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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 neither 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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David Bruckner talks about his early days as a filmmaker in Atlanta making short films and how that lead to his current career as a writer / director. We also talk about his segment in the horror feature film V/H/S which was recently adapted into a stand alone feature film called SiREN.

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:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 152: Screenwriter / Director David Bruckner Talks About Launching His Career With Short Films.

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Greg DePaul (Bride Wars & Saving Silverman) talks about how he broke into the business, sold numerous pitches, and wrote several comedies for various studios.

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:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 151: Greg DePaul Talks About His Screenwriting Comedy Career.

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As many of you know, I recently produced a micro-budget feature film, The Pinch (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5836576/).

Since finishing production in late July, I have had a ton of inquiries into how someone can go about producing their own material. A while back I wrote a long blog post specifically about how to do this. You can find it here:

http://www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/how-to-sell-your-screenplay/raising-the-money-to-shoot-your-screenplay-yourself/

In the article I talk about how one of the first steps to producing your screenplay is getting it professionally scheduled and budgeted so that you know how much money you need and how long it will take. I often get questions about how exactly to find a good producer who can do this. Well, my good friend, producer Mark Heidelberger, (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0373914/) offers this service. So if you’re looking to begin this process, I highly recommend him.

Here’s what he can do for you:

Scripts are broken down, scheduled and budgeted by Mark Heidelberger, an expert producer, line producer, unit production manager and post production supervisor with 16 years of experience in the business. Mark has a bachelor’s in film studies from UCSB, a master’s in producing from UCLA, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America. He has produced dozens of music videos, commercials, features, shorts and other media. Film and television credits can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0373914/

Each purchaser receives the following:

– Screenplay formatted into a shooting script
– Scene by scene breakdown book
– One line shooting schedule
– Cast day out of days
– Full length master budget
– Personal consultation with Mark, either in person or via telephone, where he goes through the materials one by one so they’re easy to understand

Total price starts at $800.00 and depends on the estimated budget range, scope and size of the project. If you mention Selling Your Screenplay Mark has agreed to give you an instant $50 off the price.

You can contact Mark directly via email here: mhfilmz@yahoo.com

Let me know if you have any questions.

Ashley

Television writer Craig Van Sickle talks about how he broke into the business and how he ultimately created the hit show, The Pretender.

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:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 150: Screenwriter Craig Van Sickle Talks About His Writing Career In Television.

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Screenwriter and director Paul Schrader talks about his latest directorial effort, Dog Eat Dog, starring Nicholas Cage and Willem Defoe. We dig into some of the specifics on how Paul became involved with this project and how it all came together.

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:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 149: Writer / Director Paul Schrader Talks About His New Crime Film, Dog Eat Dog, starring Nicolas Cage.

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Tricks To Writing For A Micro Budget

This article was written by By Darren Coyle.

I have written and directed a bunch of short films, and I’ve even gotten them into a few festivals where they received some awards. I enjoyed working on short films but I wanted to write and direct a feature. I felt like I had graduated to that level.  The problem is, features are expensive and I don’t have connections or know any rich people. So, I thought I would make the feature myself using the resources I have: time, friends, and talent.  “Fortune favors the bold,” I kept telling myself.

I began by breaking the whole process down to the bare bones, asking “what NEEDS to go into a movie?” Answer: people, places and words.  That’s the bare minimum.  You don’t need stunts, special effects, Hollywood stars, or rows and rows of trailers.  These things are nice, but not necessary.  I decided that my film would focus on two main characters, that I would keep the story simple and keep it to a minimum of locations, most of which can be friends’ houses, a public park, etc. Having decided on those parameters, I simplified things even further:  everything would take place during the day!  No need for lots of lights and fancy, expensive grip trucks, and all that.  I could use the sun and a couple of lights here and there.

A couple of notes about producing that writers may or may not be aware of. First, if you keep your crew and cast minimal, you can get away with a lot of guerilla style shooting that larger productions cannot do. For instance, if you’re shooting in a public park or on the street down the block from your house, you can probably avoid paying for a shooting permit, which can be expensive, especially in Los Angeles or New York. As long as your crew is not obtrusive and you only take a couple of hours to shoot your scene you can get away with it. Second, in public places, you don’t need to get a signed release from strangers in the background as long as you’re not focusing on their faces. (And why would you?  You’ve got actors for that!)

One major rule of thumb: the more people you involve in your film, the more money it will cost, unless you’ve miraculously convinced your cast and crew to work for free. And if you have, you still have a problem on your hands because there’s always a chance they’ll jump ship if a paying job comes along. Also, even if they are working for free, you still have to feed them! Producing a micro budget film involves a TON of begging, borrowing and stealing on your part as the director/producer, but you do need to pay key people like your DP and audio engineer. This is money well spent.

I decided on the production parameters. Next came the script itself.  Here I broke it down mathematically. A small, indie film will more than likely be around 90 minutes. If each scene is on the average 5 pages long, that’s roughly 18 scenes to write. If I write two scenes per day, I can be done with the first draft in roughly two weeks’ time. That translates to six scenes for each act, using a three-act structure. Once you’ve got that structure, you can break it down and simply attack each scene one by one, and not be daunted by the project as a whole.

Since the film is going to rely pretty much on the two main characters to draw in and engage the audience, I felt comedy would be the best genre to choose. Films like Midnight Run and Planes, Trains and Automobiles are entertaining and engaging because the two main characters’ adversarial relationship make the movie. If you can create the right characters, you can write a whole scene about them making a sandwich and it can be hilarious. (And cheap!) I came up with a premise where my two main characters didn’t get along but were forced to be in a car together for a day. They have a goal and a focused objective, but the real amusement comes from them butting heads the whole time. (Other scenarios in which mismatched people are forced to interact with each other: bachelor party, coaching kids’ sports team, office job, and next-door neighbors.)

I showed the script to an actor friend of mine, whom I thought would be great for one of the leads, and she loved it.  Well, she had notes; everyone has NOTES.  She got some actor friends together and we did a table read . . . and THEY had notes. I learned a LOT. Feedback is always good. You cannot put a price on it!  Even things you DON’T want to hear are good to hear. Nine months and eight drafts later, we are raising money to produce it on a minimal micro budget of $25,000. It may or may not be the next Sundance darling, but we’re making it and not asking for someone else’s permission to do what we love.  Take THAT, Hollywood!

Darren Coyle is an independent filmmaker living in Los Angeles.  You can visit his website www.darrencoyle.com or follow him on Twitter @darrencoyle0626 and also visit his crowdfunding campaign at  www.seedandspark.com/fund/the-hunt