Stage 32, etc.

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Stage 32, etc.

    Hey - moving this to a new topic, since we were taking over someone's thread on another topic:


    Originally posted by JeffLowell
    Just looked up Stage 32. 35 f*cking dollars to pitch someone?!
    Originally posted by Satriales View Post

    That seems like a fine investment if you have the money. A crack at a CE at a good production company? And if they like the pitch, they request and read.

    At this point one month on the Blcklst with a single review is going to run you what? 125 with the review and hosting? And anything less than an 8 you’re on the hook for another 100 if you want to make a top list.

    I do think there is some incredibly shady sh1t going on with these sites, however. You have to be pretty careful. Many are low level grifters obviously but others will no longer be with the company listed and the site will read like “Bill was the creative executive at Dbag Films” and clearly they are just unemployed at the moment.
    I'm not saying Blcklst is a must do - but 125 bucks so that it can be read by hundreds of producers/reps who are there specifically looking for material seems like a bargain compared to 35 bucks for one 8 minute pitch on Stage 32.

    I looked up two random people who used their own names on Stage 32. (Some go by "anonymous.") I'm not going to put their names up here - I don't want a google search to send me into a flame war.

    -- The first person lists themselves as a "producer, Disney +." IMDB shows their most recent credit as an assistant to an executive producer of a reality show. They've produced eight short films. One of the shorts they produced was put in a collection of short films that Disney+ bundled... I guess that's why they list Disney in their bio - even though that project is over?

    LinkedIn lists their profession as... "Script And Pitch Consultant" for Page 32! And "freelance producer," where the producing was of sixteen short films. No feature length productions.

    -- The second person lists themselves as an "Executive at Warner Brothers Television." Their most recent credit as a short they produced six years ago. LinkedIn shows that their current job is "Executive Assistant to VP Current Television" - a job they've had for more than four years.

    I'm sure both of them are amazing people, and who knows - maybe they'll go on to do great things. But I also am sure that paying thirty five dollars to let you pitch them for 8 minutes is a complete and total waste of money.

    I'm not going to credit check everyone on there. But if you are a legitimate producer or rep, there are so many avenues where you can look for material. Why would you be part of this, unless it's to make money? And if you need money that badly, can you possibly be powerful enough to help someone?

  • #2
    Just found a manager on there who will be taking Skype pitches... from 3-5:30 PM on a weekday afternoon.

    Would you want a manager who took two and a half hours off to make a few hundred bucks? If he wanted clients, he could sign up and read a hundred loglines from the Black List at home, after hours.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
      Just found a manager on there who will be taking Skype pitches... from 3-5:30 PM on a weekday afternoon.

      Would you want a manager who took two and a half hours off to make a few hundred bucks? If he wanted clients, he could sign up and read a hundred loglines from the Black List at home, after hours.
      Thank you for this warning. I repeatedly caution my friends against paying for these type of services. When you start adding up the money Stage 32 makes on "pitches" and webinars, it becomes nauseating. I think the Black List is more legit. I personally know people who have gotten some action posting on the Blacklist and getting a high enough score to go out in the weekly email blasts, etc.


      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by lostfootage View Post

        Thank you for this warning. I repeatedly caution my friends against paying for these type of services. When you start adding up the money Stage 32 makes on "pitches" and webinars, it becomes nauseating. I think the Black List is more legit. I personally know people who have gotten some action posting on the Blacklist and getting a high enough score to go out in the weekly email blasts, etc.

        I had zero success on the Blcklst getting 8s on a few scripts. Because what I was writing did not have high concept loglines. But I was a good writer. I did well with Stage 32.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
          Just found a manager on there who will be taking Skype pitches... from 3-5:30 PM on a weekday afternoon.

          Would you want a manager who took two and a half hours off to make a few hundred bucks? If he wanted clients, he could sign up and read a hundred loglines from the Black List at home, after hours.
          Each time I post about these type of sites I make sure to mention you have to do your homework. Because there are plenty of irrelevant people on them.

          I don't think looking at credits is particularly instructive, because these people (the ones I would personally target) are going to be more junior. So no, they can't get your thing made, but they can definitely push it up the chain if they are at a legitimate place. I can absolutely empathize with a dev coordinator or a a CE making between 60-80k who wants to make a few thousands bucks in walking around money for the year by doing something that is duplicative of their job (that they likely get screwed on overtime for) and try to bring in material. So I totally get that.

          As for a manager, let's think about how a path to that career might work. Perhaps they start their careers on an agency desk or at a low level in a prodution company. Now they are late 20s or early 30s and want to pivot to managing. It's pretty difficult, absent wealthy parents, to make that pivot to living in LA of hardly any money for, in all likelihood, a couple of years. It can be done, because many have done it. But it sucks. Especially nowadays, given how careful film buyers are with spending real money until something is close to production. 10% of WGA scale options is not a viable means of survival. To me, these sites provide avenues of support for people who are not independently wealthy thus bringing a more diverse pool of people with differing points of view to the managerial space which is a good thing. (and fwiw, I first met up with my manager on there when he was starting out. But I did my homework on what his career path was and bought low)

          From an exec standpoint, there's also the idea that you are buying low. Before I was repped I pitched something to a dev coordinator who read and liked and gave me her personal email. It was at a very good company, but obviously she was low on the totem pole. Fast forward to now and she's a packaging agent and has helped me out quite a bit and is packaging something now. I certainly had relationships at this place already through my manager, but not on that side of the house.

          And if you are someone that has signed with a more junior manager (as is likely the case, given that you are a new writer) where do you think your stuff is going in at prodcos? To that new manager's peer group who will most often be at a more junior position in that company.

          All of these things can likely be done with queries, no doubt. But when you were at a less than 5% hit rate querying non-commercial stuff as I was, forcing people to read at gunpoint was important, because I kinda new I was close and had a POV and an ok voice. At the very least I was close (based on Blcklst and contests) to a place where I could improve in working with professionals.

          As for VFP, there are producers that I know personally who get movies made at streamers and major studios. The vast majority of prodcos on there are absolute trash, however. But in glancing at the list of managers, it is very strong. But again, most of these people are going to be receptive to queries anyway. But the absolute certainty of an answer for ten bucks isn't something I would personally shy away from.

          The downward economic pressure on people at lower levels of the business is tremendous. I can't begrudge them for trying to make extra money with side hustles. It's not like they're tending bar, it's duplicative of their job. I don't find it more honorable for someone trying to make a living reading blcklst scripts for free than it is to get paid to read scripts.

          All of this said, if you were to level the charge that these sites (including the blcklst) are predatory and prey upon people that will never make it, I'd agree with that. But I think for good writers there is definitely value there.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Satriales View Post
            The downward economic pressure on people at lower levels of the business is tremendous. I can't begrudge them for trying to make extra money with side hustles. It's not like they're tending bar, it's duplicative of their job. I don't find it more honorable for someone trying to make a living reading blcklst scripts for free than it is to get paid to read scripts.
            As you say, it's a hustle. And they're running it on writers. Their job is to find material - I don't think we should be paying them to do their job, when we're the commodity they're searching for.

            You had some great suggestions in the other thread on how to find assistants. I'd suggest avenues like that (and contests and querying etc) long before I'd suggest paying 10-35 bucks per query. Or just go on these pay sites, gather the names, and query the people directly for free.

            Comment


            • #7
              One of the reps on one of these paid sites did accept my query and request the spec. So obviously you can get them for FREE. But the odd part to me is when I google the rep I see they are also a writer. So they work for a firm, rep writers, but may also be an active writer? I was very confused by that. But nothing surprises me at this point.

              All I know Jeff is you could make some extra $$$ if you wanted to start a side hustle yourself.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have never used it, but I did sign up for free to the blacklist recently to see what it's about. I find it hard to navigate myself. I only heard one success story with SHUT IN. I'm sure they're are more, but is that because of the site, or because the writer and script were already great and going to be discovered anyway.

                Sometimes when I get depressed, I think I should just throw up my old horror spec that I think is a great concept and see if I get any bites. Or that comedy spec that already went wide. But then I think of, who is on those sites looking at the scripts? Probably the same people I already queried directly for free.

                However, there is something to be said -- I think I heard a manager say it on a podcast -- for them to be able to read material w/o the writer even knowing. Is that how the blacklist works right? If you host the script, anyone who gets industry access can read it w/o you knowing? Or does it say like 100 downloads so you at least know someone read it?

                I can see that advantage as then they can read it, find out they hate it or love it and not worry about the annoying writer part of actually talking to us and telling us "not for us."

                But I paid for screenplay contests -- most of those are a waste of money. I've paid for notes. Screenwriting books. Crap over 20 years how much have I spent on paper to print some of my dumb words? On ink? On emotional dollars? On computers? On drugs? On therapy to talk about failure? I've went to freaking film school. Let me tell you, I think a $35 dollar query may have been money better spent at this point.

                I estimated I've spent 250K on screenwriting and made like 50K from it total for a return of, carry the 1, of OH MY F-UCKING GOD.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Satriales View Post

                  I had zero success on the Blcklst getting 8s on a few scripts. Because what I was writing did not have high concept loglines. But I was a good writer. I did well with Stage 32.
                  I happy to learn stories that prove me wrong. Did you find your current rep or producer through Stage 32? How did it work?

                  Do you think Blacklist readers gravitate towards high concept? That is good to know.

                  Most of my friends have gotten repped from friends passing their scripts around to friends that are reps, etc. So I admittedly don't know a lot about the pay to pitch space.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The appeal of the black list is that you can read a logline every ten seconds and know whether or not you want to read it. I can think of nothing more soul sucking than spending 8 minutes listening to a pitch that I know I don't like after one sentence.

                    Any producer or rep charging for access isn't looking for material. They're looking to make money off amateur writers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post

                      As you say, it's a hustle. And they're running it on writers. Their job is to find material - I don't think we should be paying them to do their job, when we're the commodity they're searching for.

                      You had some great suggestions in the other thread on how to find assistants. I'd suggest avenues like that (and contests and querying etc) long before I'd suggest paying 10-35 bucks per query. Or just go on these pay sites, gather the names, and query the people directly for free.
                      But sometimes those people (and I am talking mostly production entities) are not going to be as receptive to something that comes in via cold query. I think that's just the reality of the business. So forcing them to at least hear you out and give you an answer has advantages over that.

                      I find it more defensible than most contests or the blcklst. It's a person with a name and a title and you know who they are - or can easily figure that out.

                      I have a hard time reducing it to "paying them to do their jobs" even though that it what it effectively is. It's somewhere above MLMs and below thoracic oncologist.

                      If I were telling someone how to gain traction it would be third on my list after the Blcklst, which would be my first stop. Because at the very least if you can roll 7s with any sort of frequency, you probably have a shot at being ready for reps. But it's expensive.

                      After that, I'd go to querying using my Linkedin/IMDBPro approach. Failing that I would use those two platforms to strategically target people on VFP, Stage 32, or Roadmap Writers who you can pay to get access to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
                        The appeal of the black list is that you can read a logline every ten seconds and know whether or not you want to read it. I can think of nothing more soul sucking than spending 8 minutes listening to a pitch that I know I don't like after one sentence.

                        Any producer or rep charging for access isn't looking for material. They're looking to make money off amateur writers.
                        I think that's an extremely binary view of it. I think it can be both. I mean, people are getting signed, projects are being developed through these connections. The vast majority of writers are wasting their money but that's true for every blcklst review and Nicholl entry as well.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I get the frustration with how hard it is to break in. But, in my opinion, this is predatory. The writers guild has a rule that says signatory agents are forbidden from charging reading fees. This is exactly that.

                          It would be like me casting a role, and charging every actor who wants to read twenty dollars. It just feels sleazy. YMMV.

                          (Actually, it would be different than that, because when I cast a role, I have the power to give the person a role. It would be like my assistant charging people 20 bucks to audition.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How do you feel about reps on podcasts (sometimes many times like frequent guests) or on twitter often giving advice. I mean we all goof off at work and have down time -- but I don't want my rep to be doing what I do. I'm supposed to be the lazy writer and they are supposed to be too busy to even go to the bathroom.

                            It seems social media aspect of life is turning more and more behind the scenes people into rep talent in a way. Soon we will by paying for their autographs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bono View Post
                              How do you feel about reps on podcasts (sometimes many times like frequent guests) or on twitter often giving advice. I mean we all goof off at work and have down time -- but I don't want my rep to be doing what I do. I'm supposed to be the lazy writer and they are supposed to be too busy to even go to the bathroom.

                              It seems social media aspect of life is turning more and more behind the scenes people into rep talent in a way. Soon we will by paying for their autographs.
                              There are a lot of good reps who do this - social media, podcasts, play in a band, etc. It might be unrealistic/unreasonable to expect that most of them are working on this stuff 24/7. There are outliers as with any industry that do, and I personally like that approach because that's how I look at the business. I still watch TV every night and keep up on the NFL daily but every other waking moment is spent on this stuff. And that does include posting here, which to me has business related benefit as well as being enjoyable.

                              The fact that my manager disconnects (for the most part) over the weekend is the weirdest thing to me. Like I really get texts from him on the weekend unless there is something big going on. I don't get that.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X