Spec Script Sales Analysis 2012: First-Timers

January 25th, 2013 by

On Monday, we broke down the 2012 spec script sales by genre. Tuesday by studios. Wednesday by agents and managers. Yesterday we looked at the year’s top sales. Today we check out the first-timers, writers who broke into the business by selling a spec script:

Everybody Wants Head  — Peter Hoare, Christopher Lilli ( Sentinel Pictures / Cinetic Media) —  1/13/2012
A man with extreme OCD inadvertently meets a shameless sex addict in group therapy. After a series of unfortunate events, the two wind up on the run from the cops and the mob carrying a severed head in a bowling ball bag.

Untitled Goffigan Project — L.D. Goffigan (Lava Bear) —  1/31/2012
Attempting to rebuild her life after a harsh engagement break up, a young woman moves to San Francisco where she finds herself the victim of escalated assaults, and ultimately, something much more sinister.

The Waiting — Mark Bianculli, Jeff Richard (Warner Bros.) — 2/13/12
Described as Rear Window meets Paranormal Activity, mysterious events occur when two high school filmmakers decide to create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting neighbor.

Manhattan Undying — Matt Deller (Sobini Films / Payam Films) —  3/26/12
A beautiful vampire commissions an artist to paint her so she can see herself for the first time. She is unaware that the artist is dying and desperately working to create his last masterpiece that will give him artistic immortality.

Alter — John Sonntag, Thomas Sonntag (Voltage Pictures) — 4/16/12
A team of scientists aboard a space station monitoring activity around a black hole when they receive a transmission showing their deaths at the hands of mysterious aliens.

El Tigre — Aaron Buchsbaum, Teddy Riley (Sony) — 4/26/12
Action comedy about a family vacation gone wrong when the father is mistaken for Mexico’s most ruthless drug lord, El Tigre.

Until Death — Calvin Starnes (Screen Gems) — 5/11/12
Plot details are vague, but sources describe the pic as a female-driven thriller in the vein of “The Town.”

The Disciple Program — Tyler Marceca (Universal) — 5/18/12
A man begins an investigation into his wife’s mysterious death, only to find that it goes much deeper than he imagined.

Acolyte — Derek Kolstad (New Wave Entertainment) — 6/23/12
centers on a rogue government agency that’s using blackmail to coerce everyday citizens into committing acts of domestic terror. The agency mistakenly kidnaps the wife of a retired operative who responds by recruiting a disbanded group of trained “associates” to exact revenge and rescue his wife.

Lights Out — Jay Frasco (Universal / Syfy Films) — 8/24/12
story focuses on an teenage boy trapped in his house with his sister when a deadly intruder enters the home, and mysterious events occur during the captivity.

Vanish Man — Dennison Hatch (Lionsgate) — 9/20/12
International thriller.

Almanac — Andrew Stark, Jason Pagan (Paramount) — 10/5/12
Found-footage project.

Somacell — Ashleigh Powell (Warner Bros.) — 10/29/12
Chronicles a female prison guard in the near future who discovers that the virtual reality process that rehabilitates convicts is not all it promises to be.

Arminius — Frank Moll (Twentieth Century Fox) — 12/7/12
Script tells the fact-based story of Arminius, a German who was trained as a Roman warrior, but who switched allegiance when the Romans tried to take over Germania. At 25, he would eventually unite disparate Germanic tribes and rally them to victory against the Roman Army in the bloody Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The defeat had ramifications that would end with Arminius losing his life, but it halted the Roman Empire’s expansion North, and became the worst loss suffered by the Romans under the reign of Augustus Caesar.

Warden — John Sonntag, Thomas Sonntag (New Line) — 12/22/12
Centers on a prison warden who — when his wife and son are kidnapped — is blackmailed into helping the American head of a Mexican drug cartel escape from his own high-security facility.

Fourteen of 99 spec script deals were by first-timers, representing 14% of the overall total. That compares to ten of 110 last year which was just 9%. That’s a healthy uptick.

Also of special note, the Sonntag brothers who sold two spec scripts this year, a splashy way to break into the business.

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 star a career as a Hollywood screenwriter.

To see the list of first-timers in 2011, go here.

Congratulations to all the first-timers!

That’s it, a full week’s worth of recaps and analysis of the 2012 spec script sales market. Please post your overall reactions and thoughts in comments.

Now Hollywood, start buying some spec scripts!

One thought on “Spec Script Sales Analysis 2012: First-Timers

  1. WriterCarmen says:

    Oh, wow. Somebody tell me Manhattan Undying is happening.

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