How To Get A Job Reading Scripts – So you’ve finally finished a script you’re proud of. Congratulations. But now you’re trying to figure out how to sell a screenplay? In this post, we’ll take a look at the best six options to help you do just that.
We’re not saying that selling scripts is “easy.” There are no guarantees associated with any of the steps in this post. But if you rigorously apply yourself to each of them (for as long as it takes), selling a movie script will become much easier.
How To Get A Job Reading Scripts
To get the most out of this post, remember that you should first write scripts that sell. Once you know how, put together a portfolio that includes
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You can read more about how to put together a portfolio in our post on How to Become a Screenwriter: A Pro’s Guide to Unlocking Your Career.
Once you’ve put together a portfolio that’s received a glowing review from an industry friend or a “Recommend” rating from a screenwriting service, the real work of selling screenplays begins…
So without further ado, here are the top six tips on how to sell a movie script that you need to know.
Agents have become something of an enigma because of the Catch-22 situation that your script won’t get read if you don’t have an agent, but you can’t get an agent until you sell a script.
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And somehow getting an agent has become a kind of holy grail among aspiring screenwriters. But this approach is wrong. In reality, agents only exist so that a deal can be made and handled between you, the screenwriter, and a producer, production company, or studio.
An agent’s job is to make deals happen. And more often than not, this will only happen when a script is considered commercially strong and marketable. Since script agents only get 10 percent of the deals they make, they’ll only make money if the deal is big enough.
Script agents only make enough money to make a career out of mid to high level deals. Making a deal for a $100,000 script sale is profitable as long as they do a lot of them. And most will only represent scripts and writers if they find a script they can easily sell.
Script managers, however, are an entirely different entity. They will help you—the good ones, that is—to become a better writer. They’ll help you develop your scripts, give you feedback, work with you, build your network, get your name around town, etc.
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Most managers will even help you get an agent—but only, of course, if they believe the agent will know how to sell your script.
If you want to break into Hollywood, then looking for screenwriters can be a necessary step in doing so. But only later. Instead of spending all your energy trying to find an agent who you think can “launch your career,” focus on finding a literary manager.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 130+ script managers currently working in Hollywood. You can read and find the list here: Script Managers List of Top 130 Management Companies.
Another smart choice when it comes to selling scripts is to find a producer. If you can get your script into someone’s hands, they might want to get involved with fundraising.
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A development executive (also called a creative executive) will often be approached by a producer with a script, and then it’s their job to get the studio to back it. However, because they work so closely with scripts and help develop them, they’re obviously worth targeting as well.
Where do you find producers and executives that you might be able to sell your script to? There was a time when they were searched using hard copies of the Hollywood Agent Directory and the Hollywood Creative Directory. This method, however, has been rendered obsolete by the Internet.
The best way to find people is to sign up for IMDb Pro. It costs $20 a month (or $150 a year.) But you have a free trial to try it out. Once there, you’ll have access to the contact information for every production company, studio, and executive in Hollywood.
So the idea is to look for those working on similar projects to yours that you might be able to sell your script to. Consider which genre (or combination of genres) best describes your script and target like-minded people.
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Take all the information from IMDb Pro and put it into a giant spreadsheet. List the names of all the directors, producers, companies and executives you want to approach.
Create columns for outcomes, follow-ups, and outcomes. However, it is often a good idea not to prefer the actual person you want to connect with. Instead, contact their assistant or someone lower down the food chain who may be more open to dialogue.
Get the first fifty names in your spreadsheet and, as in the Script Leads list. But remember to find out what their company’s submission policy is before submitting your question.
You may also want to call them instead of emailing to make a more personal connection. Selling scripts, however, is a lot like selling anything else, so if you’re not so confident over the phone, it might be best to stick to email.
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If you want to learn how to sell a script, you also need to learn how to network. It’s just a part of the business that every aspiring screenwriter has to deal with, no matter how appealing it may seem at first.
While a script director may be able to open doors for you, you’ll also need to create your own opportunities. That means getting out there and meeting people.
Start by making a list of everyone you know who is connected to the industry in some way. Or, at best, someone you know who knows someone who is connected to someone in the industry. The volume of scripts sold over the water cooler each year is a testament to the fact that Hollywood is built on relationships.
If you don’t already live in Los Angeles, consider a move. It is not possible for everyone, however. But in Los Angeles it will be much easier to meet people in the industry and give a real shot at selling a script.
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You’ll be able to easily attend conferences, screenings, writing groups and festivals and make connections easily. Not to mention hanging out in the same coffee shops with directors, executives, producers, actors, and other writers every day as you work on your latest script.
Getting to know the actors can also be extremely beneficial. It doesn’t have to be Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling. But if you can get a moderately well-known actor to read the script, he might be interested in playing a part. Once attached, it will be much easier to attach other parts, such as a producer.
Yes, you may be able to hit people up on Skype today, but personal contact is often the best way to advance your career. Here are four bad reasons screenwriters give for not moving to Los Angeles (and why you should ignore them).
In addition to the more traditional route when it comes to selling your screenplay, the following websites can help you sell screenplays online.
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If you want to learn how to sell your screenplay online, The Blacklist is such a good place to start. The site began as a survey in 2005 when Franklin Leonard asked approximately 100 hundred film industry development executives about their favorite unmade scripts of that year.
Now screenwriters can (for a fee) upload their scripts to their database and track the amount of interest it receives from industry executives. As we said, a great starting point to discover how to sell a screenplay online. See the blacklist >>
Signing up on this site has become an industry standard procedure for any writer who wants to learn how to sell a screenplay.
It costs $20 a month (or $150 a year) to do so, and then you’ll have full access to a huge database of managers, producers, executives and actors you might be interested in with a query letter or phone call in writing. Check out IMDb Pro >>
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Over 200 films have been made by producers from scripts and writers found on InkTip. In fact, an average of 30 films are produced each year, in addition to helping countless writers find representation or options in their script.
They also work with a mix of independent producers and larger companies, including ABC, HBO Films, ICM and 20th Century Fox. Check out InkTip >>
This site is full of ads looking for writers for sitcoms, web series, sci-fi movies, and everything in between.
All you need to do is sign up for ISA and then start submitting your resumes to gigs. See Screenwriters Association International >>
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The market is flooded with competition, but be careful and make a list of those three to five that you think are
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