Wednesday, September 25, 2013

InkTip: Should you post your script online?



Crawford Anderson-Dillon, a London movie producer, recently spoke during a kNIFVES (Northwest Independent Film & Video Entertainment Society) luncheon meeting.  In addition to his background in corporate productions, Anderson-Dillon has made several short movies and is now working on his first full length feature – a romance thriller that is being shot in the Post Falls area – a script he discovered on the Internet. 

Anderson-Dillon said he read around two thousand scripts before finding American Romance on InkTip, an online script website.  He read the script and contacted the writer and the rewrites began.  That surprised me because other movie professionals I've met recommended writers never post their scripts online.  So I decided to do a little research to shed some light on the subject.  

There are several websites that offer to post your scripts online for a fee.  The most popular are InkTip, Black List, Spec Scout and ScriptPimp.  Since Anderson-Dillon used InkTip, I decided to focus on their services.

The Pros
According to InkTip President Jerrol LeBaron, the mission of InkTip.com is threefold:
  • Help the producer easily find a good script
  • Save time for the agent and manager in locating the right people for their clients' scripts, or new clients
  • Greatly increase exposure for the screenwriter
Today, InkTip has more than 2000 registered industry members who now have access to writers' scripts and they currently average more than one script produced per month. 
How InkTip works for Screenwriters:
Listing your script on InkTip means entertainment pros (qualified producers, representatives, directors and more) looking for good scripts and writers will gain 24/7 access to your work.  

To register a script with InkTip, a writer must submit a logline and synopsis, but according to InkTip information, the majority of writers choose to upload their entire scripts and/or treatments in the belief that offering the entire script allows the producer or representative to download and begin reading without delay, increasing the writers’ chances of selling their script.  In addition, scripts are often viewed as writing samples by representatives and/or producers, which may lead to other writing jobs.  Through their membership, writers are able to track who is downloading their script, synopsis or treatment.  Viewing this activity enables them to determine if their logline or synopsis (or entire script) is effective. The cost is $70 per listing for 6 months ($65 with auto-renewal)

Who Will Look at your Script on InkTip:
 InkTip scripts are free to qualified producers, directors, agents, managers, and name actors and the site ensures that all entertainment pros undergo a thorough background

The Cons
Is  InkTip a great place to post your screenplays?
In an online post, Ken Miyamoto, a working screenwriter and former studio reader/story analyst, outlines a couple of problems he sees with listing your script with InkTip or any online site.  He alleges that InkTip exists as a business to “benefit from the want and need of screenwriters, “ which he sees somehow as a disservice to writers. 

His second argument against InkTip is that it makes screenwriters lazy and complacent because they list their script then just sit back and wait instead of working hard for themselves.  “Don't expect ANYONE to come to you.  Ever.  You want a career in screenwriting?  That's your dream or goal?  Go for it.  Do the work.  Take your stuff directly to the people that can make your movie.  Those that have the means.  Those that have the talent.  Those that can further your career.”  

He recommends writers first develop some good concepts and good writing strengths, then use their computer or get on their phone and get busy to find a way to the right person.  He believes that once that person sees you have a great script, they will see your talent and contact you.  “ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL.  Professionals don't pay people to take their script and leave it on some website with thousands of others.”

One other subject that often comes up is whether or not someone will steal your script if you put it online.  I have heard from several script professionals that only amateur writers are unwilling to share their ideas, loglines or scripts.  They recommend sharing your work to find out if it is a good concept and whether or not people like it.  Although they admit it happens on occasion, they argue that it is a safe bet that a movie professional will contact you if he likes your script and/or your writing.  And who knows?  I believe that once you begin putting something out in the universe that makes it much more likely to happen.

What some writer clients have to say about InkTip:
I think InkTip offers people who live away from Hollywood & New York a chance of exposure not available before the Internet age. - Max Whilom
 I've been a member for about 2 years now, and it is just fantastic - not only as a means by which to reach producers and have your work accessible to them, but also as a way to gauge what's going on in the marketplace and follow purchasing trends. Keep up the good work!  - Nicole Jones
I wanted to let you know that I've removed my script, "A Means to an End", from InkTip today with good reason. Damon Chang of Subtitled Films has optioned it. I couldn't be happier! Thanks for providing a wonderful site that actually, with a little patience and perseverance, makes things happen.  - Matt Jarrett
My Analysis
You should spend time checking out InkTip or any other website where you may be thinking of listing your script.  I'm sure you'll find many more pros and cons.  The fact that I know of one successful writer whose movie is being produced does mean that listing your script may work, but I do agree with Miyamoto’s thinking that if you just place your script online and then merely keep renewing it, you may be slacking off the work it takes to find out if you have a quality script and an avenue to production.  On the other hand, I disagree with Miyamoto’s assertion that InkTip is not a viable option for writers because they make money off us.  While this is most assuredly true, for those of us far from Hollywood, the ability to reach qualified industry professionals may outweigh the relatively small fee. 

Note: I'm hoping to interview the writer while the movie is in production so I can gain his view of InkTip from a writer's perspective.  I'll let you know any tips he shares.  

Go to InkTip.com for more information on their services.
Check out Ken Miyamoto's post at: www.quora.com/Screenwriting/Is-Inktip-a-great-place-to-post-your-screenplays

Crawford Anderson-Dillon
Production Director
 Hub Media
Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Media Production industry
January 2006 – Present (7 years 9 months)

Anderson-Dillon runs the London office of Hub Media, a corporate communications company specializing in video and new media.  He also runs and develops the drama department.  He is currently shooting his first full feature romance thriller in Post Falls, Idaho.    


1 comment:

Elizabeth S. Brinton said...

Thank you for this informative post. We are so fortunate to have such amazing resources here in North Idaho. It is so exciting to think of a full length movie being shot in Post Falls.