Spec Market Scorecard: 2009 to Date (October 16)

I can’t take credit for this… I am copying and pasting the Scorecard and commentary by Jason Scoggins.  It is pretty sobering data if you’re a young or new writer.  However, it goes to show you that studios are pretty much only buying pre-existing properties.  And if you’re seen my previous posts, you know that is what I am creating with all the books I have in production.

by Jason Scoggins
October 21, 2009
This isn’t exactly the return to form I’d been hoping for. The end of the Fall selling season fast approaches, and as you can see from the below numbers the spec market is as flat as it’s been since the end of April. Which in retrospect is not that surprising given the past month’s remarkable executive turnover (huge changes at the top of Disney and Universal, plus adjustment at Fox) and conflicting messages coming out of the studios. On the one hand, the majors are saying they’re out of money in the short term (Sony and Universal even made public statements regarding curtailed spending on new and existing development, respectively). On the other, a bunch of high profile pitches and other projects have sold since the end of the Summer, including at least a couple in the seven figures.
It’s clear from the swings in the number of new scripts on the market week-to-week over the past month (from the last week of September: 4, 17 and 5, and just half a dozen so far this week) that the town is not quite sure what to make of the fact that specs continue not to sell. One would think more than 9% of new spec scripts would get set up coming out of the Summer break, but maybe this is the new normal.
A couple of things are certain, however:
·         Producers are the new black when it comes to setting up a script. All but one or two of the specs that sold in 2009 were bought by or for a significant if not major producer (and just a handful of this year’s sales had big actors or directors attached). This underscores the efficacy of the newly announced development funds secured by Bruckheimer and Parkes/MacDonald. Hopefully we’ll see more of these deals in the next several months and the formal emergence of a new class of buyer.
·         The only reason to take a naked spec out wide right now is to introduce a writer to the town on a wholesale basis (that is to say, there’s no good reason to take out a naked spec right now). The dismal statistic continues unabated: Just 2 of the 140 scripts that have gone out wide since May 1 have sold. That’s a ridiculously low percentage: 1.4%, not far off (statistically speaking) the percentage of scripts sold during the WGA strike.
Overall Spec Numbers:
All Specs
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct*
Total
Specs
28
60
78
46
40
48
16
8
40
24
388
Sales
3
10
10
9
10
6
5
3
4
2
62
Percent
11
17
13
20
25
13
31
38
10
8
16
Wide Specs
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct*
Total
Specs
27
56
71
42
31
39
12
4
34
20
336
Sales
1
6
3
5
1
0
1
0
0
0
17
Percent
4
11
4
12
3
0
8
0
0
0
5
* – Through October 16.
Note: The above grids show the sales of scripts in the month they originally went out, adjusted from month to month as necessary. The below grids are a straight tally of each month’s sales.
Spec Sales By Genre:
Genre (sales)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Total
% of
Sales
Action
3
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
12
19
Comedy
1
2
4
4
3
1
3
1
19
31
Drama
1
4
1
1
7
11
Sci-Fi/Fantasy
2
1
2
1
6
10
Thriller
1
2
1
4
3
2
2
2
17
27
Spec Sales By Buyer:
Buyers (Studios)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Total
CBS Films
1
1
2
Disney
1
1
2
DreamWorks
2
1
3
Fox
1
1
1
3
Fox Atomic
1
1
2
Fox Searchlight
1
1
Lionsgate
2
2
MGM
1
1
Paramount
1
1
1
3
Screen Gems
1
1
2
Sony
1
1
1
1
1
5
Sony Animation
1
1
Universal
2
1
2
5
Warner Bros.
1
1
3
5
Buyers (Other)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Total
Appian Way
1
1
Alcon
1
1
Beloved
1
1
Chockstone
1
1
Dimension
1
1
The Film Dept.
1
1
Gold Circle
1
1
Imagine
1
1
Intrepid
1
1
1
3
Mandate
1
1
MRC
1
1
Montecito
1
1
National Lampoon
1
1
New Regency
1
1
Relativity
1
1
1
3
Reliance
1
1
Reliant
1
1
Sidney Kimmel
1
1
Starz Media Anim.
1
1
Summit
1
1
The one really remarkable spec sale in the past month was Relativity’s purchase of Ric Roman Waugh & Michael Lerner’s “Rubicon,” which Waugh will direct and Atlas will produce. Nicole Clemens at ICM originally took this script out wide in March 2009.
Spec Sales by Seller:
Sellers (Agents)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Efficiency
Alpern Group
1
1/1 100%
APA
1
1
2/27 7%
Bohrman
1
1/9 11%
CAA
1
1
3
3
2
1
1
12/32 38%
Endeavor
2
2
1
5/7 71%
Gersh
1
1
2/9 22%
ICM
1
1
2
1
2
7/28 25%
Kohner
1
1/2 50%
Original Artists
2
1
3/7 43%
UTA
2
1
2
1
2
1
1
10/28 36%
WMA
2
2
3
1
8/17 47%
WME
1
1
2/17 12%
Sellers (Managers)
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Efficiency
3 Arts
1/3 33%
Abstract
1
1
2/6 33%
Anonymous
1
1/8 17%
Art/Work
1
1/2 50%
Benderspink
2
1
1
3/10 30%
Brillstein
1
1/7 14%
Category 5
1
1/1 100%
Circle of Confusion
1
2/13 15%
Epidemic
1
1/1 100%
Gotham Group
1
1/4 25%
H2F
1
1/8 13%
Hopscotch
1/1 100%
Hung
1
1/2 50%
Industry
1
1/5 20%
Justin Silvera Mgmt
1
1/1 100%
Kaplan/Perrone
1
1
1
4/11 36%
Luber/Roklin
1
1
2/4 50%
Madhouse Ent.
1
1/1 100%
Management 360
1
1/4 25%
Marty Shapiro Mgmt
1
1/1 100%
Mosaic
1
1/3 33%
Principal
1
1/6 17%
Principato/Young
1
2/7 29%
Radmin
1
1/2 50%
Rain Mgmt Group
1
1/1 100%
Tom Sawyer Ent.
1
1/2 50%
Underground
1
1
2/5 40%
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