GJ Meyer said:

I’m new to screenplays but I’ve been writing stories in the form of police investigations for 20 years. My audience has been the DA, defense attorneys and jurors. I’ve got a ton to learn about writing for commerce but I love it and I’m like a kid in a candy store right now. I’m a member at screenplay lab and I’ve benefited from the training they’ve put on, including WGA Foundation presentations.

I’ve got a 12 page treatment for a PG Romantic Comedy. It’s done in the beat sheet format by Blake Snyder and it’s registered. The screenplay is 30 pages in and I’m working on it while I still do my day job.
It’s an original story, as in I haven’t taken it from a novel or other project but from what I’ve heard, original stories are hard to sell to suits. They want something based on a previous successful story or about an interesting person’s life in order to take the chance. Even Ben Button was taken from a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald with Roth’s twist as you know. The feedback I’ve received from a friend that used to be big in the business (70’s & 80’s) is, “It’s lively, funny and well written.” but who knows, he might have been just being nice.

How in the heck do I get an agent a mere treatment? Or won’t they even talk to me until I have a couple of full screenplays done? I’ve run into situations where accomplished writers will be more than happy to look at my treatment and my screenplay’s progress, but they want $150 to $500 bucks depending upon who it is. I don’t have it, but I want to see if I’m on the right track. Should I try and team with a co-author with experience? and how do I do that without $ up front?

I know I won’t sell crap without an agent.

Any suggestions?

Thanks man,

GJMEYER (no relation to Ron obviously)

Ashley Scott Meyers said:

GJ Meyer;

First off – all the options I’ve had (more than twenty) and the three scripts I’ve sold have all been without an agent so don’t think you have to have an agent to sell a script. A good agent certainly helps, but isn’t a guarantee of selling something and when you’re starting out you’re honestly better off trying to get your stuff out there yourself because the agents who will take on a new writer are usually no where near as motivated to make a sale as you are.

I would say don’t rush things. Keep working on your script and don’t try and send the treatment out. Wait until the script is done and re-written and polished and then start sending it out.

I’ve never found that having an original idea is a real hindrance. Sure, if you have the rights to a best selling book that will give you a leg up because it’s a proven commodity but if you have a great story concept and a well executed script that will get you in the door too.

Specifically two of my posts I think will help you a lot:

How to Sell Your Screenplay (in a nutshell)

How do you get an agent for your screenplay? (And why you don’t need one!)


(Note: Please keep in mind that this is an informal email exchange so please pardon spelling and grammar mistakes)