Screenwriting : What to do next with my screenplay by Shane Kelly Davis

Shane Kelly Davis

What to do next with my screenplay

I am wondering what I have to do next with my screenplay. I have copyrighted it and waiting to hear back. I have done some research on doing this or that such as start a website, find an agent. I would like to hear some real practical advice on what my next steps should be? Like I said, I have an idea but just want to hear from someone who has experience. Thanks

Anthony Moore

My advice - Enter a couple of contests that provide feedback if you don't have a lot of cash. Get paid feedback if you do. Write another script while waiting to hear back. Prepare to rewrite the first once you hear back. Repeat as necessary.

Ian White

Have people read it. Get feedback. Then rewrite it. Then have people read it. Get feedback. Then rewrite it...

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy


I'm going to come at this from a different angle.

1) Is this your first script?

2) What genre are you working in?

3) Have you read any books about screenwriting? I can recommend a couple if you like. The Hollywood Standard by Chris Riley is a good one to learn formatting.

4) Have you read some scripts written by writers you like? Say you're a fan of David O' Russell, you could download a script like American Hustle and study the tone of the material.

5) When you think you're ready, don't be afraid to enter a few contests and folks like Page, Nicholl, and several others charge pretty reasonable prices for feedback. I think Bluecat is still doing free feeback with your entry fee.

Good luck.

Tony S.

Get professional feedback from readers who work for competitions and studios.

Pablo Diablo

Hey Shane, congrats on finishing your script! Are there any writer's groups in Tampa that you can join? I find meeting up with other writers and going over each other's scripts can be beneficial. Sure, you could pay for the service, but with either personal or even virtual, can benefit, inasmuch as hiring a pro.

Usually you can find groups using MeetUp app, I found one via Reddit's r/screenwriting page. Hell, even offer a trade scripts with another writer, iron sharpens iron style.

Good luck, and congrats once again!

Also gonna piggy back off Mister Hardy's note on The Hollywood Standard by Christopher Riley. It is my favorite book on correct script formatting! Story by Robert Mckee is dense, with a lot of theory, but can be a little intimidating. It is my favorite book on correct script formatting! Story by Robert Mckee is dense, with a lot of theory, but can be a little intimidating.

But nothing can benefit quite like reading your favorite scripts. It can also help you hone your craft in your selected genre.

Tony S.

Peer reviews are fine but they are done by peers. Therefore, a good peer critique can be deceptive in terms of professional response and a bad damaging in the same way.

A pre-law student does not ask another pre-law student to represent them for free in a criminal trial. There's a purity in commerce that supersedes.

Pablo Diablo

Perhaps, but it too can be made on a case-by-case basis. I assume your intention is coming from a place where peer review is one that can be amateur, but we all gotta start somewhere.

Does a film critic have better insight? Did Ebert & Roeper give bad reviews for otherwise big hits? Perhaps. A reader, even a pro, is just a member of the audience. We provide insight. Sometimes having a friend, or a writer's group member would come from a place of intention, to help one another out. Something a reader might miss.

They are paid to read scripts. Sometimes even those can be botched, done with little care, but again, reader/peer is subjective. Hell, I worked as a reader and my notes were as good as someone in my writer's group. The upside to being a pro is being a gatekeeper with a set of questions they need to answer before moving onto the next one.

At the end of the day, having eyes on a script is better than not having eyes at all.

Also, *supercedes.

Tony S.

Also, *specious.

Bill Costantini

You are a psychologist. That's can understand and apply advanced concepts that deal directly with human nature. You directed two films. That's good, can understand how a film should be made. You apply your real-life experiences to your work, and that's good, too.

But are you a good storyteller who told a good story, and who understands the elements of drama and how to write for a visual medium?

If I were you...I'd have a reputable script consultant critique me and my story. Then, if I felt the story was ready to be pitched, I'd pitch it to the types of producers that are looking for this type of story. I'd probably pitch me and my stories to managers/agents, too. I'd probably have a website, too, but that's nowhere near as important at this point in time as getting critiqued by a reputable script consultant, and then bringing my script to market through pitches. I'd probably enter my script in a few of the reputable competitions, too.

Best of luck to you, Shane!

Shawn Speake

My man. Huge congrats! Finishing's where it's at. Start writing another script.

Shawn Speake

Do not focus on promoting your first screenplay. You'll thank me later.

Travis Sharp

Reread what Ian said and then read what he said again in a few months.

Philip E. Odiete

Shawn is right, Shane. Just keep writing. You will know when your scripts are ready for promotion. The more scripts you have on the shelf, the better chance you have of optioning them.

Tony S.

How does an amateur have self-knowledge a script is ready for promotion.

Beth Fox Heisinger

This may sound strange to some but I would suggest putting it aside and just keep writing. Start writing another screenplay and another and another. As others have said you certainly can enter this first script into reputable contests to gauge your writing, you could seek feedback, etc, but... to be focused on selling or promoting so early is rather putting the cart before the horse. An amateur can absolutely have self-knowledge by taking the time and doing the work to learn how to write effectively. You must develop your own style and voice as well as the craft of screenwriting. ;)

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

It is done, put it aside for a while and write something else or do something else creatively, fawning over it and obsessing will cause rejection to hurt too much and professional and creative frustration to set in, in my experience.

Keep writing, keep creating and you will get there, I am 10ish years into writing, only since 2016 have I had proper tangible successes personally , but I've been on the grind and now I am in a place where I have so many ideas and so much knowledge that I am not phased and can fit well onto most teams.

It's daunting but you've got this!

Dan MaxXx

real practical advice? While you're writing, get a show biz job doing whatever. Grip, security guard, camera, crew. Hangout with filmmakers and Actors, just be around, tell folks you write and maybe someone will give you a chance. It worked for me. I met a young actress named Eva Longoria. She remember me years later and picked my script idea over stacks of known writers. I wasn't the most talented, I was just around working folks. Go figure!

Ingrid Goldberg

Dan MaxXx I think that is the most sane and sound comment I have ever heard on this site! Wish I was young again and mobile to take advantage of it! That's okay, I had my time as a stage actress....and your advice worked there as well. All the Best!

Sam Borowski

Playing off what Dan said, yes, you have to be "around it." In addition to getting a job around it, attend Film Festivals, still one of the best ways to meet connections, that can include Oscar-Winners, Movie Stars and working Producers. You should also be shopping your script to different people, pitching people, whether you are in an office, at a pizza place in NYC or at In and Out Burger. Be relentless. Be Proactive. Be Cool. ;) GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH!

Tony S.

Strange, there can be no amateur self-knowledge on a first script, which is what the OP was about. And a shelf of scripts that are not critiqued by those with a sharp, professional eye simply allows the writer to continue bad habits. Peer review is generally a waste of time. Development in the difficult craft of screenwriting is beyond books and hacking away.

When an amateur golfer wishes to improve they take lessons from a Pro.

Even entering competitions without effective feedback is a waste of money and can lead to frustration along with a smaller bank account.

As a few have said, have the goods before you peddle them.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Tony, I'm not trying to argue, honest, but why be so dismissive? You need craft knowledge to write a script in the first place, do you not? Which you can obtain before writing that first script—through study, having a mentor, having a related job, plus... one's life experience, intelligence, skills, and talent add to the creative mix, etc. Every writer is different. I have made the point on other threads (others have too) that some new writers come out of the gate way too early when it comes to pitching and trying to sell something. Thinking about selling that first script is rather putting the cart before the horse. It takes much time and hard work to write at a professional level. But you gotta write, develop a voice. Who said anything about never getting a pro critique? Nonetheless, you do need more than one well-written script on that shelf, do you not? And learning how to gauge your own writing is a valuable, objectable skillset one must have. I trust my own sharp eye, as well as the sharp eye of a few others. ;)

Bill Costantini're actually the one being dismissive. Think about it. You're automatically assuming that his script isn't good enough to be critiqued by a professional, or might not be option-ready or even salable.

Tony S....I totally agree with your comparison to a golfer and a golf pro. It actually applies to any endeavor, you know?

And if someone wrote their first script...why wouldn't they want it critiqued by a professional? Shouldn't they want to know what their strengths and weaknesses are? Or should they keep repeating the same potential faults over and over again? You all know what the definition of "insanity" is, I'm why wouldn't someone want their script critiqued by a professional?

If any of you actually took the time to read Shane's I's his third script...he's directed two films...and he's a psychologist. He must be a pretty smart guy to get an advanced degree in psychology. And he directed two films (features), so he must know at least a little bit about film. And he certainly has the intellectual capacity to be a smart and insightful person, as evidenced by his ability to obtain an advanced degree, don't you think?

Shane....if you don't have a script analyst, and would like the name of one (or a few)...I've worked with several of the best in the business. They all have a lot of production credits (very successful commercial films), and know a ton about film and writing. There is also a person not too far from you who knows a ton about film and writing, too, and has a lot of production credits. She used to post here quite a bit, but no longer is a member. There are also some very well-qualified people available through the Happy Writers link you see on this page as well, and some of them might specialize in a niche that you feel most comfortable.

And just to add....last year an attorney wrote and sold her first script. It went into a bidding war and she received over seven figures. Another person who wrote and sold his first script received a nice amount as well. Go for it, Shane!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Huh? Sorry if it comes across that way, Bill, because that's not my intention. My comment about coming out the gate too early was directed at some new writers, not specifically the O.P. 'Cause I have no idea, none of us do. Lol! ;) And, most would agree selling a first script, although not impossible, is incredibly rare, yes? My question about why be dismissive was about the negative assumptions made about all amateur writers and peers. Perhaps I misread Tony's comment? And some golfers are natural talents, yes? Although I wouldn't know, I don't golf. Lol! Nor do I follow the profession. No thanks! ;)

Beth Fox Heisinger

And, Bill, reading over the thread many are suggesting to Shane to keep going, to keep writing, regardless if he gets pro critique or enters this first script in a competition, which I totally agree. Me, in the beginning, I had the incredible luck of having a mentor, a former V.P. of Development at United Artists. And I'm passing on her advice which was helpful to me.

Beth Fox Heisinger

And, lastly, Bill, thank you for pointing out Shane's profile and the fact that this is not his first script. In my hurry today, I totally didn't catch that. Sorry about that, Shane. And, Shane, I hope you do find all the comments helpful. Best to you! :)

Bill Costantini problem. And did have some incredible luck (congrats!). And you also were proactive enough to make that good fortune happen, too, if I recall correctly (from you writing about it). So kudos for making that "luck" happen.

I'd still recommend to any writer...regardless of their day job/professional status...if you aren't fortunate enough to hook up with a mentor like Beth did...and if you can afford it...have your first (or second or third) script critiqued by a reputable script consultant. Great professional consultants are worth their weight in gold. They just don't critique the script -they critique your skills. Their advice can be invaluable in a writer's development. I speak from personal experience, by the first script was critiqued by a great consultant, and it was well, well worth it. And I also pitched it at the same a few read requests...they passed...but they were more than happy to keep their doors open to me.

Good Luck and Happy Writing, all!

Mike W. Rogers

Shane, I should have looked at your Bio before answering. I'll leave it to people on here who may have some "practical" advise as requested. Good luck!

Natalie Elizabeth Beech

I hadn't realised this wasn't your first go round, my advice was generic for a "first timer" I just commented in passing, I would say network, speak to other writers have them read it, pitch whenever you can, get a consult on your script, enter competitions if you think its something you would like to do and just hit the ground running. Never stop writing though, it is important, and helps you improve previous scripts the more adept you become at it.

Annette F Hummell

Start your next project.

Tony S.


Jimmy Matlosz

Build a pitch deck, extract a scene to make a short, do a table read.

Tony Germann

Contest season is upon us. I think that is a great place to start. Building your pitch and honing it also helps to prepare you for when you get the chance to tell someone about it.

Pablo Diablo

Jimmy - totally agree with a table read! Hearing dialogue, even action, read aloud can do wonders for improving the script!

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In