This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 437 – Writing A Contained Horror Movie.
Welcome to Episode 437 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyers, screenwriter and blogger with sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing another DIY filmmaker – Neil McCay. He just did a really cool low budget psychological thriller called Trip. Again, he’s a guy who just went out and made things happen for himself. He did a couple of shorts and now has this feature film, which he wrote, directed, produced, and even edited. So, we’ll be talking about all of that and ultimately how he got this screenplay produced, so stay tuned for that interview.
SYS’s six-figure screenplay contest is open for submissions, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. Our final deadline is July 31st. So, it is approaching. If your script is ready, definitely submit. We’re looking for low-budget shorts and features. I’m defining low-budget as less than six-figures. In other words, less than 1 million US dollars. We’ve got lots of industry judges reading scripts in the later rounds, we’re giving away 1000s in cash and prizes. If you want to submit to the contest or learn more about it, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. And also, this year we’re running an in-person Film Festival in tandem with our screenplay contest. It’s for low-budget films produced for less than 1 million US dollars. We have features and shorts categories, lots of industry judges, just like the screenplay contest, the festival is going to take place in Hollywood, California from October 7th to the 9th. If you have a finished film or would like to submit to the festival, or if you have a finished film or would like to learn more about the festival, you can go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/festival. You’ll see a link to Filmfreeway, we’re actually taking all of the submissions for the festival through Filmfreeway. So, you can find us on Filmfreeway as well. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. And then just look for episode number 437.
If you want my free guide How to Sell a Screenplay in Five Weeks, you can pick that up by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. It’s completely free, you just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons, teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. Teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter, and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material, really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/guide. So just quick few words about what I’ve been working on. The big thing I’ve been working on I’ve been talking about now probably for months is this NFT project which we’re going to be doing for The Rideshare Killer. It’s proving a lot more difficult than I had hoped, just taking a lot more time. A lot of complexities to all of this. And you know, when I started this, you know, six months ago or something I really knew virtually nothing about this. So, it’s definitely a little bit of a learning curve. But I am getting up to speed. My revised ETA is now the end of August. I’m hoping I can get it all done by then we’ll see. I mean, I’m hoping I can really get things going. Again, it’s just taken a little while to kind of understand the landscape and figure it all out. But again, hopefully by August is sort of my heart goal is to be done by the end of that month. The other thing is the contest in the film festival. Those are starting to ramp up. So, I’ve started to look at more of those scripts and more of those films. I’m excited to see what else comes in definitely have found some good films and some good scripts already. If you have a low-budget screenplay or a low-budget film, definitely do submit. As I said, the final deadline is July 31st. So, those are some of the things that I have been working on. Now, let’s get into the main segment, today I am interviewing writer director Neil McCay. Here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome, Neil to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Neil: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background where did you grew up, and how to get interested in the entertainment business.
Neil: So, I was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, which is just outside of Washington, DC. And I saw Gremlins when I was six years old and became fascinated with monsters and movies and all that stuff. And kind of oh, that was like my sort of want to be when I grow up kind of thing. But as I got into high school and college, I kind of realized, oh, wait a minute, there’s you can you know, there’s jobs for operating cameras and editing and like you could write and do this stuff and like put it all together. So that’s I think college is kind of where I was like, oh, maybe this whole filmmaking thing is for real. And then I just kind of like I worked at an internship at a police station and met somebody there who was trying to produce to script and worked on that with him, that was my first movie. And then it just kind of took it from there. And then I kind of had a wall in things between about 2008 2016(ish). But now I’m kind of getting back on the wagon a little bit and that’s the movie I got – Trip. That’s kind of my back in game thing. But if you look at my IMDb, like there’s a kind of a wall between projects.
Ashley: Yeah. So, let’s just go into a little bit more depth here. So, you met this guy where you’re working some sort of a job and you met a guy with a script, and what did you end up doing on that production? You were one of the producers you came in?
Neil: Yeah, so he was a police officer. And he was trying to be an actor and producer. And he had written this heist movie. And he wanted to a vehicle for him to act in and produce. And he had written this thing. And then I basically came in and just did all the directing, and like, you know, hiring the crew and stuff like that, and then got this thing made, you know, I did all the behind-the-scenes stuff. But then yeah, it was just kind of like, you know, we just kind of hooked up and made this movie. And the idea that he wrote, I didn’t write it, but I was also a writer. So, I did you know, from there on out, I did my own stuff that I would write the scripts for. But that was kind of, it was just happenstance. We just kind of met and did this project.
Ashley: So, where did you get the experience to direct? You’ve done a bunch of shorts up to this point, did you have some experience in school? Like, what was your experience pitching him? Hey, I can direct your movie, like, what gave him the confidence you could do it?
Neil: Yeah, so I was kind of doing a “film school education” at the college. And they didn’t really have like a film program, but they had a media lab where you could go in and mess with Photoshop, and you could rent cameras and edit the nonlinear editing was just becoming a thing. This was like late 90s. So, I kind of got I kind of just made a film school education for myself, like taking these communication classes, where that you would learn these skills. And then I got a job at the Media Lab. So I would be, you know, in charge of the inventory of the cameras and showing the other students how to use them and things like that. So, by the time like this project came around, I was like, well, I can do all of these things. Like I know, you know, all the technical in and out. And that was the one thing he was lacking. So, it was a very, you know, he needs this I need this, you know, I needed the experience, because I never directed. I mean, I’ve done like little short projects, but never features. So, this was kind of our both alright, let’s fire now, let’s see how it goes.
Ashley: Yeah, I’d be curious to just get your opinion. Certainly, when I got out of LA, or when I got to LA and started pursuing screenwriting, I got some of these low-level, basically, PA jobs. And I found that what you’re describing working in this Media Lab, those jobs typically are a lot of long hours, they’re fairly low pay. And I found when I was working these long hours for low pay, it made it difficult to write and kind of move my career down the line, now you made a connection or make connections at this place. So, there’s always that you know, you can network a little bit these jobs. But where do you stand? What do you think is good? If someone fresh out of college, should they go and get a job in the industry potentially facing long hours? Should they work outside the industry, so they can work, maybe less hours spend more of their free time on it? Where do you stand on that?
Neil: That’s good. That’s a great question. And it’s complicated, because I guess it kind of depends on what you were, what direction you want to go like me personally, I didn’t know when I was younger, but where I am in life, now I kind of feel like I would rather be the big fish in a little pond like I did, just to have my hands on all the cookie jars and you know, do have more control and things like that. So, I would say doing that, like start off as a PA and work your way up would not be like my kind of thing. But it’s like, I don’t know, I guess I would say more of that, if you’re in LA do that thing where you’re like you’re working the you know, at a restaurant or something while you’re working on the script, and then figure out a way to, you know, keep your control over your project and then do that. But then it’s like, well, how do you get the experience and stuff? You know, again, it’s complicated, but I just don’t know if you’re even going to get that kind of experience doing like PA work because you have to work you know, these hours and you’re just like bottom of the barrel and move your way up to get the actual experience where you’re, you know, like even like with editing, like, where your hands on actually cutting footage. You got to work yours. Yeah, that and it’s just like, you know, it’s just seems, I don’t know, it’s I don’t think it’s a whole other podcast.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, there’s definitely some of the things to think about. So, let’s dig into your new feature film. It’s called Trip. Maybe to start out you can give us a quick picture logline. What is this new film all about?
Neil: So, it is about a daughter kills herself and the mother is just wrought with grief and becomes a reclusive alcoholic who won’t leave the house and she’s visited by a therapist who offers her a hallucinogenic drug so that she can commune with the dead and talk to her dead daughter and find out why the daughter committed suicide. And then she takes her up on it. And basically, is it becomes haunted by the experiences that her daughter had, but leading up to the suicide.
Ashley: Gotcha, gotcha. So where did this idea come from what was sort of the kernel or the genesis for this?
Neil: So, I was talking to my friend, David Groves, who’s the producer on this movie, he lives out in California. And we were talking about doing a contained horror movie, kind of like a one location. Kind of, because of budgetary. But also, I like the idea of like this kind of claustrophobic feeling movie. And it was like a challenge, like, how can we make one location interesting. And then we knew we wanted to do a horror movie, and I was kind of coming up with ideas and bouncing them off of him. And then I think it just like dawned on me like, what if the villain because that was the thing that I was struggling with. Like, who was the villain? And like, what is the villain want? What is like, what’s the monster? What’s the thing that’s coming after the mother? And then I just kind of dawned on me like, well, what if it’s, what if I just made it like an emotion like depression, and then all of a sudden, like, oh, it could be this, it could be that and it’s like, symbolic, but it was like, once I had, you know, I could put a face to the creature or the monster, the spirit or whatever. Then it was like, oh, this is a real tangible thing. And it was easier to connect them because they’re like, oh, this is the motivation of what this monster wants it a villain wants and then it was easier to write because he wants this and then she wants this. And then they’re battling it out. So, yeah, so I think it was just that it’s just can an emotion be the villain. And just that just kind of went with it from there.
Ashley: Yeah. So, I’m curious. And you sort of alluded to this a little bit, you wanted to do a contain horror movie in one house. How much research had you done? Had you talked to distributors? Did you have some idea that this could work financially? Like, was there a business model in place before you started writing and producing this thing?
Neil: Not really. And in retrospect, I would probably be smarter if I had done. I basically was like, okay, here’s the budget, here’s how much I can spend, can it be done, and then it was like, I then I just kind of put all the focus into, like, just making this thing happen. And then afterwards, I was like, alright, then I can shop around or try to get distribution, or what have you. But then, of course, you know, while I’m in the process of this, I’m hearing podcasts and people like, no, no, you got to start building an audience, like before you even get on set. And it’s like, oh, you know, damn. [Cross Talk] It’s like, I’m too little too late for that. But so yeah, I don’t I wouldn’t advise it. But I kind of was like; Alright, just make the thing and then see what happens. And that’s kind of how I approached it.
Ashley: Gotcha. So, let’s dig into the writing of the script. I just be curious to kind of get your process a little bit. Where do you typically write, when do you typically write Starbucks, you need the ambient noise, you have a home office, you write in the morning, the late at night, what is your writing schedule look like?
Neil: Not to be a cop out. But just whenever I can feel motivated, whether it’s morning or night, or anything like that, I can kind of do it wherever, whenever. And, you know, doing it, the Starbucks is nice. Doing it in my own house is nice. I like to listen to music. So, I kind of like put on like my earbuds and do that. It’s just really like the struggle I find is it’s getting the time and the motivation. And it’s just hard. Because once I get going, it’s like easy. You know, once you get 5 or 10 minutes, in all of a sudden you go two hours, but just when you have that staring you in the head, like oh, I got to write, you know, 10 pages, how long is that going to take and you just procrastinate, put it off and put it on. So, it’s really to me, it’s just, do it, like, just sit down and do something and then from there, then it doesn’t matter. It’s like I’m in it.
Ashley: And so how much time do you spend doing outlining indexing cards? How much time do you then spend in Final Draft actually cranking out script pages?
Neil: Good deal, actually, yeah. I think I do a lot of legwork early, you know, with kind of mapping things out. And there’s all kinds of little exercises where you try to draw the circle and your characters, and then you start in a little spiderweb. So, I do all kinds of doodles and all kinds of things I kind of like to know going into, alright, I have my you know, three acts. And you know, this makes sense. And this is where these are kind of the points where things happen. And it’s like, okay, does that make sense? Like, I don’t want to get into it. And then I realized; Oh, my final act is like five pages. Like that’s not going to work, you know? So, I do spend a good deal of planning. And I know some people were like, nah, just go write it. I’m like; Nah, I got to have a blueprint in front of me, you know.
Ashley: So, what is your development process looks like once you have a draft that you like, how do you handle it? Do you have a number of writer friends you send it to, actor friends, producer friends? And what do you do with that feedback? Maybe you can talk about that process a little bit.
Neil: Yeah, I think I’d advise any, I personally love having people that just be brutally honest and just say, hey, you know, like, I’ll just ask them like, does this make sense? Do you know where I’m going with this? Do you get it like I because this is scary, Is it surprising? Is this like, do you think this is interesting? Is it too long? All of that stuff I asked people, I kind of like to, you know, give them some vague questions so they can, so I’m not leading them to like, did you see this coming or something like that, but enough where you get the feedback that you’re looking forward, so that you know, okay, people don’t think this makes sense. I got to clear this up. But yeah, if you have a couple of trusted people, and then that are just honest with you, I like to get feedback that way. But generally, I think kind of, you know, when you just go through a rough draft, and you just kind of, you can kind of pull yourself out of it a little bit and just say, hey, if I’m reading this for the first time, does this make sense to people know who this character is? And why they’re doing what they’re doing? Or are they going to connect? Oh, we’re in the past and are in the future, you know, whatever. But yeah, I would say I do a good bit of like; hey, what do you think of this? Is there a way to do this better or something?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And how do you approach screenplay structure? You mentioned you like to have your three acts laid out. I mean, you have like the Blake Snyder camp that really breaks each one of the acts down into about three or four or five key beats, how granular do you get on your planning out of your structure? And how, you know, rigid, are you to that three-act structure?
Neil: I’d say like, not too granular. It’s funny, because the Blake Snyder thing, and I go like; Oh, man, like, that’s way too in the weeds, like, every two pages like this deep. Yeah. But I mean, the premise is real. And if you look at anything, I don’t know, like, the hero’s journey, and there’s like, all these, like, my scripts can beat up your script, all these like other tools out there, they’re all kind of similar in that, okay, this has got to happen. And this is going to happen, like to keep things you know, moving along. And I generally just kind of look like, okay, are there character arcs, and do these things happen when they’re supposed to, like, for instance, like, in the middle of the movie, do we kind of have a turn, like, oh, we’re going to hear, but then we have, like, you know, a false sense of happiness or false sense of sorrow or whatever it is, and then we kind of reverse gears and then turn things up on its head, and then you and then you go into, you know, act three, so think there’s, like, just a general, you know, when things are supposed to happen, you know, your page 10 moment, you know, really have the movie moving by page 10, that kind of thing. But I don’t have like a strict like, you know, if it’s off by a few pages or something, just as long as generally stuff is happening. And you’re moving along, and you’re not like, you know, 20 pages of nothing, you know.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And how do you approach the genre requirements? I mean, this is a contained, you know, horror thriller. How do you approach some of the genre requirements? I mean, you get very prescriptive things from distributors, like, you know, a scare every 10 minutes, or something like that. But you know, what was sort of your approach with that, with the genre? Did you watch a bunch of similar movies? Did you kind of try and figure out how they work?
Neil: Yeah, actually, that’s exactly what I did. I did like, it was like homework, like, I would watch like, all these other movies. And I would just see, like, okay, how are they setting up the scare, and how long are they taking? And when are these things happening? I don’t know. I mean, there are formulas, but like, a lot of this stuff I saw like, they could go in they say; Alright, we’re going to start off with this awesome, you know, first scene cold open. And then for the next hour, it’s just exposition. And then they start coming in, you know, with crazy stuff. Others, like you said that every 10 minutes, there’s a scare, it just was kind of like, okay, all right. That’s what they’re doing. And then I would try to figure out, like, I think the first thing you got to do is like, what’s your story? Like, what’s your beginning, middle and end? And then can you pepper in the scares? You know, in between cool, but if not, you know, you can’t just do scary stuff that has nothing to do with any. Because like, you need a scare every 10 minutes, or whatever it is. So, stay true to the story. And then just kind of mimic what you know what other others are doing as far as how they’re setting things up. And when they’re peppering those things in?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So well, once you had the script done a draft that you were happy with? What were your next steps? How did you go about getting this thing greenlit and into production?
Neil: So, it already kind of had the funding in place. So, part of the thing that was a struggle with writing was like; Okay, I can’t do this, because that’s going to cost too much money. So how do I, you know, so I just kind of wrote it out, and I was like; Okay, now I got to reel it in. And I can’t get crazy with these kinds of effects. Because, you know, it’s a low-budget, but I sort of knew once it was done, like, okay, X amount of dollars for all of these things, can it be done? And then you know, and then I would kind of adjust maybe the scripts accordingly, if that makes sense. Like, I kind of would go out and say; Hey, is this possible to get this done? Like, like for the effects, for instance, and like makeup and stuff like that? And then based on the answers I get, I’d be like, okay, maybe we can change the script around a little bit, but it was kind of yeah, it was kind of the back and forth. It’s like, what are my limitations with the script? And what are my limitations with the actual talent and the crew that I’d need to pull this off?
Ashley: And how were you able to get that funding set up?
Neil: So, I put a lot of it in myself, you know, like the old school like credit-cards, things like that. And it is a low, really low-budget. So, it wasn’t like, it was kind of, yeah, I mean, I could do this, you know, and then, you know, I have like a few friends like kick in some to help me out and stuff. But yeah, I just I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to like secure funding and investors and stuff because I had gone down that road before and it was like, and then it’s like a full-time job trying to keep up with that. And then then you’re always worried in the back your mouth, it makes no money that how am I going to pay these people back. It’s just like…
Ashley: Yeah, so you mentioned a producer, was it named Michael Groves that you’re worked with?
Neil: David Groves.
Ashley: So, how did you meet him? How did he come into the orbit of this project?
Neil: So, we both went to George Mason University, which is a college out in Virginia. So, we were a couple years apart there. So, I was in LA, and then I came back and started working for the university. And that’s when he was an undergrad there. And we worked in the same multimedia lab, and we’re both trying to get into, you know, he wanted to get into filmmaking too. And then we just kind of started, you know, talking about stuff. And he had a short film script. And I had a short film script. So, we were like; well, I’ll help you make yours. And you helped me make mine. And then we kind of joined forces. But he was like the writer, director, of his own thing. And I was the writer, director of my own thing. But we kind of like pooled our resources to kind of help each other. Make the movies and then we got along really well. And we worked really well together. So, then we did a feature together and then, and we’ve been kind of buddies and filmmaking partners ever since.
Ashley: Gotcha. So, when you were done this script, was there ever any attempt to try and just sell the script, or get it set up with a bigger budget, enter it into context, send it to producers, send it to actor, send it to directors? Or just you knew you were going to make it from the start?
Neil: Oh, I knew yeah, I was going to make it from the start. Because well, one, it was kind of, like I said, I had this lull in projects. So, this was kind of a thing to kind of a stepping stone to get me back into it. And then it was really just a vehicle to provide myself an opportunity to direct, you know, something like, if I wasn’t a writer, I would have maybe tried to option somebody else’s thing. But that was the whole goal is just this as a means to direct a movie. And I just happen to be a writer. So, I was like, okay, it might as well do it. But of course, you know, now that it’s done, hopefully that becomes a vehicle to maybe, you know, pitch to a studio or getting more money or whatever the next steps would be. So yeah, that’s kind of a short or long-term I want to.
Ashley: Gotcha. And I wonder about festivals. Did you guys do the festival circuit? When you got this done, did you go straight to distributors? What was your experience?
Neil: I did. I played around with the festival circuit. It was a little frustrating because this was 2021 when I was kind of sending it out. Because of COVID you had a lot of festivals doing virtual or just not happening at all in 2020. So, I feel like it’s 2021 you’re competing with two years’ worth of movies versus just one. So, I didn’t have like a lot of luck with festivals. I mean, I didn’t do you know, a ton, I think I maybe like sent out to half a dozen or something like that. So, once I was kind of, alright, I’m not getting anywhere with this I was just like, alright, I’m just going to focus on the distribution angle and then landed a distribution deal in the late summer, early fall last year. And it just takes them a while because they had all these other movies in the queue. And then they they’re very hands on with like the, you know, getting your marketing and public relations stuff.
Ashley: So, how did you bump into your distributor, did you reach out cold letters, cold calls? Was it a somebody you knew from past experience, but how did you ultimately find and land with your distributor?
Neil: So yeah, actually, like I did kind of some cold calls, just call; Hey, we’re going to talk to you about … some cold emails just coming out. A little bit of that. The distribution company that I landed with Terror Films is, weirdly enough the Head of Acquisitions is that police officer that I worked with, at the police station years back that we did our first project together and as named Jim Clock, and he just happens to be on this distribution world. And he’s still an actor producer too. And I was like, yeah, let me throw it out there. And I found out the company is great with like, you know, helping filmmakers, and are all fellow filmmakers and that company. So, it was just like, oh, yeah, I’m like, these are people that care about movies. It’s not just some distribution company that’s like; Yeah, whatever. We’re just going to throw spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks. So yeah, it’s just interesting how everything kind of came full circle.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good coincidence. It just shows the power of networking. You know, meeting people in the industry. Years later, those contacts can be valuable. So, I just like to wrap up the interviews by asking the guest if they’ve seen anything recently that they thought was really great they could recommend to basically a screenwriting audience anything on HBO, Netflix, that you’ve seen recently that you really like?
Neil: Yeah, so, maybe it’s like a couple months late on this, but I really liked the show Yellow Jackets, which was on Showtime, it kind of reminded me of almost like Twin Peaks. And it was just very strange, but it was kind of, it wasn’t so weird. It was like out there like Twin Peaks was but yeah, I just thought that was a really cool show. I think I think at the time, you could get like a free trial with Showtime. Yeah, you know, the streaming. But there’s another movie that I thought was kind of cool is a horror movie called The Night House, with Rebecca Hall. I think some of the plot elements went kind of over my head. But there was some really cool, freaky stuff that they did in that movie that I definitely think it’s worth watching. And it wasn’t just your typical like, Oh, it’s a scary horror movie. Like they had some heavy kind of emotional stuff. Like, you know, where it was about grief and loss. And that’s kind of what Trip was like, and it’s similar. Like, I like movies like that, they kind of get into the story elements too.
Ashley: Yeah, no, that’s a great tip. I have not heard of that one. So, I’ll check that one out. How can people see Trip? Do you know what the release schedule is going to be like? When’s it going to be available?
Neil: Yeah, I don’t know when this podcast airs, but it’s coming out wide stream distribution on May 20th. There’s like a premiere live chat event on May 13th on Friday, the 13th. But really, if you just go to terrorfilms.net, it’s kind of a tongue twister – terror films. And then there’s like a splash page. Like if you just go to the films, it’ll be a recent film. It’s called Trip and you go there and then there’s like, there’s going to have all this stuff like how to see where go and you know that kind of thing. IMDB Link, I’m sure, so stuff like that.
Ashley: Perfect. Perfect. So, what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing anything you’re comfortable sharing, I will put in the show notes, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a blog, anything you want to share?
Neil: Yeah. So, I have an IMDB page. It’ll hopefully when this airs be updated, because I got to put pictures up there. I think my handle on I think on Instagram is Neil.McCay Instagram, or NeilMcCay. I’m one of those.
Ashley: Perfect, yeah. We’ll find that.
Neil: Oh, we have a podcast actually, my buddy David, who I mentioned 611 Films Podcast, if you Google that you’ll find us on Spotify or whatever. And we do kind of we just talk about movie stuff. And then we had guests on occasionally and stuff like that.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. Yeah. Well, I’m always interested in checking out new podcasts. So definitely check that one out as well. Well, I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today, Neil. Good luck with this film. And good luck with all your future films as well.
Neil: Thanks, man, have been great. Thanks for having me.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to you later.
Neil: All right, thanks.
I just want to talk quickly about SYS Select. It’s a service for screenwriters to help them sell their screenplays and get writing assignments. The first part of the service is the SYS Select screenplay database. Screenwriters upload their screenplays, along with a logline, synopsis and other pertinent information like budget and genre, and then producers search for and hopefully find screenplays they want to produce. Dozens of producers are in the system looking for screenplays right now. There have been a number of success stories come out of the service. You can find out about all the SYS Select successes by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Also, on SYS podcast episode 222. I talked with Steve Dearing, who was the first official success story to come out of the SYS Select database. When you join SYS Select you get access to the screenplay database along with all the other services that we’re providing to SYS select members. These services include the newsletter, this monthly newsletter goes out to a list of over 400 producers who are actively seeking writers and screenplays. Each SYS select member can pitch one screenplay in this monthly newsletter. We also provide screenwriting leads, we have partnered with one of the premier paid screenwriting leads services so I can syndicate their leads to SYS select members, there are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently, we’ve been getting 5 to 10 high quality paid leads per week. These leads run the gamut. There are producers looking for a specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. They’re looking for shorts features TV and web series pilots all types of projects. If you sign up for SYS select, you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. Also, you get access to the SYS select forum, where we will help you with your logline and query letter and answer any screenwriting related questions that you might have. We also have a number of screenwriting classes that are recorded and available in the SYS select forum. These are all the classes that I’ve done over the years, so you’ll have access to those whenever you want once you join, these classes cover every part of Writing your screenplay from concept to outlining to the first act second act third act, as well as other topics like writing short films and pitching your projects in person.
Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, please go to sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. Again, that is sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
On the next episode of the podcast, I’m going to be interviewing writer and also actor Jim Mahoney, he wrote and also starred in a new horror comedy feature film called Gatlopp. It’s about four friends who play a haunted drinking game. He has a number of produced feature films as well as a number of shorts. So, we’ll talk about all of this as well as how he got this new screenplay produced. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s our show, thank you for listening.