So you’re asking yourself: “I wrote a screenplay… Now what?” I’ve heard this question a lot over the years. And if you just finished your first screenplay, congratulations… You’ve just completed what many people find impossible. And like many new screenwriters, you trying to figure out what to do next.
You are not alone. 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. And I remember thinking that just finishing a screenplay was enough of an accomplishment to get Hollywood knocking at my door.
I Wrote A Screenplay, Now What?
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 your script in popular screenplay contests.
- Find someone in your network friendly with a Hollywood players.
- Print some business cards and then, learn how to produce.
- Find friends who know up-and-coming Hollywood actors.
- Write another script… Seriously start right now.
The last piece of advice about writing another script 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.