by Jim Cirile
We first learned about trackingb.com last year. Run by a mysterious entity known only as “The Insider,” trackingb.com is a real, live industry tracking board. Uh... what’s that? Well, actual movie industry development folks --- agents, managers, creative executives and assistants -- use this board to swap info about specs going out, who’s looking for what. It’s a peek behind the curtain -- but if used properly, it can also be a significant marketing tool. How? Read on.
We caught up with The Insider, where he was busy doing… we can’t tell you. Anonymity is fine by us when we can be the beneficiaries of his (or her) cunning ;)
Jim Cirile: Tell us, what was the genesis of trackingb.com?
The Insider: Trackingb.com was started to provide an open online network for entertainment industry professionals and aspiring professionals to share information. It has since evolved into the #1 interactive online tracking board in Hollywood. The site draws the tastemakers and buzzmakers of the entertainment community: A-list screenwriters, directors, and producers, top agents, elite managers, and executives from the major studios and production companies, as well as those aspiring to these positions.
Jim: For those not in the know, gives us a quick primer on what tracking is. Many writers have no clue tracking even exists.
Insider: Tracking is essentially the sharing of information between entertainment professionals. This includes new scripts/books/comics hitting the market, up-to-the-minute tracking reports on which literary properties are getting heat or selling, cool industry jobs, executive hires and fires, and other industry news.
Jim: But why is it beneficial for companies who may be rivals, say, both bidding on a script, to share information?
Insider: If someone is bidding, they won't share the information... but the agent or manager sure will in order to try and create a more intense bidding situation. People know that sometimes you've got to give to get. As more and more members join and start contributing, our site gets even better, and that benefits everyone.
Jim: Tracking can kill a spec faster than a poison arrow to the heart... or it can help create buzz.
Insider: Yep. When a script is listed on our site, it's amazing how quickly a writer and their representation receive interest from a who's who of the Hollywood community. Trackingb.com was created as a positive and productive place for the entertainment community to conduct business. We track a spec's positive movement mostly. If something isn't connecting or selling, it's obvious...
Jim: Okay, so can you give us a heads-up on how trackingb.com works?
Insider: If a literary property is going out from legitimate representation, the rep/writer/producer lets us know and we get it up on the site. Then, the fun begins as reps receive requests for the script. We track the script's progress as it moves into production companies and studios and progresses towards a potential sale or pass. We also post a ton of other valuable information, as well. One very popular section of our site is our jobs section, where we list great inside job listings that you won't find anywhere else. These include: creative executive positions, jobs assisting executives at companies like Jerry Bruckheimer Films, and even openings to assist A-list actors.
Jim: Cool. Who are some of the agencies, prodcos, etc., who use trackingb?
Insider: You name the studio or agency, and we've got someone from there on our board. The William Morris Agency, CAA, Paradigm, UTA, Paramount, Universal, CBS Films, Fox, Katalyst Films, Flower Films, Gold Circle Films, JK Livin, Infinitum Nihil, Kaplan/Perrone, Energy Entertainment and the list goes on and on... People are always surprised at the high level of execs trolling our board.
Jim: Can someone who signs up for trackingb post anything they want to the boards, or are they just a fly on the wall? And if you can post, how do you prevent someone from just spamming the whole group and thus turning execs off?
Insider: The board is run by The Insider... Only (s)he can put up a post in order to protect the integrity of the board. However, comments on posts are allowed. We only list literary material that we can confirm is going out from legitimate representation.
Jim: So clue us in on how subscribing to trackingb can be useful to a writer.
Insider: Obviously, the more you understand the game, the better chance you have of winning at it. Seeing the kinds of concepts and scripts that generate interest from representation and executives can be enormously helpful for a writer interested in selling scripts to Hollywood. As is knowing who the players are and how the process of selling a spec script works. The more informed you are as a writer, the better chance you have of succeeding. We're just a piece of that info puzzle.
Jim: What are some things writers who sign up for trackingb need to be aware of -- rules of etiquette, pros and cons?
Insider: Just understand that we're not an agency. We're here to report on scripts that are represented and being taken out to the market. Our screenplay contest is our vehicle for helping new writers connect to the industry. And from our inaugural contest, a bunch of our award winners
secured legitimate representation, and one has major interest in his finalist script right now. We hope to be reporting its sale on our site soon!
Jim: Thanks so much for your time, dude... or dudette. Anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
Insider: Yeah... Get The Inside Track today! Only $69/year. Cue the used car salesman, "This deal won't last long!"
Check them out at www.trackingb.com.