I’ve written on this blog before about screenwriting, and also said that I am by no means an expert. In fact, I am one hundred percent a newcomer to the art, having only completed two scripts. So any advice I give can be taken purely at face value. That being said, I have read numerous books and websites, and even been to a Raindance Film Festival writing course, so I have picked up lessons from others with proper experience.
I think there are numerous ways that you can get your script seen or ‘out there’ nowadays. Some are traditional and some not so. Take a look and see what you think, and let me know if you agree or would like to add others.
1 – Send to an agent: This is the old, traditional route. It is recommended that you have a portfolio of work first. At least three films to a ‘polished to within an inch of it’s life’ standard should be fine. One script just isn’t going to cut it, even if you’ve just written the next Star Wars, chances are no-one will read it! Once you have a few scripts together, check out the internet and various publications to find the ideal agent’s to send your script to. Below is a link to some agencies courtesy of Jen Govey.
2 – Go direct to an actor: This one I actually learned on the Raindance Course. Most actors nowadays seem to have production credits as well, and their own production companies. This means they are always on the look out for new scripts. If you can get the address, why not pop a copy in the post and see what happens?
3 – Contest: There are thousands of screenwriting contests all over the world. If your script is good enough to make it in the competition, and actually place, then it may only be a matter of time until you sell that baby! Here is a list of some competitions at the link below. Thanks Moviebytes!
4 – Social Media: In this day and age, why not make the most of all the social media sites. You’ve just finished a script, it’s a big deal, tweet it to the world! Follow all of the production companies, agencies, screenwriting contests and festivals, actors and writers you can. Tweet them, see if you can gain some interest. I also found that LinkedIn is pretty good for bouncing ideas around, maybe getting some exposure, some advice from fellow writers. There are specific groups on there for screenwriters. Check it out. Below is a link to my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, showing how I have set it up to show that I am a screenwriter, and the types of people I follow.
5 – Chance meeting: This is actually something that has happened to me, and I can’t say that it helped me in anyway, but you never know. I was at a social function at a local hotel, with my wife and her family. I got to speaking with a guy at the bar who was working at the hotel, renovating the place. It turned out he works on film sets. I, being drunk, told him I am writing a script. He said that his friend and old next door neighbour was Ronaldo Vasconcellos who is one of the producers of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, In Bruges, Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, to name a few. He said he will happily pass my completed script on to Ronaldo to look at. He also had a couple of colleagues who work for a production company and I met up with them and passed my script over. They said they like it but would make some amendments, and would get back to me. They never have! So, it looks like that lead ended up being a damp squib, but you just never know. It could have been fate. If this happens, just make sure you copyright your script. It offers a small amount of protection, just in case.
So, to summarise, just be persistant and make sure your script is to a standard that no one can find fault. Then you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Remember, if you are trying to sell a spec script, it will probably go to a PA or reader first, make sure you are NICE to these people, as they are the gatekeepers so to speak. If you are rude or pushy, expect your script to hit the bottom of the pile, or worse, filed in the draw marked BIN!