We feel pretty guilty about putting the Scoggins Report on hiatus for the past couple of months with no warning, but we'd feel worse if there'd been more activity during our absence. There were just 13 spec script sales in the whole of Q3 (July/August/September), bringing 2014's year-to-date tally to a whopping 50.
As we note in the intro to this week's Scoggins Report (embedded below), that's down significantly from each of the last three years; the numbers as of the end of September in 2013, 2012 and 2011 were 86, 105 and 94, respectively. As you'll see in the Spec Market Scorecard when we publish it mid-October, if this year's pace continues we're on track for the lowest number of spec sales since the 2007/2008 WGA strike. Which is saying something, since 2010's total was 65, less than half 2011 and 2012's record total of 132.
But let's not borrow trouble. There's over a month left in the Fall selling season, several studio budgets are newly replenished, and October has been a big month for spec sales each of the last three years. So keep those fingers crossed as you peruse the July, August & September 2014 Spec Market Roundup. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We're playing catch up after taking a break in the first half of July. First up, the June 2014 Spec Market Roundup, which is embedded below. The numbers aren't great, but at least they're not as low as last month's Pitch Market. Speaking of which, since there was only one pitch sale last month but there have already been two in July, we'll do a combine June/July Pitch Market Roundup at the beginning of August.
Between now and then we'll squeeze in a Spec Market Scorecard so you can get the full picture of how 2014 is stackng up year-over-year. (Answer: Poorly. Very poorly.)
Here's the June 2014 Spec Market Roundup. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We expected May's spec sale numbers to be low due to Cannes and the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and we weren't disappointed. Crushed, is more like it - only two spec sales were announced last month, the lowest monthly total since the dark days of Winter 2010.
A bitter pill to swallow indeed, especially on such an otherwise auspicious day (All together now: Happy birthday, Landon!). But all is not lost. The Kings are on a roll, so grab your lucky stick, Hollywood -- we feel a power play coming on.
The May 2014 Spec Market Roundup is embedded below. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We try hard to focus on the positive in the intro to each week's Scoggins Report, which sometimes means not pointing out depressing stats in that space. There's no getting around the fact that the spec market is in a bit of a slump, though, and we thought it might be useful to quantify that for you: The last three months have seen the lowest total number of spec sales -- 20 -- since the dismal 2010 spec market turned around at the beginning of 2011 (just 17 sales between December 2010/January-Feburary 2011; the previous several months were way worse).
The two week Cannes Film Festival, which starts this week, means there won't be much respite in May, but hey, it's always darkest before the dawn, right Hollywood? The April 2014 Spec Market Roundup is embedded below. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
The silver lining around being so far behind in publishing the Scoggins Report is that getting back up to speed gave us an interesting perspective on what's been going on in the market over the past two months. In short: Not nearly enough. As you'll see in this week's edition of the newsletter, the total number of new scripts on the market in February and March was identical to the same period in 2013 (37), and the total number of sales during the period was almost the same as well (14, vs 15 last year).
As we noted this time last year, those "new material on the market" numbers are off 50% from 2011 and 2012, and we didn't bother to calculate the drop from 2009's whopping 138 (just kidding; it's -73%). On the bright side, though, as we'll discuss in the Spec Market Scorecard next week, the studios have bought considerably more material this year than they did during the same period last year, and there have even been a handful of seven figure spec sales already in 2014.
Enough preamble. Our Spec Market Roundup Roundup, so to speak -- combining February and March numbers and script details in one document -- is embedded below. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We know, we know. We've had a little trouble getting back into a rhythm with the Scoggins Report this year. We're on the tip now, though: We'll be getting caught up this week and next, and then starting in March be back to our normal once-a-week pattern.
Today's edition of the Scoggins Report is the January 2014 Spec Market Roundup, which maintained the pattern of the last six months of 2013: Last month saw the second highest number of January spec sales in six years. And as you'll see in next week's Spec Market Scorecard, which will have numbers through mid-February, this month is keeping the streak alive as well.
We're planning to publish the January 2014 Pitch Market Roundup on Thursday this week. But one step at a time: The Spec Market Roundup is embedded below. As always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
As you'll see in this week's edition of the Scoggins Report, November's spec market maintained October's heady pace - the combined October/November number rivals 2011's crazy high total from the same period (28).
As always, we've pulled out our favorite highlights from last month's market activity in the November 2013 Spec Market Roundup, which is embedded below. And as always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We've been so focused on the trees over the past week or so that we didn't notice the forest: The total number of 2013 spec script sales finally broke into triple digits last month. A pleasant surprise, we're sure you'll agree, thanks to October's old school (which is to say, 2011/2012-style) numbers in the spec market. It's still going to be difficult to end up on par with 2011 and 2012's high water mark, but we've got a shot at being within shouting distance.
As always, we've pulled out our favorite highlights from last month's market activity in the October 2013 Spec Market Roundup, which is embedded below. And as always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
We seem to have set a troubling new pattern of publishing the Scoggins Report on Thursdays rather than earlier in the week as we'd been doing through the summer. We'll strive to get our act back together starting next week. Meanwhile, though, feast your eyes on this week's edition -- the September 2013 Spec Market Roundup, embedded below. And as always, you can click here to download it to your heart's content.
If you're like us, you're still coming up to speed after a lazy final couple of weeks of summer. And if you're like us, you'd probably appreciate a one-liner about last month's spec market (especially if you're taking off shortly for the start of Rosh Hashanah). Ready? Here goes:
August wasn’t half bad.
Seriously? Yes, seriously. The numbers stacked up impressively against past years, beating out all but 2012 (which was a serious outlier to begin with).
The real takeaway from this week's Scoggins Report, though, is who did the buying: All six spec sales in August went to Studio buyers. Comforting, no? As always, the August 2013 Spec Market Roundup is embedded below. And as always, you can click here to download it as well.
Last month we noted that July has become a strong month for spec sales over the past several years, and this year didn't disappoint either. In fact, last month's numbers are the strongest July in five years, driven by (you guessed it) non-studio buyers once again.
You'll see all the details in the July 2013 Spec Market Roundup, below, but before you scroll down please give it up for Cindy Kaplan, who's passing the baton to Landon Rohwedder from here on out. (More on Landon next week.) We are and will always be hugely in Cindy's debt for her years of contribution to the newsletter and her selfless dedication to tracking the spec market since 2010. All together now: THANKS, CINDY!
Sigh. This week's Scoggins Report is a recap of July's even frothier-than-usual spec market. The newsletter is embedded below, and as usual you can click here to download it as well.
If you've been thinking nothing is going to happen in the spec market until after Labor Day, think again. A friend asked us yesterday for an historical perspective on the chances of selling a spec between July 4 and the end of the summer. Turns out, in each of the past four years, July hasn't been the dead zone many people expect, despite the holiday and Comic-Con -- it's been August when things get really slow, especially on the studio side of the ledger.
We're curious to see whether that trend continues in 2013, especially since most of the studios have kept spec purchases to a minimum so far anyway. In the meantime, this week's Scoggins Report is a recap of June's frothy spec market. This week's newsletter is embedded below as usual, and as usual, you can click here to download it as well.
We're as tired of complaining about the studios not buying enough spec scripts as you probably are of hearing it from us. So we're putting all that behind us and starting to think about What It All Means in this week's Scoggins Report.
Here's one answer: More opportunities for screenwriters, as argued in yesterday's Studio System News article, "To Spec Or Not To Spec." Beyond that, though, are more prosaic questions, like which agencies and management companies have been most effective at adapting to this year's trend? And which buyers represent the greatest opportunities through the rest of the year?
We answer the first question at the top of the May 2013 Spec Market Roundup, below, but we're saving the latter for the Spec Market Scorecard in a couple of weeks, when it'll be easier to follow along at home. This week's newsletter is embedded below. And for those of you who prefer to peruse it on your tablets, you can click here to download it as well.
We love it when a plan comes together. (Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference. '70's Action Movies, anyone?)
It turns out that moving the Scoggins Report here to its new home on Spec Scout was well-timed: As we report at the top of the April 2013 Spec Market Roundup, below, last month's 14 spec sales was the highest monthly total in nearly a year.
As you may already have noticed, each of those sales has its own blog post on the main "Scoggins Report" page and will be archived on the separate "2013 Spec Sales" page as well. Also, we're pleased to point out that for the first time, you can click on each of the titles in the newsletter itself to open the corresponding Spec Scout page.
But enough about us. The newsletter is embedded below. For those of you who had a little trouble manipulating the PDF that way last week, you can click here to download it as well.
Winter is coming.
No, I don't mean the spec market is going to get even slower than it's been -- that would be unprecedented, considering there have been 40% fewer scripts on the market so far in 2013 than by the same point last year (which was already pretty low, especially compared to 2009 and 2010).
Rather, I'm dropping GoT references as a warning to my creative executive friends, who I think are going to be buried in drifts of spec scripts in the coming month or two. As you'll see in the intro to the March 2013 Spec Market Roundup, below, the numbers suggest that the spec market is being held back by throttled supply, not a drop in demand.
Curious to know what numbers I'm looking at? The PDF of this week's edition of the Scoggins Report is embedded below.
If you’ve been keeping tabs on how many specs we’ve added to the “New on the Spec Market” folder on SpecScout.com, you know it’s been a quiet February. Too quiet, in fact. And as you’ll see from this week’s edition of the Scoggins Report, we think we know why…
…but you’re going to have to read the February 2013 Spec Market Roundup yourself to find out. Enjoy.
Call me a tracking geek, but there’s something really satisfying about putting together each month’s Spec Market Roundup, especially at the beginning of the year. Yesterday was no exception, since now that we’re into our fifth year of doing the Scoggins Report we have a ton of year-over-year data to play with.
As you’ll see from this week’s newsletter, 2013 is off to a great start. January 2013′s 7 spec sales pales in comparison to January 2012′s dozen, but it’s still head and shoulders above any other year since we started tracking.
Ta-dah! The actual moment you were waiting for: The unveiling of the 2012 Year-End Spec Market Scorecard. This is our fourth annual edition, marked not only by a series of incremental improvements to the format and data but by something unprecedented since we've been covering the market:
2012's total number of spec sales -- 132 -- is exactly the same as 2011's.
We know, we reported a couple of months ago that 2012 had improved over 2011 significantly, but in preparation for this week's monster Scoggins Report we combed through all our data once again and recalculated all our numbers yet again. At the end of the day (or year, as it were), 2012 ended up exactly on par with 2011.
And that was no mean feat: Recall that 2011 marked a 15-year record high for spec sales. Last year, the studios bought a few more specs than the year before (59 vs 53), and more non-studio buyers got into the game as well (62 vs 56).
But we don't want to give away all of the Scorecard's secrets -- check out the document for yourself.
As you’ll see from this week’s Scoggins Report, the Black List Effect had less of an impact on December 2012′s spec market numbers than years past. It really didn’t matter, though — December’s total was very strong, pushing 2012′s record-setting numbers even further beyond 2011′s. And we can expect to see sales of 2012 Black List scripts sprinkled throughout January and February 2013′s numbers.
We’ll have a full-blown 2012 year-end spec market wrap-up in a couple of weeks. For now, you can click on the below PDF of the December 2012 Spec Market Roundup to download or print it. Enjoy.
We’ve got a lot to celebrate today, Hollywood. Okay, maybe not a lot, but at least two things:
First, this year’s spec market has officially beaten 2011′s 15-year record high number of spec sales. As of yesterday, we’re at 120 for the year, beating 2011′s 119 with almost a full month to go. Last month’s nine spec sales are delightfully itemized as usual in this week’s Scoggins Report, the November 2012 Spec Market Roundup.
And second, my new web venture, SpecScout.com, soft launched yesterday afternoon. Spec Scout is a combination of a script coverage library (we’ve covered about 80% of this year’s specs plus about half from 2011, including everything on the 2011 Black List) and a screenplay ranking system. Every script gets three independent sets of coverage, which includes individual ratings across ten different attributes, and those ratings get crunched into a 1 to 100 score (which will sound familiar to anyone who remembers the PowerGrid project I worked on at my previous company).
The core concept behind Spec Scout is to establish a scoring system by which aspiring writers’ material can be judged side-by-side with professional writers’ material (in other words, “the spec market”), thus creating a new way for writers to break into the business. Invite-only access to the coverage library is available for a monthly subscription fee, and writers can submit their scripts for coverage and scores. The best of those will be invited to be listed in our database for no additional fee.
You’ll be hearing more about Spec Scout in the days to come. In the meantime, click on the below PDF to download or print the November 2012 Spec Market Roundup.
As you’ll see from the latest Scoggins Report, October 2012′s spec market turned out as expected (i.e., pretty good for October, just not compared to October 2011), but here’s what you should be asking at this point:
Just how far off of 2011′s overall pace for spec sales are we? The answer is…in the October 2012 Spec Market Roundup, which you should download to your iPad immediately so you have something to read while you wait in line at the polls tomorrow.
Click on the below PDF to download or print it to your heart's content.
As you’ll see from this week’s Scoggins Report, it’s been all wine and roses in the spec market for the second year in a row. The big question is whether 2012 will surpass 2011′s high water mark, and we have some thoughts on the matter in the intro to the September 2012 Spec Market Roundup.
Click on the below PDF to download or print it to your heart's content.
The latest Scoggins Report is the August 2012 Spec Market Roundup. And quite a roundup it was: August’s 13 spec sales are the most in a single month in nearly a year.
Better luck next time, 2011.
As you’ll see, July 2012 was a normal, lazy summer month for spec sales. We hope you enjoy it anyway.
2014 Spec Sales A list of each individual spec sale so far this year, in reverse chronological order.
2013 Spec Sales Last year's spec sales, in reverse chronological order.
Spec Market Roundups Our monthly recap of the spec market.
Spec Market Scorecards The year-to-date numbers for who's been buying and selling specs.
Pitch Market Roundups Our monthly recap of the pitch market.
Pitch Market Scorecards The year-to-date numbers for who's been buying and selling pitches.
Year End Scorecards Compendia of each year's spec and pitch markets, from 2009 through 2012.
The Ultimate Screenwriting Resources Page Links to all the best screenwriting-related books, articles, websites, forums, job boards, podcasts, newsletters, blogs, clubs, classes and high profile contests in one place.