It’s not uncommon to dream about becoming a screenwriter. You see your words and ideas come to life on TV and movie screens worldwide. That’s fascinating. Have fun with it and never let go! However, Hollywood has changed in the past years, so screenwriters have to know how to promote themselves. If you don’t have an agent or a manager to help you out, then it might be difficult to establish yourself as a successful professional. You’ll have to do everything on your own. Likely, the digitalized world has dozens of opportunities for self-promotion. You just need to develop a strategy and that’s what this guide is all about.
In the old days, all you had to do was to write a good script. Now, all that has changed. You’re your own advocate, marketer, and promoter. Your writing may be authentic, but that’s not how you stand out. You must sell and share to see your work on screen. You’re promoting yourself as a screenwriter, and you’re promoting a script. Put it simply, you need to treat your writing like a business.
Studios, producers, not to mention agencies, receive plenty of scripts. To go through these countless submissions, they hire professional script readers. It’s their job to figure out which writers have potential. Maybe you’ve got a great script. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s no guarantee that you’re going to make it as a screenwriter. What you do after you finish writing matters more.
Having an effective, well-crafted action plan is just as important as writing an original work. Now that you know the importance of self-promotion, get to work. Keep in mind that people are tough to impress and, quite often, screenwriters get ignored. If you want to get attention with upfront value, keep this in mind.
If you’ve continued to read this, it means that you’ve got an inner fire that needs tending. Or perhaps you just need to hush those voices whispering in your head. Either way, you’re a writer. You’re not defined by who you are, but by what you write. If you write TV shows, you’re a team-oriented person. Feature film screenwriters, on the other hand, are more solitary creatures. They can just write in peace.
Yes, writing is your passion. You like to scribble down words and you’ve been doing it for as long as you can remember. There’s no sense in worrying about where you are. Focus only on where you want to be. Your interests and accomplishments will lead you down an unexpected road. Make sure that anyone who reads your texts understands you from the first reading. They shouldn’t feel the need to reach out for a dictionary. By associating with your personal brand, others will assimilate your qualities. Your abilities hold more power than you think. People are drawn to your writing and they don’t even know why.
You haven’t made a name for yourself in the film industry yet. That’s because you haven’t spent much time promoting yourself. All that has to change. To ensure success in increasing your readership base, set up a website and blog. They will enable you to pitch your scripts 24/7. This is the world of social media. Do you still need a website and a blog? Actually, you do. This is why.
You’ve got an online space that you can control as you like. If you don’t have a website or blog, you miss out on real opportunities to promote your writing and connect with the target audience. It’s important to keep in mind a few things when you share yourself:
Many use pen names. If you use a fictitious name too, it’s better to stick to it. Be proud of the name you’ve chosen. Don’t even try to switch names. This will hurt whatever brand identity you’ve managed to craft. Avoid confusion since everyone knows you by your pseudonym.
Your picture should be present on the homepage. Why? Simply because people need to see who you are. Words can never replace a real human connection. In self-promotion, it’s all about visibility and trust. So, include a nice picture, together with a bio. Anyone who visits your site or goes to read your articles should get the chance to know you.
Not updating a website is worse than not having one at all. An online platform can’t simply exist in cyberspace. It needs constant attention. Make sure to update your website with valuable content. Not only will you keep subscribers interested, but also you’ll have new info to convert visitors into potential clients.
Besides, this will help you get used to writing regularly and meet deadlines. These are very useful skills for every writer regardless of their niche.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s necessary to time your screenwriting. It’s not a good idea to release the script right after finishing it. Give yourself a little bit of time to do the necessary research and make a list of interested people before sending out a query letter. The point is that you need to schedule it. It seems simple enough, but it’s one of the activities that help you become a successful screenwriter.
Don’t send your script to anyone until you’ve revised and corrected it. It’s not ready for submission yet. Plus, don’t type out the piece of writing in a Microsoft Word document. It may look professional, but it’s recommended to use special software for writing and formatting scripts. It’ll completely change the look of the final product. You can’t simply write Hollywood on the envelope when you send out the script. If you don’t want that document to sit on your laptop, make a list of potential suitors. At least, you’ll have a starting point.
You have a stellar script in your hands. Now what? It needs to get to the right person. Become comfortable with becoming a salesperson. Otherwise, you won’t sell your work. Interest is the most significant element when it comes down to your project. While some tactics help you drive interest in what you do, others might be less effective. Keep what’s working and, most importantly, drop what’s not.
Social networking sites allow you to measure engagement. Use metrics such as reach, volume, exposure, and amplification to measure engagement. Don’t neglect retweets, replies, comments, and, of course, participants. Ignoring the deep analytics available on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a big mistake. You can get a sense of what works and what doesn’t in terms of self-promotion. What can be more valuable than that?
Screenwriters and filmmakers commonly network through LinkedIn. Once you spread your name recognition, it’s time to join LinkedIn. It’s the place where professionals like you can share content, find answers, and make business contacts. Join every group that you can possibly think of. This way, you’ll have a network of trusted readers to critique your work.
Getting the attention of a film producer is tough indeed. You could rent a billboard on Sunset Boulevard to advertise your skills. Better yet, you could send a query letter. This old-fashion way of marketing still works. It’s just that you don’t know anyone who has had any success with that. If you really want to break through into Hollywood, this is what you need to do:
If you’re a good writer and know how to represent yourself, you’ll surely get your shot. The film industry will find it impossible to ignore you. Make sure to get there when the gates are open.
Many dream of Hollywood, but only a very few take the necessary steps to make their dreams a reality. You’re not entitled to a career in screenwriting. You have to be enthusiastic and work at it hard. This is how you get noticed and get ahead. Start self-promoting yourself. Once you actually start doing it, it’ll become a lot easier. The best of luck in your promotional efforts. Remember that you don’t need a close relative in the business.
About the Author: Daniela McVicker is a copywriter, a contributing editor at Top Writers Review and a blogger. Her primary fields of interest include business communication, leadership, and management. She's also a big movie fan who enjoys almost any genre.
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