2011 Spec Script Sales Analysis: First Timers

February 3rd, 2012 by

On Monday, we broke down the 2011 spec script sales by genre. Tuesday by studios. Wednesday by representatives. Yesterday we looked at the deals with the biggest payoffs. Today: That group of writers who broke into the business by selling a spec script what Variety calls tyro scribes and we refer to as “first-timers.”

They may work as a Hollywood assistant, be a film school grad, or a complete outsider, but first-timers have one thing in common: They sold a spec script for the first time.

Here is the list of the 2011 first-timers:

Evidence — John Swetnam (Bold Films) — 1/21/2011
Police arrive at an abandoned gas station following a brutal massacre. The only evidence at the crime scene is the victims’ personal electronic devices, including a camcorder, flip Cam, and two cell phones. With nothing else to go on, a detective must analyze the bits of “found footage” to piece together the identity of the killer.

Dirty Grandpa — John Phillips (Universal Pictures) — 3/4/2011
A recently widowed older man gets to know his grandson who is about to marry a girl who is not right for him.

Genneris — Nic Kelman (DreamWorks) — 3/20/2011
A high-concept sci-fi film [details kept under wraps].

Second Sun — Justin Rhodes (Warner Bros.) — 7/22/2011
Story is an adventure set on another planet with twists [details kept under wraps].

Non-Stop — Don Richardson & Chris Roach (Dark Castle Entertainment) — 8/3/2011
A contained, gritty action thriller centering on an air marshal flying on a domestic flight.

He’s F***ing Perfect — Lauryn Kahn (Fox 2000) — 10/20/2011
The story of one woman who regularly Facebook-stalks the men her friends are dating, acting as a vetting device for them to weed out losers. Things take a turn when she gets a friend to dump her new guy in order for the woman to steal the man for herself, because in her search she found him to be “f***ing perfect.”

Grim Night — Brandon Bestenheider & Allen Bey (Universal Pictures) — 10/25/2012
Universal Pictures just won an auction for Grim Night, a thriller about about a night that happens once a year globally, where people lock themselves at home and fend off the senseless and random attacks by Grims.

Hidden — Matt & Ross Duffer (Warner Bros.) — 12/2/2011
Project is an elevated horror-thriller about a family hiding in a bomb shelter after escaping a mysterious outbreak.

Dog’s Best Friend — Ben August (Gold Circle Films) — 12/10/2011
A “free-spirited” dog and his commitment-phobic master break up a dognapping ring.

The Driver — Zach Luna (Voltage Productions and Solipsist Films) — 12/16/2011
centers on a man whose life suburban existence is flipped on his drive to work when he finds himself coerced to be the wheelman of an assembled group of criminals. The man learns that thieves were not randomly assembled and that the heist leads to a larger mystery.

Interesting that two of the top sales in 2011 — He’s F***ing Perfect and Grim Night — were by first-timers.

Also of note: Warner Bros. picked up two scripts by first-timers, the most of any major studio.

Finally remember this: For every writer who sells a spec script for the first time, there dozens of others who use a script to secure a manager or agent, go up for and sometimes land Open Writing Assignments, and in essence break into the business.

You can see the 2010 list of first-timers here. On that list, Greg Russo and Jeremiah Friedman & Nick Palmer who have gone on to do very well for themselves. They were also kind enough to do GITS interviews which you can access here.

And while you’re there, you can check out interviews with 2011 first-timers John Swetnam and Justin Rhodes.

Congratulations to all the first-timers!

That’s it, a full week’s worth of recaps and analysis of the 2011 spec script sales market. Next week, I will post something with all the spec script sales from 2011 including links to the original posts, something for your future reference.

Leave a Reply