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 episode 16 of the SYS Podcast I interview the founder of The Black List, Franklin Leonard. Franklin has worked as a development executive for years and recently launched The Black List website to help up-and-coming screenwriters break into the industry.

For most of the interview we talk about the real nuts and bolts of using the site and how writers can get the most out of it. If you haven’t used The Black List site yet, you might want to check it out first, as much of the interview won’t make a lot of sense if you’re not familiar with the site and how it works.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

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.

Links mentioned in the show:

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In this episode of the SYS Podcast I interview screenwriter Doug Richardson (Die Hard II, Bad Boys). In the interview he talks about how he broke into the business and shares some great stories about working in 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.

Links mentioned in the show:

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This is the transcript for SYS Podcast Episode 014: An Interview With Screenwriting Career Coach Lee Jessup.

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In this episode of the SYS Podcast I interview screenwriting career coach Lee Jessup. She has optioned material as a writer, worked in development, and now helps screenwriters with their careers.

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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Are you a writer who needs help networking?

by Ashley Scott Meyers on March 28, 2014

Just a quick plug for my friends over at Stage 32 who are running a Next Level Webinar: PowerNetworking For Screenwriters!

If you’re like me, a writer who struggles to network and make meaningful industry connections, this is a great chance to improve upon one of the most necessary skills in being a successful screenwriter.

It’s being presented by director, screenwriter and producer Heather Hale who has years of experience in the entertainment industry. I heard Heather talk a few years ago. She’s a great teacher with a wealth of industry knowledge.

To learn more about the class go here:

https://www.stage32.com/webinars/PowerNetworking-For-Screenwriters?affid=asm

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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. A ton of information needs to be in your opening pages… and it has to be entertaining, too. Writers, both new and experienced, often squander these precious opening pages with poor choices and an overall lack of craft. Don’t let that be you.

So for the next Selling Your Screenplay class, I am going to be digging in deeply to the openings of five great screenplays (see list below). I will be examining, at great length, what makes them great and how you can apply these lessons to your own screenplays.

This class will be taught by me, Ashley Scott Meyers. I’m an actual screenwriter with real screenwriting credits, not a “guru” or “screenwriting teacher.” You can see my credits on IMDb here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0583488/.

In addition to the basics of how to write a great opening, you will learn…

  1. You will learn what makes a great opening by seeing and discussing several great openings from popular, highly successful produced screenplays (see list below).
  2. You will learn how to develop unique, interesting characters with only a short description and a few lines of dialogue.
  3. You will learn what you should include in the opening and what you should not include.
  4. You will learn how to entertain the reader and make her feel real emotion – fear, sorrow, joy, empathy – while reading your screenplay.

In this class…

  1. I will be examining the great opening pages from five fantastic screenplays (see list below).
  2. I will be sharing my own checklist for making sure my opening is as good as it can be.
  3. I will be giving you several exercises to help you craft the perfect opening for your screenplay.

You should take this class if…

  1. You should take this class if you are struggling to write your opening pages.
  2. You should take this class if you are preparing to send your screenplay out and want to make sure the opening pages are as good as they can be.
  3. You should take this class if you are about to start writing a screenplay and need help getting started.
  4. You should take this class if you want your opening pages to be awesome!

The screenplays that we will be discussing during this class are listed below.

Natural Born Killers by Quentin Tarantino (first 5.1 pages)
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Natural-Born-Killers.pdf

Lethal Weapon by Shane Black (first 1 and ½ pages)
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Lethal-Weapon.pdf

Raiders of the Lost Ark by Lawrence Kasdan
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Indiana-Jones-and-the-Raiders-Of-The-Lost-Ark.pdf

Legally Blonde by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith (10.1 pages)
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/Legally-Blonde-(1).pdf

The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont (first 2 pages)
http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/wp-content/uploads/screenplay/scripts/The-Shawshank-Redemption.pdf

Class Details

To sign up for this class go here: Sign up now

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This is the transcript for SYS Podcast Episode 013: Screenwriter Alan Katz Talks About Pitching.
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In this episode of the SYS Podcast I talk with Alan Katz about pitching. Alan has pitched dozens of projects dozens of times, so he has a lot of great stories about some of the projects he’s pitched over the years.

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 the transcript for SYS Podcast Episode 012: An Interview With Screenwriter, Producer, Entrepreneur and CEO of Stage 32 Richard Botto.
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SYS Podcast Episode 012: An Interview With Screenwriter, Producer, Entrepreneur and CEO of Stage 32 Richard Botto

March 3, 2014

In this episode I interview screenwriter, producer, entrepreneur and CEO of Stage 32 Richard Botto. Richard talks about his career in the entertainment industry and specifically how to use Stage 32 to find producers looking for screenplays. The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store [...]

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