Self Expression Magazine

Who Wants Your Screenplay Part 2

By Myfilmproject09

Who wants your screenplay part 2
  Here's how it used to work back in the "old days" meaning 2005. That was the year that killed movies for TV because of that monster Survival. It got better ratings and a lot cheaper to make. The "stars" were ordinary people who didn't demand million dollar raises.
But let's look at your chances of selling a screenplay.
The odds are enormous against you. 
The odds are still bad against me.
But it always was like that. That's just how this business works. Here's a good example of how I sold a screenplay. I wrote a nice Christmas story and showed it around. Hallmark liked it but didn't want to make it.
And they didn't want anyone else to make it either.  It stayed in their vault for three years and then a lady read it and said "let's make it."
Why did she make it?
Because one of the characters in the script reminded her of her daughter.
Okay, the script was good, but if that woman didn't connect with a character in my story, that script would still be on the shelf. In other words it's a lottery.
So begin with that on your voyage to sell your script. 
There's a writer's guild website exclusively for WGA writers. It's not part of WGA, but it's a website where we WGA members can argue and whine. One time, I read a post from a writer who wasn't really anything, I think he wrote a kid's show or not even that.
He wanted to get anybody's take on showing his newest screenplay and had doubts about a producer who wanted to read it. A few others discussed this which really was a waste of time. The truth is this; the writer wanted to show everyone that someone was interested in his script, that's all. "See, someone likes me."
This is what I believe in.
I will show my script to anyone. Because that's how you get a better chance at selling your script. Not showing it to anyone but a major studio is stupid. I know writers who refuse to show their script to anyone except a major studio.
They still haven't sold their script.
The ugly truth is that there are too many writers out there. And most of them aren't very good. When I taught UCLA screenwriting classes I got questions about the chances of those taking the course. The reality was, for me, out of around 250 students, maybe 4.
4 students might be able to sell their scripts.
One way is to get attention in all the script contests. Personally I think it's only a scam for someone to make some money off hungry amateur writers. But sometimes it helps.
The best thing I know is to have a partner. That's how I started my career, sort of. I was working at a TV station as an editor but I wanted to write. I found a friend who wanted to direct and we made that short film, Cooperage, which I mention often. It got us a finalist position in the Academy Awards in 1976.
What it did was get me a job as a producer for cheap commercials. I did that for two years and then wrote my first real screenplay. Then I joined up with a friend at the TV station and we both quit. He was a hustler, I wasn't. He found money, I didn't. 
But it was the perfect match for Ghostkeeper, my first real feature.
This is why I suggest finding a partner. And someone smarter than you. That other person might be smarter at finding money, but you're smarter in writing the screenplay. It works a lot better than trying to break into the business by yourself. 
In fact, I don't know anybody who made it themselves.
Right now I have four producers who have four screenplays and are trying to find the money. Hell, I couldn't find a dime if it was in front of me. 
But they need me too, because they can't write. And my favorite line is this; 
The best thing about writers is that they don't have to have a job in order to write. 
You see everyone else needs to be hired; the cameraman, the audio guy, the assistant director and even the actors. They need to be hired first.
But when you write your screenplay all by yourself in your dark room, you are working. And if someone wants to read it, give it to them. And if they want to make it, say yes.
And you just might get it made.

Next: Monday - more about what to write and who to write for.

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