fbpx

I Wrote A Screenplay, Now What?

If you just wrote a screenplay, congratulations.

You just completed one of the hardest things to do in Hollywood. And if you’re like most first-time screenwriters, you’re wondering what to do next.

Do you contact a producer? Get an agent? Enter a screenwriting contest?

Or do you raise money and produce your film?

What To Do After Your Screenplay Is Written
Writing A Screenplay

There are no easy answers to these questions. Any time a screenplay gets produced, it is a complete miracle.

And any screenwriter who gets paid in the process is just plain lucky.

But you can do things that will increase your odds of screenwriting success.

I Wrote A Screenplay Too

Years ago, when I was a fat, beer-drinking, cheeseburger-eating appliance store salesman in Pennsylvania, I had just finished my first screenplay.

And like many first-time screenwriters, I had no idea what to do next. I remember thinking that just writing a script was enough to kickstart my Hollywood career.

I was wrong.

Years later, when I worked for a film producer in New York City, I quickly realized some hard truths. It turns out that lots of people write screenplays.

Every week, our office received dozens of script submissions. Any screenplay that failed to engage within the first ten pages to keep up with the influx went in the trash.

To help you avoid common pitfalls, here are some lessons I learned from reading screenplays for a producer. Look closely, as you may spot a trend:

  • Many screenplays from agents sucked
  • Many screenplays from friends sucked
  • Many screenplays from “known” writers sucked
  • Many screenplays from friends of friends sucked
  • Many screenplays written in handwriting (not kidding) sucked
  • Many screenplays had no plot and sucked
  • Many screenplays had a plot and sucked

Most Screenplays Suck

Whenever we received an AWESOME script, I would jump out of my seat, run across the office, and hand-deliver it to the producer. (This never happened.)

Your screenwriting success begins by simply taking the time to write and rewrite your words into a great screenplay.

Start with the script you just finished to increase your odds of writing a great screenplay.

Even if you think your screenplay is fantastic, the odds are good, but the story still requires some tweaking.

What To Do After Your Screenplay Is Written

So before you work any Hollywood connections, put your script in a drawer and focus on the following:

  1. Research popular screenplay contests
  2. Take some courses on film production and learn the basics
  3. Write another script… Seriously start right now

The last piece of advice about writing another script comes from experience.

Many writers focus so much on their current screenplay that they fail to expand their 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 sell.

Since agents, managers, and producers make their living by finding good material, having some good material is in your best interest.

Please don’t send anything out unless it is fantastic.

Assuming you capture the interest of a Hollywood Heavyweight, you’ll be ready to take your career to the next level. And if you’re interested, here’s how NOT to get your screenplay read.

TL;DR

Once you’ve finished your screenplay, it’s important to make sure it looks professional. Use proper screenplay format. Protect your script by registering it with the Writers Guild of America and the US Copyright Office. Get feedback from trusted individuals to make it even better. And don’t send it to any producers or agents until it’s the best version of your script you can make.

What should I do after finishing my screenplay?

Revise your screenplay until it’s polished, prioritize networking with other filmmakers, and make sure you have an awesome pitch.

How do I protect my screenplay?

Registering your screenplay with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) or the Library of Congress is important to protect your intellectual property.

How can I improve my screenplay?

Seek feedback from trusted peers, hire a professional script reader, and refine your dialogue, plot, and characters.

What is a logline and how do I write one?

A logline is a one-sentence summary of your screenplay that captures the essence of your story and hooks the reader.

How do I pitch my screenplay?

Practice until you get an awesome pitch covering your story’s main concept, conflict, and unique aspects.

Where can I find producers or agents for my screenplay?

Networking at film festivals, screenplay competitions, and industry events is a great way to meet potential producers and agents.

How important is networking in getting my screenplay noticed?

Building relationships in the industry is important. Doing this can increase the chances of your screenplay being read and produced.

Glossary

After finishing your screenplay, you will hear these terms as you work to get your movie script read and hopefully produced into a movie.

Screenplay: The script for a movie, including what people say and what happens.

Revision: Make changes to your script to make it better.

Registration: Signing up your script with a group like the Writers Guild of America to keep it safe.

Logline: A summary of your movie that explains the main idea in one sentence.

Pitch: Telling someone about your movie idea to try and get them interested.

Feedback: Advice from others on how to improve your script.

Networking: Meeting and talking to people who can help you with your movie career.

Ready to get your screenplay out there? Whether you’re looking to connect with agents or considering producing the film yourself, remember that every great movie begins with a compelling script.

If you want to learn more about refining your screenplay and navigating the film industry, check out Tom Malloy’s comprehensive screenwriting course. It’s designed to help you turn your script into one that attracts movie producers.

Photo of author

ARTICLE BY Jason Brubaker

If you'd like more tactics like the article you just read, make sure to grab a copy of the filmmaker checklist. You'll get 65 useful steps you can employ to produce your next feature film.