TOP TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR SCREENPLAY
September 24th, 2014
TOP TIPS FOR SELLING YOUR SCREENPLAY
by Susan Kouguell
The chances of selling a screenplay are a zillion to one. Maybe a billion to one? A million to one? Or -- if you’re lucky, the math is in your favor and the chances are less than that. But yes, the odds are staggering.
The biggest and most important tip I can share with you is this -- do not submit your screenplay unless it is absolutely brilliant. Seriously-- if your script is not the absolute best it can be then your script will be rejected. Your screenplay is your calling card; it is your audition piece to gain entry into the film business. If you’re having doubts about the strength of your screenplay then it’s not ready to be submitted. Seek professional feedback from a screenplay consultant or industry professional. Keep in mind that if you ask a friend or family member, this person might not have the tools to determine a script’s strengths and weaknesses -- and might not tell you the truth because -- they don’t want to alienate you! The competition to get a script read by a film industry executive, let alone, having it be considered for production or even sold – are indeed staggering. Keep the odds in your favor.
Now that I’ve gotten the negative, depressing statistics out of the way, let’s look at the positive news. If you think outside of the proverbial box, you increase your chances of selling your screenplay.
Network: You must get your screenplay out of your drawer, and you and your script must venture into the world of film.
- Attend script and pitch conferences, and film festivals. This is an opportunity to meet filmmakers, producers, agents, managers, and other screenwriters.
- Take online screenwriting courses; many of these classes have film executives as guest speakers.
- Join and/or volunteer at screenwriting and film organizations.
- Contact your state’s film commission to learn what activities they have slated and how you can get involved.
Lean how the film industry works
The film industry is a business. The savvier you are the better chances you have to break past the gatekeepers.
- Keep up-to-date by reading screenwriting and film publications to find out who’s producing what and with whom.
- It’s not only the major Hollywood studios producing films -- research independent film production companies and cable networks. Research who’s producing and directing in the genre and sensibility you’re working in, and reach out to them via a query letter.
- Follow the film industry trade publications to see which producers, production companies, managers, and agents are seeking unsolicited material to consider for development and/or production.
Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and industry executives worldwide. (www.su-city-pictures.com). Her films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and were included in the Whitney Museum Biennial. Susan worked with Louis Malle on And the Pursuit of Happiness, was a story analyst and story editor for many studios, wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. Susan wrote THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER: How to Sell Your Screenplay (and Yourself) Without Selling Out! and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises, available at $1.00 off on https://www.createspace.com/3558862 use DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD. On Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009SB8Z7M (discount code does not apply). Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/
About the Author
Susan Kouguell, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, is the author of THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER and SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! A comprehensive guide to crafting winning characters with film analyses and screenwriting exercises (available at $1.00 with DISCOUNT CODE: G22GAZPD: https://www.createspace.com/3558862 ). Susan is a regular contributor to Indiewire/SydneysBuzz, Script Magazine and The Script Lab.
Kouguell teaches screenwriting at Purchase College, SUNY and presents international seminars. As chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a motion picture consulting company founded in 1990, Kouguell works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, executives and studios worldwide. Recipient of many grants and fellowships, including the MacDowell Colony, Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Edward Albee Foundation, Kouguell’s short films are in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection and archives, and were included in the Whitney Museum’s Biennial. Kouguell worked with director Louis Malle on his film And the Pursuit of Happiness, was a story analyst and story editor for many studios, (Paramount, Viacom, Dustin Hoffman’s Punch Productions), wrote voice-over narrations for (Harvey Weinstein) Miramax and over a dozen feature assignments for independent companies. www.su-city-pictures.com. Follow Susan at Su-City Pictures, LLC Facebook fan page and SKouguell on Twitter, and read more articles on her blog: http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog/.