Images of tattered notebooks and blunt-tipped pencils are what many associate with budding writers. In fact, would-be screenwriters have been portrayed as doing just about anything to get their scripts to anyone even remotely involved in the film industry. Well, now there's a new way: the process of getting your screenplay noticed has gone digital, too.
Launched in May 2004, WorldPitch.com was the brainchild of Leon Antoine, who, at one point during his career, made the rounds pitching a television series to various industry executives. The opportunity never panned out, yet one day he was watching television and saw a version of his show idea. Antoine was unable to take legal action and had to let the incident pass, but it made him think about ways to avoid such situations, which prompted the creation of WorldPitch.com.
WorldPitch.com is touted as a way one can safely present and pitch ideas to those in the industry. Rachel Trudel, VP of WorldPitch.com, says that "[t]he goal of WorldPitch.com is to connect writers, creators, and filmmakers with studio executives in a safe and secure manner." While she points out that previous efforts have addressed the connection between writers with studio executives, she says that "WorldPitch.com will allow this to take place on a global level, providing a service that has never been offered before." While most script services rely on setting up one-on-one meetings, WorldPitch.com leverages the power of the Web. Through the portal, pitch meetings can be held anytime, anywhere (albeit, virtually).
The site offers monthly scheduled Live Pitching Sessions, each spanning an entire weekend. These Web-hosted pitching events give both sides of the industry a chance to interact. WorldPitch.com also provides online classes to help members hone their skills and will give members free representation—agent or agent assistance—if they do make a connection.
To constantly maintain an industry presence via the Web site, members can create and manage their own online databases, which Trudel describes as the "core of the Web site." As WorldPitch.com says, "We will be your stage 365 days a year. Post your treatments, log lines, synopses, and trailers within our online database 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Real-time updates are available to give you endless insight as to who is accessing your work and what they have to say about it."
Given the company's origins, it isn't surprising that it places an emphasis on security. "Not only is both the content itself secure—every transaction placed through our site is secure—but each and every idea that is brought to the site is secure as well," says Trudel. Content access is strictly limited so that only the originator of the idea or registered industry executives who are being pitched to have access. The entire process was designed to help protect information and stave off plagiarism and imitation.
The site uses a credit system where users buy credits for $10 each, which are then banked in an account and can be traded for services. According to Trudel, "Most anyone can access our services with a computer connected to a Web cam and high speed Internet service." Creating an account with a basic member profile is free, but as Antoine says, "Those who wish to utilize our Web site to its fullest capacity purchase credits. These credits are redeemed for services, each service corresponding to a number of credits." For example, posting a script costs a user one credit, while attending a one-hour online class costs three credits. Pitching sessions top the list at a cost of four credits, or the equivalent of $40.
The service, which has been live since May, is already working on ways to expand its offerings. "We are also planning on implementing a system which creates individual transcripts of each live online pitch that will be hosted within our system," says Trudel. Even the addition of adding music files to the online pitch world is in the preliminary works, further moving the entertainment industry in the digital content direction. The intersection of digital content and the entertainment industry is nothing new, but WorldPitch.com is working to make some difficult community and content connections.