Free Script Coverage? Abbot Management?

Interesting… very interesting. Saw this on a blog a couple of days ago:

Abbot Management is currently accepting Film and Television Screenplays for consideration.

The Producers and Production Companies that accept our submissions expect a professional quality product. That being said, most of our Screenplay submissions will be rejected, some will be placed in our Development Library, and few will be selected for representation and sent out for Producer / Production Company consideration. Regardless of our decision, in most cases our coverages are forwarded onto our writers so they understand what works / does not work with their Screenplay – free of cost.

Free coverage? Nice. Usually writers pay services $60+ for “industry-quality” coverage of their scripts. Intrigued, I surfed on:

Our team includes an East Coast Manager, a West Coast Manager, an Entertainment Lawyer, a Development Manager, and fifteen Script Readers.

We currently represent 13 screenwriters and are developing the works of 28 Screenwriters in our Development Library. In our short history we have received over 500 submissions, and represent only the highest quality in film and television Screenplays.

[Note 12/15/09: The above info was accurate as of January 2008. It is my understanding that Abbot has now received over 2,000 script submissions, and I’m sure their staff/infrastructure has changed dramatically.]

Sounds great: best case = management, worst case = free coverage. I googled and found another blog mention, with an apparent quote from Tim Lambert, the guy who runs Abbot.

Their original idea sounded a little like inktip, but these guys are in an entirely different business. While inktip charges writers to participate, these people charge no upfront fee but become your manager, so they get a cut of any deal that results. So that is their goal: to generate deals. Sounds even better – and free coverage is a genius “gimmick” to get tons of submissions fast.

Why so fast? They want to accumulate new clients and scripts NOW in preparation for the big feeding frenzy to fill the vacuum after the strike ends.

But I’m a small, petty, and skeptical guy (i.e., a writer), so I keep googling. There are 3 Tim Lambert’s (1 a writer/director) listed on imdb, but no “abbot management” – and no mention in the HCD – but then again, he said the company is new.

I give these guys points on their business plan and strategy, but… are they on the level? One thing optioning Supervillain DIDN’T do for me was get me representation, and I could really use that. Why should I be suspicious if it’s free? This is still Hollywood. Plus, if they sign you and they end up being less than professional, that reflects poorly on you and your work.

So… anybody submitted to these guys?

[Note 2/21/08: In the weeks since I wrote this post, I have submitted two screenplays to these guys. They are new, but I like what I have seen so far.  As your personal guinea pig who came out alive, I encourage writers to submit their stuff and learn from their coverage.]

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50 Responses to Free Script Coverage? Abbot Management?

  1. John Harker says:

    I was very impressed with them… sent them my script about one month back and didnt hear anything for about three weeks… then they sent me an email, passing on my script with a 15 page word document attached, complete with three coverages. Two of the coverages were incredibly constructive, and one of them was more terse and negative. I’ll be working on a re-write, thanks very much to the feedback they provided, and will definitly be resubmiting a revsion in the future.

  2. Robb says:

    Thanks John – good to know.

  3. Daemian says:

    I just submitted one of my screenplays to this company. I will let you know what happens when they get back to me

  4. Robb says:

    Thanks Daemian – and good luck!

  5. Chiara says:

    I sent my screenplay in about two months ago – there was about a three week
    turn around before I recieved my coverage, and subsequently a phone call.
    Abbot was a fan of my script, and being that I was in NYC, Tim subsequently
    took me out to dinner and showed me their business model, and their battle
    plan to sell my script. By far, one of the most professional people and
    organizations I’ve ever come across!!!

  6. Robb says:

    Thanks for the info, Chiara! A great help. We have been discussing coverage but now we get valuable insight into the management operation itself. Sounds like the battle plan is to your liking.

    I uploaded a script and got coverage the very next day – more on that later…

  7. Daemian says:

    So I got my coverage today and it was very professional. I submitted my screenplay on the 6th and today is the 8th so I’m very happy with how prompt they were and the coverage was awesome.

  8. Robb says:

    Got mine as well. The turnaround time was lightning fast and the coverage was free and much appreciated, but some of the content of the coverage itself left me scratching my head.

    Two sets of coverage came back in just over 24 hours, and they were each very, very positive. I received the highest possible score in some of the categories. But then a day and a half later, a third set came back completely contradictory to the first set. Lowest possible score in some of the categories in which I had received the highest possible score from the other readers. As a writer trying to improve his material, it is difficult to know how to proceed or know which reader to believe. More on this later.

  9. Robo says:

    Just got my offer to sign up. Has anybody done that yet? If so, what do you think about their work?

  10. Art says:

    I came here to see the latest and greatest on Abbott. I received one single review (mostly negative sprinkled with a few good scores) on a screenplay I submitted in March 08 coupled with a “pass”. The ending line of the letter left me scratching my head. I could not determine whether or not it was a form letter styled statement or not. Here it is. Does it look familiar to anyone?
    ———————–
    Hello Arthur,

    We had one of our readers review “The Comb Over Guy” and have decided to pass.

    I’ve set you up with a login so you can review your coverage and better understand why – please visit http://www.abbotmanagement.com, your username is your email, and your password is xxxxx.

    At Abbot Management, we have a firm policy that we will never charge a writer to evaluate their material – we are unique in the entertainment industry in that we often share our coverage with screenwriters, free of cost, regardless of our decision. We need it for our own purposes and figure why not share.

    I took a look at your script myself, and feel you have a unique, entertaining voice. That being said, if you have an additional script, we’d be happy to review it free of cost.

    Best,

    Tim Lambert
    ————————

    The last line was encouraging, but i blew it off as a “form letter” styled statement and decided not to submit another script.

    So why am I writing? Today I received another letter asking me to submit that same screenplay to their “buyer’s login”. Now I’m really scratching my head. It’s probably the same letter you received today Robb. Received it at 4:49pm. Really confused now.

    Art

  11. Art says:

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Abbott is fake or anything, I just wish I understood the way they operate. I’ve combed the web and see nothing negative on them.

    I do see heavy advertising placed to attract screenwriter’s to the site. I also see ads for “non-paid interns” to read all those scripts coming in. Which makes me gag, but that’s the hollywood formula. Some bitter 18-21 year old working for low or no pay gets to be the gate-keeper to Hollywood.

    Art

  12. Robb says:

    Art – that rejection/acceptance is… interesting. 2 commenters on my other Abbot post got repped yesterday as well – sounds like there has been some real movement going on. I’m guessing we will hear more from others soon. Keep us posted.

    And about the interns being the gatekeeper to the industry: sad but true. As a former script reader myself, it is a tricky business. Inundated with (mostly bad) scripts., I don’t see how else agencies and production companies could function, but it is depressing for the writer… More on that in a full-on post perhaps.

  13. Gray says:

    I got a response from them today saying they would like to include my script to the “buyers login” and that I must agree to a “writers agreement”. I’ve checked the site and my coverage, which was all good, and even got a reply back from a response from Tim Lambert.

    Does this mean they want to represent me? I’m not entirely sure. I know they’re new but I don’t know too much bout these guys.

  14. Art says:

    I have read the contract several times. I’m not a lawyer but it It looks pretty fair. I think what these guys really want to do is find opportunities to sell the particular screenplay that you submit to their site. That does represent you per se, but not in the traditional way a literary manager would.

    The contract states that the relationship is non-exclusive, meaning you could find a traditional manager yourself and sell your work through them. But if, through Abbot’s efforts (inclusion on their site counting as one type of an effort) they find a buyer for your work (and you accept that offer) this would entitle them to the respective commission.

    Hey, whatever works. This game is about exposure. Can’t sit around and wait for these “traditional managers” with their traditional ways of acquiring clients. Same for agents. They don’t want you until you become a hot item.

    The key word for me is non-exclusive. I can get exposure on this site from a strong marketing plan aimed at soliciting to producers and agents, but still be free to shop my work and accept the best offers coming to the table. If Abbot strikes first and gets me an offer, I have no problem with the 10% to 15% manager commission.

    Good luck everyone!

    Art

  15. Robb says:

    Gray – Tim Lambert of Abbot commented on the other post, so check that out. Apparently the “buyers login” and actually “representing you” are two different things. In his comment he left his email as well as phone numbers for questions/clarifications.

    Art – Amen. The thing I found most interesting (the thing that inspired these posts in the first place) was this creative new approach – sort of like inktip as an agent. On inktip you pay a flat upfront fee for exposure, but then the scripts on there are never evaluated or vouched for by anyone – who knows if they are any good. Production companies might be hesitant to look at this mound of unscreened work. Abbot’s system would seem to be much more attractive to the buyer – work which has actually been screened and approved by a legit gatekeeper. Very interesting experiment. And the non-exclusive thing gives you exposure without a downside, at least any that I can see.

  16. Art says:

    Robb, this is all good dialogue. Good job, man.

    Art

  17. Neight says:

    I have just submitted two screenplays to Abbot, per catching it on a search and then also finding your blog. I am very interested to see the coverage from them, as trying to hit contest deadlines have caused me to submit scripts with alot of typos. I hope that with these two polished, and refined, that they will meet at least honest coverage, positive or not. Thanks for the blog, I skip everything but the screenwriting stuff, but thats what im into

  18. Robb says:

    Thanks for the comments Art and Neight. Good luck and keep us posted!

  19. Eric says:

    I appreciate all the discussion here. Looks like I’ll be submitting to Abbot right about now! I’ll report back.

  20. Peter says:

    Has Abbot actually agreed to represent anyone on this board? I just submitted a script this afternoon. Can’t wait for the coverage.

    Great job on starting this thread, Robb. It’s extremely helpful.

  21. Robb says:

    Hey Peter – thanks.

    It has been a long while since I spoke with anyone over at Abbot, but it appears they are really putting all their energy into the “buyers’ login” thing discussed above. I’m not sure where “traditional management” (sending scripts out like an agent) fits into their plans for the short-term.

    Anyone else know more?

  22. Christian says:

    Thanks a lot for starting this thread. I just came across them on the internet and I was really skeptical, I thought it was one of those cheesy agencies who would try to scam you, but they seem pretty legit.

  23. Kasia says:

    happy new year Robb!

    It’s nice to see that this thread has been going on for over a year now. Lots of positive reviews for Abbott, but has anyone had any success with them?

    My boyfriend and I are fixing a few broken pieces in our script before we embark upon this screenwriting journey…

  24. Robb says:

    Thanks Kasia! There has been a lack of info about Abbot lately. I haven’t heard anything, and their website doesn’t include any news. Anyone heard anything recently?

  25. CaliGirl says:

    I submitted my screenplay about two weeks ago and just went back to their website to find the number to call them. I was shocked to find their website gone?? It says “address not found”. Anyone know what is going on with them??

    Thank you.

  26. Robb says:

    Wow – CaliGirl is right. After I read her comment I hoped for the best and thought maybe they were just having quick server issues or something. A couple of days later the website is still down. Anyone know the scoop?

  27. Robb says:

    As of 3/28, Abbot’s site is back online – good news.

  28. MadScribbler says:

    I submitted a couple scripts to Abbot Management a few months back. I was invited to list them in the “buyer’s login”. A few email updates periodically have said they’ll be launching the site, “going live”, soon. But then nothing happened and no news.
    Not sure what’s going on over there and haven’t heard anything for two months.
    I got some useful coverage on my scripts, but now I think this company is a dead end and not really legit. They have not sold a single script as far as I know and don’t seem to be moving their business forward.
    Pity, it was a good idea.

  29. InkSlinger says:

    I submitted a script in July of 2008, which received 6 sets of coverage. Tim offered me representation, saying my script was one of his “favorites”, and also one of the highest-rated ones. All very heady stuff.

    When the site went live, Tim told me they were sending my script to one of the big mucky-muck production companies in town. That was months ago, and I haven’t heard a word from anyone since.

    Abbot is a legit company, albeit a start-up, so for those of you who are anxious for a quick turnaround, I’d look elsewhere.

  30. Mattmoo says:

    Robb,

    I have tried to find the “abbot page” you mentioned in one of your posts but am unable to find it. You had stated in that post there were “links” to the coverage you recieved from them which I would very much like to see before I submit to them. Any chance you could direct me or post the links. thx

  31. Robb says:

    Mattmoo – Thanks for the comment. I’m uncomfortable passing around the coverage I received, but I recommend submitting to them for the free coverage. Or – as I’ve recommended on other posts – joining zoetrope.com for some good peer review.

    As for an “abbot page,” I’ve just been linking readers to http://www.abbotmanagement.com – I hope that’s the link you’re referring to.

  32. Jennifer in New Orleans says:

    The website for Abbot has been down. I called them and was told that they are having problems with hackers and hope to have the site back up soon.

  33. MadScribbler says:

    Abbot’s site is back up. So at least they have a web presence again. But there still is very little mention of them within the industry. No listings on IMDB or even IMDB Pro, and still no script sales as far as I know. I think they could use a PR firm or get onto some industry panels or something.
    The concept is a good one, but they really need to step up their game and push some scripts around town.

  34. Dean says:

    I found their web site today and sent in my script. I got an automated response from them that suggested they have my script and they will contact me after my submission gets reviewed. Crossing my fingers and toes….

  35. ricetalks says:

    You can’t write to please everybody. You have to write for your ideal reader. If nobody likes it, then you’ve probably missed your mark.

    How do you know if someone is your ideal reader? Ask them to list their favorite films. Ask them what type of films they like and what is it that they think makes a great film. If none of your top 10 are on their favorites list, and if you think their top 10 sucks, then they’re probably not a good reader for your script.

    I submitted to Abbot. The screenplay I submitted garnered a 2/5 from their reader. In truth, he (and I assume it was a he from the way he/she wrote) had very little to say that was positive about the screenplay. It was apparent that he was unimpressed.

    The screenplay finished as a semi-finalist in this years Nicholl’s competition. Top 100 out of 6,380 so go figure. It goes with the territory.

  36. Dan says:

    Just found Abbots site and this web. Really helpful. I do believe I will send my script in and see what happens. Great threat. Everyone please continue to supply feedback. The more we get the more informed we are.

  37. Dan says:

    Ok – so in my excitement to find this thread I didn’t proof read my first comment! Maybe I better take one more look at my screenplay!!

  38. useremail says:

    My experience with Abbott has so far been positive.
    I submitted an original TV pilot that took about 10 weeks to get reviewed. I only received one review (I have heard many previously used to receive up to three) but, it was very professional, constructive, non-biased and helpful.

    I was offered a non-exclusive representation contract but I haven’t yet accepted (to make my script live on site) until I am finished my rewrite (which may also be reviewed).

    I’d imagine they are quite inundated with submissions and emails so getting a response back in a timely manner seems impossible but, I think for a beginning screenwriter it is a fantastic opportunity that people should consider.

  39. Langley says:

    I submitted a pilot script, unsure as to what this company even was. I figured, “free coverage”? Why not? It took months before I heard back. I received an email from Tim, with my coverage attached in pdf. He stated that, although he had not read the script, it received very high scores, and he wanted to speak with me. He invited me to look at the video about the search grid, and gave me his number to call him at my convenience. I did. He was nothing but professional, laid back, but secure in what he was saying. He made no promises, but said that based on my score, he would like to read the pilot. Then, once he found out that I have 10 completed, and polished, episodes ready to go, and 2 more in rough drafts, he requested the pilot, and the synopsis for each episode. Stated that, since they were relatively new, they hadn’t sold any TV pilots yet, but would like to consider this one. Again, he made no promises, but left me with a feeling of “this is someone I want to work with.”

    So far, I’m all for Abbot!

  40. Robb says:

    Great news and info, Langley! Please keep me posted.

  41. Dave says:

    I sent a submission to them. It took them several months to tell me they stop after the first page and I find that they are only looking for what they consider good scripts and I have been told that i have quality work i just need to fix my formatting however I use Final Draft 8 for my screenwriting.

  42. Langley says:

    OK, I was contacted by Tim, after submitting the synopsis’ for the first 10 episodes. He wanted me to put the pilot on the search grid. He also suggested that I submit all the episodes I have in one single pdf format for scoring by their readers. Now, the episodes are registered with WGAW, and the series is under copyright with the Library of Congress from 2006-2011. However, I’m a little leery about submitting all these episodes to readers whom I don’t know.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

  43. Robb says:

    Langley – I wanted to hang back to see if anyone else commented first. But since that hasn’t happened…

    I guess it depends on what you want your relationship with Abbot to be. If you want them to simply put up your material for third-party buyers to see on their search grid, I would just submit the pilot and keep the subsequent episodes in your back pocket for that buyer to look at down the road.

    But if you want Abbot to perhaps be the producer or have some other relationship to you and your material, then that is something else. In this case, I would send them all the episodes, and make sure you specify your relationship with them. But I would want to know what involvement they would want to have before sending them the episodes.

    I personally don’t know how useful it would be for readers to look at episodes to a show they are not that familiar with (even if they have read the pilot). My take would be to make the pilot the best stand-alone script it can be and keep it on the search grid, while keeping the subsequent episodes in your back pocket if there are interested parties.

    Others may have different comments or advice. The bottom line for me is that you and Abbot have the conversation to nail down your specific relationship before deciding to send them more episodes. After that conversation you might or might not want to get them more involved.

  44. Langley says:

    Robb – Thanks for your input. I have decided not to submit all the episodes. For a series pitch, all you need is a synopsis, and a good pilot. If the NETWORK wants to see more, then I’ll give it over. No reason for me to put all my scripts into their hands until there’s an offer on the table.

    I also submitted the second episode a few weeks ago, just out of curiosity. The reader, different than the one who read the pilot, gave episode 2 a scathing review, basically saying it was one of the worst scripts he’s ever read.

    The second episode is actually better, in my opinion, than the pilot, due to the fact that it’s less about introducing the characters, and setting up the premise, and more about an actual episode!

    Funny how opinions vary, but I’m wondering how their system of random readers scoring scripts from one series would even be beneficial.

    Thanks for this blog, and all the assistance!

    L.

  45. Perley J. Thibodeau says:

    Keep me posted!

  46. C. M. Albrecht. This is June 9, 2011. I see most of this info is dated, but today I happened upon a Craigslist opening for script readers at Abbot. I can’t get into that stuff, but I did check their site and because of that, I sent them a log line and a short pitch per their guidelines.
    15% is above the norm and I’m not sure whether they’re talking about an additonal 10% agent fee on top of that. Plus I’ve heard that even with agents you still need a lawyer who may get 5%. If someone offered me half a million for a script, I’d say great. What the hell! But it we’re talking about some little independent company offering $5,000 or even $30, odd thousands, all those percents do add up. Still, if they could get me a real offer, I’d have to give it mighty serious consideration. I’m one of those reclusive individuals who live away from the glitter of Hollywood. My only hope is to do this long distance. Í think that no matter how good a script is, there’s nothing to beat a good bs’er who can throw a pitch to a producer in person.
    As an aside, I’ve posted three or four scripts on Amazonstudio.com. On this latest script I haven’t heard back from anyone and if nothing happens soon I thought I might put it on Amazonstudio as well. Now, I may try Abbot (if they request my script).
    I’d certainly like to hear about any updates on this company.

  47. Robb says:

    Thanks for the comment C.M.

    And keep us posted on your experience with amazonstudios. Obviously the screenwriting conversation on the blog has dwindled the past couple years as the real world has taken up my energies, but I have been keeping one eye on the amazonstudios thing and have been considering opening up a conversation on that as well (of course there are other, larger discussions concerning this in other forums). The topic has not gone unnoticed.

    • I thought I updated my earlier comments, but looking at the last post, maybe I’m thinking of something else. As Abbot promises on your earlier posts, they will never charge a writer for anything, but once they invited me to upload my script and then, only after doing that and pressing the continue button, did they inform me that there’s about a $30 or so coverage fee. They point out that this is not for them, but for the extra expense they go to (this evidently being the cost of free emails and free coverage from unpaid interns).
      I declined on that offer so I’m not sure whether I’ll ever hear from Abbot again. I have a feeling that since starting up with a big bang, nothing has happened and now they’ve deteriorated into an outfit that makes a few bucks off “coverage” fees and keeps on hoping they’ll place a project someplace one of these days. It’s been about a month but of course, I realize it may take months to hear back.
      If I get any news, I’ll post an update.
      Sadly, Carl

      • Robb says:

        <>

        I get the same feeling, unfortunately. They had an interesting idea and I was rooting for them, exchanged some emails with Tim, etc.

        <>

        Exactly. The $30 is not for them, it is merely… well… actually… yeah, the $30 is for them. Sad that they keep trying to spin this somehow. If the model didn’t work, and they need cash to operate, that’s fine. But to try to spin it like “the $30 is not for us” is unfortunate.

  48. As to Amazon, I have misgivings. It all sounds great, and I’m fairly confident that some lucky persons actually get some of that big prize money, but in my case, and clearly in the cases of most of the writers on Amazon, their work may as well be in the bottom drawer of your desk or whatever you use to store stuff in. (I now keep all my “important” stuff on a flash drive that I store in the safe with the unloaded gun and ammo I have in case of emergency. (I can’t even get the safe open where there is no emergency!)
    I keep checking now and then but I feel my scripts at Amazon are just in storage. They do ask for an 18 month free option. I don’t really think they can hold a person to that since there’s no exchange of anything of money. But I’m no lawyer so don’t take my word on that.
    I enjoy being able to visit this site and BS.
    Henceforth y’all can call me Carl unless I’m wearing my Stetson in which case you can call me Tex.

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