• So, you’ve written a screenplay? What to do next.

Wow… 10 months since my last post.  The thing is, I promised myself that when I started this site I would only post if I had something unique to say.  So, when I write an article for this site, it’s usually because I’m interested in something yet can’t find it already existing on the web.  I feel like I haven’t had much to say the past ten months, but I’d like to get back in the game when I have the time, starting with this one:

A friend of a friend told me he just completed a screenplay and wondered what he should do with it.  Good question, right?  I’ve had some MILD success in the area, so this is what I responded with.

1. Congratulations!
Writing a screenplay is hard work.  The fact that you finished one puts you ahead of the majority of “writers” out there.

2. Send queries (emails to people in the biz asking them to read your stuff).
I’ve heard some industry people say that this is useless and doesn’t work, but I can tell you it does because I’ve done it with some success.

I sent out about 100 emails when we finished Hourglass and got about 15 responses to read.   Of the 15 we sent to only about 5 actually read it.  All passed but it created some recognition with these reps so that when I finished my latest screenplay, I was able to use those same contacts.   The fact that we had already optioned something and that we had a lawyer probably helped.  Any contests you’ve won would also be a help, although ultimately it comes down to having an awesome idea.  If you’ve got a great logline, they’ll wanna read it.  Just be polite, professional, and brief.

Here is an article that mostly discusses writing loglines (which you’ll need when you send out the queries), but it also talks specifically about how to find emails for agents, managers, & producers and send them queries to read your script –

THEUNKNOWNSCREENWRITER.COM/THE-ELEVATOR-PITCH

3. Send your screenplay in for “coverage”.
Not only do you get honest feedback on your script, but if it’s good, they will forward your screenplay to agents/managers/producers.  Just be careful which coverage services you choose.  I would suggest these:

SCRIPT SHARK
SCRIPT XPERT

4. Enter your script into contests. If it’s good and it places, agents, managers, & producers will get ahold of it.  Here are links to ones I am aware of:

NICHOLL FELLOWSHIPS
AAA / CREATIVE SCREENWRITING
SCRIPTAPALOOZA
BIG BREAK / FINAL DRAFT

5. Collaborate. Be on the look-out for young, hungry directors.  With the advances in technology, directors are popping up everywhere online.  Many are looking for scripts to shoot in order to advance their own careers.  The same can be said for producers.  The best thing you can do is contact and network with others that are in a similar place as you.  The internet is your friend here.

6. Call in favors. Does your uncle’s dentist know a producer?  See if you can’t get the script to him.  It’s tacky and a little lame, but what’s it really gonna hurt?  Half of being a writer is being a salesman.

7. While you’re waiting on all that, write another script. Then another.  Then another.  You’re only as good as your next idea.  And every script gets better than the one before it.  It’s completely normal to write 5-10 screenplays before making your first sale, so the sooner you get to number 10, the better.  I sold my second script, yet I’m still struggling to ‘break in,’ and I’ve written three more since then.  According to Malcolm Gladwell, if you do anything for 10,000 hours (or approx. ten years) you become an expert, so give yourself time.

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