I got this question recently and I wanted to make sure that people who were thinking about getting involved with screenwriting didn’t have this same fantasy.
Question: Is my, I guess, naive fantasy of selling my script within a few weeks for $65,000 dollars possible? Or is it a slow, industrious process that can take months.
Answer: I assume you’re half kidding with your question but I’ll answer it seriously.
If you’ve written something that is truly earth shatteringly good, something that is so unique and original that it literally jumps off the page and blows people out of their seats as they read it, you’ll be lucky if you sell it within 10 years. If you haven’t written something quite that good (and trust me, you haven’t) it means you’re going to need to slug it out and market the hell out of it and push it for years and years. And when you’re about to give up you’ll need to keep on pushing. And then after a few more years when you’re about to give up again you’ll need to keep pushing it for even a few more years.
Death and taxes are less certain then the fact that you will NOT sell a script “within a few weeks.” You can move to Monaco to avoid taxes and doctors may come up with a cure for every disease known to mankind so that you’ll live forever. But you will not sell a script within a few weeks. That I am certain of.
So no, it’s not an “industrious process that can take months,” it’s a process that can take years, and that’s only if you’ve written a great script, market it aggressively, and get really, really, really, really, lucky.
It’s a common saying in Hollywood that the overnight success takes 10 years and from what I’ve seen that’s no exaggeration.
If you’re not willing to put in the time or effort and are simply looking to make a quick buck I recommend that you buy lottery tickets with what ever money you can afford. You’re odds are much better and it’s a hell of a lot easier.