Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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.
Last edited by jscoggins : 12-13-2012 at 02:15 AM.