Thanks to the 470 of you who were gracious enough to fill out the not-especially-scientific survey, I can now state with confidence that the typical reader of johnaugust.com is a North American college graduate in his 20’s who has a Y chromosome, but no WGA card.
Now, before anyone protests, I should point out that not all readers are typical. Some are women in their 30’s from South Africa with graduate degrees; others are older, younger, or more international. And one could easily fault the methodology: it relied completely on self-reporting, with no particular incentive for readers to click the link to take the survey.
Yet the trends in the data are so clear that there’s not a lot of point keeping the survey running any longer. If you don’t believe me, maybe some charts will prove the point:
The vast majority of readers are men. That’s no surprise, but I wasn’t expecting almost 90%. I don’t know whether this reflects the reality of the male/female split among screenwriters or not. Regardless, I try to vary to my pronouns, so that I’m not always talking about “a screenwriter and his script.”
Readers are a little older than I thought. Had I known that the under-20 categories would be so sparsely populated, I would have broken up the age groups differently. Given the average age, I may feel a little more liberty to swear.
Based on my experience with questions from the IMDb, I assumed the readership was a little more international. I’ll continue to try to make my answers applicable overseas, at least in cases where I know the different terminology.
Again, this is different than the average readership of the IMDb page. At least a third of the questions I get from IMDb are written by non-native speakers.
Sometimes, I wish there were a little flag graphic readers could put on a post that signified English wasn’t their first language. A lot of the mocking and flame wars that happen in discussion forums might disappear if everyone took a step back and realized they didn’t have the same fluency in the language. We need to reward international readers for taking a chance by writing in. It takes guts. I speak Spanish, but I would never be brave enough to leave a comment on a Spanish-language site.
This goes hand-in-hand with the age question. The average reader is much further along in his education than I would have guessed. So along with more swearing, I’ll feel free to talk about keggers.
This is the best distribution among any of the survey questions. As expected, most readers are on the early side of their writing careers, but a sizable number has also written a lot more. (For the record, I’ve written 23 feature scripts and six television scripts.)
Very few readers are WGA members. That’s what I suspected, which is one reason that I avoid talking about WGA politics and issues. (The other reason: for most of the important questions, there’s no clear answer.)
Shortly after I posted the survey, a reader pointed out that the question as originally worded didn’t make any sense to people who were subscribing to the feed, since the feed pulls down new entries whenever they’re posted. So I added the parenthetical. Either way, the question doesn’t tell us a lot. I only update the site every few days, so visiting more often than that probably isn’t helpful.
From the web stats, I can tell how many times the RSS or Atom feeds are hit, but aggregators like Bloglines make it hard to gauge what percentage of readers are actually using the feeds. I suspect in a year or two, as syndication feeds get better integrated, these percentages will even out.
Question 10 was a free answer essay. Remarkably, almost half of you wrote something. In a subsequent post, I’ll list the most interesting and helpful suggestions, some of which I plan to implement right away.
Once again, thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. It really helped me get a better sense of who I’m writing for.