After months of back and forth writing and battling creative blocks, you have finally completed your screenplay! All of that hard work is finally in your hands, finalized. The only thing left to do is selling your screenplay so it can be developed into the masterpiece you envisioned.
Before we get into the selling part, let’s quickly talk about some screenwriting software tools available. This is very essential because before you start marketing your script you need to make sure it meets the industry format of a screenplay and is free of any possible grammatical or spelling errors.
These software tools eliminate the need for manual formatting and save time. Some of my favorite screenwriting software are:
1. Final Draft–
This is an award-winning software launched in 1990, used by Oscar-winning screenwriters and writers working for well-known studios. Unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive but it has a 30-day free trial which you can use to your advantage.
This is best for screenwriters, playwrights, and novelists. It helps you turn scattered ideas into full-fledged plans. It has an easy to use interface and is affordable.
Previously known as ‘blyte’, Trelby is perfect for screenwriters on a budget since this software is entirely free.
Now, let’s not waste any more time and get right into the primary reason you clicked on this article. While selling a screenplay is a tough and long process, it’s not impossible. And with the right techniques and connections, it can be achieved.
1. Get a manager
This is optional as not everyone might afford this. But this can be a valuable asset as a manager can help you while you’re working on your script and after when you’re trying to sell it. Managers are likely to have inside contacts and connections which they will use to get your script to the best seller possible.
Manager is also the person who will read your script and give you tips on improving it. A manager generally has 10 to 15 clients at a time which means there’s enough time for him or her to focus on your script.
Managers are also good at networking within the industry and have people skills. They know how to approach producers, directors and agents to build professional relations with them for the client.
So if your script is ready to be sold, start searching for a manager on this list of screenwriting managers.
2. Screenwriting Contests
This is a brilliant method to tiptoe your way into Hollywood! You can enter your scripts into various screenwriting contests giving your script exposure and feedback from many people.
While a lot of contests are springing up like startups these days, you should know which ones are the best for your script genre. A lot of them have extra application fees for script feedback too. On a general note the average fee for applying 3-4 months before the final deadline will cost 40-60 dollars.
These contests have well-known producers and directors on their judges’ panel. So there’s a chance that you might get flown to LA if you win. There are also prizes for runners-up which include sending your script to agents and managers in the industry.
To keep track of the deadlines of the contests, Moviebytes is definitely a site worth bookmarking.
3. Listing Services Directories
In this method, you basically have to upload your script on a website and the producers can go onto the website, type in specifications like the genre they are looking for, and directly access your script. The top sites for this are Inktip and The Blacklist.
Inktip would be favorable if your script is for a low-budget kind of movie, However, if your script needs a big budget, The Blacklist is your place to go. Specs scout is another website you could try out. The success rate for this method is very high!
You can get more websites like these by subscribing to some good screenwriting websites.
4. Pitch Festival
This is a great way to put your face in front of Hollywood, literally! You simply have to enter a timed arrangement where you get 5 minutes to pitch your script to a producer/director and when the time is up, you move on to the next. It is kind of like speed dating.
The person will call you the next day to tell you if they are interested in your script or not. Some famous pitch festivals are The Great American Pitch Festival, Hollywood Pitch Festival, and Golden Ticket Pitch Festival (which takes place inside the story expo).
5. Skype Pitches
This is similar to the previous one except you have to pitch your script on Skype which gives you less room to connect with them like you would in person. But here you get more time than 5 minutes.
The top two sites to go to would be Roadmap Writers and Stage 32 Happy Writers. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking yourself on a video call, these sites have the feature where you can pay a company to send someone to speak on your behalf.
6. Written Pitch
The site Virtual Pitchfest is a great way to get your script some exposure. Here you can handpick certain people that you’re interested in and pay them to read your script, which will get sent to a manager/agent/producer.
This guarantees that they will read it and also give script feedback within a certain amount of time. You can get good package deals on the site for the same. VPF CEO David Zuckerman offers advice on how it works.
7. Coverage services with scouting
Here, instead of paying certain agents or managers to read your script, you pay a well-respected company to have a reader give coverage on your script. And if the coverage is up to a certain point, they will use all their connections and contacts to the industry people and get your script in the right hands.
There are a range of script coverage services like script doctor and editing, script marketing, etc. These are quite costly if you are a budding writer. Before paying for these making sure you have the perfect draft of your script is essential.
8. Start Networking
Networking doesn’t always mean adding friends on Facebook and tweeting regularly. Connecting with the right people in the industry can sometimes get you a meeting with a studio executive or a producer.
Getting on a screenwriting podcast where hosts talk about selling screenplays or invite upcoming writers to share their writing process can help a lot to gain exposure.
Stage 32 is a site for people in the industry to look out for writers, actors, directors, and people skilled in other crafts. Since Hollywood was shut down during the pandemic in 2020, they generated over 100,000 new members in 8 months.
I hope these selling ways work for you. However, you can also start reading screenwriting books because there’s always more to learn! Some of these books have tips on selling screenplays, too.
Screenwriters do earn a lot of money once they are quite well known within the community. So if you put in the dedication required to write and sell, screenwriting is definitely worth the effort.