Update: Gender as represented in spec script sales

June 21st, 2013 by

Yesterday I posted this:

Kudos to Susana Orozco who went through every single transaction in The Definitive Spec Script Sales List from 1991-2012 and discovered this:


The story has now been picked up by TheWrap.

We present the numbers to contribute information to an ongoing, important conversation about diversity on the creative side of the entertainment business.

Note: The numbers in the infographic reflect the total of female writers involved in spec script sales year to year. They differ from the actual number of spec script deals because many scripts involve teams with two, three, and sometimes even four writers.

Here are the numbers of spec script sales as reflected in The Definitive Spec Script Sales List 1991-2012:

1991: 28

1992: 40

1993: 89

1994: 103

1995: 172

1996: 155

1997: 140

1998: 110

1999: 83

2000: 92

2001: 101

2002: 114

2003: 88

2004: 76

2005: 58

2006: 60

2007: 65

2008: 87

2009: 67

2010: 55

2011: 110

2012: 99

Total Spec Script Sales 1991-2012: 1,992

Total Male Writers: 2,230

Total Female Writers: 336

As I always note, tracking spec script sales is not an exact science. But with what we do here as well as DoneDealPro, Jason Scoggins, the trades, and other sources, these figures represent a reliable overall historical take on the spec script market.

Please feel free to head to comments to continue the conversation.

10 thoughts on “Update: Gender as represented in spec script sales

  1. Ok now show us the gay/straight spec sale list! :)

    1. 7R4SM says:

      YES! Wouldn’t that be terrific!

  2. TheQuietAct says:

    Scott have you any idea of the spread of gender in applications for the Quest?
    It was mentioned elsewhere that the female entries for the Nicholl were approx a third of overall entries and that might explain a bias to male winners.

    It may be hard to track who is male or female based on email addresses alone, but it might be interesting to see if the stats show more women volunteered in a mentoring competition rather than a straightforward you win/ you lose?

    1. Scott says:

      TQA, don’t know about applicants — many of them are pseudonyms or anonymous, so impossible to tell. However the breakdown in finalists is 6 women, 5 men.

      1. Shaula Evans says:

        Scratch my gender question above, Scott. I hadn’t seen this yet. That ratio is fantastic and I hope it means there was a significantly higher number of applications from women this year (and that our outreach payed off).

        It’s great to have these additional numbers on the spec sales. Thank you for posting them.

  3. CydM says:

    Could it have something to do with women being more likely to see the film their boyfriend or husband or guy pal wants to see, rather than dragging them to a chick flick? If women experience this in their lives, then look at what’s currently being produced, they may think what’s the use? At This Is The End there was almost a chorus of female companions saying things like, “This is disgusting, oh gross, ick, you owe me.” The guys were laughing and enjoying the film.

    Someone on twitter also asked the question if women disliked having so little control over their work and turned to novels instead. It’s a valid question, but those seeking control through prose are in for a surprise.

    At the recent film festival in Hawaii, there was a discussion about the demand for women’s and family stories in shorts, especially within the indie community. I don’t know why that would be, but it’s interesting to think about. We had a mini baby-boom in 2007 with more babies being born during that year than any year in our history. Look at 2010 and 2011 and there’s an up tick in female spec script sales. The babies born in 2007 would be reaching the age of being tame enough to enjoy movies. Perhaps shorter movies. Is there a possible correlation? Is there any way of knowing?

    All I know for sure is something needs to be done to stimulate the participation of women. Without those voices we’re missing out on over half of the possible perspectives on the human condition and a broader range of entertainment.

  4. […] in last year’s popular films were female (down from 32.8 percent three years earlier). Just last week, an investigation of spec script sales (scripts sold after they were written) revealed that the […]

  5. […] in last year’s popular films were female (down from 32.8 percent three years earlier). Just last week, an investigation of spec script sales (scripts sold after they were written) revealed that the […]

  6. […] Now that we’ve got that out of the way — spec script sales are on the rise, but not for women. Why? We’ve touched on the topic of women in the film industry before, and it’s one I love to open up for discussion, but maybe it’d help to first dig into a little bit of history as far as spec script sales go. Scott Myers and the team at Go Into the Story, the screenwriting blog of The Black List, has compiled an exhaustive collection of spec script sale data from 1991 -2012 and kindly put it in an easy-to-read infographic. […]

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