Tracking Boards



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  • Tracking Boards

    Can anyone explain exactly what these are and how prodcos use them, please?

  • #2
    Great ques. I've heard that they're not totally used unless an agent 'goes wide' with a script. That may or may not be correct. Some agents hate them because bad coverage can kill a script. I'm not sure how much they're used and if they're only used by the Studios.


    • #3
      Crash had an OUTSTANDING thread on tracking boards a while back - however I believe it may have been deleted.

      The boards are widely used in the industry by medium and large players. I gather there's a lot of "testing the water" and game-playing that goes on there...e.g. If someone of note bags a screenplay that means that it's dead in the water and no-one else would dare to disagree for fear of ridicule.

      They are also a place for the power-players in the business to make fun of smaller players who may option/sell a screenplay...along the lines of, "See XYZ Agency sold a spec...ha, ha, ha what have they ever sold of note".

      Basically, be VERY afraid.


      • #4
        Okay, but is it widely or sparingly used? And who initiates it? Should I be afraid or very afraid as my spec is going out this week? Or not afraid at all. Or maybe a little afraid?


        • #5
          Don't worry about tracking boards. Most tracking groups exist so junior execs can track what's on the market. Some of the comments may kill a spec, but most boards only operate as information on specs going out. However, more often than not, they will expand the circle of execs who will see your spec-- people that your agent or manager didn't think about will call to read you.

          You will probably get some meetings out of it, but don't be too disappointed if it doesn't sell since 99% of specs don't sell.

          The best of use of your time right now is start writing a new spec - it will get your mind off the current stress. And when your spec goes out, don't call your agent every 2 hours, they hate that.



          • #6

            I have an (ahem) interesting dilemma. Lucky to have it, but a dilemma nontheless. I wrote a screenplay. It's a great idea, it placed in a contest, but the ending needs work. Before I realized the ending needed work, I sent out query letters. Now a prod. co and an agent have requested it. My fairy godfather/mentor suggested I go ahead and send the script as is to the and tell them I am in his rewrite class, and if she hasn't had a chance to read it by the time I have my ending changed, would she like that version? She seems swamped and nice, so I think it will be ok. BUT the agent is a very no-nonsense type, and so I didn't tell her any of that, I just sent it. Should arrive in her office this week.

            So what if a PROSPECTIVE agent requested to read your script. Could it end up on tracking boards? OR is that only applicable to scripts up for SALE?

            It's not a completely terrible script--like I said, it was a top ten in a contest. But it didn't win because of the ending, and now I am trying to fix it.
            Advice? Tissues? Sarcastic violins?


            • #7
              Re: ugh


              Don't worry. A spec submission to an agent for their consideration will not end up on a tracking boards.

              Regarding your other situation with the prod co, I disagree with the advice from your mentor. Why send them a script that you know is flawed? Why not send them the best possible version you can send?

              You only get one time to make a good first impression. It's better to wait a while, fix the ending, and send that version when it's ready. I would think They'd rather wait to read the improved version.

              Just my two cents.


              • #8
                Re: ugh

                I was speaking with a producer yesterday who said that no one is really interested in scripts that are "almost" there. They really want only the best polished work they can find. I believe because most development money has evaporated, except for a select few.

                I would say fix it, polish it, and make it as perfect as you can.


                • #9
                  advice from mentor

                  This mentor/person knows the prod. co person and that's more or less how I got requested to read. He is decently sure she is busy enough that she won't get to it until I have the new one finished and he thinks it's ok. He's also the same guy that said no way should I send it to anyone else who requests it until it's fixed. So I trust him. But yes, I agree, and thanks.


                  • #10
                    Re: advice from mentor

                    I would send a note to the agent saying your mentor just finished the script and gave you a few notes on the ending. Rather than sending him/her the unchanged script, you'd like to wait 2 weeks and make the changes.

                    Since the agent knows your mentor, you have a nice opportunity to name drop. Also, your script may move to the top of the pile when you do send it.

                    When I worked in radio and had the chance to talk to major lable recording artists, I learned what perfectionism is from the most successful artists. The artists that I don't hear about anymore were the ones who took a close enough is good enough approach. The real pros wanted things done right and were willing to put in the time and effort to redo interviews that may have had technical problems or just didn't come out well, even if the fault was completely mine.

                    Give them the best work you are capable of doing at the time you give it to them. Good luck.


                    • #11

                      Thanks for the comments and advice. I faxed her a note explaining the situation, and FORTUNATELY, she responded with a warm thank you for the honesty, good work ethic email. And she said to let her know when I am ready for her to read the new one. So I feel soooo lucky to have contacted her.


                      • #12
                        of course, accorsing to WRITERS who cite the nasty aspects of tracking boards, there are lit agents who are on them too.

                        so OF course cryan71 would have said something so "reasssuring".

                        "No, rest easy. there IS NO 'Fight Club', my pet..."


                        • #13
                          Where are these tracking boards?


                          Has anyone had a peek at one?

                          I read about these things in one of my screenwriting magazines and was disappointed that they didn't reveal where these boards are.

                          Just wondering...


                          • #14
                            They are out there. They are not open to the "public" so to speak. There are boards for development executives to share & exchange info on, and then agents & managers I believe have their own separate boards. There is a fee attached to using them in most cases. Also, even once you are "in" you still have to be invited into certain groups -- sort of like Yahoo! groups.

                            They absolutely exist. People/execs use them everyday. There are discussions about projects, writers, etc. But as noted in the past, there isn't anything you can do about it and thus you shouldn't be concerned. And again they are not accessible to people in general so don't worry about looking for them.


                            • #15
                              Can they work for us as well as against us, though, once a spec is out with producers?