What do you think of those personal web sites a writer creates to market their screenplay? Does it scream "amateur"? I know a writer has to do all they can to get their work read, but do you think that it might have a negative connotation in a producer's (or whoever's) mind? That the thinking might be the writing should be good enough to stand on its own, that it shouldn't need a slick web site to get attention?
I'm not aware of any rule about this, or even industry conventional wisdom - but I tend to think it's cheesy and screams "amateur" at the top of its lungs. I've seen, well, a LOT of these sites and not once have I ever been impressed. Not once have I ever felt it ever does anything to cast the writer or his work in a good light.
With short films and webseries, I totally get why they merit websites of their own. That's content. They're brief 1-5 minute bits of entertainment that have a shot at going viral and being discovered by "average Joes." If your short or webseries gets a big enough following, maybe you'll be lucky enough to attract the attention of some development folk or managers and get a meeting. It's happened quite a few times before.
Maybe these screenwriters with websites think that this is their way to land on some producer or agents radar. After all, if it works for web shorts, why not for scripts? I'll tell you why - scripts will never go viral. You're not going to get a massive following of people downloading your script, reading all 120 pages, and then passing it around to all their friends. With viral videos, it's just as much about your following as it is your content. That's how managers and development execs weed out the material that's worth their time. They don't blindly troll the internet and check out just any site - they look for the sites and the videos with the largest audiences.
The other drawback of these sites is that they give WAY too much information about the writer. If a writer has an interesting background - say he spent 100 days as a hostage in the Iraq War - then maybe your bio is relevant. But I don't need to know you grew up in Altuna, that you met your wife in third grade, that you have two lovely kids, one of which is your beloved dog. That tells me nothing about why you are a writer worth paying attention to.
And then there are some guys who list anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen completed screenplays on their website. That's a huge red flag. There's a reason why when you query you really only should push one project at a time. If you say you have ten scripts, most agents will immediately wonder "If this guy's so good, and all of these scripts are strong, why have NONE of them found representation yet?" Some agents also say that pushing multiple projects can show that you can't distinguish your strongest writing from your weakest writing.
Don't try to sell an agent on all your scripts - sell him on the right script.
The way I see it, a website for your screenplay offers no benefits and only drawbacks. No agent is going to troll the web looking for new clients. Any agent that looks up your website is probably doing so only after looking at your query letter. At that point, your victory is getting him interested via your query. Your website can only give him a reason not to request the script.
I'd love to hear from people with contrary views, if you feel there's something obvious that I haven't considered.
Representations and warranties
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