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Getting your screenplay to producers

I got this question recently:

“I am a screenwriter who has written 3 features in different genres (comedy, drama and crime thriller) and all the coverage I’ve received has been very good but I am having absolutely no luck in finding an agent or production company to even look at them.”

First, having three completed screenplays, while it’s not nothing, it really isn’t a lot either. Most screenwriters I know who have been successful have written a half dozen or more full length feature screenplays before they were skilled enough to write one that was actually good. I’m not saying that your three aren’t good, but when someone approaches me and tells me that they’ve written one, two, three, or four screenplays my initial reaction is to usually tell them to keep writing because most likely they aren’t ready to show their work.

I read some where that Platoon was Oliver Stone’s eleventh screenplay and the first ten were terrible. It got him work but wasn’t produced until after he had used it for several years as a writing sample. So there is no shame in having to write ten terrible screenplays before you are skilled enough to write one good one.

But no matter what the quality of your work is, you should keep writing. You can never have too many well written screenplays.

Also, before you start making submissions to anyone you should be sure that you have a few well written screenplays. I’m not sure what sort of “coverage” you have gotten and from who, but in general you should have a small pool of industry professionals who will critique your work and they will let you know that it’s ready.

But to answer your original question… Once you have a few well written screenplays prepare for an all out frontal assault on the gates of Hollywood. Even the best screenplay ever written would get passed over by most agents, mangers and production companies so you’re going to have to send out a lot of letters, emails, faxes, and make a lot of phone calls to get your script out there wide enough that it has a chance of getting recognized. We’re talking about thousands and thousands of letters, emails, faxes, and phone calls. You’re no longer just a writer you’re now a salesman too, and your product is your screenplays.

The whole point of this blog is trying to show people some of the ways in which I’ve sold and optioned screenplays so start reading every post I’ve ever written. I recommend you start here as this post gives you all the nuts and bolts of starting a sales campaign for your screenplays:

How to Sell Your Screenplay (in a nutshell)