Market Research

Before you sit down to write your script it is hard to know what the movie market will be like by the time you have finished it. No-one can predict the future, especially about something as volatile as the film industry. While some types of movie are always in demand (action, romantic comedy, etc) it is very hard to look at a script and know if it will sell or not at the box office. It doesn’t matter how good the script is.

What you can do is a little market research and use a little common sense. If you’re writing a script social drama then keep it a low budget affair. These type of movies generally don’t do well at the box office or are produced as a “made for TV movie”.

market-researchStars drive Hollywood. With that in mind, if you can create a character than an A-list actor would love to play then you’re in business. To do this requires writing a screenplay that revolves around a unique character who grows through a period of high drama, this is known as a strong character arc. The high drama gives the actor a chance to flex their muscles and show off their full range of acting emotions. While it is true that there are more A-list male actors, females are catching up so don’t let that sway the choice of sex for your main character.

What To Do With A Finished Script

The first thing you want to do with a finished script is to let it ferment for awhile. Give yourself time to come up with ways of fixing any problems in the screenplay. You may get new ideas on ways to improve the story and the characters. At the same time though you want to be careful of re-writing the life out of the screenplay, the first draft is full of passion and you don’t want to lose that.

This break also allows you to become more objective. It is easier to admit mistakes after giving yourself some distance from the project. The break also gives you more time to assess the market. If a movie similar to yours is released and does well then you should send your script out as soon as possible. If it bombs then you should leave it around a year before you send the script out.

Use this time to write another screenplay, having more than one will show that you’re productive and are a sound investment for any agent or producer.

Where To Get Market Information

Variety and the Hollywood Reporter are the two best places to get information on the markets. Variety tends to focus more on movies while the Hollywood Reporter focuses more on television. They both have weekly editions and websites you can visit for all the information on what screenplays have been sold, how much they sold for, who’s attached to them, when it will go into production, etc.

You can also find out who each production company receives its funding from. If you discover that a production company is funded by a huge Hollywood star the you’d be wise to look at their track record of films. Do they like to star in specific kinds of movies, do they star in movies that they produce?

There are also any number of workshops, seminars and film festivals you can attend. It always helps to know someone with a foot already on the ladder. Try to drum up some contacts and give them a quick pitch of your script. Before you know it they’ve told a friend about it who happens to be the brother of an executive at a production company.

Having a killer screenplay is great, but you need to know who to pitch it to and when if you want to sell it and make the most money possible.