Screenwriting : Need Help attracting potential script buyers by Gerad Woolsey

Gerad Woolsey

Need Help attracting potential script buyers

I have an awesome script, and I believe that if I can just get someone of significance, a potential buyer or studio contact, to read it, they would enjoy it. But... I'm having trouble getting anyone to actually read it. I've sent query letters to producers, agents, and producers via email without so much as spec of response. I've also sent 3-4 faxes to a few studios with similar success. I've also thought about starting a kickstarter campaign, but am not sure how to go about that regarding getting my screenplay read by a potential buyer or someone that can help me sell it. I am just now making the means to start entering screenwriting contests and film fests, but I'd also like to continue persuing other options. Any suggestions/advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

Ehab Moniem

Look for an agent. While your doing that, you should start your next script.

Kamala Lane

I'd say keep querying and entering competitions here and there. You also need to build a network. Make yourself available to local filmmakers. I joined a screenwriters group, which led to me meeting local producers, directors, etc. I've PAed on one of their films and this summer I'll be a script supervisor for a feature film. They let me know of other opportunities out there that I wouldn't have known about if I didn't connect with others. Once I finish writing my short, I have some local directors/producers whom I can approach to have it produced. We can try to get it to a festival, etc.

Jacob Whitley

Look online for writer's conventions, film mixers, and film festival after parties. Mingling and getting people to know you face to face is a great way to get them to read your script. Even if your starting at the bottom with a filmmaker that is not that well known, he may like your script and then by word of mouth, he might bring it up in a casual conversation with a higher up that he might know. The best way to promote anything is by spreading the word and getting people excited about it. Make sure that your script is copyrighted first though. ;) I would also recommend printing some business cards. That'll make people remember you better.

Mragendra Singh

I am also in the same boat, would like to share an insight heard the other day, if the screenplay gets optioned for an indie film or if it get produced independently also helps in getting the attention.

Bryce Albertson

My advice is to check your state's film commission website and try to find a local producer, provided the script can be shot on a low budget. It could turn into a snowball. I'd say more, but...

Greg Beville

A lot of us writers are in the same boat Gerad! Look into Goethe...

Kriss Sprules

"I have an awesome script" Says who? Have you got coverage on it? Did you slip it into Ari Emmanuel's in-tray and now he's calling you incessantly? (I hate when he does that - dangnabit, Ari, I'm trying to sleep!) Not trying to be a dick, but everyone thinks their first script is awesome. It's almost certainly not - 99.999999999% of first scripts are toilet paper. Yes, it's awesome that you've finished, but I'm willing to bet the script itself is a broken vacuum cleaner - it'll blow and suck.at the same time. That's life. Get yourself some coverage, throw it at some contests to get feedback, and then start work on something else "awesome" and start the process again. You'll probably do this half a dozen times before you even have something "good."

Gerad Woolsey

I say, Kriss. Being my first script, do you think I did not contemplate my own amateurism or bias? Perhaps, down the road, I will look back on the script and think it garbage. For now, though, I think it is awesome, so I chose to describe it that way, and that should be good enough.

Kriss Sprules

Gerad, Not trying to put you down or sleight the immense achievement, but I'd avoid showing the script to industry folk in a sales capacity just yet. First impressions count, don't chance your arm on your first script. If it's awful, it won't matter if you follow it up with the next Schindler's List... people will remember hating your first one and it'll make doors harder to unlock.

Liam Lionheart

Join Inktip they help writers all the time, you need to have patients. either that or pitch to a small studio, there isn't any shame in it as long it gets made one day.

Liam Lionheart

Oops, thanks for pointing that out Bix.

D Marcus

Gerad, why do you think no agents or producers have asked to read your script?

Chris Perham

I remember thinking my first script was awesome as well and now that I am on my fifth script, I cringe whenever I even think about my first one. I agree, don't send it out...and, if you haven't rewritten it a dozen times, put it in a drawer for a year...then rewritten it a dozen more times, it probably sucks. I know this from personal experience with my own work.

Bryan Howell

Hey Gerad, I'm hardly an authority but I can share my own experiences. I landed an agent by sending out 80 queries, on paper, via snail mail. Out of those 80 queries, I got a couple of nibbles and one actual bite. From what I've heard from others, that's actually a pretty good ratio. From the day I sent out my queries until the day I signed with my agent was about 4 months. Most of it in complete radio silence. I've had some interest, some near-misses, and one producer who really wanted it but couldn't bring his partner around. His partner's words were, and I quote: "It's a really good script, but it's not a great script." Oh well. In the meantime, I keep writing new stuff and revising the old stuff. Now, I don't know if your script is awesome, or blows, or blows and sucks simultaneously, or any of that. None of the people on this thread know that. Tossing around those adjectives seems completely useless to me. If you're not getting a response to your queries, I'd say you've got one (or more) of the following problems: 1: You haven't queried enough. 2: You haven't queried the right people. 3: Your query is ineffective. 4: Your concept isn't working. If you want actionable feedback, I'd invite you to share your query with us, or with other people who have been around the block, and listen to what we/they say. If you're consistently hearing that the query or concept isn't working, you need to sit with that feedback and decide what to do with it. It's great that you believe in your script, but if it's really as good as you think, it will stand on its own. If it's not as good as you think, better to learn that now and set about the messy work of making it stronger. Sorry for the massive post! Hope it was useful!

Swan Harris

There is a site I stumbled upon called tv writers vault. A place where writers can shop their scripts. check it out.

Joanna Ke

Bryan's comment is fantastic! And I agree that coverage will help you gain perspective on your screenplay since we are all biased when we have invested our heart and soul into something. On a side note, I've worked with a lit management company and would be happy to help with coverage if you haven't gotten any yet. You have to get through the gatekeepers before they will even consider your work.

Corey L. Douglas Mcbryde

Find a producer who is also a screenwriter. A screenwriter by passion not just by title.

Noë Lee

Have you checked out InkTip?

Gerad Woolsey

A big shout out to everyone that has taken the time to respond to my post. I've gotten some great advice so far, and if I haven't thanked you yet personally, thank you! I definitely have some new sites to check out and contests to enter, but I'd also like to address a few other points. All of the query letters I've sent so far have been via email. I am wondering if I might have more success with snail mail or over the telephone. Has anyone had success selling over the phone? I am hesitant to call a production company and pitch my screenplay to someone's assistant or secretary. Any more comments or advice is much appreciated. Thanks

Kriss Sprules

For What It's Worth, Bix - it's txtspk!

Kriss Sprules

You're not the only one! I get texts full of txtspk all the time and I always respond with "I'm sorry, the person you've tried to contact speaks English. Please reinsert the vowels and try again."

Bryan Howell

@ Dan -- that's an interesting point about adaptations, and one I've never heard before. Are these works in the public domain, or are you securing the rights to them? Just curious what your approach is.

Joanna Ke

From what I know, you have to secure the rights when it comes to adaptations if you want to write a screenplay on it. That can be done a number of ways - before you write or after you've written where the author can sell the rights based on approval of the screenplay. An entertainment lawyer would be best to consult on all of that though. I'm writing a screenplay based on my friend's life right now and while it is not an adaptation of an a written work, have to secure the rights to her story. I consulted with a manager and spoke with my friend. We're going the route of signing the paperwork for the rights to tell her story in screenplay upon approval of the screenplay since I want her to be comfortable with it since it is her life. That's my two cents!

Kriss Sprules

Bryan, either route can work. Adaptations of Shakespeare, the Brontes, Austen and Tolstoy have all been made to work and proven successful and are in the public domain. Adapting blogs has become a new thing, too. I'm considering putting in an offer to option a particular favourite blog of mine.

Bryce Albertson

Don't let the bastards get you down about it being your first script. My first script won 1st place at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. It can happen.

D Marcus

Bryce, do you feel your success with a first script is the norm? Are most first scripts as excellent as yours is? What has happened with your script since your win?

Noë Lee

Hi Gerad, I know exactly how you feel ... I'm in the same boat. Good luck to you!

Marvin Willson

Gerad, send me the first five pages of your screenplay and I'll happily give you honest feedback.

Shelly Paino

Hi, I'd love to see your query letter. You can paste it into a message to me? Maybe I can send you one of mine as well and you can let me know what you think?

Warren Weisman

The advice above about having your screenplay and query letter in world-class form cannot be overemphasized. A first screenplay has to be flawless. As a general rule of thumb, it's easier to get a manager than an agent. They are more open to new writers. I'd check out donedealpro.com on the forums, those folks have up-to-date contact info on everybody. Even better than imdb!! Just be advised, there's a lot of "career amateurs" there who don't seem very interested in getting to the next level. Eventually, if you got 5-6 solid screenplays written and nobody's biting, it's probably time to start looking at shooting something yourself.

Mragendra Singh

Warren, I think it is what been happening lately. One movie comes to my mind is, Another Earth.

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