Do you have a completed and polished Hollywood screenplay but no idea how to get it into the right hands? Let’s talk about all the different ways that you can market your screenplay.
So the first way is kind of not really in vogue anymore. This is kind of the old days and that is a query letter or a query email. This is where you would solicit a production company, or an agent or manager, and basically just ask them to read your screenplay.
Don’t ever send your scripts unsolicited to any company or manager. Don’t stick it in an envelope and don’t drop it off – they won’t take it. Now this really doesn’t work. They kind of ignore those everyone.
If you have an amazing story, like you used to be a CIA agent and you have a story about your career in the CIA or something that, would just make people take notice then. You might be able to send an email to a production company and ask if they would like to read your screenplay.
Selling a Screenplay Without an Agent – Advice From Word Dancer
Video Transcript (Cont’d)
But if you just work at Best Buy and there’s nothing too different about your background, you could still have the most amazing story about a CIA agent ever, but they’re probably not going to take your query email too seriously.
So that’s kind of an old way to solicit – query letters or query emails, but a great way to break in is contest and the website to go to for screenplay contests is moviebytes.com. I’ll put a link down below. That will show you all the upcoming contests, all the information.
You’ll get report cards, people make comments about different contests, it will give you the web pages for the contest and I put down below in the links the most major contests. Because there are a lot of different contests and some of them, the industry takes seriously, and some of them not so much.
I won the Nicholl Fellowship – that’s definitely very major in the industry. Other contests that are significant are things like the Paige Awards … there are a lot of different contests and those can break you in. The other good thing about contests is we all make this mistake.
Trust me, we all make this mistake. Sending your material out too soon before it is ready, so when you enter your script and contest, if six months later you realize ‘oh my gosh, that had so many problems. I did a re-write, I made it so much better.’ Just the contest saw no one important. It didn’t place high in the contest as opposed to getting it in the hands of a potential agent manager.
It wasn’t ready for primetime and you kind of burn the bridge and burn the Reeds, so contests they’re very low risk way of tiptoeing into Hollywood. Then there are also some what I call like listing services. There’s two main ones and there’s some more starting to crop up.
One of them is InkTip is more if you have a movie that you wouldn’t mind going straight to television or it’s maybe a red box, or it’s kind of more of a low-budget movie. There are screenwriters who are totally making a living selling their screenplays on InkTip and that’s a listing service where producers can go on to the site and they can search for type of script they’re looking for.
They can look for certain character roles, they’re looking for certain genres, and they can read your logline. I haven’t been there a long time. I don’t know if they can automatically download your script or if you have to give them permission to download your script.
Either way it’s direct access between you and producers who are looking for screenplays. There’s a lot of success stories there but if you’ve got something that’s like big-budget that only a studio could do, that wouldn’t be the place to put your screenplay. That’s more for lower budget screenplays.
If you do have a bigger budget Hollywood giant spectacular that would cost a hundred million dollars you don’t want to put it on ink tip. You’re going to more look at like the Blacklist. The Blacklist used to just be a list that came out every year that all the producers voted on what they thought were the best unproduced screenplays they read that year.
So it was this list that came out every year and then eventually it became a website. It’s a website where you can go, and you can put your screenplay up there, and so producers can again search for different types of material they’re looking for.
They can directly access your screenplay. You can also pay for, I don’t know if they call it coverage, they might call it coverage. You can pay for reads and if it gets a high enough number of reads, they’ll sometimes to feature it to all of their industry insiders, and it gets more attention.
You can also have direct access to producers by putting your script on the Blacklist another Spec Scout. I don’t know as much about that one, but you can also get your material on Spec Scout. Another way to get your face in front of Hollywood literally are pitch festivals.
They’re ‘in person’ pitching and this is kind of like speed dating. You basically go into a big room where they’re all these producers or agents and managers sitting in chairs, and then like there’s a certain ding or a time changes, and then you go and sit in front of that producer or manager and you have like five minutes to pitch them your material.
Then they contact you later and say whether or not they want you to send them the script, so those can be very fun and also allow you to come to Los Angeles. Kind of feel like the dream, is a possibility and meet with other screenwriters, that kind of thing.
The ones that I know over like the great American pitch festival Hollywood pitch festival and then the story Expo, I think, has a pitch fest inside of the Expo. That’s the golden ticket pitch fest. So in person pitch festivals – I’ll put a link for them down below.
Then another way to pitch to Hollywood are Skype pitches. That’s where you have your little webcam in front of your computer and you would sign up to pitch with a particular agent or a particular producer or a manager and then at a set time they would call you on skype.
Then you would just on the Skype camera pitch while you see the producer the agent on the other side. That’s kind of an weird dynamic because it’s different than someone in person. You can’t really bounce off them. The energy is kind of weird. They just kind of stare at you like you’re a TV.
You just have to know they’re not going to interact with you much. They just that there and expect you to perform like your TV showing and so you have to kind of get used to how to do those. You might practice with your webcam a couple times on that one.
The places to go for Skype pitches, Roadmap Writers and then also Stage 32 Happy Writers – they also do Skype pitches. Now if the idea of having to pitch on Skype or actually talk to a producer makes you break out in hives because you’re so nervous, you can also just pay a manager or a producer or an agent to read your screenplay.
You can just pay them. Now sometimes, some of the people that you’re paying, they may might be like very new at the production companies. They might be the assistant or they may be a very new producer, but that’s fine because they are still a gatekeeper.
They can still take it to their higher-ups, that’s not a problem. So both set like Roadmap Writers and stage 32. You can pick a certain company that you think would be good for your material. You could just pay them to read the script and if they like it, they’ll want to meet with you and it can go further.
Or if it’s not for them you’re still going to get great feedback back. You could get some great notes. You’re going to get more insight into why they liked it, why they didn’t like it so that is another way to go, to pay for someone who is a Hollywood insider to read your screenplay.
Then there’s also online written pitches. This is where you would do a written pitch like a little log line, a little something about your screenplay and that would get sent to either an agent or a manager or producer.
The place to go for that is Virtual Pitch Fest – so you pay for each pitch that you send but the great thing about that website is they’re guaranteeing the person is actually going to look at it and you’re going to get a timely response.
You get to choose what companies you want to pitch to. It’s not like they’re going to just make them random. You buy little packages of pitches and then you know for sure your pitch is being seen and then you can have your screenplay read that way.
Finally there are coverage services with scouting, instead of you paying a particular agent or a particular producer to read your screenplay. It’s more a will affected company that you paid them to have a reader, give coverage on your script but then they have connections with a lot of different industry insiders.
If the coverage comes back high enough like they might need to be a consider or recommend they will then pick up the phone or type emails or somehow contact all of their industry people and get it into the right hands.
There’s Script Pipeline, Script Arsenal at the Writers store, their script expert. The Blacklist also promotes material that scores highly in evaluations and if there are any other sites that you know of let me know and I will keep the description below this video constantly updated with new information.
I hope that helps you come up with a game plan of how you can get your script into the hands of Hollywood. If you liked this video don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more videos and I will talk to you later.