Screenwriting : Is Script Revolution the Best Kept Secret in Screenwriting? by CJ Walley

CJ Walley

Is Script Revolution the Best Kept Secret in Screenwriting?

The day I found the inspiration to go ahead and create a free script hosting website was July 4th 2016, US Independence Day. I originally conceptualised the term “revolution” as a reference to how the site would allow screenwriters to promote their material in a way never seen before. Who would have known, nearly five years later, I’d be sitting on a huge underground uprising that many who have influence seemingly don’t want people to know about ?

Imagine what it’s like to find out there’s a website where you can upload all your screenplays for free? A place where you can leverage the awards and endorsements you’ve received from elsewhere at no extra cost? A platform where writers and filmmakers are regularly connecting to spark off new projects and kickstart careers. Oh, and imagine it’s all run by a fellow writer-producer who understands just how tough it is to go through years trying to break in while every door is slammed in your face by industry members and your pockets shaken down for change by gatekeepers.

It must be amazing to discover that. In fact, I know it’s amazing to discover it. I know because I get a message every other day from writers telling me they’re so glad to learn Script Revolution exists, that it’s a dream come true, and that they wish they’d known about it sooner.

This crazy little attempt of mine to change how screenwriters get discovered and challenge the numerous lotteries and casinos that have popped up to exploit them will turn five years old in August. The community is nearly 10,000 members strong, we’ve had nearly 150,000 downloads, and the homepage receives over a 1,000,0000 hits per year. I’m enormously proud of that as running Script Revolution by myself, doing all the coding, design, management, and marketing, takes it toll but seeing so many positive comments by members when the topic comes up makes it all worth while — I built Script Revolution to give writers hope and it’s definitely working.

What pains me however, and has pained me since day one, is how rarely the topic of Script Revolution comes up outside of the platform itself. I originally believed that the sheer sensation of launching something that gives free exposure would be enough to create a buzz much like that feeling we get when we complete our best script yet. People will have to talk about this, right? It’s too good to ignore! Well, the reality of offering this opportunity to the world was initially met with laughter, dismissal, and censorship. Those that didn’t mock the site for being small, ignored it as something anybody can be part of and thus non-exclusive. Those that saw the potential outright banned any mention of it, much to the horror of members who saw their post and comments deleted on platforms that, I can only assume, felt it could eat away at their bottom line. It turns out a cottage industry that trades on selling false hope likes to make sure its customers are kept in the dark.

And, to be frank, almost half a decade later, after numerous success stories (one feature sold, one optioned, and two shorts sold only last month) and following thousands of members signing up, it still seems few people with influence actually want to talk about Script Revolution. The site cannot be found in the resource guides pinned to the top of forums while expensive and outright predatory alternatives are promoted. The platform does not get mentioned by the same consultants who drive their followers toward poorly respected competitions that employ min-wage readers. The community has never, to my knowledge, been blogged about by any of the various opinion leaders who are supposedly there to let their peers know where they can find an advantage and build a career.

It is, quite frankly, getting strange. It’s hard not to fashion a tinfoil hat and start dreaming up conspiracy theories when a Script Revolution member tells an industry journalist outright that they should publish something mentioning the site, that journalist says they absolutely will, and then never goes on to make contact with me or pen a single word about it.

The reality is, I fear, that we’re actually just terrible at sharing powerful information and we’re so used to having to hand over wads of cash to so much as speak to an industry member, anyone offering access for free is met with immediate skepticism. Finally, after insistence I do so by early members, bringing in a Petreon campaign and a $5pm premium Rockstar Membership tier to help keep the site running actually raised trust in what I was doing and that I wasn’t secretly selling off people’s inside leg measurements to Google.

There have been a few heroes out there however championing Script Revolution for as long as they’ve learned about its existence. Rich RB Botto of Stage 32 let people know about t during a panel back when the site had only just launched (Script Revolution in fact gained a lot of traction within the Stage 32 Writers Lounge), Don Boose of Simply Scripts put a banner up on his site from day-one, and then there’s some of those Script Revolution partners such as Prewrite and ScriptHop who continue to cheer on every success story that comes along while endorsing the site at every opportunity. Plus, despite the screenwriting and filmmaking blogs being silent, there’s been numerous podcasts that have invited me on to waffle on about what I’ve been doing such as Britflicks, Joined Up Writing, 2-bit horror, The Successful Screenwriter, Just One Good Take, and I Was Just Wondering along with YouTube channels such as ScriptFella.

Then there’s my filmmaking partner in crime Shane Stanley, author of What You Don’t Learn in Film School, executive producer of the number one global box office #1 Gridiron Gang, and director of my last two released features, who casually mentioned Script Revolution as a great writer’s education resource during one of his Film Courage interview segments, generating a huge surge in awareness that continues months later.

Oh, did I not mention the site has a whole free to browse screenwriting guide that I’ve put together as I’ve cut my way into the industry as a working writer? Yeah, it’s getting hard to keep up myself. What next, writers are getting six hour long Zoom sessions with working industry members to chat about breaking in and making films? Ummmm… maybe…

On top of all this, there is of course all those individual writers who, rather than keep the news to themselves, have selflessly spread the good word to their friends via social media, forums, email, and in person.

Long story short; Script Revolution has relied almost entirely on word-of-mouth and still very much does. Therefore, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has ever mentioned it. Without you, it simply could not have grown into what it is now.

So perhaps it’s time to make the leaders of your community aware that this platform exists and, if they already know about it, ask why they aren’t making those that look up to them aware of it too.

It seems that the ultimate irony of Script Revolution is that it will have to trigger an actual revolution within the script writing world before it gets taken seriously. I think that’s a real shame but I’m also delighted as the site is fast becoming unstoppable as it doubles in size year-on-year. Writers are starting to realise just how much they are being exploited to pursue their dreams and seem to welcome a platform that levels the playing field, even if it doesn’t have the glitz and glamour normally associated with Hollywood.

As for that original question, “is Script Revolution the best kept secret in screenwriting?”, well Betteridge’s law of headlines states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” so I’ll accept that as the case and propose this instead, as cheesy as it may be, perhaps the best kept secret in screenwriting will be the writers who ultimately get discovered and go on to find their audiences as a result of Script Revolution.

Richard Buzzell

What will provide exposure for Script Revolution more than anything else is a successful film coming out of it. I believe Craig Griffiths has a project that came through SR. If that film does well, the industry profile of SR will do well also.

CJ Walley

Yeah, Craig has a film coming out. Jerry Robbins from here also has a script in circulation after it was spotted on Script Revolution.

James Welday

Hi CJ Walley thank you for sharing Script Revolution. This site has allowed me to continue to grow and network on more platforms. Much appreciated!

Rutger Oosterhoff

From someone who is not sure if it's fair to call himself a writer:

The general writer/producer thingy.

Just an opinion.

Stage32 is a company too. And a company has to earn money to survive, grow and give its (often paying) customers (mostly writers) what they need. Stage32 makes its money by letting writers pay for education and script services.

Where it is different than other screenwriting platforms is that they don't claim to sell the Holy Grail. They just give tools, we can accept or not; think the 'grows mindset' contrary to the 'fixed mindset'. It's our choice to grow or not. But I believe Stage32 really wants us to grow! A lot (not most!) of established Holywood do not want us to grow, they just want our money. And they 'want' us to feel inferior. We are only screenwriters, they never talk about the screenwriter, the screenplay, just about the director, the DOP, the production process, and the actors/actresses - und so w(r)eiter, und so weiter. That is the way we pay extra money to achieve our dream to become one of THE FEW.

The problem is that you are part of the Holywood ecosystem, If you attack it front on, you can just as well commit harakiri. Patience is a virtue, it takes a while to chance things. I'm not even talking about a Utopia where everybody is happy; just talking about a change in powers -- a slightly different unstable equilibrium.

Then again. From the successful, long-time career of -those- producer's point of view that I also agree with (but Rutger you can't say that, the world can only be 'black' or 'white', I can't torture my brain cells to see grey): "Hey, nobody forced you, people, to become a screenwriter. We surely didn't. YOU choose it. So don't wine!! Do the work as we do the work, having to read hundreds of 'mediocre to crap' screenplays - 'being the next best thing' - every f.cking day!! Not just from unestablished screenwriters, looking for that one, probably still not perfectly polished, diamond."

And when out of thin air you give up, choose the other road, you dilute yourself is the 'easier one' (to success), in becoming the producer you earlier on so despised (a mind is a flexible, 'mysterious' thing), remember, when asked, to tell the 'full' story. "

So, I guess to all, truth is in the eye of the beholder. It's all about perspective. And yes, wolves prey on the weak. So, (1) become the wolf (yes, I know Bruce), (2) just write for fun, or (3) get out of the business (most of us, surely including me, are not really in yet).

Nobody said life is fair.

CJ Walley

Having gotten to know RB over the years on a personal level along with those he keeps close to him, I can say without question that Stage 32 absolutely does indeed want everyone one to grow. That's one of the reasons I've been such a vocal supporter for so long and why one of the first partnerships I set up was with his platform.

Maurice Vaughan

Hey, CJ. How are you? I like the updates on the site. The homepage looks more impressive. I use the discount for WriterDuet.

CJ Walley

I'm good, Maurice. Now in post on the latest film so that's keeping me entertained during lockdown. Glad you like the changes. I'm working hard to bring in new features and improvements as my development skills improve.

John Ellis

With what small SM presence I have, as well as during nearly every Zoom meeting I'm in, I mention SR as a great resource, usually in terms of "created by a working screenwriter" "non-predatory" "awesome site" etc.

And I'll keep word-of-mouthing it for as long as it exists!

Great job, CJ Walley!

Jim Boston

CJ, I'm so DOGGONE GLAD you started Script Revolution...and I'm going to keep talking up SR as long as I've got breath and a computer!

All the VERY BEST to you and a whole lot more!

Craig D Griffiths

I try and sing SR virtues as often as possible. I have two films that were acquired via SR. Here is a tip people. Don’t send people a google drive link. Send them a SR link. That way you know when they download it and every time after that.

Plus you are helping your fellow SR uses. Because if you are a bad fit, they may browse. This also helps grow knowledge of the platform. I have mentioned here at at Reddit numerous times.

Now to be the normal critical ass that I can be. The reason people don’t share it as much as other things. Is because it make no promises. SR is a magnificent platform, but it is all up to you. There is no “we get you on a secret list...” or “we have a crew of industry professionals waiting for your unique voice...”. So much of this industry is fuelled by people making promises.

CJ Walley you supply a good service that enables writers to host and display there work in a real and modern platform. Things like ink tip are hugely expensive and look like something from the 90’s. I praise you at every turn and cannot thank you enough for the platform.

Things you didn’t know about script revolution.

1. The best place for Indie producers. (Which were we all live, if we realise it or not).

2. It is modern and well thought out. It look professional and will not embarrass you.

3. The post feature enables you to give people a visual queue of the look and feel of your work. This is like an advert for your work.

4. You get to create a profile that looks as good as anything on IMDB. Mine needs rewriting in reality.

https://www.scriptrevolution.com/profiles/craig-griffiths

Maurice Vaughan

CJ, what genre is your latest film?

David C. Velasco

Have to echo all the compliments rendered here. Joined it myself some months ago and enjoyed it the whole time! Thank you CJ for all your hard work there.

Craig D Griffiths

Go here http://griffithscreative.com.au/how-to-get-your-work-sold/ a blog post about Script Revolution

Jess Waters

SR is definitely the best-kept secret! I've had 2 short films produced, another optioned, and had the chance to grow and learn as a writer along the way. It's a really fun place and a great way to find other indie creators

Greg Harvey

There's a lot to be proud of on SR, 9000+ scripts and members, well done to you.

Aray Brown

I love watching your baby grow!

CJ Walley

Thanks so much to you all. Your support is duly noted.

Lyter Daniel

Just looked at the site ... Joined - Thanks

Alejandro Marello

I have entered to see your website. very interesting.

there we go for our dream :)

Doug Nelson

CJ, I've been with you since your early days but I've been so busy paddling my own canoe that I haven had much chance to participate. I'll try to get some stuff to you soon.

Karen "Kay" Ross

Well, you know I'm a fan ;-) But I look forward to doing more digging in the near future!

Holly Jurbergs

Success occurs when hard work meets opportunities. Creatives have to create visibility for themselves and platforms like yours are how it happens.

Derek Reid

Well, it won't be if users keep talkin' about how great it is! Then there goes your/our sure-thing trophy at the BKS awards...

Derek Reid

2019 award-show was something else btw

Monica Mansy

Hi, CJ Walley I love the site and have been meaning to actually sign up. I just stopped and did so and will check it out further. Thank you for all you do!

Bill Albert

SR helped me get connected with a production company that got my work included on a "shopping list." It didn't pan out, the studio passed, but any door that opens increases the chances of my work getting picked up. Keep it up.

Debbie Croysdale

Script Revolution hasn’t been shouted out by many industry leaders (apart from those mentioned) because they have their own monetary agendas but this is okay. Real change is slow, insidious (in this case in a positive way) and is eventually impactful to the masses. Christian scribes preached in catacombs in the Roman empire but now there’s a bible in most hotel bedroom drawers. I’ve been a fan since day one, some intellectuals see it as a breath of fresh air in a stale and often poxy environment of closed shop cronyism and minor league celebrity. Script Revolution is still hatching!

Joe Thayer

Well worth the 5 bucks a month and the evolution of the revolution is coming along nicely (in other words I like the updates).

Craig D Griffiths

I shared a link earlier to a blog post about the best way to leverage SR. I don’t send Google Links. I send a link to the script in SR.

When the interested party clicks on the link they see the page about the script, the poster art, the synopsis. When they download it, I get a message. So much better than a Google Drive link.

This will help spread the word of SR. It will also help the SR community. They read your synopsis and it isn’t for them (it was never going to lead to a sale), so they browse the site and find a script that works for them. They will return, which is good for all of us.

CJ Walley

Thanks again for all the wonderful comments. New success story going out today for a contained horror that's been optioned.

Maurice Vaughan, the latest film is an action comedy. Female led. Some amazing fight scenes. Karen "Kay" Ross was actually a 2nd AD on set. How cool is that?

Maurice Vaughan

That's pretty cool Kay worked on the movie, CJ. I like Action Comedies. I'll check Script Revolution for the success story.

CJ Walley

Cheers bud. Best place for updates on that project is via the Rebelle Rouser website.

John Iannucci

It’s excellent source to network

Ihekuna Chimezie Benedict

Good a thing Script Revolution rose up to the the occasion of 'literary feasibility' for screenwriters at a time where there was an apparent blurriness for them (particularly 'wanna-bes') to really have a head-way in the industry! Thank you, CJ Walley for the innovation!

Jerry Robbins

Thanks for the shout out, CJ! I do indeed have a script under option from Script Revolution, and another that was sold via the site and is now shooting in Tennessee.

James Welday

Congratulations, Jerry!!

Marty Howe

had to skim this rambling novel. I think the reason your site sucks, is because the %99 of failed screenwriters who hang out there (the 1 percent are in Hollywood) are bitter, rude, had too many rejections and take it out on each other with vitriol. Even the admin (you maybe?) make smart ass, immature comments. Toxic website, it's so liberating to be banned from there.

Craig D Griffiths

@Marty Howe I didn’t even know it had a forum. There you go. Banned from there wow. That’s a shocker. You are normally so positive and supply such insightful comments.

CJ Walley

Indeed, as Marty Howe unwittingly points out, another benefit of Script Revolution is won't find people like himself on there.

Matthew H Emma

I couldn't disagree with Marty's assessment more. Script Revolution is a valuable asset for anyone pursuing any type of career in the screenwriting or associated fields.

Jim Boston

Sorry, Marty...but I'm going to have to disagree with you.

I'm sticking with Script Rev (and Stage 32) because both sites have helped me build real professionalism in this search of mine. They've helped me work to get my screenplays up to snuff.

Still, I wish you all the VERY BEST...and I'm glad you're on Stage 32 (and I dig what Craig said about you being so positive).

Scott Sawitz

I've gotten a ton of reads off it... it's a great tool to send when someone asks for a script on whatever query service, whatever, you use. "I keep a number of scripts here" and a lot of people looking for one thing may just want to read something else based on the logline, et al.

I use a sports metaphor for writing; it's all about getting the at-bats. Ultimately whether you get a hit or not is up to forces outside your control but I've had so many good things happen because of ScriptRev that it's an instant recommendation.

Doug Nelson

Over the years, I've watched the birth, growth and evolution of both Stage 32 and Script Revolution. Both have been very helpful to very many aspirants over the years. I tip my hat to both. Stage 32 is a public open group of forums so that occasionally some gnarly type sneaks in, - which annoys me to no end - but I try to get over it.

Julian Martin

Was Marty Howe actually George Snowe, the fellow who threw a dimwitted tirade in my inbox and got himself banned for his tirades in the forums? He's the only rude person I've encountered at Script Revolution. Glad to be a member at SR and host several of my scripts, now w/ScriptHop links.

Derek Reid

I apologize for myself and CJ to any self-described "Script Guru(s)" consultants that may have had their business-practices accidently or intentionally roasted on SR over the months... lol

CJ Walley

Some of you may have recently seen that I've setup a partnership with Danny Manus to help curate some of the content on the site. Those of you who've been here a while will be familiar with Danny as a long time contributor on the forum and can get extra exposure on the site if you have a recommend/consider from him.

Barry John Terblanche

All my correspondence letters always have a link to my profile page of both S32 and SR.I was once contacted by a producer re- one of my scripts and he was (never knew of SR) so impressed by being able to view my scripts "production cost" break-down that SR offers. SR rocks!

Maurice Vaughan

I like the breakdown features on Script Revolution also, Barry.

CJ Walley

Had some really cool news yesterday, a long time member recently studied my article My Secret Formula for Breaking-In as a Screenwriter, applied the thinking to an old feature script of theirs, and got it optioned after it was discovered on the site!

Yes, the breakdown stuff is really how Script Revolution initially found its edge. Most other script hosting sites either weren't doing that or only doing it at a very basic level. The closer I've got to producing, the more apparent it's become to me that industry members have some sort of criteria when looking for material and almost all have budgetary/logistical constraints.

Kiril Maksimoski

I was working sales some time ago. But before that some sorry ass salesman came to my home desperately trying to sell me vacuum cleaner I really didn't need for some 2000 bucks (yes, US dollars) So he went on and on and eventually came down to 72 installments as an leisure. Guess what? Still no.

Years after I came up as a salesperson myself. But...I was working in a store, full pay of course and just awaiting some desperate person for tools to come by and buy. And boy, when someone needs something desperately they buy. I was making sales of some 200-300 euros in just a couple of praises...so folks I guess you'll recognize the allegory in all of this and why we need sites like SR even more.

CJ, no thanks necessary on this speech :)

CJ Walley

I hear ya, Kiril.

Bill Albert

CJ, you talked a bit about the "breakdown stuff" at SR. Could you please give me some more info on exactly what you are talking about? Just want to get more involved at SR.

CJ Walley

Bill Albert, people are referencing all the meta-tagging you can do for a script to make sure your material shows when people make specific searches. Looking at your listings, you've already taken time to do that.

Vital Butinar

You know CJ Walley. I've been wondering something similar about other things too and reading your post made me think about it even more. How come some things get a lot of recognition but other things don't.

You've got a good point about word of mouth but maybe it's a mixture of many things.

For example I love that you want to help people with the site but my mother in law keeps telling me and my partner that we should never work for free with a client because they don't value your work. Which I kind of agree more and more. Maybe this applies to SR too.

Another thing is a lot of things even if they provide a service cheaply or for free there's usually some marketing behind it.

Then there's the third thing. I don't know why but filmmaking is the ideal place for innovation of new stuff but for some reason it seems that innovation seems to be accepted only from some channels but never from others. Which is crazy since it usually takes a fresh look at something to make an innovation in the first place.

By the way I wanted to thank you for a great site!

CJ Walley

Thanks dude. Honestly, it's kinda scary how many good ideas die off without most writers even knowing they existed. Script Revolution has been so lucky to survive this long and a lot of that is down to being run as lean as possible. It's just me while most other platforms have whole teams of people all on a payroll.

Watching Stage 32 grow over time has been a huge inspiration as there was a lot of pushback from the writing community in particular for years.

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