Just wondered whether anyone has had scripts read/optioned/sold through ISA? I've used Inktip before and had a few script-read requests and one option but it took a long time and went nowehere. So is ISA any better?
I don't have any experience with either website but I do know people who have. From what I understand? Most of these gigs are very much on the low end of the screenwriting spectrum. Not that that's a bad thing if you want to write and get paid. But from what I understand, ISA is really no different than InkTip.
These are mostly low-end projects. Producers trying to make a name for themselves which, in and of itself isn't a bad thing either. From several individuals I personally know who've utilized the services of both websites? It seems to me what ends up happening most of the time is that your spec gets read and if a producer, manager, or agent likes what they've read? You'll get a meeting. While they may not like your spec but like your writing? An agent or manager -- based on how well you do in the meeting -- may want to represent you... Especially IF you have other projects that they feel are marketable.
Of the few people I know who have obtained representation after getting their stuff read on these sites? I haven't seen any of these writers succeed beyond that but of course, I have no knowledge as to what they are up to when it comes to what they're actually writing. Of the writers I know of who have obtained representation through these mediums? I'd have to say that the agents and managers that represent them aren't even what you'd call boutique agencies. Usually, just agents or managers who work on their own and with a specific number of clients.
Again... This is NOT to say this is a bad thing. I've had individual reps before who were very hungry and got me a lot of meetings. You just have to be ready if and when you get those meetings. Chances are very high that the one spec screenplay that got you some attention may not be the one that sells. It could be the one that just gets you meetings. For that reason? Just like with the better screenwriting competitions out there? One should be READY to not have their spec sold but rather have it serve more as a calling card or resume -- a way to get your foot in the door.
I hate to give advice because this business is extremely fickle... What works for me, ain't necessarily gonna work for anyone else and so on and so on. But suffice to say... A writer always needs MORE than one spec if they expect to succeed somewhere along the way. In my humble opinion? At least 3 to 5 marketable (high concept) spec screenplays that you can immediately pitch once you hear the usual, "What else ya got?" question.
Is it worth signing up? Is is worth spending the money?
I can't say YES to that because I'm very old school... i.e., to me? It's like PAY TO PLAY when I know for a fact that a good screenplay i.e., a well-executed high concept spec is going to get your foot in the door every bit as fast as a spec you pay for to get up on these websites. No high-level producer is likely to see your spec on these sites. Mostly lower level producers or even those who want to be producers who are trying to find a piece of material that can get them up the next rung on the ladder.
*EDIT: I came back here to simply say this... Things are changing in the industry. When I began over 3 decades ago? Pay to Play was a scam. Anyone who wanted a writer to pay anything up front ended in DISASTER. Now however, we have the Internet and with it, places like the InkTip, ISA, The Black List, etc. Hell, I even know of places like RoadMap Writers or Stage 32 who can get you meetings if your writing is up to snuff. There's been plenty of writers who utilize all these services to one degree or another who've managed to get representation. Like I said... Things are changing. Many of the agents and managers on Stage 32 do webinars that you have to pay for and one of the benefits of having paid is that you get to either pitch your spec script to them OR? As part of paying for the webinar, they say they are actually going to read your spec. Is any of this a good thing? Could be yes or no. Yes, if your screenplays are well-executed and marketable. No, if they are not. I guess in the end, what I'm saying is that SHOULD you decide to go this route? You NEED TO KNOW BEFOREHAND that your spec(s) are in fact, well-executed and marketable so these services aren't simply taking your cash from you and performing nothing in return for the money.
Thanks for your thoughts, "unknown". Your views pretty much reflect my own. I just wondered if there were enough people with a good experience with ISA that might make it worth a fling.
As far as my writing is concerned, when people actually read my scripts, I usually get very positive comments in terms of the concept and writing and I've placed well in most of the big competitions - Nicholl, Zoetrope, PAGE etc etc.
I guess for most of us (talented) wannabees, it's going to be a case of the right script at the right time in the right hands...