If you follow through and do this one simple thing I guarantee that you will be able to get your screenplay turned into a movie. It doesn’t matter how good your screenplay is. It doesn’t matter how many grammatical or spelling errors are in your screenplay. It doesn’t matter if your screenplay is formatted properly or not. It doesn’t matter if your screenplay is structured correctly. It doesn’t matter how long your screenplay is. The tip I’m about to give you puts you in charge and you get to make the movie exactly the way you want to make it.
The hardest part, hands down, about making a movie is raising the money. So the one simple thing you can do that will guarantee that your screenplay gets made into a movie: raise the money yourself! If you raise the money to shoot your movie you will be able to find thousands of hungry producers eager to work with you and shoot your screenplay. You will be their boss and you will dictate everything (if you choose).
A while back Script Doctor Eric contacted me and told me a little bit about his screenplay consulting service and offered to evaluate one of my screenplays for free. He didn’t write me and ask if I could recommend his service to my readers. And he didn’t write me and ask me to recommend his service after he did the free evaluation on my script. He just started a conversation with me and offered to do something nice for me and help me with what ever current project I was working on. So I sent him a screenplay and he promptly gave me notes in return. I genuinely liked the notes he gave me and felt that they helped me with the next draft of the screenplay. Since then I’ve recommended his service several times. In addition I told him about the writer’s group that I was in and he ended up joining the group and we’ve become friends since.
Now compare that with the people who contact me (quite often) who want me to recommend their screen writing services, contests, or websites and don’t offer to do anything for me. They usually end up in my trash bin without a reply. It’s not that these services are always terrible. Some of them might be quite good. But how can I recommend something I know nothing about?
When Eric contacted me he offered to do something for me instead of simply asking me to do something for him. When a screenwriter sends out a query letter to a producer he’s contacting someone who he doesn’t know and asking for a favor; “will you read my screenplay, option it, and ultimately produce it?” A good producer has lots of people asking for the same thing so it’s not that producers are ogres or the system is stacked against you, it’s just that there are lots of people out there competing for the same precious production funds and why should anyone take you seriously?
So it occurred to me, how could I craft a query letter where instead of me asking for a favor from the producer, I was contacting them and offering them something that they actually wanted? So far the only thing I’ve come up with is raising some or all of the production budget. As mentioned, raising the money is by far the hardest part of making a movie so if you can raise the money to shoot your film you’re guaranteeing that it will get green lit and make it into production. In the current market if you were able to raise even 25% of the production budget that would be a huge help to a producer and he’d be almost certain to at least give your script a read because right off the bat you’ve done something to help him and make his life easier.
So there you have it… the secret to getting your screenplay made really is that simple; raise the money yourself and you hold all the cards.
Now if you’ve raised a reasonable amount of money to shoot your screenplay and you are still wondering what the next step is feel free to contact me as I know many producers who would be very eager to make your movie.
By the way, if you’re good at raising money please email me your address. I have a few screenplays I want to send you!
Update: Want to try and raise the money to shoot your script? I wrote this follow up post: Raising The Money To Shoot Your Screenplay Yourself.