You’ve bled on the pages, maybe for months or even years, and you finally type FADE OUT. Congratulations! You’re beaming with pride until you realize… now what? You have to sit down and strategize on how to sell a screenplay!
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Truth is, there are as many ways of selling a movie script as there are screenwriters. No surefire technique for selling a script will work for everyone, so you need to get imaginative, but here are some ways that might help your odds of success.
5 Tips on How to Sell a Screenplay
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and get honest feedback.
You can’t sell your script unless it’s polished and professional. The number one reason screenplays don’t sell is they aren’t ready to be pitched. You have one shot at a first impression; don’t blow it. Typos, formatting, page count and structure matter. So does the emotional pull and hook of your story. Don’t put out a script prematurely and blow your chances.
- Send email queries and cold call executives.
When you ask an executive how to sell your script, they’ll tell you it all starts with the query or pitch, assuming you’ve already completed Tip #1 of crafting a polished script. If you don’t have a good query letter or pitch, your request will be deleted. That is guaranteed. When you query, make it personal. Show your personality. Explain why you are the writer to tell this story. Hook them, just like you want to hook your script reader. And research the executive. Knowing who you’re pitching to is as important as writing a great query.
- Independent filmmaking.
Some writers don’t worry about how to sell a movie script. They make the film themselves and then get distribution deals. This isn’t the best path for every writer, but it is certainly one path to take. The biggest benefit to producing your own film is learning how to write for a lower budget. Executives will appreciate your understanding of budget and filming limitations. Even if you don’t get a distribution deal, independent filmmaking will definitely make you a better writer.
- Find the six degrees of separation.
Part of the business of selling scripts is meeting people. Even people you would never expect to have connections to Hollywood talent, might. Talk to people. Tell them you’re a screenwriter. Reach out to your family and friends to see if anyone knows someone in the industry. Find the executive on your bucket list and follow them on social media. See if you have any common friends on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Everyone has six degrees of separation from someone. You just need to find it. It might not be as hard as you think.
- Screenwriting conferences and pitchfests.
The one answer on how to sell a script that is the most fun, and leads to many other career positives, is attending conferences and pitchfests. You have the advantage of having up to 100 executives in one place to pitch a script to… where you don’t have to drive through L.A. traffic to get to the next Hollywood executive. It’s like speed dating. Bottom-line: The best way to sell your script is to get face-to-face with an executive so they can hear your passion for your projects firsthand.
Get your FREE ScriptMag Screenwriting Conference Essentials Webinar to help improve your odds of success at a screenwriting pitchfest!
Regardless of how well your screenplay is written, you have no choice but to get comfortable pitching it in order to sell a screenplay. In our FREE webinar, Script Mag Editor, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, offers tips to succeed at screenwriting conferences and pitchfests to help improve your chances of success!