New on Twitter: What the heck is a Screen Pit?
October 12, 2021
ScreenPit might sound like the kind of place where movie watchers lie around in a sunken giant foam pit and watch a show all bunched in together in the dark — and as awesome as that sounds — ScreenPit is something else entirely.
It is an event; A one-day opportunity for screenwriters to pitch their screenplays and scripts on Twitter by tweeting their loglines. So yeah, Pit stands for Pitch. We condensed the letters because, well, Twitter.
Wednesday, October 13 is the launch of our experimental adventure, a day when writers can put their loglines out to the world, a day when industry professionals can drop by to take a look-see. It costs nothing. There is no money involved unless you know that one of our committee members has spent his own money to launch a press release to get the word out to the media to ensure we get the right eyes on Twitter (thanks, Henry!).
We’ve asked interested screenwriters to prepare logline tweets, attach the appropriate hashtags (samples given on our website), and possibly include a photo or poster to represent your project. You can tweet each project twice on the day of the event between the hours of 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. PST, and you may tweet a total of four projects. So if you do the math, you are allowed eight tweets if you have four completed projects ready to go out to a producer, manager or industry pro.
We think screenwriters in our Twitter community are gracious enough to understand the guidelines and not overstep: Only tweet each project twice. No more than four projects. Please be sure to also include our hashtag #ScreenPit or your efforts could be dead in the water.
But how did ScreenPit even come about, you ask? Well, the idea was tossed around Twitter for most of 2021. Authors have a similar event called PitMad where agents and managers drop in and request queries by hitting that heart button. If a pro does this, you can query them with your subject title PitMad. Trouble is, it’s just so dang tempting to hit a friend’s heart button before you remember the rule. For #ScreenPit, we decided to operate a little bit differently. As both an author and a screenwriter, I originally took a look at how it might be altered so it works for movie and TV folks.
Worrying that producers, managers and industry pros won’t be comfortable with hitting the heart button due to legalities and liabilities discussed over the last few months on Twitter, we decided if an industry pro is interested in a project or a writer, they can head over to the writer's Twitter profile where the screenwriter has a profile link listed. If the link is not to a personal website, it might lead to one of many free hosting sites to find more information about the project. Places like the International Screenwriters Association, Coverfly, and Script Revolution all allow you to make a free profile. Film Freeway, as well.
In a perfect world, here’s what we hope happens: A producer looking for a horror feature goes to ScreenPit on October 13. She types in the search bar “#ScreenPit #Ho #Fe” (Here's where those specific hashtags on our website come in: www.screenpit.org). The screenwriter’s horror feature logline will come up along with everyone else who used those hashtags. The producer looks through the loglines and seeing something interesting, continues to the writer’s Twitter profile page for more info, and then on to Coverfly to read more about the project. Or Script Revolution. Or ISA. These sites allow a screenwriter to upload a synopsis, a pitch deck, and more supporting materials for the project. Then, choosing several projects, the interested producer DM’s the writer on Twitter where they can “talk” and possibly exchange email addresses. If a pro requests a script read, we hope they send a release form.
The naysayers to this adventure into the unknown have expressed concern that finding a project on Twitter might leave a big-time pro open to a lawsuit if they hit that heart button and then one day subliminally (or not) come up with a similar idea, leaving themselves open to legal problems. I hear and understand this argument. I can’t imagine being so careful about scouting projects that you worry about this, but I’m sure there are channels to avoiding a lawsuit. Unlike #Pitmad, we don’t ask the pro to hit the heart button. Anyone can do that. The pro can delve into the project anonymously first and we're hoping this method eliminates concerns for pros.
Putting loglines up publicly is nothing new. MarketmyScreenplay has provided a forum on Twitter for loglines all year and for those who don’t have a manager to take their work around Hollywood, loglines can be found all over the internet. Self-promotion is the bomb for anyone without a champion in their corner. It’s hard to get a manager!
As for stealing an idea, it’s horribly disappointing to find a similar concept published or written after you made your work available to the world. I know this first-hand because I’m an author, and not only have my novels been uploaded to pirating sites, but I’ve also found eerily similar concepts to mine in screenplays and books and wondered if it was a coincidence. Authors deal with this all the time. Here’s the thing: If you have a script that is so mind-blowingly unique that you don’t want to even list the logline publicly, that’s fine. Save that concept for your big reveal in a query to a manager. We totally understand guarding your work. You don't have to participate. Nor do very successful managers, agents, or producers need to drop in on October 13. Sit this one out if you’re worried. Or lurk to see how it works. We’re good with lurking.
ScreenPit takes no responsibility for your work being seen or copied. Nor do we vet anyone who might present themselves as an industry professional. But it’s easy to Google someone or the name of their company who approaches you. We recommend that no matter what. If you have IMDb Pro, check them out to see what else they’ve done. If there is any doubt about the person asking for your script, ask for their IMDb, website or ask what else they’ve produced. Do your research before sending out a script to anyone. That is just common sense.
On our end, ScreenPit has been working hard to set up the event to make it as user-friendly as we can. We sent out a targeted press release to industry trade magazines, newspapers, blogs, reporters and know this will get eyes on our event. We also have a mailing list compiled from IMDb Pro and other sites with over 300 emails of pros, inviting them to our event.
This is an experiment we hope pays off. No one is getting paid. There is no advertising or kickback associated with this adventure. We are just a group of writers, like you, who think it’s time screenwriters have their own pitch fest like the authors. It might work. It might take a while to work. One person might connect with their future manager. But one thing we know for sure is that screenwriting Twitter is getting excited about the opportunity to proactively market their work and those who want to take a chance, will participate.
Good luck, screenwriters!
Written by: Kim HornsbyKim Hornsby is a USA Today Bestselling Author as well as an award-winning screenwriter with feature scripts sold, optioned, and in development. Where she once juggled teaching scuba on Maui with singing professionally, she now juggles writing supernatural suspense with Christmas romances and one seems to balance the other nicely. Kim writes overlooking a treelined lake in the Seattle area with a busy house of teens, husband, and foot-warming muses in the form of large rescue dogs. Kim's scripts are being considered at Netflix, the CW, and Amazon Studios with representation by JD DeWitt at 5x5 Productions.