i've been on a marketing hiatus for a while now... and just started up again. decided to give VPF a try. i bought 10 pitches. spent a full week going through the list of pros and comparing what i found on imdbpro... a painstakingly long process, but oh so necessary. then i reworked pitches for 3 different scripts and VOILA!!!
in just a few days i made the VPF Hotlist -- currently having the 2nd highest most requested scripts. http://virtualpitchfest.com/the-vpf-hotlist/
i can't really endorse VPF, but i think the timing was just right for my kind of "real world" stories. i'm glad i waited.
This is from me. Congrats!!!!!
<<hee, hee!>> thanks for that.
A Participant says:
Congrats and well done Lisa. Is this Hotlist something that may to further read requests?
i guess it's just a feature that lets the pros who are "actively" seeking check out the most requested scripts. it could be one they rejected from a query or one that was never pitched to them... and now they can see that other people like it too.
in comparison to the New Black List is passive. they come to you based on what other people read. and usually you have to pay for those reads, so it could be expensive unless your script is so good that it brings many to the table.
VPF is more pro-active b/c you can choose who to pitch to. also, you write out a query letter in addition to just your logline -- so this is an added selling point.
and they're required to give you an answer within 5 days. so far that's happened and out of the 10, i actually got 3 responses within 10 minutes after i pitched. i was like: double-take! yesss!!!
A Participant says:
Yeah I've used VPF before, it's a good service, very transparent.
but didn't work out for you, huh?!
CJ... or anyone for that matter, if you can say WHY your story needs to be told and WHAT you want to say to the world then I think you can market better. of course, not every producer gives a shit about this, but... whatever.
A Participant says:
Thanks, I don't really market my scripts, I feel I've got a long way to go with writing before doing that. Someone kept pushing me to query a particular script they liked so I had a little go on VPF, I actually got cold feet and never checked the last response I got.
Besides, I think my motivation for writing my previous scripts is lacking in those core values you mention.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this, I do like VPF, fingers crossed for you.
I’ve been using Virtual PItchfest for a couple of years now and like the service.
In fact my script BOSS OF ME, listed here at Amazon:
was the 3rd most requested screenplay on VPF Hotlist for the month of November 2013 and I was rewarded with 3 free pitches.
Usually the pitches are $50 for 5 pitches, $90 for 10 pitches. However if you are on their e-mail list they will let you know when there are specials. Mostly if you buy the 10 pitch package you get 2 free ones. You may even want to contact them and ask if you can have the special sale price. Just be ready to buy them if they extend the offer.
As an aspiring writer you have to be careful of the cottage industry that has built up to help aspiring screenwriters. $12 for a book, that’s okay. $1200 for a screenwriting weekend seminar or $400 for script coaching services, I’m not so sure.
VPF isn’t cheap, but you do get access to people that wouldn’t normally respond to unrepresented writers. And they’ll do it in five days, if not five minutes sometimes.
Absolutely do your research on the companies you reach out to. Use IMDB or a Production Company Directory. Or just Google the company or contact name. You don’t want to see your pitches go to waste.
While I haven’t actually sold anything on VPF, I have gotten meetings with Smart Entertainment and Paramount Pictures and have had several companies agree to read my script.
I like VPF a lot better than the Black List. At least you get to make direct contact with producers and mangers as opposed to hoping someone will discover your script on a database.
I like your script "Gift Card." Making any headway?
Unfortunatly no movement on Gift Card. Funny thing, when I started that script I wasn't sure this credit card that could change apperances and have all these great uses was possible. But just the other day I saw a news story about a computer swipe card that will take the place of all your other cards.
write for the future! if you can imagine it then most likely someone is already working on it. so don't doubt yourself.
I don't know anymore about VPF. I had my most entertaining script told to me in a rejection fashion that "it didn't grab us" - ok, it is a very grabbing concept and when I sent ito a reading service, they loved it and raved about it. So, I now have doubts about VPF. You said you haven't actually sold anything on VPF... Now I know I am not the only one with salable material. It's them, the "producers" who are getting screeners toreject everyone so VPF can make more money. Do you know of anyone who actually has sold anything?
I bought six pitches. I got the word for word identical response (It didn't grab us......) from each of them.
I found this to be crap. Not that I did not get a positive response - but that apparently they have some pre-formatted response tool t hat they just click. They don't have to even type.! Ten bucks a click - nice cash machine.
I got a positive response about 15 minutes after submitting from Writ Large who requested my screenplay. Haven't heard back yet, but it's only been 24 hours. This is my third try and I did a batch of five. I re-wrote my pitch a few times and polished the screenplay a bit more. It's just a matter of hit and miss, though I admit it can add up money-wise, and lord knows most writers aren't rich. I'll post an update if I get an offer.
"I don't know anymore about VPF. I had my most entertaining script told to me in a rejection fashion that "it didn't grab us" - ok, it is a very grabbing concept and when I sent ito a reading service, they loved it and raved about it. So, I now have doubts about VPF. You said you haven't actually sold anything on VPF... Now I know I am not the only one with salable material. It's them, the "producers" who are getting screeners toreject everyone so VPF can make more money. Do you know of anyone who actually has sold anything?"
This is exactly the kind of mentality people hoping to become professional screenwriters should abandon. Rationalizing rejection by inventing a conspiracy theory. Quite simply-- "it didn't grab us" means just that. It didn't interest them. It doesn't mean your concept was good, it means they didn't think they can sell it.
And seriously? You sent it to a reading service and they raved about it? So let's examine your thinking, then. The PAID reader said they liked it, but the professional who does this for a living passed -- so in your mind this means the reader is right because they tell you what you want to hear, but the professional who does this for a living is incorrect in his or her opinion because he or she tells you what you don't want to hear?
As a writer, you really are going to need to be a lot more self aware and a much stronger thinker if you hope to make it in this business.
But I repeat -- just because the pro turned your script down, it doesn't mean it's a bad script. I say this as often as I can in as many places that I can -- it doesn't matter if your screenplay passes the threshold from not good to good. It doesn't matter if it passes from good to great. What matters is you have a screenplay that gets to a person who thinks they can sell it.
VPF is filled with people -- mostly managers and producers -- who are looking for projects they can sell. And I have made connections through that site and I have known pros who have used that site to fish for projects, so I know it's legit. Granted, it's not the best -- sometimes you'll waste your time pitching to someone for a project that is in the genre they're looking for, but it turns out they already have it. Shit like that is annoying.
But quite simply, people better get used to getting "no" a lot. If your first instinct is to whine about the inequities of the business or vomit out some bullshit rationalization to appease your cognitive dissonance than quite frankly you don't have what it takes to make it in this business.
you're confusing way too many things.
paid reading services and consultants want you to keep coming back and paying them money. they will dangle a carrot in front of your face, "it's good, but..."
producers are looking for specific projects. it doesn't matter how good your script might be, if it's a concept that doesn't appeal to them then they won't bother. simple as that. i mean, you could have a Nicholl-winning script, but if it's not in their wheelhouse then PASS. this is exactly how AS works too.
A Participant says:
I've posted this before, but a friend of mine did one of these things years ago. I don't know if it was VPF, to be fair, but everyone raved about his pitches. Naturally, that didn't give him pause, what gave him pause was how young all the "executives" he was pitching to were. Turns out they were all interns. Needless to say, he didn't get a single call back on his projects. And think about how dickish the whole thing is, a film school graduate's pitching ideas to film school students, who, since they're interns, can't do, er, dick, even if they genuinely liked the project.
You're better off buying lottery tickets. At least there's a chance you'll get something back.
My monthly VPF rant follows:
First of all, on a regular basis (through their free newsletter or their FB page), VPF announces it's "newly signed" producers. Even if you don't buy pitches regularly, you can find out who those new signees are, but you have to have a VPF account (bought at least one package). Then you can sign in and find out who the "person" is behind the "producer's name".
Then, shoot on over to LinkedIn or IMDBpro to find out what this person does. Yes, typically, they are interns or assistants, but that doesn't mean they haven't been given some serious instructions on what to look for, and thus be able to pass on your pitch to an executive.
I anticipate that some of these juicy companies (Atlas Entertainment, etc.) are getting a hundred or more pitches per day; maybe hundreds. So you have to weigh the odds, against the cost.
Remember, you're signing on to VPF to get a guaranteed response. That doesn't mean you're going to get anything more than the canned "Just didn't grab us". It also doesn't mean you're going to get a response (never mind feedback) if you follow-up with them, if you've been lucky enough to get a script request.
It seems they are wary of getting into an email relationship through this service, so I have found that the follow-up rate on script requests to be more dismal than direct, cold pitching. In other words, they request the script, then... silence.
Worse, a lot of them use temp email addresses, so this "interface" between you and the buyer truly prevents a dialogue forming. In cold pitching (today, as an example) I just got my 3rd script request in the past year, from a producer, precisely because I can communicate with them and keep myself in front of them. They take 3 months to read stuff, but I've learned that I can follow-up, without nagging them, and twice now they have asked for follow-up reads. Eventually, one may stick.
For many/most of them in VPF, you'd have to pay another $10 to pitch them.
The darn "Owen Wilson's company" has made $70 from me alone!
But no more. I haven't done VPF for a year.
I think the owner's entrepreneurship is fine, and being an ex-computer guy myself, I admire his system's technical interface, but I have my own database going now. So what if there are 4-5 companies that I can only get to through VPF; I have tried all of them directly, and either received nasty legal letters or got ignored, but I had also tried them through VPF and all I received were the infernal "just didn't grab us" replies.
But for those with a few bucks, and no pitch database of their own, VPF may be just fine.