I got this question recently:
“I am interested in using your script submission service. I have 2 questions.
1) I know this may be difficult to track but do you have any idea of the success rate of writers using your service? By this I mean the response level from producers (this is the route I will take) – i.e. producers who respond to the query and request a script? 5%? 10%? 20%?
2) Is your database filtered? In other words, is it a broad spread to all producers or selectively targeted according to the genre of the script described?”
In a general way I cover some of this in my post, Getting your screenplay to producers and production companies. so if you haven’t read that, please check out that post.
I would say in the last few years I’ve seen the success rate diminish quite a bit. Right now people who are using the producers blast service are getting between 1 and 15 positive responses. So 1.5% (roughly 1000 companies in my database) is on the high end. I think with a very marketable idea pitched with an excellent query letter, you could still get close to a 2% or higher (over 20 requests) from the producers blast. The agents and managers blast service, while my list is smaller (around 500 companies) seems to get a better positive response rate overall. So 1% – 2% (around 10 – 20 positive responses) is possible. I had one screenwriter get more than 25 positive responses with an excellent query letter. If you were to purchase the blast and get zero responses I would happily give you a refund for the entire thing, but that’s never happened yet. Also, the way the service works is that you join our paid site and then post your query letter in the forum so by the time we send it out, it should be professional and generate some interest.
One thing new writers grossly underestimate is the quality of their log line and overall story concept. Many writers don’t understand how unmarketable their ideas really are. The people targeted in my email fax blasts are businesses trying to make money, so the concept has to be marketable. I can help a writer polish his/her query letter but at that stage it’s too late to re-do the entire story concept.
To give some specifics about how this service can work I’ll use one of my own screenplays as an example. I recently optioned a screenplay using my own blast service. I used the producers email fax blast three times with about a month between the first and second blast and about six months between the second and third blast. The first blast received 12 positive responses where the producers agreed to read the script. The second blast received 8 positive responses and the third blast only received 5 positive responses. It was the third blast with only 5 “yes” responses that produced the option on the screenplay. So it can take several blasts to work.
Another thing that I think new writers often times fail to understand is that these blasts are not just about optioning and selling your screenplay. When I first started doing these blasts around 2003 I did a blast for a comedy screenplay. A producer read it and liked it but for what ever reason never got back to me on it, he probably didn’t like it that much. About six months later I did another blast for another comedy screenplay. The producer remembered the previous script of mine and agreed to read this new script. This time he liked it enough to call me and set up a meeting. In addition to being a producer, his company also managed a few writers. So he suggested that we work on rewriting one of the scripts he had read and that he become my manager. I liked his notes and felt he had a good sense of my sense of humor and could add value to my team. So my writing partner and I signed on with his company. Over the years we developed a few scripts with him. Finally in 2007 my writing partner and I wrote a screenplay that he really liked and he ended up producing it, that’s how Man Overboard came into being. As you can see from my experience, it can take literally years for these things to fully play out. In fact, while the producer is no longer my literally manager he’s still a good friend and there is a good chance we’ll work on projects in the future. So one of the goals of these sorts of blasts shouldn’t just be optioning and selling your screenplay, it should be to build some relationships with people in the industry.
My database is NOT filtered in any way. I have found that companies are usually looking for interesting material and aren’t usually too concerned with what genre it is. There are some companies who only work in television, and those companies are NOT in my database.
To learn more about our suite of screenwriting marketing tools please go here: http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/how-to-sell-your-screenplay/professional-screenwriting-tools/