I got this question recently:

“I have been writing a fantasy screenplay and have been rewriting it for the last 9 months. How do I know when it’s ready to be pitched and sent out to the industry?”

There’s an old Hollywood saying that goes something like this: “A screenplay is never finished, it’s abandoned.” I think there is some real truth to this. Even the screenplays that have made it into production as I watch the finished films I often second guess choices I made and come up with ideas to make it better. So at some point you have to let go and push your creation out into the world and see if it flies or not.

In general as I’ve written more and more I’ve gained a feel for where a screenplay needs to be before I send it out. I have a pretty good system in place to push my first drafts through, which will help me in the rewriting process. You should build a similar system.

I have a few trusted writer/producer/actor/agent/manager friends who I send my material to and get their feedback. In addition, as I develop material I usually bring them into my writers group. (If you live in the Los Angeles area we’re always looking for great writers to join us so check out the group’s webpage at: http://www.deadlinejunkies.com/). In the group actors read the material and the other writers give me notes, sometimes harsh, so I can go back and do more revisions. So by the time I feel like my material is ready to go I’ve heard actors read the lines and I’ve gotten quiet a bit of feedback from industry professionals, and usually made several major revisions.

The point is you can get to close to your own material so you need to get feedback from outsiders who are industry professionals. If you don’t have this sort of network yet you might spending a few dollars and hiring a script consultant.

I recommend Script Quack which is run by several of the writers in my group. They give a discount to my readers so you just enter the discount code “sellingyourscreenplay” (without the quotes) on the discount page which can be found here: http://www.scriptquack.com/discountpage.html.

4 thoughts on “How do I know when my screenplay is finished?”
  1. I would love to have a list of agencies that are true and professional.
    That would possible look over my screenplay and help me to get it into the hands of the right person for movie production. Thank you.

    1. The WGA does publish a list of WGA signatory agents. The issues usually isn’t finding good agents, it’s finding good agents who are willing to look at your material. You can certainly start with the WGA list, though.

  2. Greetings,

    My name is Jana Hunt and I am the Author of the soon to be released novel titled ‘Nephilim’. I am writing today because I have spiked the interest of Producers, Directors, Actors and Screenwriters and I feel at this point I am the need of a real Agent.
    I can honestly say that I have a unique story that I know would be an outstanding story for Hollywood. However, I have already ran into Hollywood Wantobe’s and I fear for my story as it is obviously one worth telling since so many others are inquiring about it. I need help. I need a professional agent who believes in me and my story as much as I do.
    I would love to talk to someone within your organization to explain my vision and my dream, as well as my novel ‘Nephilim’ and why I feel it would be great movie material. But…I want it done correctly.
    I would really appreciate it if someone could contact me either by my email address or perhaps by just calling me as I am willing to give you my home phone number in order to discuss my dream. (520-505-7383) Sincerely, Jana S. Hunt (Author of Nephilim) A story worth listening about… Please Believe.

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