Screenwriting : Deciding what kind of script to sell as first spec script by Wade Taylor

Wade Taylor

Deciding what kind of script to sell as first spec script

I am trying to decide which would be better to write to try to sell as my first script. I have a television pilot script called THE END, and also have several movie scripts that range from 115 to 125 pages. The movie scripts are mostly drama/suspense and mystery thrillers. Any suggestions?

Chuck Dudley

A few "calling card scripts" on hand is always a good thing. Especially scripts that really show your writing potential. Sites like inktip are heavy on "micro budget" scripts -- scripts that can be produced for very little money. Write a great "micro budget" script and it's a great way to get optioned or sold. Good luck Wade!

Robin Chappell

Write what interests you the most and will present your writing best. Don't worry about trying to 'figure out' what's going to sell, because even Hollywood doesn't really know. Also, 120 pages is the max for a feature script for a drama (and preferably 110 at most), and 95-100 for a comedy. I have seven scripts complete, and they are all in (mostly) different genres. I write what I need to write. Concentrate on completing several scripts before you worry about selling. Very few Writers sell original/spec material, and you have to REALLY know to write to even do that.

Marvin Willson

Robin is right. Write what drives you. It is however quite naive to think that your first script will sell. If it was that easy, everyone would do it.

Richard "RB" Botto

Excellent post, Robin.

Wade Taylor

Thank you, that really helped me out a lot.

Rik Carter

The harsh reality is you (the writer) do not make the decision. That is why most people suggest a writer write several scripts. Which script is the first to sell will depend on many factors. In most cases writers do not sell their scripts at all - their scripts end up as writing samples and they get hired to write a script. So if that this moment you don't have that first script finished I suggest you write five excellent, marketable scripts and your pilot and three other TV episodes. Then market yourself as a serious writer looking for a long tern career and do not even think of which script would be better to write to try to sell as your first script.

Billie Jean Van Knight

What Robin said. :)

Vondell Richmond

Make it and then build it, then go sell it. Why do we buy cars? We deem them valuable--no one buys potential, they buy VALUE and things that they can market and RECOUP their investment from. I made my film first, and it opened up SOO many doors for me as I was no longer just a wanna be filmmaker/writer, but I was seen as legit/ had some skin in the game.

Malcolm Carter

I agree with most write what you know, and KEEP WRITING, and always see if you can rewrite some of your scripts, but also the scripts you mention seem a tad bit long, scripts are now ranging from 90-100 pages

Roy Lionheart

Inktip is a good place to be - I'm on it. Just don't post one that's all ready a franchise I learned the hard way.

Rob Parnell

Whenever I speak to co-producers, writers and directors, they want to know which project you're most passionate about. Passion will take you further than anything else. Besides which, given the nature of the industry, you'll probably need to stay focused on the project for two to three years - up to fifteen if it's successful - so it better be something you love!

Dave Merlino

Just a word of grounding in that you need to be aware of the fact that your first spec probably isn't going to sell. Everyone's first spec is practice. No matter how awesome we all thought our first spec was, we later realized how much we had to learn about the mechanics of screenwriting. Sure, you can read all the books you want, but some things only come with practice. That is not to say your first spec is so bad you need to throw it out. Our first spec was a great story, but we made a lot of technical errors (7 page scenes, redundant scenes, too long of description blocks). Now that we know all of that, it is primed for rewrite. What you want to do is build a stable of scripts, not just for the famous "What else do you have?" question, but also because it allows you to identify what is market ready. We have had some great ideas, but after writing them we found they weren't that great on the page and not worth a rewrite. That was not wasted time though. It allowed us to learn from our mistakes and make each subsiquent script better. Out of the six scripts we have written, we have three gems that are market ready. Once we identified those three, they have been all we focused on in order to make them the very best possible story they could be. It is a process that is going to take a long time, but if you put in the effort it will be worth it. So I will second what everyone else said. Write what you like. What you are passionate about. If you try to chase trends two things will happen. 1) You will be too late by the time you are done 2) It will not be something you are passionate about and it will show in the writing. It will be sterile. It will look like you just strung together a bunch of scenes, based off a sterile, outline to make a movie. If you are passionate about your story it will shine through.

Lisa Eismen

Ok, so once you get your bank of scripts that you like and have gotten them up to scratch, who do send them to? I don't have an agent as of yet.

Mark Ratering

TV is really insiders features got a small small shot

Marvin Willson

Signing to a WGA" agent" does nothing to help you become a member of the WGA.

Mark Ratering

But if you live near their offices and your a member they have screenings and a great library and you can do some connecting....very small.

Mark Ratering

I don't know what it is now but the dues are a b***ch

Robin Chappell

First. Protect your work by registering it at the Library of Congress (even if you live in a foreign territory). Then with the WGAw (only after the LoC). You can't get in to the WGA without your script going into production (or six scripts being optioned -- go to the WGA website to see the particulars). DON'T SEND YOUR SCRIPT OUT TO ANYONE UNLESS IT IS LoC/WGA PROTECTED! If you do, it's GONE (trust me). Second. Unless your script is one of those One in a Million really good out of the gate... Yes first script Specs sell in Hollywood, but very, very few. Even represented, you're probably not going to sell a script. You'll work on 'polishes' of others scripts, not your own. Third. Don't believe Anyone who tells you it's going to be easy. If your script doesn't absolutely (business saying) KILL, it won't get sold. WGA registers about 5000 scripts a year, and most of them are only good as door stops. Write, Get Coverage, Re-Write, Get Coverage, Enter into a competition and get into the Finalist category (I've quarter-final placed in two and no one called me for the script), and then, maybe, you'll sell your script. Maybe. Actually, First, learn to write. English. Prose. Screenwriting is the hardest form to learn, next to the perfect Sonet or Haiku (both for the same reason. brevity. brevity. conciseness.).

Marvin Willson

Umm! the WGA registers over 60,000 screenplays a year...

Don Thomas

I write what I want to write, what I am inspired to write, than once it is written I assemble the different type of stories I have told and sometimes the possibility of things I haven't written yet is sufficient inspiration to start on something completely different. Still haven't done a Romantic Comedy,or a Musical, or a few others but one day I might.

Marvin Willson

@kjirstin what's a "Sil"? Son in Law?

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