Big Idea

Got an idea, Sirji?

With everyone hooked to OTT platforms, a Bengaluru-based start-up is on the hunt for great story ideas

(L to R) Krishna Udayasankar, Neha Lamba Grover and Jaishankar Krishnamurthy.

Writing is not easy. And writing an entire novel or screenplay for a movie or a show? A whole different ball game. But what do you do with all those amazing story ideas that come to you in the shower or while you’re stuck in traffic or even the long-cherished ones? Do you just toss them aside because you don’t have the means, time or skill to pen them down? Bengaluru’s Jaishankar Krishnamurthy is here to help with his start-up ‘Script a Hit’.

For the last 30 years, he had been trying to write a book in a balancing act with his job in finance. Finally, with perseverance and the support of his wife Krishna Udayasankar, a well-published author of nine books, including the top-selling series The Aryavarta Chronicles, he managed to write two! Both are co-authored, one by his wife and the other by another author he met through his wife, and both works are to hit the stands soon.

“It hit me that I at least had contacts and even if I wanted to get the book written by somebody, I had the resources. A lot of people don’t have that,” says the 53-year-old former finance professional. For such people, who are at sea, is Script a Hit. The company was incorporated in October 2020 and its website went live in April this year.

Udayasankar, also the company’s co-founder, adds, “What we’re hoping to get at are those unique stories that would make people sit up and take notice.”

So, how does it work? The Script a Hit website offers two options to the visitors — a free and a paid submission — for their ideas in three languages currently — English, Hindi and Tamil. While the paid submission — Rs. 1,000 per submission — would be reviewed and responded to within six weeks, the free one would take anywhere between three and six months. Any idea that is chosen will be converted into a manuscript by a team of freelance writers, at a cost of Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 700,000 each, which will be borne by the start-up. “The ultimate goal is to be able to sell it to the OTT platforms because that’s where the money is,” says Krishnamurthy. The profits generated, from sale or royalty, will be split between the ideator and the start-up.

The start-up is funded by four partners. Besides the couple, there is Yogi Kalra and Neha Lamba Grover who has worked in the entertainment industry and is in touch with major OTT content producers. In total, they have invested Rs 4 million and, when needed, are willing to put in an additional Rs. 6 million. No outside funding has been raised as yet.

Script a Hit has already received close to 100 submissions within just two months of going live. The submissions have been varied — coming from various cities, in different languages and across genres. But, Krishnamurthy and Udayasankar are in no hurry. “The first two to three books would set the tone for us, so it is important that we don’t rush and choose whatever comes our way,” says Krishnamurthy.

Udayasankar, who is also a lawyer, clears the air about any legal issues that might crop up in the later stages of getting a manuscript published or developed into a show. “The ideators would be named authors. At no point are they selling the idea to us. We are providing a service to them and won’t claim co-authorship or any hold over the content,” she says.

As of now, the founders are concerned about receiving too many ideas too soon. It is just the couple sifting through the submissions currently but they plan to rope in authors and agents as advisors later. Revenue would take a while to come in, too, since writing and selling a book or a script is a long-drawn process, and that’s what they’re focusing on in the first year.

What are their goals for the immediate future? “Within the next one year, we aim to get around 2,000 ideas, of which, we sign at least 10 agreements with authors,” says Krishnamurthy. They’re also looking to scale up in different regional languages over the next couple of years once they get it right with English.