I wrote a screenplay, now what?

Movie Magic Screenwriter
Screenplay Image via Wikipedia

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…

  1. screenplays from agents that sucked.
  2. screenplays from friends that sucked.
  3. screenplays from known writers that sucked.
  4. screenplays from friends of friends that sucked.
  5. unsolicited screenplays that were written in hand.
  6. unsolicited screenplays with artwork and movie poster designs.
  7. unsolicited screenplays with long, drawn out cover letters.
  8. screenplays that had no plot.
  9. screenplays that had a plot, but no character development.
  10. 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:

  1. Enter the script in screenplay contests.
  2. Do you know anyone friendly with a Hollywood producers, agents or managers?
  3. If not,  I reccomend you print some business cards and then, learn how to produce.
  4. Do you have any friends who know up-and-coming Hollywood actors?
  5. 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.

Comments

  1. says

    Yes. You can enter multiple films. And two hours is a fine running time – although, I would try to cut it back to about 90 minutes, if you can.

  2. Lindzeh Cramer says

    I just wrote a screenplay and I’m planning on make a movie with a couple of friends. Would a film that’s about 2 hours long be to long to enter in a film festival? Also can you enter more then one film in a film festival?

  3. Souter Treeby says

    Only worked on the 1st Act, had too many obstacles to overcome back then. Shall try again.

  4. Akee says

    I have written a screenplay and I know that it has huge potential. However, there are some areas in the script which I need some help to make some cosmetic changes. The story is full of twist and original material.

  5. Chris lattiere says

    i wrote a very inspirational movie comparing it to my life experiences. this movie will surface i want someone to read it! who knows what to do with it i’ve had people close to me read it and thought it was amazing great ending great twist!

  6. ronald motau says

    first of all i live in de most disadvantaged places of south africa, and another thing is that i dont write fluently bt theu are understandable and readable, and i know that i write the best screenplays that the world intertainment is waiting for. Where i live access of information is very scares and i dnt even know anyone who is in the movie industry. I have two questio. How do i knw that the script i wrote is going to durate for a minimum of 5minutes for example. And two what do i do in this situation because i now have two finished scripts.n.

  7. Stephen Woodward says

    I have a completed and revised screenplay ready for approval. It is fiction/horror 2hrs long. Who may i contact.

  8. Stephen Woodward says

    I have a completed and revised screenplay ready for approval. It is fiction/horror 2hrs long. Who may i contact.

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