Itsonthegrid-224x55For many of us on NFS, we're pursuing our filmmaking goals through the independent, DIY route. If you're focused more specifically on screenwriting like myself, however, you may find yourself straddling the line writing content you can sell to the Hollywood studios and writing content you want to make as your passion project. Either way, it's important to know what's currently in development and production so you know what is selling and so you don't get blindsided when you discover your current script is already in production as a major feature film. For decades, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have been the standard trades for Hollywood. For the independent film community, IndieWire has established itself as the must-read sight. These publications typically cover done deals or finished films. For screenwriters that want to know what specs are heading out into the market before the deal is done, there's TheGrid.

Here's a quick video with an overview of TheGrid:

For aspiring screenwriters, TheGrid provides information on every spec script that goes out to producers, including information on the writer, agents, managers and logline. Spec script and pitch sales are also tracked with buyer information. For established writers and directors with representation, TheGrid also tracks open writing and directing assignments, which offer additional insights into what is in the pipeline but are not meant as application opportunities for those of us without representation.

For a basic subscription of $14/month, users get access to unsold spec scripts, pitches, and film rights, including loglines, writer, rep, and attachment information. Additionally, the basic subscription includes contact information for all companies and people in the database as well as credit and box office information on released projects. Beyond searching the database, basic users can track projects and keep notes on particular projects.

For a professional subscription of $27/month, users also get:

  • Open writing and directing assignment information, including development status, loglines, and full credits
  • Projects in development, including development status, loglines, and full credits
  • Projects in production, including loglines and full credits
  • Produced projects that are awaiting release, including loglines, full credits, and release dates
  • Client rosters for agents and managers

Professional subscriptions are also available for a yearly price of $247, an annual savings of $77 over the monthly subscription. TheGrid offers a premium subscription between basic and professional, but it costs the same as the monthly professional subscription with less information, so I'm not sure what's the point.

TheGrid also offers a free two-week trial if you want to kick the tires.

Not willing to spend the money but still want some perspective on the spec script market? Scott Myers and his team at Go Into the Story at The Black List have compiled a database of (virtually) all spec script sales from 1991 through 2012, including script title, logline, writer, representation, sale price range and sales date. Scott is publishing the database on his blog daily based on the following schedule:

  • June 4-June 8: Before 1991-1994
  • June 11-June 15: 1995-1999
  • June 18-June 22: 2000-2004
  • June 25-June 29: 2005-2009
  • June 30-June 31: 2010-2011
  • July 1: 2012

Scott also publishes quarterly spec script sales reports and analysis (for free) on his blog, so as we've said here before on NFS, if you're a screenwriter and you're not reading Go Into the Story, you are doing yourself a disservice.

How you do stay on top of what stories and scripts are making their way through development and production? How do you discover indie productions in their early stages? Let us know.