Hi, its screenwriter Philip Hardy and today I want to talk about websites that allow you to pitch your feature screenplays and your pilots, and I don’t mean the guys that fly air-planes. To relive, industry people, some of them allow you to do written pitches.
Others have more sophisticated means of doing those and you would think with all the people that are out there writing spec screenplays, un-produced and aspiring writers that are out, there trying to sell the that script and make the next tent pole picture, there would be more of these sites. Because it’s a very lucrative business – that is not the case.
There are really only four of these websites that are considered to be worth a damn and that’s because they have the perceived value of industry types that are being paid to hear your pitches or read your pitches, whatever the case may be.
I’m gonna review those four websites in no particular order. First let’s talk about the Blacklist. The Blacklist has been in business now I think four five or six years, maybe longer and what they do is, they have a web hosting site for screenplays. They charge $25 a month for you to upload your script and hopefully there are people that will read that script after it’s uploaded.
Where to sell your screenplay – How to sell a movie script
However the best way to get attention is to pay $75 a pop to get your screenplay read and reviewed by other screenwriters and I guess in some cases industry people, but I suspect it’s more frustrated writers that are trying to sell their specs replays that are reading your spec screenplays and reviewing them.
Sometimes those people can be rather nasty with what they say about your work. Other times I guess, in much less instances, they will gush over your work and they give you a score and if you get a score of a ten above and you get several of those reviews, suddenly you may be a hot property on the Blacklist.
At the end of the year the Blacklist, they put together a list the top approximately 75 unproduced screenplays and that gets a pretty broad attention from folks out there in Hollywood land. There are several Blacklist writers that have gotten signed to agencies after having top-ten script, let’s say.
But I’m sure if you make the list there’s people that may request to read your screenplay again. Remember this though – a lot of these guys are very project centric. They may love one screenplay but if they can’t get anybody interested in it, they’re not necessarily looking for unproduced writers that they’re gonna work with for the long term. That’s just my opinion.
The next website is Virtual Pitch Fest and Virtual Pitch Fest allows you to do a written proposal or a pitch with a logline and synopsis. They give you a limited amount of space for the synopsis and you can select from their whole list of producers and industry folks.
Okay, here’s virtual pitch fest up on the screen and they have extensive lists and alphabetical order of people looking for animation action and comedy, all genres of films and man they got tons of people on here.
Production companies, literary agents, producers directors. Okay, for example … this guy, Aberration Films- he’s been involved in a couple projects. One called Brick and the other one the Punk’s Not Dead.
He’s supposedly looking for action, comedy, family, fantasy, romance, blue, block – pretty much every genre. So what you should do before you decide to lay down your hard-earned money, which is $10 per pitch, is I’d look these guys up on IMDB and see what else they’ve been involved with.
Anyway a $10 a pitch it’s fairly inexpensive to use Virtual Pitch Fest and they also run specials where they do 10 pitches for a hundred bucks, and then they’ll throw in two free pitches which is a $20 value. Personally I have not had much luck with Virtual Pitch Fest.
I haven’t used them a lot but the ones I’ve gotten back, the feedback’s been rather generic and although I’ve got one or two nice notes back, I never got any action from using. However, take that with a grain of salt. They also will get back to you within a fairly short window. I think that technically speaking they’re supposed to answer you back on your pitch within 48 hours.
Correct me if I’m mistaken. Send me a nasty note if I’m wrong. anyway that’s Virtual Pitch Fest. They’ve been around for a while and I do know some people that have gotten script reads out of that and had some successes. The next website is Happy Writers.
Now happy writers has not only can you submit a two-page written pitch to their industry types, you can also do an 8 minute Skype session, which is the next best thing to being in an office with somebody. You know, you’re gonna do like that the quick pitch where you tell them why you have a sexy idea for a movie or you have a sexy script.
There are pluses and minuses to doing that way. I’ve done them both and I’ve had more success doing the written pitches, but that’s just me and not everybody’s as handsome as me. So when you go to a Skype meeting you may want to take that into consideration.
On their Happy Writers website, I think you can see they have pictures of the folks that are there, that are hearing pitches and a lot of these sessions that particularly the Skype sessions, say they’re sold out and they’re thirty five dollars of crack.
So let’s take this young lady here, Sarina films – Tatiana Kelly. Let’s view the details of this one. Tatyana Kelly specializes in biopics, dark comedies, romantic comedies, thrillers, sci-fi and projects based on books, so that’s what she’s looking for.
Then they give you her background and probably her most famous project that she’s been involved with is a movie called Wrist Cutters, a love story which I did see. That movie it’s, it’s a very good little indie film but that’s been a quite a stretch of time since that movie came out.
I don’t know what else she’s done in the meantime so, my warning to you is buyer beware when you’re submitting to one of these industry types. You may want to look to see when’s the last time they had a movie produced or what’s the most recent things they’ve been involved in.
Early on in uncle Phil’s career he worked with a guy that hadn’t made a movie in quite some time and although he had a extensive track record, it had been quite some time so he was a little gun-shy about pitching to his contacts.
So I spent a lot of time trying to develop that script but there wasn’t much pitching done at the end of the day. What I do now is I make sure that the people I work with have very fresh connections in the industry and that they’ve worked on films and major projects within the past at least two years.
That’s just my recommendation. Anyway Stage 32 costs 30 to 35 bucks a pop. I have had some success, probably more than most. I’ve had a half a dozen screenplays read. I’ve actually had one make it to the next base and I’m currently in talks with a producer who’s reading now a second one of my scripts.
Were talking about a possible collaboration on an upcoming project. So anyway, Stage 32 isfor real but if in my opinion it can be a very difficult nut to crack and you better have a very good pitch to even get your screenplay read.
That means a very well-crafted synopsis, or if you go in to do the Skype pitch, that you practice that you really have your shite together when you’re pitching it to the industry people. Finally, out of the for sites that allow you to do the stuff there is Ink Tip and that’s uncle Phil’s favorite.
I’ve had a fair amount of success with them and several options and right to shop agreements that I’ve gotten from using Ink Tip. In my opinion there’s also a good value because you can use their script hosting site for 65 bucks every four months, so that comes out to be a pretty good value.
I aggressively use their newsletter and I have not had very much success with the web hosting. Though I’ve had screenplays downloaded and read, I’ve had no further responses off of that. Now on the web hosting, the script hosting site, they allow you to upload your screenplay.
They allow you to put in a lot of details about the genre and sub-genre, the budget for your film, the cast size, all the things to make your work as palatable as possible to their audience. They have a couple thousand people in their base that they’re working with. Most of them are looking for projects from let’s say $100,000 maybe on up typically four or five million dollars.
So they’re not working in in most cases with big temple companies or big six companies or, you know big-name guys, like you know Spielberg, or you know David or Russell, or whoever. Again, they’re working with more indie type producers so for that again do your homework on who you’re submitting to.
As far as the newsletter goes, that’s where I’ve had success and the reason I’ve had success is because I don’t try to compete with everybody on the things that are gonna be the most popular.
Where there’s 50 to 100 people that are gonna submit on those and that would be things like low-budget horror thriller zombie movies, vampire movies, anything where there’s a lot of material out in the ether, I look for things that are more obscure.
Case in point – I got an option deal in September because a guy was looking for two crime thrillers about a guy that went on a shooting rampage in 2013, and though I didn’t have a screenplay for that, I figured nobody else would.
I put together a idea for the story and I gave him a sexy log line, and that guy optioned the project and he’s currently shopping that material right now. I got another option for a screenplay that I’ll call a spec script but I actually wrote it for another producer that did nothing with it.
That had a right to shop and didn’t go anywhere and this guy was looking for a faith-based film about Jewish culture and I had what was really more of a war picture, but it has a lot of Jewish culture in it because it’s about the Six Day War.
He liked the screenplay, was a long shot but the guy liked the screenplay, and I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of people competing for that, so again I look for things where the competition’s gonna be thinner.
I probably am one of the fewer people that do that, because most people it’s like they go direct, they’re running with the football, rather than doing a fancier play. They’re hoping that they can sell one of their spec projects.
I can tell you it’s probably easier to sell somebody on something that they’re looking for and how you’re gonna fill that need. Why just last night there was, there’s a person that’s looking for a script about how Hattie McDaniel and you know they’re actually looking for somebody that’s got one of those laying around.
I just think, sorry folks, but there’s not a lot of people all that probably written about Hattie McDaniel, even though in some respects she’s a very important figure because she’s the first african-american actor to get an Academy Award for her role in the Gone with the Wind.
So in my opinion competition thin on that one, so I actually put together a pretty good pitch and I told the producer ‘hey pal, your chances you finding somebody with a Hattie McDaniel script are slim and none, so I wrote a sexy log line and I told the guy I’m the guy for the job.
This is why I’m the guy for the job because I’ve done the exact same thing several times before where I’ve produced material for people looking for an obscure subject matter. So anyway that’s what I did with InkTip. That’s how I’ve been effective and utilizing that service.
So that’s my take on the four major websites that are allowing you to do pitches to industry folks. I hope that’s helpful to you and I’m going to say goodbye.