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How effective is the Shooting People script pitch?

Has anyone ever had success pitching a feature script on Shooting People? I mean a pitch that somehow resulted in a funded production?

I've just submitted a pitch for a feature version of a short that I made (Indweller). Compared to the short, the feature screenplay is a much superior piece of writing.

Whilst I self-funded and self-shot the short, I don't have the funds to make the feature version, hence the script pitch.

  • If anyone's curious, the short version can be seen here: youtu.be/UNOoMrlLV0w The lead girl, who was only 13 at the time, won the Starburst International Film Festival Best Performance award for her role.

    6 months ago
  • I've tried three times with shorts here, not had any luck but maybe it was my pitches.

    6 months ago
    • Thanks Mark.

      As expected, no one has reported success. Nevertheless, I have just pitched two more things on the SP Script Pitch - never let it be said that I don't know how to waste my time Earth.

      6 months ago
  • Hi Alwyne, thank you for taking the time to pitch your script. Our initiative aims to connect writers directly with directors and producers and is accessible to all Shooting People members to open up collaborative opportunities. If you're specifically looking for funding, please have a look into our Funding Directory (shootingpeople.org/funding) which provides information on currently open opportunities.

    6 months ago
  • TBH pitching scripts is always going to be a Hail Mary.

    Think about what you are doing when you pitch a script here - you are going to a community of people and hoping that key "get shit done" members - Producers and Directors, will suddenly decide that their projects, which they dearly love, and really really want to make, are clearly inferior to the one you have just proposed, and should be put on hold while they make yours.

    The odds are long....:-) Luck and timing - the right script, at just the right time.

    But do watch Screenwriters Bulletin - if people have specific opportunities for writers, they pop up there. There's a Climate one right now.

    6 months ago
  • This is not a definitive or empirical investigation. Just because a couple of people here have revealed their experience so far doesn't mean that scripts haven't been picked up or that nothing beneficial has ever followed from it being pitched.

    As Marlom suggests though, cold pitching scripts in any arena is always going to be a long shot. Timing is crucial, but entirely random, no way to second guess when it's best because everyone is on their own timeline.

    6 months ago
  • As Marlom suggests, if I had the money to hand to make a film, I have scripts o my own that I would film first. However when I check out the script pitch, there are occasionally ones that I find interesting enough to get in touch with, and I have offered, sometimes for free, to check out the script for plot line, character development and production issues, which can help improve the script's chances of being picked up by a company (or rich investor)

    6 months ago
  • I had success with the old format, years ago. Production companies were requesting to see my scripts, that kind of thing. That was before the pitch prize giving and commentary, and when shorts were separated from features.

    I've recently had people ask me about ghostwriting services. I don't know why they chose me or whether my pitches helped.

    I'd like to change the question into "how can we make 'script pitch' more effective?"

    Many producers, directors or actors with money don't have the time to write their own scripts. Even those who start out as writers often end up concentrating on other things. And a few are humble enough to admit that while they may be talented at their main job, they can't write very well. Even if they're great writers, they prefer to hire another writer so they can concentrate on directing/producing/acting or whatever. (Yes, there are auteurs out there, but why even bother pitching to them?)

    While a lot of great filmmakers do invest in other people's films, many great investors have no interest at all in making films. Investing is a full-time job for them. Or, perhaps with a dash of entertaining other rich people, philanthropy, family life, legacy building, hobbies, activism, travel, charity work or just living it up.

    When we don't have money, we come up with ideas. A salary or a prize might motivate us to come up with ideas. Rich people seem to be those who are better at promoting the ideas of others. I might say, "if I had money I'd spend it on my own films first" but that attitude might be why I don't have money.

    Now, who do we want to pitch to? I suppose for features it's commissioning editors, investors, production companies, agents, or directors and others who have at least enough money to make a down payment (an option.) For shorts, it's probably different.

    How do we attract these people to the script pitch bulletin? Are they already reading the pitches? What are they looking for in a script pitch bulletin? And, who does read the script pitches?

    Maybe also, how can we encourage more writers to submit high quality pitches to the bulletin, and to keep going?

    6 months ago
  • If you have a pitch for an original or innovative micro-budget genre script then it's easy to attract producers and directors. A lot of writers don't understand the industry - how and why films get made. It's incredibly difficult to get support for projects that are not genre-driven.

    6 months ago
  • Thanks for opening up the discussion around Script Pitch. We are always keen to hear your feedback and the ways in which the community feels we can improve. Script Pitch is a great way to get a story idea on the page, allowing for constructive feedback and praise from fellow writers and shooters. You can currently read over 400 shorts film scripts, and 425 feature film scripts on Script Pitch and you can contact those writers directly about scripts you’d like to get made or collaborate on. Producers asked us to move Script Pitch onto to the website so they could search back through all the pitches at any time. And whilst it's difficult for us to track successes, Adem will also be reaching out to the writers bulletin to ask for direct feedback. In the past when we've done this, some people have been in touch to say they're restricted because films are in development. But we agree it would be great to track more activity where possible. Thanks

    6 months ago
  • Hi everyone.

    Just to add what I posted in today's Screenwriting bulletin - I asked this question last year and called out to Shooters to share their experiences of Script Pitch, and tell us what happened next.

    The responses were varied - ranging from ‘not a sausage’ to a the forming of a producer-writer relationship that has spanned multiple short films and festival awards and continues to this day.

    The truth is, Script Pitch can lead to great things, and can lead to nothing. But even nothing isn’t really nothing - because the process of getting a story idea on the page, taming it for public consideration, seeing the flaws and flourishes, can be a really important one.

    But it does bother me how hard it is to ascertain just how often the magic of Producer interaction happens, and what films are actually out there thanks to Script Pitch.

    So I think it’s a good time to ask again…

    Shooters, please share with us your Script Pitch experiences! The good, the bad, and the boring! Tell us here, or on the screenwriter bulletin, or DM me if you prefer anonymity.

    And if you’d like to see any changes to the Script Pitch format, now would be a great time to hear them too.

    Adem

    6 months ago
  • Similarly to Vasco, I found interest and utility in the old format, but have had nothing from the pitches I've made recently, with projects that have attracted interest from elsewhere, which I admit was disappointing.
    I've gone into the script pitch vault with a producer’s head on and wondered how I would sift through the content to find something that I was looking for, particularly when the pitches themselves are a mixed bag. I’m not sure I would. SP has a difficult job to do, balancing a nurturing environment for aspirants with a professional front that professional filmmakers would use as a genuine resource. Personally, I would love SP to develop a script database, similar to The Blacklist, where scripts can be judged by fellow members. If pitches had associated script ratings then I’m sure that would make it a far more attractive resource for producers and directors. With regular merit-based film competitions, I’m unsure as to why SP would be reticent to extend this to scripts.
    Regarding Adem’s preambles and awards– I love his positivity and thought process, here and elsewhere – but at the moment his fanciful leaps into the plots and characterisation of scripts he hasn’t read can sound insincere, and not particularly informative. I’d prefer it if he used his insight to judge us technically - on pitch structure, readability, professionalism and viability of concept – we’d all learn from that.
    I’m surprised that SP aren’t monitoring the successes of Script Pitch – to regularly hear of the collaborations that come out of it would be incredibly valuable to writers, and surely a big selling point for the site?

    6 months ago
  • Thanks for all the responses.

    5 months ago
  • Hi all,

    I wanted to add that we've had some good feedback from producers/directors on searching script pitches on the site, and being able to read monthly highlights in the Script Pitch bulletin. But many also wanted a faster view on what is available. There is certainly always much more we can do to improve. We're now currently working on a better way to highlight genres immediately as per this feedback. So producers/directors can see immediately how many thrillers there are, how many drama etc.

    Adem's right though in terms of how difficult it is for us to track successes that people have. In terms of feedback, we mostly hear on how to improve services and make them better, rather than how people have been directly helped.

    But some writers have also gotten in touch about older projects, as a way of mentioning SP and how it helped them, which has been great. Nicholas Horwood for eg pitched his short to Producer Sophie Venner (Bafta winner) which lead to a collaboration on his first short ‘That Thing You Drew’. He also heard about the Guiding Lights mentoring scheme on SP, which lead him to getting an agent and to another short, nominated for a Welsh BAFTA. Jack Thorne also got the very short he ever wrote made as a result of posting his script in, which went to Sundance. The feature ‘Retreat’ (Thandie Newton, Cillian Murphy etc), was written, directed and produced by Carl Tibbetts and Gary Sinyor who found each other through Script Pitch as well.

    But it's true that we are not good at tracking any of the work that comes out. And in a way, our focus is to keep developing the service so it continues to attract Directors/Producers looking for writers.

    Our ideal too, is to work towards building a New Shoots for Writers, that would include a key peer-to-peer review and feedback on scripts submitted. Any writer who uploads a script for review, would have to feedback on three others, before their script is reviewed. As a writer you'd then get a load of feedback from other writers. In our experience, writers are incredibly good at giving feedback to others. The very best scripts would also float to the top, with ultimate winners being voted on by the community. Something like that we'd love to do... It would require a lot of resource to build, but we'd be keen to hear any thoughts on this as a possible future new service for writer members too.

    Chrs
    Cath

    3 months ago
    • That feedback system sound great, for the writers who want it.

      The whole gaming thing though, it's too much of a popularity contest. Youtube, Eurovision, and Indian democracy show that getting the most votes is not an indication of being the "best." Writers with fewer connections will sink to the bottom, while others will curry favour to get votes. (In annoying ways.)

      There are already points systems that are much better, that rate scripts by contest wins, with more or less neutral juries (who are supposed to rate the script without being prejudiced by the name of the writer.)

      Those who want a faster view, why not just have a search option? I can't even search for my own scripts by name or author. If someone wants a script with the word "London" or "Scottish" or "female lead" in the description, then why not? Wonder if anyone wrote a script about Brixton, King Arthur, Mary Seacole or Loch Ness? Maybe not, but maybe so.

      Another thing script pitch (the email list) used to do is simply separate features from shorts. Most producers are either looking for features or shorts, not both.

      3 months ago
  • Hi Cath,

    I think that is a great idea to have feedback service on SP from other writers.

    I belong to a group in London who meet up on a monthly basis (usually about 4 - 5 to us) and we critique each other's scripts. If you don't have the money to pay for these really expensive script mentoring/consultancy services, it's just as beneficial and valuable to get feedback from your peers. It's also a great way of connecting and networking too.

    So yes, please do develop that feedback service!

    Thanks


    Andrew

    3 months ago
  • - [ ] Sounds like SP are listening, which is great. Script submission and rating system is something that I think would be of great interest and utility for many writers on here - has the idea been floated to SP filmmakers?
    - [ ] Understand concerns about writer name bias, but that could be alleviated by omitting names from the script at upload, as is already the case in many competitions, whilst the readers remain named. The script pitch would then become an area for writers to practise their chops, whilst serving to redirect interested parties straight to the scripts. All scripts could be tagged to hell on submission to help database navigation and search results.

    3 months ago
    • Yes writer names not revealed. That sounds good too. As is multi tagging. Thanks Mark.

      3 months ago
  • Thanks all - very helpful. Hear you too Vaco on problems around ratings. It could actually simply be a feedback service. As you say for those who want it. It's going to require a fair bit of resource so something we'll need to plan for. One qn - what about Copyright? Will writers fear having other writers have a copy of their script to review? Is there are way to help ensure people are protected, as well as a way to ensure feedback?
    Chrs
    Cath

    3 months ago