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Old 08-09-2020, 01:53 PM   #11
Vango
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

Do you guys really want your material floating around on the web like this? I'm not sure that's the best idea.

Some writers or people in the industry just have a website as a cover page, perhaps with some awards listed or small resume notes, so people can contact them or their reps.

If you're doing it for consulting services though you'll need much more content, as now we're talking about a business.
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

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Originally Posted by Vango View Post
Do you guys really want your material floating around on the web like this? I'm not sure that's the best idea.
Speaking for myself, yes, I think it's a good idea for a writer to have a website. My material is protected by copyright. What is it you're afraid will happen?

How is having your own landing page/website any different than having a profile page on The Black List, Tracking Board, Zoetrope, Stage 32, or any other number of screenwriting websites?

Quote:
Some writers or people in the industry just have a website as a cover page, perhaps with some awards listed or small resume notes, so people can contact them or their reps.
To each his own. What do you do if you have no reps, but want a professional internet presence?

Quote:
If you're doing it for consulting services though you'll need much more content, as now we're talking about a business.
I'm not sure what you mean. If you consult your website could say so and samples can either be on the actual site or available upon request.

Javi Grillo-Marxuach as well as John August and Craig Mazin feel pretty safe about having their writing online, what's the difference? Their work is protected by the same laws yours and mine are.

That's the way I see it. Having a professional landing page/website can convey a sense of legitimacy.
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Last edited by finalact4 : 08-09-2020 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 08-09-2020, 04:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vango View Post
Do you guys really want your material floating around on the web like this? I'm not sure that's the best idea.

Some writers or people in the industry just have a website as a cover page, perhaps with some awards listed or small resume notes, so people can contact them or their reps.

If you're doing it for consulting services though you'll need much more content, as now we're talking about a business.
For a writer to have copyrighted material on a website for potential producers, managers, or representatives to view can save time by skipping a step. It’s also a chance for the writer to put forth a visual layout that can help enhance the writer’s appeal beyond their written words.
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Old 08-09-2020, 10:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

I know the idea of screenwriters having personal websites containing their scripts is relatively recent, and I'm sure there's opinions either way. Personally I think it's an interesting way to get people in the industry (who may have enjoyed something you wrote) to have a risk-free way of looking at what else you've done.

I'm talking about aspiring screenwriters btw. For writers as successful as Javier, his site is just an example of a really nice guy trying to help upcoming writers by showing his work, and something I appreciate very much.
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Old 08-10-2020, 03:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

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Originally Posted by finalact4 View Post
Speaking for myself, yes, I think it's a good idea for a writer to have a website. My material is protected by copyright. What is it you're afraid will happen?

How is having your own landing page/website any different than having a profile page on The Black List, Tracking Board, Zoetrope, Stage 32, or any other number of screenwriting websites?



To each his own. What do you do if you have no reps, but want a professional internet presence?



I'm not sure what you mean. If you consult your website could say so and samples can either be on the actual site or available upon request.

Javi Grillo-Marxuach as well as John August and Craig Mazin feel pretty safe about having their writing online, what's the difference? Their work is protected by the same laws yours and mine are.

That's the way I see it. Having a professional landing page/website can convey a sense of legitimacy.
Sure, your material is secure as a whole, but someone can still take your idea legally and write their own story.

Those guys feel safe because their work has already been pitched out to the industry prior to them putting it online. For an unknown writer to post their work online is dangerous, in my opinion. Scripts aren't usually stolen as you know but if you understand how SEO works, you know that your personal website will never receive any traffic at all except from people who google your name.

Companies spend thousands of dollars a month on SEO to ensure that they're at the top of google when say you type in "diverse screenwriters in LA."

With that said, people going to your site will only be people who already know about you. Maybe through linkedin, or one of the other sites you named, or you handed them a business card, etc. To add to that, if they know about you through those areas, they also probably have your email, or can find it easily on your site if you just have a landing page. They're obviously intrigued enough to research you, so sending a 25 sec email is not a big deal. They'll reach out and ask for your work.

That's why you usually see a lot of artists that just have landing pages for contact info/rep info. Quick bio snip mostly, maybe some awards won. I'm not saying to be super secretive with your work, but would your manager advocate you posting your work all over the internet? Maybe that's a good question to ask them.

With consulting, I meant to say that if you're a screenplay consultant, you'll want more content on your site like a blog, tips on what makes a great script, maybe some samples of coverage you did, etc. That now becomes a business, so you're selling your services.

Hope that clarifies my previous thoughts and concerns.
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Old 08-10-2020, 09:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

Vango, don't be afraid to try it (but, yes, copyright your stuff first).

As far as people stealing ideas, that can happen anyway, anywhere, like from IMDB or especially Wiki listings (has full synopsis there).

As for building a site, the BL and SpecScout and 32 are all options, but they'll pick your wallet clean.

Writer CJ Walley used to be here a lot, till those with the attitudes got him down. Now he's off making movies instead of just talking about it, and he's also generously produced his free http://www.scriptrevolution.com (SR) site, based on BL and others like it.

Say, here's an idea: Buy a domain, then re-direct it to your profile there. Here's mine:

Steve Garry on ScriptRevolution

I only post my query content, not my full scripts for download - though many writers do that. That may be one reason I've only had 2-3 script requests over the few years it's been up.

Anyway, SR is free, but there are still at least two major things missing from it: A plethora of reps and producers to visit the site, and coverage for them to refer to.

In just the past week, I've referred two producers to SR, and CJ confirmed they've signed up. While these producers and I couldn't make a deal on any my stuff, maybe they'll find something there to their liking. If each of us does that, it'll help CJ get more cred on his site, and also help us in the long run as more and more eclectic producers pay the site a visit.

As for the coverage idea, CJ wanted to avoid anything that cost writers any money. But the last time we talked about it, I believe he was going to add an option to our profiles so those of us who spent the bucks on coverage could mention we had some, and then let visiting producers access it.

Lastly, most of you know that I've had my own site since 2009 or so, and have not really changed it since except to add content (scripts):

http://www.stevegarry.ca

It's a clunker, and one could do better with any of the free or cheap site hosters/web builders like Wix. But I spent a lot of time on the Javascripts, it's easy to maintain, and at least it's all on one screen without a myriad of stupid menus to get lost in. When it's such a clunker, at least don't make 'em have to hunt for stuff.

It should also be obvious to anyone who's visiting that it's just a placeholder, for now, and that I can (and will) do better once I have some sales under my belt.

As for whether or not these sites are any benefit, here's a story that indicates that they can be:

Last year, and for about the nth time over nearly a decade, I pitched a major producer who has dozens of theatrical releases. I never knew if the queries were being looked at, and my stats only tell me the country/resolution/duration of anybody's visits. But, I just keep sending 'em pitches till they tell me to stop.

However, this time some poor Assistant ended up cc'g me on an internal note that was being sent around the company to different staff, hours after I pitched it:

Quote:
xxxxxx asked me to send this to you. Please let me know your thoughts. Also make sure you check out each link. Thank you.
Whoops! I got a second email immediately from the clerk, asking me to ignore it. (ha ha, right) I responded to him and said no sweat... but of course the lad's mistake "made my day". (Note: He's still working at the company, now as EA to the CEO.)

So, building a site doesn't mean they'll come, but if you include a link in a pitch they may very well check it out! What's to lose?
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Old 08-10-2020, 10:40 AM   #17
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

I've said this before and I know most people's minds are made up -- but I don't think it's a great idea for writers myself. Established book writers sure -- makes total sense. Not sure it makes sense for screenwriters...

But to me, the key to Hollywood is they want to pretend your new, fresh and this is your first script and they just discovered you.

To me all social media -- this includes portfolio websites -- just gives reasons for people to say no. They don't like your pic. Some of your other ideas. Or see that you wrote 25 specs and haven't been repped... they don't see that as a positive even if that's the norm for writers.

So I just take the other side, that mystery and protecting what you tell people is good. Like a job interview.

Many stories and personal experience from people that hire people how social media like Facebook has lost people jobs as too much info is there.

Before you just had a resume and it made you look good. Now people send a resume and you google their name and find out their entire life. And that can just give people pause to hire you.

Think about yourself. Have you not clicked on a stranger's link to social media/personal site and then changed your opinion on that person for better or worse? I have. It's only human.

I'm just being practical. I don't have much to hide, but I also don't want to have a list of the 30 specs I wrote and the 28 that did nothing for me for everyone to see. That's me.

I'm older now, but when I query they don't know if I'm 22 or 52. They don't know if I'm fat or handsome. Man or women sometimes. Or if I've been repped 3 times before. Keep them guessing so they only judge the work in front of them is my mantra.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:50 PM   #18
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

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Originally Posted by Bono View Post
I've said this before and I know most people's minds are made up -- but I don't think it's a great idea for writers myself. Established book writers sure -- makes total sense. Not sure it makes sense for screenwriters...

But to me, the key to Hollywood is they want to pretend your new, fresh and this is your first script and they just discovered you.

To me all social media -- this includes portfolio websites -- just gives reasons for people to say no. They don't like your pic. Some of your other ideas. Or see that you wrote 25 specs and haven't been repped... they don't see that as a positive even if that's the norm for writers.

So I just take the other side, that mystery and protecting what you tell people is good. Like a job interview.

Many stories and personal experience from people that hire people how social media like Facebook has lost people jobs as too much info is there.

Before you just had a resume and it made you look good. Now people send a resume and you google their name and find out their entire life. And that can just give people pause to hire you.

Think about yourself. Have you not clicked on a stranger's link to social media/personal site and then changed your opinion on that person for better or worse? I have. It's only human.

I'm just being practical. I don't have much to hide, but I also don't want to have a list of the 30 specs I wrote and the 28 that did nothing for me for everyone to see. That's me.

I'm older now, but when I query they don't know if I'm 22 or 52. They don't know if I'm fat or handsome. Man or women sometimes. Or if I've been repped 3 times before. Keep them guessing so they only judge the work in front of them is my mantra.
This is my strategy also. I don't have a web presence at all.

I'm in the middle of finalizing my query strategy on the novel I've finished up. I have my list of agents, and different amounts of material to send in a query depending on what they want. (Some want logline + first three chapters, others want first ten pages, others just want a one page summary, etc.) I don't want those agents doing an internet search on me, taking a look at other pieces of my writing and then rejecting me based on that.

I'd rather they just focus on what I send them. But that's me, and I have a very specific strategy.
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Old 08-10-2020, 05:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

A novel -- nice! A YA? I'm jealous as I'm still 20K into my unfiinished one. Good work.
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Old 08-10-2020, 07:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Writer's portfolio websites

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vango View Post
Sure, your material is secure as a whole, but someone can still take your idea legally and write their own story.
Someone can do this with any idea. Including something written by John August. Your copyright protection is as strong as his.

Quote:
Those guys feel safe because their work has already been pitched out to the industry prior to them putting it online. For an unknown writer to post their work online is dangerous, in my opinion. Scripts aren't usually stolen as you know but if you understand how SEO works, you know that your personal website will never receive any traffic at all except from people who google your name.
One, they've always felt safe. Keep good records and register your work. It's as simple as that.

Two, why is it dangerous? Do you think you have better ideas than John August and other top writers? If you do, you work will rise to the top and it will get notice, just as theirs did.

Three, my site isn't there to get traffic. It's there so that if someone is interested in my work they can go to a place unbothered and see what I do.

If you have something interesting when you send a query letter people will google your name, check out your social media and look at your website.They want an idea of who you are (which is important to them) before they reach out and talk to you.

I speak from experience. This has happened to me several times. And I'm as big a nobody as anyone else. Exposure is what gets your work attention, not hiding it.

Quote:
Companies spend thousands of dollars a month on SEO to ensure that they're at the top of google when say you type in "diverse screenwriters in LA."

With that said, people going to your site will only be people who already know about you. Maybe through linkedin, or one of the other sites you named, or you handed them a business card, etc. To add to that, if they know about you through those areas, they also probably have your email, or can find it easily on your site if you just have a landing page. They're obviously intrigued enough to research you, so sending a 25 sec email is not a big deal. They'll reach out and ask for your work.
We disagree in the value of a personal website.

I don't believe people will just "reach out to you," they want to know who you are first. Relationships are very important. If they don't like what they see on Twitter, guess what? Having your email is worthless. I prefer to have something specifically for my writing. One day, hopefully, someone will say, "I have a writer for you, here's her website." It isn't about trying to DRAW TRAFFIC. It's about representation on my terms.

Quote:
That's why you usually see a lot of artists that just have landing pages for contact info/rep info. Quick bio snip mostly, maybe some awards won. I'm not saying to be super secretive with your work, but would your manager advocate you posting your work all over the internet? Maybe that's a good question to ask them.
I'm not really sure what your argument/criticism is here. What do you care if a writer has a landing page or a site that details what they do and what they've done? If it helps, it helps.

I don't put anything on my site that I don't have copyright protection. For example, I won't place a logline on the site until I have a first draft. Then I register it.

As far as a manager is concerned, he can benefit from the site as well. I certainly don't feel the need to seek my manager's approval on what I put on my personal site.

Quote:
With consulting, I meant to say that if you're a screenplay consultant, you'll want more content on your site like a blog, tips on what makes a great script, maybe some samples of coverage you did, etc. That now becomes a business, so you're selling your services.
Yeah, I'm kind of of the opinion that a writer should do whatever THEY feel with help their writing advance.

But since you brought it up, a screenwriter is in the business of SELLING their ability to write SCREENPLAYS. They are FOR HIRE. Your screenplays are a sample of your ability. I don't have my actual scripts on my website, for my own reasons, but if another writer feels they should, who am I to judge?

So how's that any different than being a consultant? They are both services, are they not? Your (our) scripts are far less likely to get made than THEIR (producers/studios/networks) ideas. Eighty percent of the writing jobs are assignments and rewriting other writers.

Do you see my point?
Quote:
Hope that clarifies my previous thoughts and concerns.
Mine as well. I hope I have put your mind somewhat at ease. In the end, do what you feel is right for you.
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