Write or Acquire a Screenplay? Here’s How To Take Action!

Do you write or acquire a screenplay? Think about it. Screenwriting is the heavy lifting for your movie. Without a good script you limit your chances for success from the onset. Your goal is to only work with the best material you can get your hands on.

In your journey to bring ideas to life, you will want to decide if you will write your screenplay yourself, with a writing partner or if you will acquire a script from someone else. Here are some ideas on how to take action!

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Write or Acquire a Screenplay?

If you choose to write your screenplay yourself, don’t be afraid to write a crappy first draft. Most screenwriters in Hollywood claim to have a screenplay, but that is not true. Rather most would-be screenwriters have the first 15 pages to screenplay and they will never finish.  This is because they are afraid of failure. But not you.

Your goal is to write, and write, and write. Finish a crappy first draft. Then refine it.

But writing isn’t for everyone.

Faced with the fear of a bank page, some filmmakers think it’s easier to acquire a screenplay, or story rights. While this may be true if you have great connections and unlimited cash reserves… Garnering the rights to popular stories may be cost prohibitive. In this case, you might instead look for old stories in the public domain, or find something a story authored by a niche influencer.

Here’s A Real World Example

A few weeks back the leader of a Facebook group on marketing (with over 179,000 members) put out his book on marketing. It’s more of an autobiography than an actual how-to marketing book. And I thought the story could be adapted to an awesome screenplay. If the movie was produced for a low enough budget, we could then sell it right back to the 179,000 group members. Suffice it to say, I immediately reached out to the author to see if the motion picture rights are still available.

If you don’t want to fully adapt a screenplay, you could always partner with a writer. To get the ball rolling, many filmmakers post ads on craigslist.com seeking a screenwriter. The only problem is, you’ll be instantly inundated by gazillions of writers seeking a producer. So it may behove you toresearch established (but new) screenwriters who have a similar vision. A good place to find these writers is

Before you decide if you’ll write or acquire a screenplay, or hire a writer I suggest you visit the American Film Market. You may have to pay a pretty hefty amount for a pass, but this will help you find other people who are serious. For additional screenwriting resources, check out our training on how to write a screenplay this year.

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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.
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