So you wrote a screenplay? Now what?
I’ve been getting a lot of questions from folks who just finished their first screenplay… And like many, they don’t know what to do next.
That brings back memories!
Almost 10 years ago, when I was a fat, beer drinking, cheeseburger eating appliance store salesman in Pennsylvania, I too had just finished my first screenplay. And like many first time screenwriters, I had no idea what to do next. Besides, I thought just finishing a screenplay was enough of an accomplishment to get Hollywood knocking at my door.
Boy was I wrong!
It wasn’t until some years later, when I worked for a producer in New York City that I was able to see the other side of the business. So today, I want to reveal some secrets and share a little bit about what I learned.
In short, we received…
- screenplays from agents that sucked.
- screenplays from friends that sucked.
- screenplays from known writers that sucked.
- screenplays from friends of friends that sucked.
- unsolicited screenplays that were written in hand.
- unsolicited screenplays with artwork and movie poster designs.
- unsolicited screenplays with long, drawn out cover letters.
- screenplays that had no plot.
- screenplays that had a plot, but no character development.
- screenplays that had a gazillion spelling and grammatical errors.
And every-so-often, we received a script that was so AWESOME that we jumped up and down in excitement.
So assuming you finished your first screenplay and you can’t wait to get it into the hands of Hollywood producers, here are my suggestions on what to do next:
- Enter the script in screenplay contests.
- Do you know anyone friendly with a Hollywood producers, agents or managers?
- If not, I reccomend you print some business cards and then, learn how to produce.
- Do you have any friends who know up-and-coming Hollywood actors?
- Write another script.
That last piece of advice – write another script – that comes from experience.
Many writers put all of their focus on a current screenplay, that they fail to expand their body of work. Writing a stack of screenplays is like creating inventory for your store. The more products you have on the shelf, the more you can eventually sell.
Since agents and managers and producers make their living by finding good material, it is in your best interest to have some good material. Don’t send anything out, unless it it is amazing. Then assuming you capture the interest of a Hollywood Heavyweight, you’ll be ready to take your career to the next level.