Once you’ve finished your script off the dollar signs will be flashing ad you’ll be looking to sell it to the highest bidder. But before you send off your script to everyone and their mother, you need to have a plan. Here are the tools you will need to sell your script.
The Script – Hopefully you’ve already finished your script if you’re reading this, otherwise you’re just procrastinating. If you have more than once script then that’s great, this will prove not only your writing ability but that you have more that one script in you and can be treated as a long term piece of talent.
A Hook – This can be the logline of your movie or the basic concept or premise. You can use this hook in your query letter, on the phone or your pitch. Hollywood is big on “high-concept” movies as they tend to have more chance of being a box-office smash so make your script sound as high-concept as possible, even if it isn’t.
Story Summary – A story summary is normally one or two paragraphs long and can be used in your query letter or as part of your pitch. The story summary has an offshoot known as the pitch on paper which consists of your hook, followed by the story summary all on one page.
Query Letter – Before you send your script to anyone you should first send a query letter. This letter must convince whoever you send it to that they need to read your script. It consists of your hook, story summary and any relevant qualifications.
Synopsis/Treatment – The synopsis is a one or two page story summary which is to be written in present tense, double-spaced, using a conservative 12-point font (Times New Roman, Courier, etc) which you can sent with your query letter (if requested), use as a guideline for your phone pitch or directed to producers, actors and directors. You will want to create a cover letter for your synopsis that contains the concept, title, genre and any relevant qualifications.
Similar to the synopsis is the treatment. If you are asked for a treatment they are very similar to the synopsis only longer, normally 3-4 pages unless you are asked for more.
Telephone Script – If you get the chance to speak to an agent, producer or other piece of talent you need to know what you’re talking about. Think of yourself as a telephone marketer. Any company who employs telephone marketers will give them a script to guide them through making the sale. By your telephone at all time you want your telephone script as there is nothing worse than going blank on the phone, whoever you are speaking to will simply put the phone down.
Your telephone script should consist of a brief introduction about you and your script followed by your pitch. Not only should you be trying to sell your script, but yourself as a piece of talent too. Whoever your are speaking to might already have three romantic comedies in production so they won’t want the Love & Laughter script you have written. However they might be impressed enough with your work to offer you a scriptwriting assignment.
Resources – www.filmscriptwriting.com is a great start, as are our list of useful resources. You might find it useful to join a forum or online network of scriptwriters. Most communities also have writers workshops from which you can gain valuable insight from a personal perspective.
Mental Strength – Writing and selling a script can be a gruelling process. You must remain confident in yourself and your script at all times, without being arrogant. Persistence is the name of the game, it took Forrest Gump ten years to go from a finished script to a sold script. Even if you don’t manage to sell your first script you should use the process to make friends in the industry, this way your name may come to mind if they have any writing assignments or work.
Never give up.