No personal blog crapola.
Just one guy's quest to unlock the mysterious art of storytelling on screen.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where Have Tomorrow's Screenwriters Gone Today?

So what exactly is going on here...? (click image for larger view)

What you're looking at is a Google Trends query on the word "screenplays". And that, my friends, is one heck'uva trend. Google searches on "screenplays" down by almost two thirds in two and a half years? Wow.

My immediate, joyful conclusion was, if today there are a third as many novice screenwriters Googling for screenplays online as there were two-to-three years ago, that means my competition just dropped dramatically... right? I mean, budding screenwriters want to download and study produced scripts -- that's a given. So... less people searching for screenplays online = less screenwriters flooding the industry in the next couple of years.

Sounds good to me.

Now. Is there a negative in there somewhere? If aliens are systematically abducting novice screenwriters these past few years (OK, you explain it!), should I be worried? Does the decline -- whatever the reason behind it -- in fact reduce my chances of making a six-figure screenplay sale?

Dunno. Lets keep looking...

Here are the top search regions for the word "screenplays" for the same period:

Top regions (normalized)

1. United States

2. Ireland

3. South Africa

4. Canada

5. Australia

6. New Zealand

7. India

8. United Kingdom

9. Philippines

10. Czech Republic

What's up with Ireland? Seems the lads and lasses of the Emerald Isle are keen to get some sunny Hollyweird, Hell-A action. These figures don't give us any meaningful info about what's behind the decline. Moving on...

Let's try a related search trend for the word "screenwriting":

Allrighty. So "screenwriting" fares a lot better. Regular fluctuation up and down over the years -- sorta spiking every six months. No obvious downward trend, not like the other chart. Having said that, you can see in 2006 it dropped below the line there for the first time since Google started tracking the numbers in 2004. Perhaps there's a tiny trend creeping in, after all. Even so, too early to call, so I'll ignore it.

Where are those searches originating?

Top regions (normalized)

1. United States

2. Ireland

3. Canada

4. Australia

5. United Kingdom

6. New Zealand

7. South Africa

8. Norway

9. Philippines

10. Israel

Only thing I note here is that folks in the United Kingdom seems to prefer searching on the word "screenwriting" (pos. 5) over "screenplays" (pos. 8).

I've just had a thought.

What if the drop in people searching for screenplays online is because people are busy beavering away on their own script? Having studied a dozen professional screenplays pulled off the web, these people don't need to perform more searches. They've already absorbed the rules of structure and format, and now they are hammering out screenplays of their own.

Or... perhaps the answer is as simple as this: In the last five years, a lot of screenwriting/screenplay sites sprang up across the net, resulting in a more organised infrastructure for delivering screenplays via the web. That would result in less Google searching, wouldn't it? Novice screenwriters might be searching for a specific, well-known site (e.g. Daily Script or Drew's Scriptorama) rather than using a generic search for "screenplays".

Who knows.


Anonymous said...

I have a bunch of screenplays of recent movies if you want to do a trade one day? PDFs

Belzecue said...

I'm up to my ears in scripts, thanks, Todd. Currently reading Joe Carnahan's Smokin Aces. Joe writes vivid, but sometimes I think he writes *too* vivid. Kinda takes you out of the moment, and you sit there thinking, is this a novel or a screenplay :-)

Incidentally, last night I was thumbing through a file of old stuff, and I found an invoice from Hollywood Scripts, dated March 1992. It was for Star Wars ("Adventures of Luke Starkiller..."). Thirty bucks: $15 for the copy, $15 for postage. Being an Aussie, back in the day, we had to send away for scripts and wait months for them to arrive. None of this fancy Google-point-click-save-PDF luxury. Now I have maybe a hundred digital screenplays and nowhere enough time to read them all. Can't complain about that.

If there's anything you haven't been able to get your hands on via the web, let me know and I'll check the collection.

sunofsound said...

looking for scripts: apocalypto, 300 and sin city...little help...anyone?


Anonymous said...

All Hollywood is concerned with is sex and violence, it doesn’t matter if there is a real storyline behind the movie only the number of nude scenes, explosions and total number of people killed. If you have enough of each you’ve got a hit and everyone in the movie are stars. I am a big fan of old movies and I mean from the late 30’s and 40’s. William Powell and Myrna Loy made the Thin Man and five sequels and never took their clothes off once. Katharine Hepburn made dozens of movies and I can’t remember her being nude in any of them: the closest that I can remember was in a movie with Spencer Tracy she was wrapped in a large towel. In the theater today perhaps one movie in fifty could stand on the storyline alone. I do not agree with the header, “Fiction Sucks”, most fiction would require at least a 50% improvement just to get to suck.

sunofsound said...

Nudity? Hmm... Can't quite agree with you. What are these "hits" you're talking about that have a high count of nude scenes?

If you're talking about American theatrical releases, I'm stumped. Can't think of any recently.

Some foreign films come to mind. For instance, The Skin I'm In, or Lust Caution.

Perhaps you've been watching too much HBO, too many B horror films or internet porn.

Nudity has been in steady decline in American theatrical releases since the eighties.

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