a bit below, we invite writers whose scripts have scored well to let us include the script in our Coverage Library, separate from but alongside material that went to market. We don't allow writers to pay to have their scripts in the Library -- you can only earn your way to getting listed through superior writing.

So, there's a bit of overlap with Franklin's site (which I love, by the way -- I know Franklin and have been a fan of him and his lists and site for years), but there are quite a few significant differences, too. Net net, I think it's going to be good for everyone to have more than one site dedicated to uncovering and promoting great material and talented writers. And yes, as I mentioned above, there are three pages on SpecScout.com that discuss what we're doing and how and why.

"Once you get this coverage and if you score a 60, is the coverage contained on a dedicated script page online that prospective industry players can see or is it just lumped in a database? Or is that what the Coverage Library is?"

It's not just lumped into the database. Which is to say, they're in the database, and there's an "All Scripts" widget on the page, but that's fairly unwieldy since there are many, many scripts in the system already, and that'll only grow over time. But we also have several widgets on the site designed to highlight material that's unrepped, available and/or new to the database. Helping new writers break into the business is one of the main reasons we started the site, after all. As we get further into this, we'll be sending out a weekly email to our subscribers highlighting this material as well.

"How many scripts do you have on this library/database? How many industry people have signed up? Do they pay a fee too?"

I think we're getting close to 1000 projects in the database now, but I don't know the exact number off hand. We've got about 80% of the material that's hit the market in each of 2012 and 2011, plus the Black List scripts from 2010 and a big chunk of 2010's scripts as well.

We won't be disclosing our subscriber numbers for the foreseeable future, but they're all industry pros (agents, managers, directors, producers, executives, assistants to all of the former, and a few outliers). And yes, our subscribers all pay a small monthly fee for access (currently, $19/month).


If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.
- scoggins

LIMAMA 12-10-2012 04:00 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Thanks so much, Jason. So to recap, the $147 is to have three industry readers rate the script, and if it rates 60 or above by all three, you are "invited" to have your script in this database/library for industry people to peruse. So it's not like you take the scores of the three readers and average it out--each reader has to score the script individually 60 or above?

Margie Kaptanoglu 12-10-2012 04:03 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Hi Jason, thanks for coming to the site to answer our questions. I'm trying to understand exactly how the coverage report works, given that three people are involved. Does the writer receive three separate reports and sets of scores? Or does someone internally look at your readers' reports and then somehow put together a single report that reflects an average of the three reports? Or do your three readers get together and agree on a single set of scores and written report? Or something else?

I'm sort of wondering how you get past the disgruntled reader syndrome, unless it's by forming some sort of consensus. Otherwise, the disgruntled reader's feedback will still be reflected in the results, by lowering the overall score.

jscoggins 12-10-2012 04:15 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Yes and no, LIMAMA. For $147, three paid readers prepare coverage, not our industry pro subscribers. The coverage you get is close in format to the usual 2-3 page review, but with an extra set of comments per reader. It basically breaks down like this: We provide one synopsis (the readers collaborate on it), plus three individual "pass/consider/recommend"-style scores/ratings; three sets of ratings across 10 attributes of the scripts; three sets of comments (which support and illuminate the invidual ratings); and of course the single Spec Scout Score, calculated from all three readers' various scores.

To qualify to be listed in our database, we only consider the Spec Scout Score, which is based on all of the script's coverages. A score of 60 is the threshold for an invitation, but we reserve the right not to extend an invitation to a specific script. For example, a script that gets a couple of "considers" and one "recommend" and has high scores in several key areas may clear the threshold, but it may nonetheless clearly require a revision based on the readers' comments. It's in our interest as well as the writer's to wait for the revision of the script -- the resulting draft will almost certainly score very highly and make a splash.

jscoggins 12-10-2012 04:32 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Good questions, Margie. I think I answered some of that in my last reply, but let me expand a bit.

Our coverage is one document showing all three readers' responses and scores. The only things that are averaged, for lack of a better word, are a) the synopsis (the first reader writes it, and then the three collaborate to refine it, if necessary), and b) the Spec Scout Score. Strictly speaking, that Score is not exactly an average, but the formula is a trade secret and that's as much as I'm allowed to discuss it.

One of the nice things about our system is that each reader's scores have to be justified by their comments, and vice versa. So while we can't eliminate the grumpy reader factor (the GRF) entirely, the GR at least has to get granular and prove their points based on the script.

One other way we work to minimize the GRF is for one of the founders to review each set of coverage and compare it to the others of that script. This whole thing is very subjective, obviously, and we don't want groupthink since reasonable people can and often do disagree as to the merits of a given piece of material.

We don't see as many major discrepancies between the coverages as you might think. When we do, it's usually because one reader hasn't followed our internal rubric. In those cases, we work with the reader to adjust their comments and scores appropriately (still their own opinions, just applied through the lens of our system).

8bit Llama 12-10-2012 04:49 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Is there a way for writers whose scripts have gone out to see if/what they were scored? I'm just curious. I checked out the site a few days ago and my script was on there with a grade, but now it looks like you only show the top ten. Since I never paid to submit, does that mean my script went through the whole three reader process to be graded, or is that just for paid coverages? Is there a way for one of these writers to see their notes, in this case? (I can understand why that wouldn't be possible, but, again, I'm just curious.)

Side note, thanks for the Scoggins Report. It's a fantastic tool to help follow the market month after month.

Margie Kaptanoglu 12-10-2012 04:53 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Thanks very much for the detailed explanation.

Just to be 100% clear, is this the exact same system you use to rate all the scripts you have on your site (whether it's a black list script or it's coverage purchased by an unknown, unrepped writer)?

jscoggins 12-10-2012 09:29 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Margie asked: "Just to be 100% clear, is this the exact same system you use to rate all the scripts you have on your site (whether it's a black list script or it's coverage purchased by an unknown, unrepped writer)?"

Yes, exactly. That was the essential concept when we first got started: What if there was a standard scoring system for ALL screenplays, and you could compare aspiring writers' material with the stuff that goes into the spec market every year?

Once we figured out the scoring system, we started working on getting coverage for the spec market scripts and putting them into our system so people could decide for themselves whether the system worked by comparing our scores with their own estimations of a given script's quality. Not for nothing, but it definitely passes the sniff test for every script I've read.

jscoggins 12-10-2012 09:41 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
8bit asked: Is there a way for writers whose scripts have gone out to see if/what they were scored?...I checked out the site a few days ago and my script was on there with a grade, but now it looks like you only show the top ten. Since I never paid to submit, does that mean my script went through the whole three reader process to be graded, or is that just for paid coverages? Is there a way for one of these writers to see their notes, in this case?

Thanks for the pat on the back about the Scoggins Report, 8bit. It's a pleasure to do, and it's really gratifiying to know it remains a useful tool for you.

To your questions: Sorry about the hide-and-seek thing with your script -- we've been trying to get the right balance of free, useful information on the home page for non-subscribers vs keeping most of the high-value information for subscribers behind the pay wall, and at the moment it's only the top 10 from 2012. We may expand that back out a bit, but we'll see.

If you just want to know the Spec Scout Score of your script, email me -- we'll be happy to tell you. We don't provide access to coverage of the scripts we've done for free, but if your agent or manager has access to the Coverage Library they can sign up (if they're not already subscribed) and download it for you. And yes, it went through the entire three reader process.

Margie Kaptanoglu 12-11-2012 06:27 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Thanks again for the quick replies, Jason. And thanks for the Scoggins Report.

But you've created a quandary: Black List or Spec Scout? Aargh!

Black List costs almost the same to get set up: $25 for 1st month's hosting and $100 for two ratings (I believe two are essential to get you into the top lists).

Spec Scout is $150 for 3 ratings (lower than 3 ratings on the BL, since the hosting fee is forced). Listing is free IF you rate high enough.

Main differences:
1. You can pay to be hosted on the BL regardless of your ratings. Hosting on Spec Scout is rating-dependent.
2. It sounds like the Spec Scout coverage is more comprehensive and will be more useful in facilitating a rewrite. The BL coverage is not a guideline for rewrites.
3. Potentially the 3-reader system on Spec Scout will provide more even and consistent coverage than the 1-reader system on the BL. But it remains to be seen.

The Unknowns:
1. Would be great to see a sample coverage report from Spec Scout so we can judge how useful it is.
2. Need a sampling of writers who've tried Spec Scout to give their opinions on reader quality. Need to have read the rated scripts on the site so we can judge whether we think the ratings are fair/accurate.

Conclusion:
- I do think when I'm ready for coverage on my next script, I may give this a whirl.

jscoggins 12-11-2012 09:18 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
You're very welcome, Margie, and I think you've encapsulated the tradeoffs very concisely. I agree, it sort of comes down to the coverage -- if that would be valuable in and of itself, Spec Scout is probably the way to go, but if not, then Black List definitely is, if only because they've been around longer and have more traction than we do so far.

And you're absolutely right, we need to assemble a sample coverage and make it available for review so you know what you're getting. We've been sort of flooded over the past couple of days, but we'll prioritize this as soon as we can.

Happy Camper 12-11-2012 01:20 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LIMAMA (Post 843584)
For $147 you get your script judgd by 3 readers...as if you need to be told your script sucks 3x.

I wrote about my 1 ratingon BlackList in another thread, but, gee, do you think there might be a math component here: 3 reads X 1 = 3? I'd love to climb as high as 3. (Yeah, yeah, in my dreams.)

SpecScout here I come!

Steven L. 12-12-2012 12:26 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
It makes no sense that Duffield's MONSTER PROBLEMS is a 83.3, and his JANE GOT A GUN is a 40.

Why not post WHO the readers are and THEIR credentials. Everyone gets away with "Industry readers" as an anonymous blanket to fool aspiring writers. For all we know, it's a USC dropout who was a PA on a short film.

jscoggins 12-12-2012 12:28 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Whoa, Steven, thanks for pointing that out. You're totally right -- the Jane coverage was from quite a while ago and we've changed both the coverage rubric and the formula since then. On it now...

jscoggins 12-12-2012 01:00 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
I've looked into the MONSTER PROBLEMS vs JANE GOT A GUN issue and it turns out the scores are actually good examples of the system working as designed. While I don't want to get super granular about how our formula works, one aspect is worth discussing here in some detail.

A key component of our scoring system converts the standard "Pass/Consider/Recommend" rating used by almost all coverages into a numerical value. As you might expect, scripts that get three Recommends score quite high, and scripts that get three Passes score quite low.

That's fairly logical and obvious, but here are the implications: To get a good score, at least one reader needs to consider it a Recommend (no pun intended). Scripts that have even one Pass from a reader end up with lesser scores.

That's as much as I am comfortable saying about the formula, but I'm happy to discuss it further in general terms.

Meanwhile, I've looked at the coverages for both scripts (I haven't read either script myself). While I may personally disagree with some of them (I'm not saying I do, I'm saying this stuff is inherently subjective), all but one completely justified their scores with their comments, and their comments are thoughtful and thorough and professional. That one outlier was written several months ago while we were fine tuning our system. I've deleted it and put the script back into the coverage queue.

Thanks again for bringing this to my attention, Steven, and for the opportunity to clarify.

LFGabel 12-12-2012 01:57 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jscoggins (Post 843724)
We won't be disclosing our subscriber numbers for the foreseeable future, but they're all industry pros (agents, managers, directors, producers, executives, assistants to all of the former, and a few outliers). And yes, our subscribers all pay a small monthly fee for access (currently, $19/month).

Greetings Jason,

So industry professionals pay monthly to have access to the database, while a writer would only pay $147 once. Then the writer's data is held in your database, and highlighted if it's good enough? Correct?

I like this compared to the Black List. A writer shouldn't have to pay an ongoing monthly fee. Paying for reads, yes, but a monthly fee, no. It should be the industry professionals that pay for access. And If they pay for access, they see value in the information they're getting and may be more inclined to visit the site.

Some questions:

- If an industry professional is interested in an unrepped script, how do they get their hands on it? Is is hosted on your site for them?

- What if there are more than ten top scripts that have a score above 60? Number 11 and others are not highlighted. Will they ever be found or are the top ten lists I see on your website expanded for industry professionals to include all scripts within acceptable range?

- After submitting a script for coverage, does the writer have access to anything else?

Thanks Jason.

jscoggins 12-12-2012 08:08 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Hi, Lee. Thanks for the opportunity to keep clarifying what we're up to at Spec Scout.

Regarding your opening question, that's correct -- writers aren't allowed access to the coverage library in the first place, and they only pay the $147 coverage fee once. (That is, once per submission -- if a writer wants us to review a new draft of previously submitted script, we treat it like a brand new submission: Three new coverages, a new Spec Scout Score, the whole nine).

We actually keep all our script submissions in a separate database altogether from the main Spec Scout database. The ones we invite to be included in our coverage library get moved over into it, where they're highlighted in a couple of ways and promoted both separately from and together with the spec market material.

Here are answers to your follow-up questions:

If an industry professional is interested in an unrepped script, how do they get their hands on it? Is is hosted on your site for them?

For now, we're not allowing anyone to download any PDFs (unrepped or repped). We've made it easy for our subscribers to contact the agents/managers behind the projects or, if it's unrepped, to contact the writer directly. We have a form that allows them to be emailed and also to make phone numbers available.

That said, we're planning to make changes to this approach in our next round of development of the site. We'd love input from you and the rest of the DDP community: What do you think the best approach is, from the writers perspective?

Regardless, we'll be as transparent about what we're doing and why as I've been on this thread so far over the past couple of days. And of course, if we make changes to our policy that affects the writers whose material we've invited to be on Spec Scout, we'll let them know directly.

What if there are more than ten top scripts that have a score above 60? Number 11 and others are not highlighted. Will they ever be found or are the top ten lists I see on your website expanded for industry professionals to include all scripts within acceptable range?

The Top 10 lists are just teasers on the public-facing website (in front of the paywall). Once our subscribers log in, they can see ALL of the unrepped scripts we've added to the database. (That's true for the rest of the coverage library as well -- everything we have is available behind the paywall, not just top 10 lists. That's probably obvious...) All unrepped scripts show up alongside the rest of the projects in the database when subscribers do keyword, genre, title and author searches, too.

After submitting a script for coverage, does the writer have access to anything else?

No. Access to the coverage library is limited to industry pros who are actively involved in discovering and acquiring material (on either side of the table): Agents, managers, directors, producers, executives, financiers and their assistants.

LFGabel 12-12-2012 11:45 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jscoggins (Post 844324)
If an industry professional is interested in an unrepped script, how do they get their hands on it? Is is hosted on your site for them?

For now, we're not allowing anyone to download any PDFs (unrepped or repped). We've made it easy for our subscribers to contact the agents/managers behind the projects or, if it's unrepped, to contact the writer directly. We have a form that allows them to be emailed and also to make phone numbers available.

That said, we're planning to make changes to this approach in our next round of development of the site. We'd love input from you and the rest of the DDP community: What do you think the best approach is, from the writers perspective?

While downloading scripts is very convenient for industry professionals, personally I like someone contacting me. That way I can track who it is who wants to read the script. Of course I can't stop someone from emailing the script to someone else. I guess you could have a script download feature, but also let the writer know who downloaded the script via an email message. It would allow for followup. On the B.L., I have no idea who is reading my script.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jscoggins (Post 844324)
What if there are more than ten top scripts that have a score above 60? Number 11 and others are not highlighted. Will they ever be found or are the top ten lists I see on your website expanded for industry professionals to include all scripts within acceptable range?

The Top 10 lists are just teasers on the public-facing website (in front of the paywall). Once our subscribers log in, they can see ALL of the unrepped scripts we've added to the database. (That's true for the rest of the coverage library as well -- everything we have is available behind the paywall, not just top 10 lists. That's probably obvious...) All unrepped scripts show up alongside the rest of the projects in the database when subscribers do keyword, genre, title and author searches, too.

I assume when you say ALL, you mean only ones worthy of inclusion (60+)? It's good you list all scripts. Right now, on the B.L. you only get the top 15, and I'm sure people worthy of being seen are not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jscoggins (Post 844324)
After submitting a script for coverage, does the writer have access to anything else?

No. Access to the coverage library is limited to industry pros who are actively involved in discovering and acquiring material (on either side of the table): Agents, managers, directors, producers, executives, financiers and their assistants.

Makes sense, same as on the B.L.

I particularly like seeing that writers don't have to pay a monthly fee. Do you foresee that policy changing?

Thanks for your answers and your time.

jscoggins 12-13-2012 12:52 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Thanks for the excellent feedback, Lee. Getting the balance right between the needs of our writer clients and our subscribers is tricky, but we'll learn what works as we go and keep striving to improve.

Quote:

I assume when you say ALL, you mean only ones worthy of inclusion (60+)?
Right.

Quote:

I particularly like seeing that writers don't have to pay a monthly fee. Do you foresee that policy changing?
Absolutely not. Theoretically we might consider expanding our definition of "industry pro" to include writers and other creatives and allow them to access the coverage library, but that's not currently on the table. And either way I can't see us ever charging writers to list their projects on Spec Scout. There are other excellent sites that do that, and I'm not judging them at all. But the purpose of our coverage library precludes that.

LIMAMA 12-13-2012 07:14 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
How long will the top scripts be included in this library?

jscoggins 12-14-2012 12:44 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

How long will the top scripts be included in this library?
Indefinitely. Generally speaking, we'd like Spec Scout's coverage library to function as a "long tail" discovery mechanism for our subscribers. Buyers' mandates change from time to time, and something that wasn't right for a given company a year ago might be perfect today, so why be limited just to material that's on the market right this minute?

FreshShabazz 12-16-2012 09:20 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
I sold a spec this year that also made it on the hit list, but I noticed that it hasn't received coverage on any either of your sites...

jcgary 12-16-2012 01:13 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Aside from user-submitted scripts, you're also covering and rating specs by professionals?

Steven L. 12-16-2012 01:15 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcgary (Post 844967)
Aside from user-submitted scripts, you're also covering and rating specs by professionals?

This is something that I don't like, especially specs that are still on the market but ranked low by this top secret "formulaic system". Unsure how many others feel the same way, or if professional writers just "don't care" that someone's assigning ratings to their material.

jscoggins 12-16-2012 01:16 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

I sold a spec this year that also made it on the hit list, but I noticed that it hasn't received coverage on any either of your sites...
Send me a direct message with the details (title, your name, the reps who took it out, when it went out, etc.) and I'll look into it.

jscoggins 12-16-2012 01:19 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Aside from user-submitted scripts, you're also covering and rating specs by professionals?
Right. In fact the vast majority of the projects on Spec Scout fall in that category (i.e., scripts that went out to buyers from agents and managers).

michaelb 12-16-2012 01:25 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jscoggins (Post 844971)
Right. In fact the vast majority of the projects on Spec Scout fall in that category (i.e., scripts that went out to buyers from agents and managers).

I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

Best,

MB

Alfred Parker 12-16-2012 02:09 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by michaelb (Post 844975)
I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

Best,

MB

Except that IS the entire business model here it seems. To create a searchable database of coverage that will live on for years.

For Mr. Scoggins, would be curious just how many industry professionals are paying members at this point? And do you have a general target number of members you're hoping to achieve at the top end?

jcgary 12-16-2012 02:22 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by michaelb (Post 844975)
I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

Best,

MB

I cosign this so hard, I broke my pen in half.

Hamboogul 12-21-2012 12:59 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by michaelb (Post 844975)
I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

Best,

MB

I also co-sign this. Also, I am amazed how Spec Scout knows more about the status of my script than, oh I don't know, me.

jscoggins 12-21-2012 01:09 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

For Mr. Scoggins, would be curious just how many industry professionals are paying members at this point? And do you have a general target number of members you're hoping to achieve at the top end?
We don't have a target number per se. We're aiming be one of the handful of go-to sites for every agent, executive, director, producer and manager who participates in and/or pays attention to the spec market.

LIMAMA 12-21-2012 01:33 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hamboogul (Post 846066)
I also co-sign this. Also, I am amazed how Spec Scout knows more about the status of my script than, oh I don't know, me.

LOL!!!

ChristopherCurtis 12-21-2012 10:59 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
I love this stuff by the way! As many of you know (or maybe none of you???) mine is coming soon, and I am looking so forward to completing this re-write and to get it out there early 2013. Which brings me to my question...

You say "when a spec hits the market"...when or what exactly determines when a new spec "hits the market". What is that indicator exactly? I mean there is no "officially submit your spec script here to enter the market place" method that I know of....scripts aren't like a hit single or album that is released on a specified date and can be tracked as it makes it way up (or down) the chart..at least that I know of. I'm just curious how you see it because many scripts are around for a long time bubbling under, buzzing, re-writing, re-appearing, etc..and just preparing to make it's move. Is that true?

thanks!

:mpopcorn: :mpopcorn: :mpopcorn: :mpopcorn:

jcgary 12-22-2012 11:45 AM

Re: Spec Scout
 
A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.


Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.

Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.


Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.

emily blake 12-22-2012 01:23 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcgary (Post 846212)
A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.


Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.

Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.


Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.

That's the best way I've seen it put so far.

jscoggins 12-22-2012 02:36 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Quote:

A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.
Right -- this is the definition I use for my newsletter (ScogginsReport.com) and the one we use at SpecScout.com.

Quote:

Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.
This is a bit unfair, since it doesn't reflect reality in a number of ways. In no particular order:

1. There are literally hundreds of examples of quirky, intimate, small, and/or otherwise less-than-commercial material that have received glowing coverage from Spec Scout. Consider several such examples from last year's Black List:
- "The Imitation Game" (Spec Scout Score: 84.1)
- "Home By Christmas" (Spec Scout Score: 82.0)
- "Bastards" (Spec Scout Score: 76.4)
- "The Flamingo Thief" (Spec Scout Score: 76.0)

If the hypothetical bird watcher love story was well written, it would receive high marks from our readers and an attendant high Spec Scout Score. If it needed work, that would be indicated instead. The point being, obviously, that it's the writing that matters, not the subject matter.

2. The last thing we want to do is get in the way of someone's career. The only time we would post a score of a script immediately after it's been sent out is if we'd been submitted the script in advance and the reps and/or writer asked us to do so. Usually, though, we get copies of scripts a week or so after they've gone to market, and it takes us some time to get them covered. So in practice, Spec Scout can't possibly disrupt the spec market in this negative way. On the other hand, it might possibly enhance it, in that a high Spec Scout Score can be used as a sales tool from the outset, and scripts that didn't originally find a home but scored well have an opportunity to be discovered or re-discovered later.

3. Our coverage is written by readers who have extensive experience and who we've trained over the course of dozens of sample scripts to follow our rubric. No script would be dismissed so curtly as you've described here. Each aspect of the script is given careful consideration, and the comments in each section are supported by specific examples from the script. Each reader is required to assess each script professionally (i.e., based on our rubric), but yes, this whole endeavor is inherently subjective. One reader who didn't connect with the material may well rate it a "Consider" when another reader who did respond to the material rated it a "Recommend." HOWEVER...

4. THE WHOLE POINT of Spec Scout is to eliminate the impact one reader's poor perception of a given script can have on its chances of success. By the time all three initial readers have weighed in, the hypothetical one grumpy reader's take is minimized.

Quote:

Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.
Again, this just doesn't reflect reality.

Quote:

Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.
This makes a nice button but I respectfully disagree. I think my personal, pro-writer track record speaks for itself and is well documented, and I would never have co-founded Spec Scout if I thought it was anti-writer or counterproductive to Hollywood. In fact, the opposite is true: I started Spec Scout because I thought it would benefit writers in several important ways, not least because by applying the same scoring system to spec market scripts as aspiring writers' material, we've created a way for good material from aspiring writers in particular to rise to the attention of the agents, managers, creative executives, producers, directors and the other pros who have access to the library.

This has in fact happened already. We can't mention the company or the project for a couple more weeks until the paperwork is signed and we get the green light to talk about it, but a high profile independent production company is in the process of acquiring a script they discovered on Spec Scout in the past two weeks. This particular script was by a first-timer, but it could just as easily have been a high scoring script by an established writer that simply hadn't found a home previously.

Given the state of the spec market, writers themselves as well as the business as a whole would be well served if there was no longer any such thing as a "busted spec." To put it a different way, the fact that a script didn't sell during its initial round of exposure to producers and executives shouldn't be the black mark that it is now, because the nature of the spec market has fundamentally changed since that dynamic was originally created. If our scoring system contributes to changing that perception, then our site will definitively have been pro-writer and productive for Hollywood.

jcgary 12-22-2012 02:48 PM

Re: Spec Scout
 
Jason, I have no doubt your intention is truly, completely pro-writer. In that spirit, I encourage you to hide any script's score under a certain threshold -- say, 70.

That way, you can bang the drum for scripts that score well and that your three highly-trained readers give high marks to, but can't do any damage to scripts that your three readers may not dig for one reason or another.


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