This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 419 – Get Your Movie Made With A Contest .
Welcome to Episode 419 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyer screenwriter and blogger with sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I’m interviewing MJ Palo and Andrew Arguello. They run the Reno Tahoe Film Festival, but also our filmmakers themselves. They’re producing the winning shorts from their contest, and they will also produce a short pitch video for the winning feature script. MJ Palo is also an accomplished writer. So, we talked about her career and how she sold her first feature film script as well. So, stay tuned for that interview.
SYS is a six-figure screenplay contest is open for submissions just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. The early bird deadline is March 31. So, if your script is ready, definitely submit now so you can save some money. We’re looking for the best 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 a whole bunch of industry judges reading scripts in the later rounds. We’re giving away 1000s in cash and prizes. I had the winner from 2020 – Richard Pearce on the podcast in Episode 378, he won the contest and was introduced to one of our industry judges Ted Campbell, who took the script to Marvesta Entertainment and got the film produced. So, check out that episode to learn more about his story. This year, we have a short film category 30 pages or less if you have a low budget short script, by all means, submit that as well. I’ve got a number of industry judges who are actually looking for short scripts. So once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, or perhaps enter, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. And if you’re listening to this podcast after the contest closes, we’re planning on running the contest every year. So, check out the landing page and see what the upcoming dates might be. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leave me 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 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 419. If you want my free guide How to Sell 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, a quick few words about what I’m working on. So, we’re still waiting to get through the quality control process with our distributor on The Rideshare Killer. I’m not sure exactly why it is taking so long. I did email them this week, but I’ve not heard back but hopefully we’ll have an update on that real soon. Once it gets through the quality control process, then we’re going to have a talk with the distributor on actual dates like when we’re going to do the release and you start the release in the some of the tears that you make more money as a filmmaker so you know the paid Video on Demand stuff where people pay 399. And then eventually we go down and release on just Amazon Prime and those sorts of things those subscription VOD, so there’ll be some windowing, and those, hopefully the next conversation that we’re going to have with the distributor. Also, I keep mentioning my Tic Tok channel that I’m building for SYS, please do check it out if you get a chance. It’s just my name Ashley Scott Meyers. So far, I really haven’t had much traction with it. But it is a lot of fun. And it’s really been pretty easy to be honest. I’m trying out a new strategy where I’m basically doing quick movie reviews. And when I say quick, they’re like five seconds. And then I have some bullet points on the screen to illustrate my point. I got this tip by watching other Tik Tokers. It gets people to watch the entire video, which is important for their algorithm. I’ve been having a high percentage of people watch the whole thing. And it seems like that starting to maybe help get a few more views. I’ve been doing these reviews for the new Disney Plus series, The Book of Boba Fett. Basically, I post two videos on each episode. The first is the things that I think the writer did really well in the episode. And then the second video is the things I think the writer did really poorly in the episode. So, I’m very much trying to give this a real screenwriting focus. So, if you’re just curious to kind of hear my thoughts on the Book of Boba Fett, or really any number of movies that are coming out, I try and do stuff that’s kind of actively coming out just to kind of take advantage of that sort of wave of interest in a particular project. And as I said, everything is screenwriting focus. So, my critique very much comes from a screenwriter in sort of what the writer did for that particular project. I guess we’ll see if there are any screenwriters on Tik Tok, so far I have definitely not found them. Anyways, do wish me luck and as I try and grow this channel, and as I said, it’s just been pretty fun and really not a ton of time to kind of think about these things and create these things. I mean to create a five second video, surprise, surprise, it really doesn’t take that long. Anyways, those are the things that I’ve been working on, on the last couple of weeks. Now let’s get into the main segment. Today I am interviewing filmmaker, MJ Palo, and Andrew Arguello, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome MJ and Andrew to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.
Andrew: Thank you for having us.
MJ: Yeah, thank you.
Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment industry? And MJ, why don’t you go first, and then Andrew will circle back with you after that.
MJ: So, I am actually I was born in Finland. I’ve been to here, my gosh, almost 20 years now. Most of it in Reno, Nevada, came here for school and just love the place and decided to stay. And I’ve been a writer, pretty much most of my life. Got into screen writing about eight years ago. And of course, you know, being here, not in LA, not knowing anybody in the industry is facing all those same hurdles that pretty much everybody, you know, undiscovered writers face like this. Once I write a screenplay, what am I going to do with it and where I’m going to take it? So, to navigate in the industry, being an outsider, I feel like this is one of the biggest things when I was starting. And actually, one of the first websites that helped me was sellingyourscreenplay.com.
Ashley: Well, thank you.
MJ: Yeah, I found it, you know, pretty much when I started writing screenplays. So, it was just, yeah. Helpful and … Yeah.
Ashley: And you know, one thing I noticed reading your IMDB profile, it said that you have a PhD in cell and molecular biology. And I know I get a lot of emails from folks around the world that you know, have started careers in totally different fields. And they always feel this drawl to something, do something creative and stuff. Maybe you can just talk about that. How did you make that transition? And I mean, you obviously you have spent years I mean, to get to your PhD, you’d obviously spent years investing money and time into that. How do you get to that point where you make that transition? And how did you ultimately make it?
MJ: So, that’s a good question. So, I actually, once I got my PhD, I already was a medical writer. So, I’ve been writing over, you know, 15 years. I did start with novels, just writing novels and short stories and stuff like that. But I’m not a novelist, that was always like, I have all these ideas. But writing novels was just like, I tried, I failed, and I’m okay with that. So then, having all these ideas I actually was giving… I was like a story consultant for a lot of novelist and authors. So, one of them had a screenplay and asked like, well, you give so awesome story notes. Can you look at my screenplay, and that was like the first screenplay I ever read. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, why don’t I need to be writing screenplays? So, it was kind of just crazy accident. And yeah, that was eight years ago. And I have not stopped writing since.
Ashley: And can you talk about just some of those the emotional hurdles that you have to go through? I mean, is there just you know, all, as I said, all this time and money invested in this, how do you kind of wrap your head around that trying to take on a whole different career?
MJ: I don’t even know how to answer that question. Really. I just like writing to me. It’s just like, this outlet to just like, relax. And then after a long day at work, so it was just always I was doing it for fun, really. And then, you know, eventually now, you know, I feel so lucky to be after eight years to actually be producing films and seeing my you know, words being you know, alive on the screen. So, yeah, I don’t know how to answer that.
Ashley: Okay. Yeah. No, no worries. I’m just curious. So, Andrew, maybe you can do the same thing. Just kind of give us a quick two-minute background on where you’re from and kind of how you got to where you are.
Andrew: Yeah. So, I grew up in Reno, Nevada. And right out of high school, I started in the Disney College program. So, Disney moved me to Florida and I did a year in Florida. And I was in the visual arts program. So, I was trying to become an animator and draw was also working in attractions just kind of, you know, trying out everything Disney had to offer. After about a year they offered me an official position, so I wasn’t an intern anymore. And then I asked to transfer to California. So, I lived in Southern California kind of all over the place for about three years. And was just like, loving it but also finding that drawing wasn’t necessary like it was, I had worked my whole life to be an artist and draw and it just wasn’t necessarily like I got there and I was like, I don’t know if this is where I want to be, just didn’t feel right. So, I moved back home to Reno and married my high school sweetheart and she was in her master’s program and needed to do like this vlog. And I was like, oh, like cool, like, I’ll shoot that for you. So, I grabbed my little DSLR, filmed it for her and started editing it. And I was like, oh my gosh, this is it. I found it. This is my visual medium that I’ve been dreaming of. I just didn’t know it yet. So, I got into that. And I decided almost right away to start a commercial company. So, we were producing commercials, and they paid well, but they weren’t necessarily all that fun. And then I kind of discovered that Reno had this like forming community of people that wanted to make narrative work, short films was kind of the only thing going on at the time. And so, I met a few really talented filmmakers doing that and then was like, I want to be a narrative filmmaker. So, I kind of strategically set myself up where I could find myself for a few years knowing that starting a narrative business probably wouldn’t pay very well, the beginning. And then I’m met MJ actually making a short film. And then we kind of partnered. So, now I had kind of the story writing side with her end, and then my side of the visual and kind of the directing. So, we kind of Co-directed stuff. And now we have our first feature done and several features in the works. So.
Ashley: Gotcha. And maybe you can just talk to, like, where did you get your experience? Again, I noticed on IMDb, you have a lot of cinematographer credits, you got a bunch of editing credits, and it doesn’t sound like this Disney in college. It doesn’t sound is more in the drawing and that sort of stuff. How did you get these technical skills just through just on your own and do all these?
Andrew: A lot of self-education. You know, a lot of YouTube, just YouTube and everything. And it was definitely the harder way to learn. Like when I’ve seen some film schools now, I’ve like spoken at them and seeing how they kind of set their programs up. And people always ask me, like, do you need to go to film school? And I say, absolutely not, but it definitely can make your life a little bit easier. Because the hardest part about self-education is you don’t know what you don’t know. And so you kind of go down these rabbit holes, and you’ll discover these little things. And then you’re like, oh, I can connect this back to here. Whereas in the teaching structure of a school, you know, they kind of help you find those rabbit holes to learn about, and you don’t accidentally skip over them. But yeah, everything I did was self-education on a commercial side. And then just making a lot of really bad short films by myself. And I’m slowly meeting more talented people to partner with and you know, the quality just kind of elevated.
Ashley: And I’m curious, just on the business side, you know, starting this commercial production company, how did you actually get that off the ground? I mean, was it just going door to door say; Hey, you want me to shoot a commercial? I had some friends with businesses. You did some spec commercials. Maybe you can talk about that, because it’s just always interesting for me anyways, just to see how businesses kind of get started and taking off and like you even had a background in this.
Andrew: Yeah, no, I literally… so, I went to friends and family said; Hey, you have a business, I want to make a commercial totally free. I made like two or three free ones. I was going to, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs in Reno, which was an advantage for me. So, I went to these entrepreneur breakfasts, just started handing out business cards, my rates were absolutely dirt cheap, I was still doing the whole, you know, getting paid with exposure thing. And slowly got a few clients landed my first billion-dollar contract, company, not contract, I wish. My first billion-dollar company. And that really helped kind of just like pay the bills get more comfortable. And then once you kind of get over that, that hump of trying to claw your way into something, you can kind of relax and then everything just kind of starts coming your way once you relax, but yeah, it was a lot of door-to-door cold calls. I’ll go back and watch my stuff from all those years ago. And I’m just like, oh my, wow, I was terrible. So yeah, it was just learning.
Ashley: Yeah, so I’m a big proponent on the podcast. I’m always advocating people go out and do shorts, especially screenwriters. Even if you’re not necessarily a filmmaker, it’s just it’s such a great experience. Just seeing your words, working with actors and understanding how that all works. Maybe you guys can both talk to that a little bit. What are some of the lessons you guys learned in doing all these short films?
Andrew: I think the biggest thing that we hear from people and I when we started is like we didn’t know other people to make it you know, it’s hard to go out. You see people will say all the time, like I’ll just take a camera and go make something really well if I don’t have actors, if I don’t have a script. So, you end up doing a lot of the jobs and that’s why on my IMDb I have so many jobs listed under my thing is because that’s I did everything at first. But there are certain things that you need to find. So, I recommend, you know, going on Facebook, going on social media, looking in your area, there’s a lot of people in every size town that are also interested in what we’re interested in, and finding those people connecting with them. You know, just seeing what they’re good at seeing what you’re good at and blending your talents to make something and then just realizing that the first step you make is not probably going to be very good. And then you just grow together. And that’s exactly how MJ and I found each other is we were on the set of a film and it was an earlier film in my career and basically her first one that she that… was that was your first set, right MJ?
Andrew: That was like our first like, small set, she had been on a couple other sets and. And so, we met and we’re just like, hey, like, let’s make a film together. You also asked a little bit about my time at Disney, I got to be on some sets. So, I had kind of seen filmmaking happening. But it was before I considered myself anything knowledgeable cameras, so I didn’t really know what I was seeing. But then later, I was able to kind of connect those dots. I’m like, oh, that’s what the big white thing was next to the camera, and it was a bounce card. So, I had a little bit, but I didn’t know how to connect those dots.
Ashley: Gotcha. MJ, I’m curious. Maybe we can talk about your film, Baby Money. It looks like that was your first feature film script that actually got produced? How did maybe you can just tell us what is that movie all about? What’s the logline for that? And then ultimately, how did you get that film produced?
MJ: Oh, yeah, so Baby Money is a thriller, about these low life criminals. One of them is, has a girlfriend with baby coming, and he needs money. And they just decided to take this gig to kind of steal some stuff and make some money. And of course, everything goes wrong. And now they’re stuck in this house. They kidnapped the mother and a child and are stuck in this house trying to figure out how to get away. But for that one, so yeah, I feel like you know, as a screenwriter, I struggled to kind of like what Andrew was explaining how he became a filmmaker. As a screenwriter. I struggled for years like I had screenplays that weren’t won awards were finalists. I never could get them in front of industry, people or producers, who would you know, like, say, well, let’s do it. And that all changed with Baby Money. So, the producer, loved my script. And it just it that you only needed that one person who you know, loves your writing and love, you know, so I feel like I got really lucky. But yeah, so that’s yeah, we produced it in 2019. That was…
Ashley: How did you meet that one producer who said yes. How what was your process?
MJ: I pitched my script, I believe it was through Ink Tip. And yeah, when he requested it and loved it, we had a call immediately that same day, and we just, and we’re still collaborating actually on a new screenplay right now. And so yeah, it just clicked. We were just very similar.
Ashley: Yeah. And maybe you can talk just a little bit about that. What are some of the other obviously you selling your screenplay? Ink tip? What are some other services out there that you’ve used over the years to try and promote your work and get your work out there?
MJ: Oh, my goodness, every contest out there, I’ve probably submitted. Ink tip was definitely one of them. Once I got like those award-winning finalist screenplays, I put them on Ink Tip hoping to you know, find that producer using obviously, they’re that newsletter every week that you get into pitching. Blacklist was another one that I had in my script. I think those were the only ones. I don’t even know if there’s new ones. But those two are the biggest ones for sure. And yeah.
Ashley: And just to get a sense of sort of the scope of what you were doing, how many scripts like Baby Money, did you have written that you were really out there with Ink Tip and the blacklist and trying to really promote? Because it’s just always interesting. I think a lot of people, a lot of times people concentrate on the success and they say, Oh, this one success. But I mean, you probably had a bunch of other scripts that you were also promoting. So, it really does become somewhat of a numbers game.
MJ: Yeah, so I probably written 10 to 15 feature scripts, I’m not going to show 80% of those. I’m never going to sell it to anybody ever again. So yeah, I mean, as soon as I finished one, I took the other outline that I had or another idea and started writing the next one, and over the years, I probably have about 20 now.
Ashley: And you mentioned you, you entered a lot of contests and started to get some words and contests. What did you do? Like, how did you use that to help you get to that next level? I think a lot of people and we’ll get into this with your guys’s contest and even my own contest. I feel like a lot of times people, they think that, oh, I’ll just win the contest. And then my career is just going to take off to the moon. And I don’t know that that’s a realistic expectation. Even if your movie like in this case is being taken, you know, your movie ultimately won some contests and got produced. But how did you use those contests wins to get to that next level?
MJ: Honestly, only reason I submitted to the first contest that I did was to get feedback. I can’t remember which one it was, but it was like offering… maybe it was Blue Cat or other stuff. Because I literally had the screenplay and I’m like; Well, I don’t even know if it’s good, where do I take it? So that’s how it started. And I started submitting to these contests with the feedback, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, constantly like you always rewriting, I feel like you’re never like screenwriters, I feel like especially new ones they think like, okay, so this is my first draft, or maybe it’s their fifth draft, and they’re like, this is the best, like, this is awesome, it’s never going to change, I’m going to submit it and when that’s not how it works like you are going to… even when the producer likes it, you are going to be rewriting it, you are going to be rewriting the director and all executive producers who are putting their money, maybe you have to cut the budget in half. And you know, so that’s how I just rewrote and got better. I mean, I’ve read so many 1000s of screenplays. So, it’s like on producing produce. And I feel like both you need to read both. You need to read the good ones, to really see what that you know what good one looks. But you also need to read kind of the bad ones to see. Because I learned from those mistakes. I’m like, oh, I do that mistake. But now I read somebody else’s screenplay. And I see that mistake. I’m like, I’m never going to do that mistake again. So, it was really those first five to six years, honestly, it was just me growing as a writer and becoming a better writer and understanding the industry better.
Ashley: Yeah, I wonder if you have some sort of practical tips. Especially, you know, a lot of the scripts that I deal with are more low budget as a producer, you know, how does that impact your writing? And what are some tips that maybe writers that have not had your experience as a producer, maybe some things that they might be missing? And just some tips, you know, as a producer and a writer, what could you say to screenwriters.
MJ: Well, my first screenplay was like $100 million, huge sci-fi production that obviously it’s never going to get produced. But yeah, I started from there. I went from 100 million to now writing like $100,000 screenplays, you know, oh, my gosh, tips how to do it. Like, I feel like it’s always about the story, don’t go like it doesn’t need to, maybe doesn’t need a huge car chase, maybe you can think of another way to make that scene or huge crowds, and you have a big crowd scene. So well, maybe you can establish that in a short way, like a smaller, closer east or alley. Like, I feel like having that story on the paper. And it can be some of my first stories are huge budget, but then I go back and I start like, trimming it down and seeing well, do I need all these characters? I probably don’t. Do I need 50 different house locations, maybe I can just do it in one house location. So just kind of once you have this story, and usually I myself do it at the outline phase, like I don’t even write the first draft. If I have a budget in mind. I just have to outline make sure the structure is there, make sure the plot points are there. And then at that point, then I start like, well, what would be the budget? Like what to be aim at? Budget is so funny, like we have a lot of writers coming like with their scripts like, well, how much would it be to make this? And I’m like, well, we can make it whatever you have, like we’re going to probably have to change it a little bit. But like, budget is like, we’ll make it whatever you have to spend like.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it’s funny. I always tell people when they ask my opinion, like, how much should I write for? I’ll say, like, write the story, the way you want it to be written. And then we can talk about like, bring it to a team and say like; Okay, where can we trim this down or whatnot. So, you have to be open to like the collaboration that is filmmaking, no matter what position you are in, on the team. But yeah, having you know, just write your idea. And then let us help you make it in the sense of the budget. Like I see a lot of writers get really wrapped up in the budget, so much so that it kind of cripples the writing. And I say it the other way, where they don’t think about the budget at all, and inflates so much. It’s like there’s just no way we can make it like this. But as long as you’re willing to write the script you want and then be willing to have that collaboration on the budget. You know, it’s going to increase your chances of getting made.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, let’s talk about the Reno Tahoe screenplay contest. Maybe start out you can kind of just tell us what is this contest all about?
MJ: Pretty much. It’s helping undiscovered writers to become produced. We have three categories. So, we accept features TV pilots and short scripts. And we pick one winner sort of script winner that we produce. So, we produce that film we option it we purchase the rights for that screenplay. And then for the feature and TV pilot winners, we pick one scene or scenes from their screenplay that really help sell that story. So, then they have you know, a proof of concept scene of their screenplay, and we don’t get any of the rights. The writers keep all their rights. They get the clips of film to use to help hopefully sell their screenplay.
Ashley: Fantastic. One thing that I ran into this past year and I’d be curious to kind of get your guys’s thoughts on this. I had a shorts category to my contest, and I found two scripts where I was able to match those writers to producers, but in both cases, the producers kind of backed off. Because it became clear that the writers just had this expectation. They just wanted someone to just give them a bunch of money so that they could just go make their movie directed produced and do everything. And I just wonder, how do you handle that sort of thing? I mean, and who should be getting into this? I mean, if what power do they get? What do these writers actually, when do they get to directed? Do they get to have creative control as a producer?
Andrew: Yeah, so our whole thing with the collaboration is that it is a collaboration between everybody. So, if the winner comes to us, and they’re like; Hey, I’m just a writer, we’re like, great, you write it, we’ll look at it, obviously, we’re going to have to take into consideration like locations and budget and stuff like that. And that’s usually our number one limiting thing. But if they come to us, and they are a director, or they want to direct and our most recent project, you know, we’re open to that collaboration of saying, like, Hey, you you’ve never directed before, do you want to co-direct with one of our directors that has more experience? If they have years of experience directing, we might even let them you know, fully direct on their own. But the whole idea is that my goal is to make the best film possible and allow everyone that wins and be as involved to have as much education and experience from that process as we can.
Ashley: But Andrew, what are the dates for the contest?
Andrew: Ah, actually, I don’t know that. MJ will have to answer that.
MJ: Yeah. Can you hear me?
Ashley: Yep, I can hear you.
MJ: Perfect. So, we have three cycles a year. So, we had our spring. We have our summer winners will be produced next month. And now we have our fall cycle going on. So, it’s about three times a year.
Ashley: Gotcha. And how can people find the contest? What’s the URL for that?
MJ: So, it’s Renoscreenplays.com. But we’re also on Filmfreeway. Reno Tahoe screenplay contest.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. And how can people see some of these, the winners from past, the things that you guys have actually produced from this contest? How can people find those?
MJ: They’re in the Mad Wife YouTube channel.
Andrew: So, if you go to our YouTube channel, just Mad Wife Productions on YouTube, they’ll pop up, you’ll see some of the winners, and then some of our other public films we have on there.
Ashley: Okay, perfect. Now, I’ll round that up for the show notes as well. And so just to kind of wrap things up, what have you guys seen recently that you thought was really great, maybe something a little under the radar that you thought screenwriters could really benefit from checking out?
Andrew: So, what I wrote down to that answer is there’s actually kind of two so for me, watching the Witcher, and watching the Wheel of Time, side by side was really interesting. Both of these shows were based off of books. And both of these shows were kind of around the same time period in the fantasy world. And it was really interesting to see how the writers and showrunners kind of took the content from the books and how they expanded or contracted and how they kind of worked around their storytelling. It was really interesting for me to see the two kind of parallel side by side, both coming out at the same time kind of competing against each other, if you will. I thought that was really interesting.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Those are good. Good recommendations. MJ you have any recommendations for our listeners?
MJ: Yeah. So, we were talking about like low budget film. So, Netflix a hostage house. What’s Emily’s film is called, Andrew?
Andrew: Yeah, Hostage house with Emily Sweet.
MJ: Yeah, so that’s it. So, we worked with Emily in our project, an awesome actress, by the way, but that film is a very good example of like, almost one location. It’s still thriller. There’s a lot of… it’s kind of, you know, suspenseful thriller. And yeah, something that you can accomplish at lower budget.
Ashley: Yeah, perfect. Perfect. That’s a great recommendation. So, what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing Twitter, Facebook, a blog, and if you’re comfortable sharing, as I said, we’ll get the Reno Tahoe screenplay contest. We’ll get that in our show notes. But if there’s any other links you guys want to share? This would be a good time to just tell our audience.
Andrew: Yeah, for MJ and I specifically, the best way to find us is on Facebook, if you go look for Mad Wife Productions, and then our YouTube channel, we’re both pretty active on that. And Facebook is where we post all of our upcoming things and what we’re working on.
Ashley: Perfect, perfect. Well, MJ, Andrew, I really appreciate you guys taking some time out to talk to me. You know, good luck with this contest. And definitely stay in touch. We’ll get we’ll follow this along.
Andrew: Great. Thank you.
Ashley: Thank you. We’ll talk to you guys later.
MJ: Thank you so much.
Ashley: Thank you. Bye.
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 story 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 and 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, the 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 comedy coach Steve Kaplan. He has a book out, we have a great talk about comedy and really what makes comedy work. He’s a really smart guy very funny, too. So, if you’re a comedy writer, definitely check this episode out. I think everybody can learn a lot just about writing but specifically comedy writing, so keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s our show. Thank you for listening.