Spec Scout

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  • #31
    Re: Spec Scout

    Originally posted by michaelb View Post
    I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

    Best,

    MB
    Except that IS the entire business model here it seems. To create a searchable database of coverage that will live on for years.

    For Mr. Scoggins, would be curious just how many industry professionals are paying members at this point? And do you have a general target number of members you're hoping to achieve at the top end?

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Spec Scout

      Originally posted by michaelb View Post
      I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

      Best,

      MB
      I cosign this so hard, I broke my pen in half.

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Spec Scout

        Originally posted by michaelb View Post
        I dont recommend that bud. Not to answer that in a public way since I could just email you, but it's going to be a headache for you... unless you do it with the writers and reps approval. I know if any of my clients scripts were covered (good or bad), I'd have you take it down.

        Best,

        MB
        I also co-sign this. Also, I am amazed how Spec Scout knows more about the status of my script than, oh I don't know, me.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Spec Scout

          For Mr. Scoggins, would be curious just how many industry professionals are paying members at this point? And do you have a general target number of members you're hoping to achieve at the top end?
          We don't have a target number per se. We're aiming be one of the handful of go-to sites for every agent, executive, director, producer and manager who participates in and/or pays attention to the spec market.
          Jason Scoggins

          http://www.specscout.com

          or for that matter

          http://www.scogginsreport.com

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Spec Scout

            Originally posted by Hamboogul View Post
            I also co-sign this. Also, I am amazed how Spec Scout knows more about the status of my script than, oh I don't know, me.
            LOL!!!
            http://www.pjmcilvaine.com/

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Spec Scout

              I love this stuff by the way! As many of you know (or maybe none of you???) mine is coming soon, and I am looking so forward to completing this re-write and to get it out there early 2013. Which brings me to my question...

              You say "when a spec hits the market"...when or what exactly determines when a new spec "hits the market". What is that indicator exactly? I mean there is no "officially submit your spec script here to enter the market place" method that I know of....scripts aren't like a hit single or album that is released on a specified date and can be tracked as it makes it way up (or down) the chart..at least that I know of. I'm just curious how you see it because many scripts are around for a long time bubbling under, buzzing, re-writing, re-appearing, etc..and just preparing to make it's move. Is that true?

              thanks!

              • Go and do likewise gents..

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Spec Scout

                A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

                Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.


                Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

                Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.

                Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.


                Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Spec Scout

                  Originally posted by jcgary View Post
                  A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

                  Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.


                  Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

                  Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.

                  Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.


                  Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.
                  That's the best way I've seen it put so far.
                  Chicks Who Script podcast

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Spec Scout

                    A spec can be said to "hit the market" when the writer's manager and/or agent submits it to production companies and studios.

                    Different scripts demand different situations -- some specs might go out all at once, dozens of production companies on the same day, and some specs might get slipped here and there to this person or that person. Think of it as the difference between THE AVENGERS opening on 6000 screens and MOONRISE KINGDOM opening on 6 screens.
                    Right -- this is the definition I use for my newsletter (ScogginsReport.com) and the one we use at SpecScout.com.

                    Now think about how a website like Spec Scout could disrupt that process, presenting an opinion on a script immediately after it's been sent out, tainting reads if Spec Scout's opinion is negative. Let's say your intimate, specific script about two bird watchers who fall in love is absolutely perfect for Cross Creek, but Spec Scout gets the script before they do and calls it boring and inane with poorly drawn characters, but that's because the reader just didn't connect with the script, whereas the head of Cross Creek and all the execs there would respond favorably to the material.

                    Except Cross Creek's DoD reads the coverage on Spec Scout and decides it isn't worth his time -- he cracks the script but that other opinion is in the back of his head the whole time.
                    This is a bit unfair, since it doesn't reflect reality in a number of ways. In no particular order:

                    1. There are literally hundreds of examples of quirky, intimate, small, and/or otherwise less-than-commercial material that have received glowing coverage from Spec Scout. Consider several such examples from last year's Black List:
                    - "The Imitation Game" (Spec Scout Score: 84.1)
                    - "Home By Christmas" (Spec Scout Score: 82.0)
                    - "Bastards" (Spec Scout Score: 76.4)
                    - "The Flamingo Thief" (Spec Scout Score: 76.0)

                    If the hypothetical bird watcher love story was well written, it would receive high marks from our readers and an attendant high Spec Scout Score. If it needed work, that would be indicated instead. The point being, obviously, that it's the writing that matters, not the subject matter.

                    2. The last thing we want to do is get in the way of someone's career. The only time we would post a score of a script immediately after it's been sent out is if we'd been submitted the script in advance and the reps and/or writer asked us to do so. Usually, though, we get copies of scripts a week or so after they've gone to market, and it takes us some time to get them covered. So in practice, Spec Scout can't possibly disrupt the spec market in this negative way. On the other hand, it might possibly enhance it, in that a high Spec Scout Score can be used as a sales tool from the outset, and scripts that didn't originally find a home but scored well have an opportunity to be discovered or re-discovered later.

                    3. Our coverage is written by readers who have extensive experience and who we've trained over the course of dozens of sample scripts to follow our rubric. No script would be dismissed so curtly as you've described here. Each aspect of the script is given careful consideration, and the comments in each section are supported by specific examples from the script. Each reader is required to assess each script professionally (i.e., based on our rubric), but yes, this whole endeavor is inherently subjective. One reader who didn't connect with the material may well rate it a "Consider" when another reader who did respond to the material rated it a "Recommend." HOWEVER...

                    4. THE WHOLE POINT of Spec Scout is to eliminate the impact one reader's poor perception of a given script can have on its chances of success. By the time all three initial readers have weighed in, the hypothetical one grumpy reader's take is minimized.

                    Now repeat that for every single DoD who gets your bird-watcher script. You could've written the next great love story. Doesn't matter, though, because of one read from one reader at one random website.
                    Again, this just doesn't reflect reality.

                    Semi-publicly publishing coverage of scripts currently on the market is anti-writer and counterproductive to Hollywood.
                    This makes a nice button but I respectfully disagree. I think my personal, pro-writer track record speaks for itself and is well documented, and I would never have co-founded Spec Scout if I thought it was anti-writer or counterproductive to Hollywood. In fact, the opposite is true: I started Spec Scout because I thought it would benefit writers in several important ways, not least because by applying the same scoring system to spec market scripts as aspiring writers' material, we've created a way for good material from aspiring writers in particular to rise to the attention of the agents, managers, creative executives, producers, directors and the other pros who have access to the library.

                    This has in fact happened already. We can't mention the company or the project for a couple more weeks until the paperwork is signed and we get the green light to talk about it, but a high profile independent production company is in the process of acquiring a script they discovered on Spec Scout in the past two weeks. This particular script was by a first-timer, but it could just as easily have been a high scoring script by an established writer that simply hadn't found a home previously.

                    Given the state of the spec market, writers themselves as well as the business as a whole would be well served if there was no longer any such thing as a "busted spec." To put it a different way, the fact that a script didn't sell during its initial round of exposure to producers and executives shouldn't be the black mark that it is now, because the nature of the spec market has fundamentally changed since that dynamic was originally created. If our scoring system contributes to changing that perception, then our site will definitively have been pro-writer and productive for Hollywood.
                    Last edited by jscoggins; 12-22-2012, 01:06 PM.
                    Jason Scoggins

                    http://www.specscout.com

                    or for that matter

                    http://www.scogginsreport.com

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Spec Scout

                      Jason, I have no doubt your intention is truly, completely pro-writer. In that spirit, I encourage you to hide any script's score under a certain threshold -- say, 70.

                      That way, you can bang the drum for scripts that score well and that your three highly-trained readers give high marks to, but can't do any damage to scripts that your three readers may not dig for one reason or another.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Spec Scout

                        If you're as pro-writer as you say you are, does that mean you will remove any coverage and scores from your site when requested by the writer?

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: Spec Scout

                          Originally posted by jcgary View Post
                          Jason, I have no doubt your intention is truly, completely pro-writer. In that spirit, I encourage you to hide any script's score under a certain threshold -- say, 70.

                          That way, you can bang the drum for scripts that score well and that your three highly-trained readers give high marks to, but can't do any damage to scripts that your three readers may not dig for one reason or another.
                          Thanks for saying that, jcgary.

                          We'd previously considered setting a cutoff for displaying scores. (The proper cutoff is probably 60, not 70, fwiw.) It's probably worth re-visiting, and I appreciate the opportunity to focus group the question here. So here's the core question, as I see it:

                          - Would suppressing scores below a certain threshold unfairly lump promising scripts (i.e., those that just require a minor revision to clear the threshold) with scripts that weren't ready to go to market in the first place (i.e., those that need a major revision to clear the threshold)?

                          My worry is that if we suppress scores below 60.0, then a script that has real potential might not get the opportunity to be seen by producers willing to develop it further with the writer. I can think of an example off the top of my head. The script went out wide and had a great commercial concept. It didn't sell initially, but a month or so later a producer came aboard and they're working on a new draft.

                          Each of the three readers who covered it had the same reservations about it -- two gave it a Pass, one gave it a Consider, and the score was in the mid-50's. As a test of our system, we had a fourth reader cover it, and that reader gave it a Pass as well (the score wasn't affected much, since all four readers' assessments were more or less aligned).

                          So that script needed a rewrite, by definition of our rubric and also as evidenced by real-world experience -- I happen to know that the producer specifically came aboard to supervise the next draft and plans take it back in to his home studio when it's ready. Yet to the extent Spec Scout might be able to influence a situation like this, if scores were suppressed, we might actually hurt the script's chances, since we'll have effectively condemned it with some sort of "Score Doesn't Qualify" label.

                          Thoughts?
                          Jason Scoggins

                          http://www.specscout.com

                          or for that matter

                          http://www.scogginsreport.com

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Spec Scout

                            It's a fair point, but what if you treated scripts that fail to meet the minimum threshold the same way you do those that haven't been covered yet? Leave the score blank as if it hasn't been read. That way there's no effect on the writer, and an exec who stumbles across the script reads it with an open mind...unaware of any previous reservations a reader may have had.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Spec Scout

                              As I'll take that silence to assume the answer is "No" I have a few follow-up questions:

                              1) Who are your readers and what is their experience and expertise within the industry?

                              2) Are your readers employed at any other companies within the industry?

                              3) Are your readers also screenwriters, and are their scripts reviewed on the site?

                              4) Why is there a need to review scripts that have already been optioned / sold / set-up / in development, if the goal is champion unknown and overlooked scripts and writers?

                              I'm sure some more questions will come to me, but right now I'm basking in the glow of professionalism that is your coverage for my script that lists SIMILAR FILMS as: "Every military movie ever."

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Spec Scout

                                Originally posted by jscoggins View Post
                                Would suppressing scores below a certain threshold unfairly lump promising scripts (i.e., those that just require a minor revision to clear the threshold) with scripts that weren't ready to go to market in the first place (i.e., those that need a major revision to clear the threshold)?
                                That's why you'd want to keep the threshold high enough so that anything that doesn't have a score and coverage wouldn't be assumed to be bad, but rather just not "holy sht this is effing brilliant."

                                60 would qualify as way too low. 70 is too low.

                                Solutions:

                                1) only show coverage and scores for scripts without producers.

                                2) only show coverage and scores for the top 20 or 30 scripts.


                                There's no reason to provide information about scripts that already have producers and are already set up. If they go into turnaround, it's not like it's all that difficult for another producer or studio to just READ THE FVKCING SCRIPT themselves.

                                There's no reason to show negative coverage or low scores. None. All it'll do is prevent people from reading material, and that's not a good thing.

                                Make people form their own opinion about material.

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