Screenwriting : Share your script hosting experiences by Donna Hoke

Donna Hoke

Share your script hosting experiences

InkTip, GreenlightMyMovie.com, Script Revolution. The Black List, ISA, Coverfly... obviously this is big business. I'd love people to share their experiences good and bad with these sites, what you see as the unique benefits of each, whom to wisely allocate promotion budget to. It's hard to sort them all out. Do producers/directors/execs use all of them? Do they have favorites? Is it ever worth it to get those script evals?

Lewis Martin Soucy

Great post! Can’t wait to read peoples experiences!

Donna Hoke

Kyler, how does one get on the Red List? Is it like the Black List, where you have to buy evaluations to move up? The Black List recently opened itself up to plays and I get a year of free hosting for having been on a prestigious list so I'm curious to see how that goes.

With Coverfly, I've traded feedback but never felt I got as good as I gave.

I can't figure out ISA.

GreenlightMyMovie.com is pricey and the first place I sought access to never responded and they wouldn't refund my money; the second place did respond. I don't know if they ever read the script because it got optioned; they did however say I can pitch them at any time and they are quick to respond.

Two people have favorited my script on Script Revolution, but I'll be honest in that I don't know who they are or what means. Are they other members like me?

I find InkTip easy to use and their newsletters seeks specific scripts. I've had a lot of requests from legit producers through there, as well as two directors, one of whom optioned my script.

But I'd love to hear other experiences as mine are limited to activity with one script.

John & Jamie

We've made the Redlist 2x. No industry contacts. We had an 8 and a 9 on two separate scripts on The Black List site. We attached a director (well known, couple of really big movies) to one but nothing ever came of that one. He was in a sort of career rehab and it was nice to have him attached but ultimately not helpful. It got a total of 50 industry contacts from around 250 industry downloads. It was "too low budget" with nearly every producer that has contacted us and the couple of big production companies eventually passed on it for various reasons. The other script had over 200 industry downloads and not a single contact from anyone (the 9) and it had multiple evaluations around the same score. With ISA, we have had multiple requests from either "under consideration" or "elevated consideration" on a total of 12 scripts. Never a single real industry contact from that site. Script Revolution has gotten us many foreign production company offers. We've made a few friends there. Greenlight my movie got us two really big meetings (company wise) with development people who had no idea what they are doing. Inktip has gotten us multiple requests but most of those people never respond. A few of them were very positive but the going response was for the same two scripts from the blacklist and that was "Oh, this is so cool and its small enough that you can just make it yourself". We've had about a dozen requests from virtual pitch fest pitches but all have been either "Do you have anything else" or "that's a no from us". With Stage32, we've had about six requests for meetings. One was an outright request for "packaging" on a really small project. They never got back to us after the first meeting. We've had about four requests to read our scripts that just never responded. One request for a meeting that the person never showed up for. One decent meeting with someone who just didn't seem to understand how to evaluate a script. With most of the sites, the "requests" have not even resulted in a response from whoever made the original request. Even with a brief follow up....nothing. Full disclosure: Since 2018, we've won a lot of little contests that give you vouchers for coverage at various sites. Nearly all of the script coverage, whether it was $50 or purported to be valued at around $400.00 (just one site) it's all been barely useable. Usually there is one nugget in the coverage you can maybe use but for the most part, the people doing it for money don't really read the scripts all the way. They just read about 30 pages and then give their coverage based on that and try to include a few things along the way that make it seem like they read the rest of the script. They get character names wrong and plot points wrong. We basically started getting cast in bigger projects and working on student films so we could learn what goes on on sets together and we started producing our own stuff. I won't say it was a complete "waste of money" but it's nearly impossible to network with people who are at the exact same level as you but hanging a shingle out as an "expert" and at this point, it's almost like we've gotten a little ahead of most of our regular coverage folks. We use a couple of smaller reviewers and consultants that we trust that are pretty inexpensive and reliable much more than any of the big services. Overall, the best way to get your content out there these days is simply to make it yourself and peddle it to smaller festivals for two reasons. One, you can rack up some credits that are recognizable. But also you can find people doing the same things as you content-wise and trade work on your projects and their's. That's a better way to spend your money than on the "hope machine". Honestly, that's the same as purchasing a lottery ticket each week but a little more costly.

Evelyne Gauthier

So far, I have 2 scripts on Coverfly, Black list, and Script revolution (for less than a month, however, for the last two). Won a few awards, some of them being quite modest. My short got QF and SF for 2 credible awards, has been on the red list, and in the top 30%. So far, no impact whatsoever. I didn't buy the review to "boost" my script on the black list. To me, it seems quite expensive for something that might not help me at all. Donna Hoke, if I remember correctly, to be on the Red List, you must have qualified in one or more contests on Coverfly or have a good score from coverage offered on Coverfly.

Frank Baruch

I'm not sure if people are aware but Coverfly grades on a scale depending on genre. My Drama has been sitting at the top 31% since 2021 for a finalist and semi-finalist accolade. The question is 31% of how many other Drama screenplays? 20,000? I've seen other writers on this platform place the red list with one accolade with scripts in the Comedy and Historical genres, which leads me to believe that it's genre specific.

I placed 1st runner up at BHFF (and I've heard the Golden Palm Award is a pretty big deal) but their festival isn't included on Coverfly. I've actually never used the Blacklist so it's interesting reading everyone else's experiences with their platform.

Ty Strange

@Frank Baruch, have you tried the Claim Placement feature on Coverfly? It allows you to add accolades for contests that are not automatically plugged into Coverfly. I've used it with success.

Frank Baruch

@Ty Strange Hey Ty. I did a while back, but Beverly Hills Film Festival is unfortunately not included on their list.

Eric Christopherson

I've had either an option offer or shopping agreement offer via Stage 32 coverage, pitching on VPF, or script hosting on Script Revolution.

Pete Whiting

had 8 and 9 on blacklist but got nothing out of it. Inktip frustrates me as either people looking for really specific stuff like 'rom-com heist musical set in Peru with two girls leads and their blind friend and a monkey.' And 3 times I have seen a request a for a 'family kids film with a Goonies type feel' and have submitted my script G.I BRO (which coverage services have specifically said it has a Goonies feel) and never got a script request.

I have never had an option or deal through Stage 32, inktip, blacklist or isa or script revolution. Well not true, I am up to 7 option offers of $1 over past few years. Stage 32 has given me the most inroads and decent networking with credible people though.

John Austin

@Frank Baruch. Coverfly has multiple Red Lists. You're right, there are certain genre + format Red Lists that are much easier to get a spot on. I've been holding a spot on the Monthly Horror TV Red List for about six months now and I'm under no illusion that's largely by default (in some months, there aren't even 20 projects on that list).

I also made the Fantasy TV Red List for a few weeks with a script that only has a single accolade (and a WS Coverage score) and was sitting at Top 27% Overall.

There are Red Lists for Genre, Format, Genre + Format, and Overall. There are Monthly and Yearly Red Lists too. On your project's page, you can click More Insights to learn how many projects are in each category. For example, my Horror TV script is ranked 7% Overall out of 72,515, 6% in Horror out of 6,997, 10% in One-Hour TV out of 11,085, and 9% in Horror One-Hour TV out of 522.

If you're in the Top 100 for any particular category, there is a little icon on your Project Insights page notifying you of that.

What's worth noting is that Coverfly weights competitions so not all placements are treated equally. My Horror pilot's first Coverfly-qualifying placement was in Titan. Before any announcements, it was sat at Top 29% Overall based on two coverage scores from WS. Once Titan announced QF it went up to Top 11%.

Meanwhile, my Fantasy TV script was at Top 30% Overall from a single coverage score (higher than either my Horror project received). Made QF of Screenwriters Network TV contest, and went up to Top 28%. It then made the Semifinals, but only went up to Top 27%. So from that, we can reason that Coverfly regards Titan as a significantly more valuable or prestigious contest than SWN.

John Austin

To the OP's question...

Coverfly: I've had one industry download a couple of months ago. Heard nothing else about it. Didn't really expect to, tbh. Other than that, can't say I've really got anything out of Coverfly personally, but I know others have. They run a number of free programmes (Pitch Week, Mentoring, etc.) and they're pretty good for sharing even the smallest success stories on Twitter to amplify their users.

ISA: Reached Elevated Consideration on a writing gig a while back. That's about it. Most writing gigs just sit at "Sent" for several months before changing to "Passed". No evidence the majority of submissions are even being read. Still, the little icons on the profile are nice!

Blacklist: Can't afford it. Hosting + evaluation fees are simply too much for me and the hosting is worthless without the evaluations.

Script Revolution: Been on it for a few months. I like it. Most of the downloads I've had are from fellow writers rather than industry folks, but tbh, since I've only put pilots up at the moment I can't say I was expecting anything else. CJ is extremely responsive to emails and does a good job at keeping the site free of a-holes. I think it'll be more useful once I've finished up some low-budget feature scripts.

John Ellis

John & Jamie have hit it on the head.

Look at this post by Beck/Woods (A Quiet Place) to see how they did it (you'll notice not one listing service is present):

https://twitter.com/beckandwoods/status/1186685915910959104

This is my pet peeve, my soap-box rant:

DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON LISTING SERVICES, COVERAGE READS, SCREENWRITING COMPS!

Script Revolution is the only one I've witnessed that actually might lead, someday, to your shit getting made - and it's free! (Stage 32, TBH, has had some successes, but I'm still not convinced it's worth the money)

THIS IS A MARATHON, NOT SPRINT! THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS TO BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS!

As always, just my opinion. :)

Donna Hoke

John Ellis, I love that and the theater world works much the same way. Franklin has recently opened the Black List to playwrights and there is a LOT of controversy for several reasons: 1) playwrights don't stand to make much money even if they get a play produced through the Black List 2) playwrights are WAY unaccustomed to fees to share work 3) We already have the New Play Exchange, which for a mere $18/year, you can have the most robust membership available. Here's an example of what a profile there looks like for that cost:

https://newplayexchange.org/users/253/donna-hoke

The difference between NPX and the Black List is that NPX is a democracy and TBL seeks to be a meritocracy for those who can afford it (although if your play is incredible, you apply for the waiver and it shouldn't cost you anything).

I don't submit to screenwriting contests because I actually have a goal of breaking into the holiday romance TV market; no contest is ever going to award one of those scripts a prize. And no coverage is ever going to say "This is great!" It's a specific niche that demands content but is still hard has hell to access. I keep trying. Through InkTip, I've met two directors who make a lot of these films; one has optioned the script and the other wants to stay in touch. I just finished another. We'll see.

Dan MaxXx

Websites and bloggers come and go. (Remember MySpace & Clubhouse? Goodbye Spotify after they lost $4B last week).

The real winners (working writer) write a lot and network in their own circles, and their specs climb up huge piles. I look at my writer-friend, married wife with kids, over age 40, 3000 miles from Hollywood and she just got her WGA card this year working as a rookie tv writer on network show.

Raymond Zachariasse

Been on the red list twice, I had a good talk with a producer who really liked my short. After that it was all over with the fun. I do make quater finalist and such, but in the end all of the above don't work. So, I target my network directly. I see my work as a calling card. I helped a producer with his treatment. Earned me some money and hopefully he can take me further.

Donna Hoke

Dan MaxXx -- And how did THAT happen??? That's practically unheard of.

Dan MaxXx

Donna Hoke This happens all time. Rookie writers on tv shows. Smart & talented new writers use their specs as calling cards. They are not writing pilots to make; they writing to be put on someone else ideas, join Unions, establish track records by earning income, make their Reps happy paying them commission fees

Gary Thompson

I have been using Coverfly. Have had good luck with coverage, and useful feedback from peers. Got good exposure from being on the Red List both with a short and feature. My Comedy was short of the month along with placement in Filmmatic Season 6 Comedy Screenplay which put me in the top 20% of all scripts on their site. Mostly it is just feedback for me letting me know I'm going in the right direction. I like that.

Donna Hoke

@Dan I think we all know that specs can be calling cards, but getting them into the right hands is the trick. If it was easy, every playwright I know--repped or not--would be writing for television. And living 3000 miles away, even harder.

Evelyne Gauthier

I think John Austin summed it up nicely. John & Jamie Holy crap! I read your comment and that's kind of scary. You had many requests but nothing that has led to anything concrete yet? Aouch...

Jim Boston

Donna, thanks for posting this!

All the screenplays I've uploaded thus far are available not only here on Stage 32, but also on Script Revolution and Network ISA.

Since joining 32 three years ago this month, my scripts have gotten quite a few reads and quite a bit of feedback from fellow members. And seven of the sixteen screenplays I've reached "FADE OUT" on ("Pixie Dust," "Tin Mine," "Fine Tooth Comb," "The Nutcrackers," "Jingle Belles," Bleeding Gums," and "Got Any More Bullets, Sister?") have gotten favorited on Script Revolution.

And I'm cool with that!

The lion's share of my submissions have come through ISA...but no producers have contacted me yet. Eleven of the sixteen scripts I've completed got submitted to producers through ISA; I've got yet to turn in "Golden Oldies," "Shorthose and Flaxbeard," "Thumpers," "Tin Mine," or "Yes, Indeed!"

Don't get me started on contests.

I've never been a quarterfinalist in any competition I've entered...whether through Stage 32, Network ISA, the Omaha Film Festival, or We Screenplay...so I pulled the plug on my contest life on 6-15-2021 after We Screenplay put "Pixie Dust" down.

And I came to realize everything I've turned in resonates more with my fellow Stage 32/Script Revolution members than with contest judges. (And I'm SO VERY MUCH okay with that!)

Can't afford right now to pitch through Stage 32 ($35 a pop) or join the Writer's Room (all of that thanks to my being on Medicare Part B), and I don't have the dough right now to enter more contests (not even the ones offered here on 32; would've loved to submit something to Black Boy/Black Girl Writes...but then, I probably would've been shut out of the quarterfinals).

So...I'm content to do my own research and find literary managers and movie producers/movie directors who've handled material similar to what I've written. And I'll reach out to them.

And I'll continue to build my network.

Well...time for me to jump off this soapbox, Donna, and wish you all the VERY BEST! Glad you're here on Stage 32!

John & Jamie

Evelyne Gauthier It's not too scary. We left out most of the contests we've entered. We've been semi/quarter/finalist in a lot of stuff. John was a writing fellow twice in the 90s (but in TV and we don't do very much in that realm). Once we started making movies, we started winning things. This was like mid-2017. We've had options on just scripts. I think we are up to ten total options. Six of those were dollar options. The other options have paid progressively more. But none of that came from any of the services above or the contest entries. They came from queries/cold-calls/networking off of short films we had made.

Evelyne Gauthier

Oh... I see. Okay, so not so bad after all. I have to admit I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't produce my short script by myself, since many people suggest that. But on the other hand, people make all kinds of suggestions. The other problem is that I literally have ZERO knowledge about production or direction. I wouldn't even know where to start or how to do it.

Dan MaxXx

Donna Hoke dunno. I see lots of ppl here creating look books, bibles, whatever for their spec pilots. No clue who they talking to/paying out of pocket... While new writers breaking in/making income are writing on tv shows, or writing paid assignment low-budget features- all because they wrote a spec that employers like and want to hire them

Donna Hoke

"Employers"=Gatekeepers and getting to them is no easy feat.

Evelyne Gauthier

Thanks, Kyler Boudreau. I have to admit that it scares me a little since I'm pretty much ignorant in that matter. But you're right. Maybe I should just kick myself in the butt and jump in.

Greg Harvey

InkTip: Nothing so unsubscribed. I did receive a polite "No" 13 months after a written pitch from their newsletter.

BlckLst: Industry downloads but nothing. Nowhere near the amount John & Jamie got. If you're not 8 or above then de-list.

Script Revolution: Nothing but they're doing good work.

Coverfly: Nothing, I'm in the top % for this and that but TBH I think it's kind of meaningless.

Competitions: QF Screencraft, QF Final Draft Big Break. I'm not against reputable competitions because your script is being read by the industry which can lead to contacts/networking.

I did get contacted for a Shopping Agreement which come through Stage32, but ironically not my "Double Recommend" one.

Greg Harvey

John & Jamie This made be laugh: "They just read about 30 pages and then give their coverage based on that and try to include a few things along the way that make it seem like they read the rest of the script."

Just got coverage which included the most random quotes, not the strongest examples of dialogue on the page, which made me think, "are they just picking out random quotes to make it look like they read the entire script?".

Craig D Griffiths

I get the inktip email (free one) and see the same leads week after week.

I host on Script Revolution and have made sales from there. So I like that site.

Christiane Lange

John & Jamie I hear you on the coverage services. Tried one of them way back, and the feedback featured all the stellar elements you describe: garbled plot points, misspelled character names, etc. And I get it. The people doing this are probably getting paid $20 a pop and trying to crank enough of them to make some semblance of a living.

The most useful feedback so far has been from fellow writers, and other people with some experience, like a young director friend and another friend who has worked as a story scout for a famous director.

I also found a freelancer who does coverage, and she is good. This is a solo freelancer, not a nameless, faceless service.

Kiril Maksimoski

Mostly okay...got optioned once via script hosting...could say my personal milestone...however I never do pay for such stuff...

Richard Buzzell

I sold a feature script that was hosted on Script Revolution, but it hasn't been produced yet, partly due to the pandemic.

MB Stevens

I think it's a crapshoot with all of them, however, networking with other like-minded writers is priceless. At least to me. Onward and upward.

Dan Guardino

Script Revolution is probably the best because it is free. However, people who produce bigger budget films don't look for screenplays on the Internet. It really is a who you know and who they know business so you have to make your own connections yourself.

Donna Hoke

@Dan G I'm not necessarily looking at bigger budget right out of the gate, just experience, networking, and a credit. It's a long game.

Jordan Tate

True. Never pay to put a screenplay online

Donna Hoke

I agree that I hate paying for access but if you choose judiciously and within your budget, it may yield traction and/or sales as evidenced above. I don't like it, but it's true.

Colette "ByFilms" Byfield

Donna Hoke I have used Script Revolution created by @CJWalley, who is also a member of Stage 32. I would say my experience was positive and many writers have gotten deals through it (he can tell you more about that). I know of a few writers who use Blacklist, which is a bit more expensive.

My general opinion aligns with yours - “choose judiciously”. Decide what your goal is- prestige, a huge script sale and/or being part of a more homegrown writers community. In this business, you are going to pay to play sooner or later. There’s no way to avoid that so please don’t be put off just because an organization charges a fee.

Even if you decide not to “pay” you will still have to network which costs time. My final advice is to research a few scripts on each site and see which scripts became films, how much did the writers make and were the writers satisfied. Then make your decision. You seem to have a practical head on your shoulders so I’m sure you’ll choose wisely.

Good luck!

Donna Hoke

Colette -- good advice! I will definitely see if I can find which scripts became films! Thank you!

CJ Walley

I just want to say, to see Script Revolution even so much as mentioned alongside these other sites is a huge compliment. Keep in mind it is just me behind the scenes keeping it going while making movies (I'm literally commenting here during a break in editing LOL!). I wish I could deliver more for writers and things are getting better all the time (I was able to post 33 options/sales success stories last year). However, even when bringing in the power of a lifelong film PR specialist for a couple of months, very few opinion leaders are willing to even acknowledge the site exists. The specialist themselves commented on how weird it is. Communities do not include Script Revolution in their guides/resources areas and even ban any mention of it in extreme cases. The media have only mentioned the site once and that was thanks to a generous reference by Coverfly. I've connected interviewers with industry members only to have them brush off or edit out any comments about the site during said interview. I've had some reasonably big players try to get people talking about the site and they've run into the same problems. This is the biggest issue that's held the platform back for five years now. The irony is, it's kinda feeling more and more like a revolution every day as awareness off the site spreads mainly via word of mouth, forum threads like this, and small podcasts. It's showing that a lot of people with influence do not want screenwriters to know there's a free hosting option there and I wish I knew why that was.

The comments are 100% correct too. Don't come to Script Revolution thinking it can get you into the big studios or even necessarily into Hollywood itself. It can kick off careers though, especially for those willing to start near the bottom and work their way up. Funnily enough, there's an American writer at the shoot of his first movie being made just an hour from me in the UK right now! I also started it primarily so every writer, regardless of income, had a place to put their material and start building an audience. We tend to focus on what sites do for the winners but few think about how they impact artists as a whole. Script Revolution gets a lot of grateful "refugees" from certain other platforms (one in particular) who have had their motivation and self belief almost completely destroyed.

Anyway, thank you so much! Seeing so many positive comments really makes it all worthwhile.

John Ellis

CJ, you know you're doing something right when the establishment tries to ignore that SR exists! Viva la revolucion!

Michael Osuji

I live in Nigeria, Africa. Even I dream of getting into Hollywood. Even I. I stumbled on this because I am considering hosting a couple of screenplays I'm particularly proud of. Not to get connections or network but just to get feedback. I know how difficult it is for people close to the industry, so I don't have stars in my eyes. I have followed advice that a number of people have given. Shoot your own stuff. Shoot it cheap, shoot it constantly, and I have. Prepping my tenth film and in an industry that thrives on quantity rather than quality, I'm improving the quality of my films one film at a time. Screenwriting is my full time job. I feed my family on it. I dream of writing a million dollar screenplay but till that time, I'll give Script Revolution a try and get back to shooting. I think you should too.

Donna Hoke

Re: the repeating leads on InkTip; this merely means they have not yet found what they're looking for. I optioned a play on InkTip, and I do think they want mostly low-budget stuff but by looking at those repeating leads, you can get a sense of what's in demand and what's not being found.

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