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Old 09-22-2019, 02:19 AM   #1
Mintclub
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Default Selling a pilot script on spec?

Anybody on here ever sold a pilot script? Or know of someone who has? Not an option but a sale. I’ve had a fair few pilots optioned but never had an actual sale. Always wondered about this, if it’s common or not.

I appreciate that most pilot specs are used as samples for staffing etc but I’m curious if/when a sale does happen (for emerging writers or those with only a few credits) if it tends to be bought for scale or like with features can go crazy on the purchase price. And yep, I’m aware it’s a “how long’s a piece of string?” Kinda question, just intrigued to know if anyone has had any experiences or has heard of other writers who’ve been in a bidding situation on a pilot spec. Doesn’t seem to be something you come across in the trades much. And nope I’m not talking about if/come deals where a prod co options the script and tells you if it gets sold to this tier of premium cable buyer these are your numbers, if it goes to a second tier then it’s this etc. An actual sale that you’ve known of or been involved in. Anyone?
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Mickey Fisher's "Extant" is the only real spec sale pilot in recent memory.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

All good questions -- yes I think the unrepped not in TV world right now -- who sold a spec is crazy rare. And I'm out with one now and expect nothing to come from it. In fact, I have zero idea why I don't just make my own web series instead.

But obviously they make new TV Pilots ever year -- I just thought of this now -- I wonder how often these pilots are ideas from producers or studios. I always assumed most of them were the sole idea of the writers, but I bet it's a mixed bag where they go to certain showrunners to get their ideas off the ground. I need a real TV writer like Jeff Lowell to answer that.
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Old 09-22-2019, 12:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Yeah, let's hear Jeff's story of how he sold his seeing as it JUST happened. If he's open to laying it out...

I'm curious if KJ was attached pre or post sale. My guess would be pre. Any other attachments that helped the sale along?

Btw - Swear to god, I'ma watch that show. Super sounds up my alley. I write dark fukked up sh!t, but I prefer to watch comedy.
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Old 09-22-2019, 04:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

I sold, as in SOLD, a pilot script 3 years ago, some amazing producers and talent attached and it went..... nowhere. The production company still tells me it's not dead, but I know better. Have two more out there gathering interest, but it's a crapshoot at best.
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Old 09-22-2019, 05:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
I sold, as in SOLD, a pilot script 3 years ago, some amazing producers and talent attached and it went..... nowhere. The production company still tells me it's not dead, but I know better. Have two more out there gathering interest, but it's a crapshoot at best.
Shameless lurker here. Congrats on selling your pilot. If I may ask, was the selling price similar to that of your feature-length scripts?
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
I sold, as in SOLD, a pilot script 3 years ago, some amazing producers and talent attached and it went..... nowhere. The production company still tells me it's not dead, but I know better. Have two more out there gathering interest, but it's a crapshoot at best.
Congrats, EdFury, and fingers crossed for it to rise once again and surprise you.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:05 PM   #8
GucciGhostXXX
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
I sold, as in SOLD, a pilot script 3 years ago, some amazing producers and talent attached and it went..... nowhere. The production company still tells me it's not dead, but I know better. Have two more out there gathering interest, but it's a crapshoot at best.
Ha right? This fukkin industry...

Curious what genre it was and if it was network or cable/streaming. Also if you had showrunners aide in the sale (Although, Idk what phase your in, maybe they trusted you to run it). With mine, the deal was held up for 4-5 months over exclusivity, when the showrunners attached, no lie, the deal was done in a WEEK! Suspicious...

I've never been in the network arena save for being up for staffing. Thus, I don't know much about that world. But, it seems harder, as someone who's only written premium cable type stuff. But maybe I'm wrong. Just seems like all those shows are people who've already showrun other shows.

And, yeah, congrats on the sale. So hard!
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EdFury View Post
I sold, as in SOLD, a pilot script 3 years ago, some amazing producers and talent attached and it went..... nowhere. The production company still tells me it's not dead, but I know better. Have two more out there gathering interest, but it's a crapshoot at best.
Congrats on the 'success'. What was the genre?

Should have scrolled down further .... what Gucci asked...
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Old 09-22-2019, 11:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Selling a pilot script on spec?

Quote:
Originally Posted by horik View Post
Shameless lurker here. Congrats on selling your pilot. If I may ask, was the selling price similar to that of your feature-length scripts?
It was a much more complicated contract, took over a month for my reps to negotiate, and would be more than any of my film sales if it went. But it didn't. I did make some good initial money, but the payday is in it getting made.
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