How to Sell Your Screenplay (in a nutshell)

by Ashley Scott Meyers on May 25, 2012

I believe that most screenwriting books, seminars, blogs and other screenwriting resources don’t spend nearly enough time on teaching people how to market their screenplays. SellingYourScreenplay.com tries to bridge that gap.

When I started out in the industry I didn’t know anyone. I was just a guy with a few ideas and a dream. With a lot of hard work and persistence I have been able to sell several screenplays (click here to view my credits on IMDB) by applying the exact lessons I’m going to teach you on this blog. It’s not quick or easy and it’s going to take a lot of hard work. But if you’re willing to do the work I believe that you too can have some success as a screenwriter.

There are no shortcuts and I, nor anyone else, can sell your screenplay for you. Ultimately you’ve got to decide if it’s worth the effort to make a go at screenwriting. You’re reading this blog, so that’s a good first step. But that’s all it is, a first step. Now you’ve got to really dig in and start doing the hard work.
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In last month’s SYS Select Class I taught you how to make the opening pages of your screenplay awesome. Over the next couple of months I will be dissecting each section of the screenplay – the opening pages, the first act, the second act, and the third act. Combined with several of the other SYS classes like Choosing a Marketable Concept and Before You Begin To Write Your Screenplay you should have all the tools to write a marketable, professional script from start to finish.

So this month I will be teaching How To Write A Killer First Act For Your Screenplay. If you make bad choices in your first act, it’s nearly impossible to make the rest of your screenplay work. So it’s imperative that your first act work properly.

I will be using two great screenplays, Unforgiven and Jerry Maguire to illustrate the lessons that I will teach. Both screenplays are available in the SYS Script Library, so please read the first acts of both scripts before the class begins.

During this online class you will learn…

  • You will learn how to properly structure your first act so it does all the work that it needs to do to properly set up the rest of your screenplay.
  • You will learn how to set up your protagonist so the audience can relate to him/her.
  • You will learn how to set up the main “A” story so that it can be sustained throughout the entire screenplay.
  • You will learn how to clearly and quickly define three dimensional characters that can hook your reader.
  • You will learn exactly what a first act must do to hook the reader and get them excited and interested in reading the rest of your story.
  • You will learn a number of advanced writing tips to make your script jump off the page.

In this online class I will…

  • I will use Jerry Maguire and Unforgiven to demonstrate exactly how a good first act works.
  • I will show you my first act template which you can use to measure your own screenplays against.

You should take this class if…

  • You should take this class if you are getting ready to start writing a screenplay and need help with your first act.
  • You should take this class if you have written a script or partial script but the first act is not working.
  • You should take this class if you’ve written a screenplay or two (or three) but are having a hard time getting them up to professional standards.
  • You should take this class if you want to give your screenplay the best possible chance of selling once it’s done.

To get the most out of this class make sure you understand screenplay structure. I highly recommend that you read both Syd Field’s Screenplay and Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat.

Also, please read the first acts of both screenplays.

Unforgiven by David Webb Peoples
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Unforgiven.pdf

Jerry Maguire by Cameron Crowe
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Jerry-Maguire.pdf

Class Details

To sign up for this class go here: http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/classes/.

The class took place on Saturday December 13th at 10am PST. The class was recorded so you can take the class anytime by joining Selling Your Screenplay Select.

You can see all the SYS classes that are in the library by going here: SYS Online Classes.

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SYS Podcast Episode 046: An Interview With TV Writer Arnold Rudnick

by Ashley Scott Meyers on November 17, 2014

In this episode of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast I talk with TV writer Arnold Rudnick. Arnold has sold numerous spec episodes for various television shows and he tells us exactly how he did it.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

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This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 046: An Interview With TV Writer Arnold Rudnick.
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In this episode of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast I interview UK writer / director Julian Gilbey. Julian recently completed writing and directing Plastic, starring Ed Speleers and Will Poulter. In the interview we talk about his projects and how he got started in the business. Julian also gives out some solid practical advice about what he think people should do to break into the business.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

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This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 045: An Interview With Writer, Director Julian Gilbey.
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In this episode of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast I talk with writer, director, producer John Suits. John recently directed The Scribbler, an adaptation from a graphic novel. John has extensive experience making genre films and we talk about how writers can break into this market.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

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This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 044: An Interview With Writer, Director, Producer John Suits.
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In this episode of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast I interview filmmakers Boddy Roe and Zack Andrews. They recently completed their feature film The Houses October Built. They originally shot a low budget version of the film which had some success and enabled them to shoot the current version. In the interview we talk about the entire process.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

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This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 043: An Interview Filmmakers Boddy Roe and Zack Andrews.

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Online Class #13: How To Make The Opening Pages Of Your Screenplay Awesome

October 21, 2014

The opening pages of your screenplay are by far the most important pages of your entire screenplay. If you have a great opening few pages and you set up your story and characters properly, it can get things on track and keep the reader reading until the end. But writing a great opening isn’t easy. […]

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