While it’s still early, Weekend Read’s pricing model seems to be successful.
The app is free, but the library is limited to four scripts. Upgrading the app via in-app purchase allows you to store hundreds of files. So far, 33.2% of users upgrade when presented the option.1
Since it’s free to install, there’s no reluctance to sampling; the only people who pay for the app are the ones who’ve tried it and like it. I think that’s why reviews have been so positive, and why support emails have been about actual issues and feature requests rather than unhappy feelings.
The wonder and horror of PDF
Weekend Read supports Final Draft, Fountain and Markdown formats, but its special magic trick is the ability to extract text from screenplay PDFs. We weren’t sure what the split would be among the various file types.
It turns out 86% of the files loaded by Weekend Read are PDFs. FDX and Fountain are running equal at about 4% each, with the remainder being Markdown or plain text. I was surprised to see to see it skewed so far towards PDF, and for Fountain to have achieved parity with FDX.
We spent two years getting good at handling PDFs for Highland, yet our thousands of new users for Weekend Read have revealed some things we missed.
A4-sized PDFs. Sorry, Europe. We didn’t mean to cut off any lines. Fixed in next update.
International glyphs in PDFs. For Fountain and Final Draft scripts, Weekend Read does a solid job with Ørni’s über-piñata. But our PDF parser often omits or mangles non-English characters. Fixed in the next update.
PDFs from Celtx. None of our beta testers use Celtx, and apparently none of the For Your Consideration scripts were written using it. Until users pointed it out, we had no idea about the wordsrunningtogetherwithoutspaces problem. Fixed in the next update.
Scripts from Blcklist.com. These screenplay are watermarked, but we worked with Franklin Leonard and his team to make sure users can read them in Weekend Read. This should work reliably in the next build.
PDFs from Fade In. PDFs created with Fade In resist all efforts at extracting meaningful text. Fade In’s Kent Tessman has working hard with Nima to get it sorted out, but for now neither side can fix it. On the bright side, Fade In has the ability to save in Fountain and FDX format, both of which Weekend Read handles natively. That may be the best solution we can offer.
The 1.0.2 build focuses on squashing these PDF issues, and adds new features to the For Your Consideration section.
The most common feature requests have been for an iPad version, and the ability to add notes. We’re working on both, but have no ETA.
We’ve also had inquiries about volume purchases from studios and agencies. There’s currently no way to offer bulk in-app purchases, but we’re considering creating a special Studio Edition that ships already upgraded. If you’re interested, contact support.
One final note: The Oscars are this Sunday, so some studios may begin taking their awards-season scripts offline. If you’re interested in reading any of the screenplays in the For Your Consideration section, grab it now.
- We don’t show the Upgrade Now choice until the library is full, so some users will never get the chance. In the next build, we’ll give users the option to upgrade at any point. ↩