Beginning screenwriters often bemoan the lack of resources available in their profession. This complaint is due more to a lack of effort to explore what is out there than insufficient available information. One has to be proactive to succeed in this industry and digging out this data is a major part of being a working writer. Other emerging writers become so focused on a single pathway they don’t see the more viable avenues. This document shows there are many options available and most are free. To help the students I mentor, I have compiled this resource to provide a glimpse of what’s available. It will enable young writers to see the possibilities and help them get a foothold in this highly competitive profession. I’m likewise sharing it with those who visit my website.
The document contains an array of helpful and pertinent information. Things such as bookstores, schools, printing outlets, script consultants, screenwriter coaches, coverage services, industry directories, representation, screenwriting contests, screenwriting and trade publications, networking organizations plus links to helpful articles and videos. The content is arranged beginning with basic know how to selling your script to networking with industry professionals. To work, some links may have to be copied and pasted into your search window.
BASIC KNOW HOW
Screenwriting is a highly specialized form of writing. Its format, story construction and shorthand are unique to the storytelling of cinema and television. In addition, the screenplay is a compressed blueprint for producing a film and it has numerous restriction not imposed in other forms of writing such as the novel or short story. In spite of these restrictions, good screenwriters can still convey their stories in a compelling and entertaining way.
Knowledge is the key to starting out and there’s a variety of ways to learning this craft. Schools offer classes, books, online articles and videos offer techniques, and reading award-winning scripts provides insights into emulating the best.
UCLA Extension Writers Program offers on campus classes in screenwriting, and television writing as well as some online classes. For catalog or to enroll call (800) 825-9971. Website: www.uclaextension.edu. For online catalog for current semester go to https://www.uclaextension.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Pdf/Catalog_PDFs/Writers_Program.pdf
Since 1989, Writers Boot Camp has launched major writing careers at the highest levels of the film and television business through intensive screenwriting classes, coursework, membership benefits and support to writers. Their alumni have hundreds of major writing credits and thousands of hours of produced television and web series, including A-List writers, filmmakers, actors, executives, and Emmy, Tony, WGA, Webby and Academy Award winners. They also have a Business Breakfast Series with industry talents and executives ($30). The Actors Annex banner assists and empowers actors in our community. Past speakers reflect on the unique challenges that actors face, from addressing craft, business issues, to extending opportunities to develop your own material. This event is free. Located at 2525 Michigan Ave Bldg 1, Santa Monica, CA 90404 · Tel: 310.998.1199 or 800.800.1733 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.writersbootcamp.com/
Screenwriters University was developed by The Writers Store, the premier resource for writing and filmmaking tools since 1982. Each class is designed to get you writing and keep you writing for a long and inspired career. An online screenwriting university features affordable instruction from well-known film industry professionals. Screenwriters University offers a variety of online writing courses for screenwriters at every experience level. Among the first companies devoted to writing and filmmaking to have an Internet presence. For more information call: 1-800-759-0963 OR Click here to email us
ScreenCraft, https://screencraft.org/, is a boutique consultancy specializing in insider access to development executives at the best production companies and studios. They offer numerous services such as script evaluations, e-books, training e-courses, script writing software, and helpful blogs on screenwriting. While most services are payable, others are offered free as a way to entice you into their programs. These include articles on screenwriting, a free newsletter offering tips and inspiration, and their Basic screenwriting software, WriterDuet.
WriterDuet is an intuitive, user-friendly scriptwriting software that allows writer to share screens with one, two, or many different people at once. Being web-based, it allows flexibility to write anywhere on any system. The Basic software is free and the professional version is $99 per year or $199 lifetime.
The ScreenCraft team has secured reads, meetings, writing assignments and representation for clients at top companies including Paradigm, 3 Arts Entertainment, The Sundance Institute, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment, Anonymous Content, Heretic Literary Management, Conspiracy Media, Kopelson Entertainment, and Buffalo 8 Productions.
They also offer screenwriting contests dedicated to discovering talented screenwriters and connecting them with producers, agents and managers.
To contact ScreenCraft: https://screencraft.org/contact/. Mailing Address: 8306 Wilshire Blvd #622, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Phone: (855) 503-5500, Email: info -@- screencraft.org. To sign up for Free Newsletter, go to https://screencraft.org/signup/.
Grammar, vocabulary and other writing skills are part of the screenwriter’s tool kit. For tips on these topics go to http://www.grammarcheck.net/infographics/.
BOOKSWritersStore.com was created with the idea that an online store would allow anyone the world over to same access to tools used by successful Hollywood writers. Store offers books on screen and television writing as well as on the business of writing and producing. There is also software scriptwriting such as Final Draft and Movie Magic Screenwriter along with software on budgeting, scheduling, and storyboarding. There are also innovative tools and software programs that make the writing process easier. Writing supplies as also available through this company. This is a small store, but it’s packed with great writing books, lots of software, and exclusive DVDs and audio of workshops. Items can be ordered online and shipped, or purchased at The Writer Store located at 3510 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505, (800) 272-8927 Business website writersstore.com.
Samuel French Bookshop is another resource for books on writing and the business surrounding it. While the store caters to actors it also serves writers with how to books and directories in the writing field. Samuel French is located at 7623 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90046-2795. Tel: 323 876-0507, Fax: 323 876-6822, Can order online or purchase at store. Web: www.samuelfrench.com. Link to screenwriting books is http://www.samuelfrench.com/catalog/search?cid=1037
Amazon.com has a wide collection of books on writing as well as the business of writing. The advantage of using Amazon is that many of these books are available as used and thus the cost is much lower. Another factor is that books that are out of print are still available as used books. Website is www.amazone.com/books. In the search window put in “screenwriting books.”
Your local library may have books on screenwriting and libraries in larger cities are more likely to have a better collection.
Reading and analyzing scripts written by professional writers is an excellent way to improve ones writing skills. Scripts are available for reading at the Writers Guild of America West, 7000 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048, (323) 951-4000
(800) 548-4532, Hours 9AM to 6PM. Today, many of these scripts are available online free and others are available for a small fee. One should concentrate on nominated or award winning scripts, those up for Oscars or Emmys. Listings of these award winners are available via the following links.
Nominated writers listed on same site by year.
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primetime_Emmy_Award_for_Outstanding_Writing_for_a_Drama_Series
Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primetime_Emmy_Award_for_Outstanding_Writing_for_a_Comedy_Series
LINKS TO ONLINE SCRIPTS (Google “screenplays online”)
http://www.imsdb.com/ Internet Movie Script Database
VIDEOS ON SCREENWRITING
With so many videos available on the subject, it would be unfair to list a few. Instead, I will l list the most prevalent categories. They include Tutorials, Classes, Interviews, Panel Discussions, Screenwriting Tips, and TED Talks. To find, place “Videos on Screenwriting” in the Google search window.
SCRIPT WRITING PROGRAMS
Movie Magic Screenwriter is the choice of writing professionals. It is an all-in-one package for any story you want to write. Screenwriter handles script formats for motion pictures, theatre, television, novels, comic books, and more. It formats while you write so you can focus on what you are writing, not where is goes on the page. From FADE IN to FADE OUT, Screenwriter’s massive set of features makes writing and rewriting fast and simple. Available through www.WritersStore.com.and http://www.screenplay.com/. If you are a student, Academic Editions are available.
Final Draft is the number-one selling screenwriting software in the world. It has over 100 templates that format and paginate screenplays, teleplays and stage plays. It scripts on Windows, Macintosh, or in the Final Draft Writer® app for iPad look exactly the same. With the Panels system, you can split your screen into separate panels and view your script pages in one panel while you view another section of the script or your Index Cards or Scene View in the other panel. A double-click on any scene will keep the panels in sync. Available through www.WritersStore.com and http://store.finaldraft.com . If you are a student, Academic Editions are available.
PROTECTING YOUR STORY
Copyright law does not protect ideas. Copyright law only protects the “expression of an idea that is fixed in a tangible form.” Thus, it is important to put your story elements down on paper. Professional writers protect their scripts in two ways. One way is registering your treatment, synopsis, or entire script with the Writers Guild of America. Another is registering your materials with the Copyright Office. The Writers Guild protection is good for five years; however, it can be renewed. A Copyright is good for life plus 70 years.
WGAW Registration Procedures for Deposit by Mail or In Person can be found at https://www.wgawregistry.org/regmail.html. Fees: Writer Guild members $10, non-members $20.
Copyright Office Registration procedures for online registration fill out the form at http://copyrightregistry-online-form.com/apply/. The mail-in hard copy filing fee is $35 if you register one work by a single author who is also the claimant and the work is not made for hire. Otherwise, the fee for online registration is $55. For detailed procedures look at pdf file http://copyright.gov/circs/circ04.pdf
GETTING FEEDBACK (Writing Groups, Readers and Script Consultants)
Writing Groups are an excellent way to hear your script read and receive feedback. The Writers Store in Burbank has screenwriting groups. They are professionally moderated, offer leader and peer support and feedback on your screenplay, and motivate you to commit to your script and writing career. ScriptXpert Writing Groups conduct weekly table reads. That way, you get feedback from your peers in real time, and can hear how your work sounds – a significant advantage for work that’s written for the silver screen. There is a virtual group and a live Burbank group and both cost $99 per month. For further information and additional benefits go to link: https://www.writersstore.com/scriptxpert-writing-groups?et_mid=743761&rid=240409960.
Additional Screenwriting Groups can be found at the following link: http://www.keepwriting.com/allwriters/sgroups.htm
Readers are people who provide coverage of a script. This consists of identifying the log line, the theme and a comment summary or short evaluation of the script. It might also include a breakdown of the main characters. There is also a box score of various story elements and a Pass, Consider, or Recommend grade is given to the project as well as to the writer. The reader also does a synopsis of the script as well as comments as to strengths and weakness and its potential as a viable motion picture. Before sending out a script, it’s helpful to have professional coverage done as it provides feedback that can improve the script and also provide selling arguments.
Here are the readers/companies that script consultant Stephanie Palmer checked out (each service provides a variety of options and price points – these are the least expensive options):
- Amanda Pendolino– $115.00 Her site has informative blogs on writing (Labels)
- Coverage Ink– $129.00
- Scriptapalooza– $175.00
- Script Pipeline– $275.00
- Script Shadow– $150.00
- ScriptShark– $149.00
- Story Sense– $225.00
Other readers/story analyst can be found on Google, or on craigslist under services/writing/editing/translation.
Script Consultants, on the other hand, work directly with the writer to help prepare the script for studio or agency submission. Expect coverage from a script consultant to be longer, more comprehensive and constructive than reader coverage. Expect studio or agency experience so the consultant can relate first-hand what a reader would tell their bosses about your script. Then be able to make revisions as you may only get one chance. Industry story department often swap coverage in order to save money.
Script Consultants. Linda Seger is one of the world’s foremost script consultants and a screenplay coach. She created the script consulting profession in 1981. Contact information: Email: LSSeger@aol.com, Phone: 719-684-0405, Mail: 4705 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade CO 80809. For rates and submission procedures go to her website http://www.lindaseger.com/script-consultant
Erik Bork was Rated “Cream of the Crop” in Creative Screenwriting’s
The Best Script Analysts and Consultants. Website: http://www.flyingwrestler.com,
E-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
The Best Script Analysts And Consultants As Rated By 1,100+ Screenwriters
New 2014 Edition
Click the button at Link Below to buy just the “Best Script Analysts and Consultants” e-book for $5.95. Rated by 1,100+ Screenwriters. To use a credit card, click “I don’t have a Paypal Account” on the lower right side of the next screen.
For both the new 2014 Best Script Analysts and the 2014 Best Services And Resources
and Sell Your Screenplay — the directory of producers and agents who will read your
query or script. All three in one zipped file for only $9.99 at above website.
SCREENWRITING CONFERENCES, PITCH SESSIONS AND RETREATS
These conferences cover a wide variety of topics and tactics for screenwriters at every career and skill level. They provide need-to-know information on creating saleable premises, the latest screenwriting trends, and ways to improve your screenplay. Most conferences also allow the opportunity to pitch directly to representatives from major studios and management companies. Another advantage of such gatherings is the opportunity to exchange ideas and establish connections with key players in the movie and television industry. People who can help move your writing career forward. From the pitch sessions to the small groups and one-on-one time in the education sessions, these conferences offer countless opportunities to network and meet people who can help you succeed.
Retreats offer a combination of tours, workshops and interaction with a small group of writers. They are a great way to combine a vacation with inspiration, networking and of course, writing. In evaluating these events make sure there is a collection of working industry professionals (agents, producers, writers) who can offer non-professional screenwriters the opportunity to workshop their screenplays and ask questions in a personalized environment. To find these events search screenwriting publication as well as the Internet. Some may be held in conjunction with film festivals.
VIDEO VIEWING SITES
Viewing award-winning films is an excellent way of improving your writing skills. Sites such as NetFlix, Hulu, and Amazon offer a wide selection of films and TV shows. One can either view them on DVD or stream them on your computer/TV screen. While reading the script may display the writer’s vision, the director and actors also contribute in bringing the story to life. This transition from the page to the screen is one with which the writer must be thoroughly acquainted. Combining viewing and reading the script brings to light an array of situations, behaviors and story elements one might have missed in relying only on the script. One will also recognize script scenes cut from the film that usually leave no holes, for the audience is great collaborators in filling in the gaps. These sites charge a monthly nominal fee, which depends on your particular needs. Viewing sites are as follows: https://www.netflix.com/, http://www.amazon.com/Prime-Instant-Video/b?node=2676882011, and www.hulu.com/.
SCRIPT COPING PLACES
While more and more submissions are done digitally, there may be a need for hard copies. It thus pays to know where you can get quality script copies at a reasonable price. The following are some of the printing places.
Best Script Copying Print Service in Los Angeles, CA
Printland, 714 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401 · Tel: (310) 394-7091 Fax: (310) 394-2693, email: email@example.com, business website printland.net,
One way of promoting yourself as a screenwriter is to win or place high in screenwriting contests. It’s a good way to get noticed by agents and managers – especially if you don’t have many Hollywood connections. By winning a screenwriting competition your work is more likely to be read by potential managers, agents and producers. Script consultant Stephanie Palmer has a blog on contest strategies and the 10 Top Screenwriting Contests to enter. See link http://goodinaroom.com/blog/screenwriting-contests/
WithOutABox.com. The Withoutabox website offers filmmakers and screenwriters a platform for submitting their projects to various festivals and scriptwriting contests. Withoutabox facilitates submissions to these contests by streamlining the process via digital submittals, instead of the traditional route of sending in DVD screeners or hard copy scripts via the mail. Thus, once your information and script are on file, you can submit to a variety of contests with a few computer strokes. Website: https://www.withoutabox.com/
How do I submit a Screenplay to a Withoutabox Festival? This short article gives you the basics and the link is: http://www.imdb.com/help/show_leaf?wabapplyscript
In addition to ones training, publications offer a quick way to stay current with the industry and the latest trends and techniques. There are a couple of magazines that are very helpful. Creative Screenwriting is now available for free online at web site: www.creativescreenwriting.com. The other publication is a “Written by” which is put out by the Writers Guild of America, West and cost $40 per year. The toll-free subscription line number is 888-WRITNBY (888-974-8629). Another publication for writers is Hollywood Scriptwriter, which cost $39/year. To subscribe go to http://shop.hollywoodscriptwriter.com/HOLLYWOOD-SCRIPTWRITER-MAGAZINE-2012.htm. Writer’s Digest Magazine covers general writing techniques and occasionally has articles on screenwriting. $24.94/year (800) 333-0133OBTAINING REPRESENTATION
While it is not necessary to have representation to sell a script, it certainly makes the submission process easier. Agents, managers, and lawyers that represent writers act as a filter accepting only the better writers. Thus having representation greatly ups your professional pedigree. It also eliminates legal hassles as the writer is vetted and the screenplay is submitted as a viable property. Agents work on a 10% commission while managers get 15-20% cut. Lawyers work on either a flat fee, hourly rate or 5% of sales.
The Writers Guild of America West has a list of signatory agents that qualify to handle WGA members and approach signatory qualified production companies. Go to link http://www.wga.org/agency/agencylist.aspx for list of Guild Signatory Agents and Agencies. One should check with the agency regarding their unsolicited submission policy. There is also a list available on ATA Association of Talent Agents and the letter “w” indicates those handling writers. The link is: www.agentassociation.com/frontdoor/membership_directory.cfm?view_type=ATA&start_row=26
The Association of Talent Mangers has a list on their site listing current members. The membership is vetted by a strict application process and regulated by a code of ethics, which includes compensation, reimbursement fees, and terms of contract. For the current membership list go to http://www.talentmanagers.org/#!current-members/c18as.
Entertainment lawyers can also represent writers and make submissions to studios and production companies. They can also be helpful in negotiating contract terms, credits, and compensation. Finding a lawyer may be problematic in that there is no one directory listing all the entertainment lawyers. I would suggest contacting the various bar associations and getting referrals for your specific needs and situation. Organization such as California Lawyers for the Arts www.calawyersforthearts.org/ or the Beverly Hill Bar Association, https://www.bhba.org/index can provide help. One can also look for entertainment lawyers via the online Production Hub Directory at: http://www.productionhub.com/directory/profiles/entertainment-lawyers-entertainment-attorneys/us/california/los-angeles?radius=100&page=1
With regard to legal matters, one might also look at books and articles by leading entertainment lawyers, namely Mark Litwak and Michael C. Donaldson/Lisa A. Callif. In the Hollywood Screenwriting Directory, Entertainment Attorney Dinah Perez wrote an in depth “Legal 411 for Screenwriters.” This gives an overview of multiple business issues and the need to be diligent when dealing with legal matters.
How To Get A Literary Agent
Meet the Reader: 12 Signs of a Promising Spec Script – See more at: http://www.scriptmag.com/features/meet-the-reader-12-signs-of-promising-spec-script
Loglines: The First Essential Step to Defining and Elevating ..
Your script’s logline is its lifeblood. It’s how you’re going to get people to notice, understand, and love your story because it’s the first thing they see…
Loglines: The book “Sell Your Story in a Single Sentence” by Lane Shefter Bishop details the process by which one produces an effective Logline. A logline focuses one three main writing anchors: who is the protagonist, what do they want, and what is at stake? Book dissects the parameters and what should be included and what should be left out. There are numerous examples which illustrate the process and how a weak logline can be made stronger.
Wendy’s LA4Hire: Screenwriting Tips on Query Letters… Are They Useful?
Your Screenwriting Career Explained: A Conversation with …la-screenwriter.com/…/your-screenwriting–career-explained-a-conversati…
4 days ago – She politely corrected me, noting that she is a screenwriting career coach. As she puts it, “Screenwriting coaches tend to look at one screenplay
Other online articles are available at www.scriptmag.com, http://goodinaroom.com, and at www.wga.org, the Guild Website, which has a wide selection of Writer Resources as well as Writing Tools. Check menu.
How to Become a TV Writer
What sort of things you need to know to get you started? Follow this simple method to start your way to becoming a successful TV writer. http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-TV-Writer
How to Write for Television
A spec script for television is typically an episode of an existing television show or an original piece of work such as a television pilot. Research and educate yourself about current types of television shows — especially those you’re interested in writing. Develop your idea into a three to ten page synopsis for series based shows and a one to three page synopsis for reality-based concepts. The synopsis should include the following, title, logline, and synopsis. Finally, work on the spec script for the show you want to create. If you’re trying to break into an established television show, you’ll want to write a spec of that particular series so be sure to know that show inside and out and never try to reinvent the show. – See more at: http://www.scriptmag.com/tv/#sthash.oXytdJ38.dpuf
Writing for Episodic TV From Freelance to Showrunner
This WGA booklet conveys some of the culture of working on staff by providing informal job descriptions, a sense of general expectations, and practical working tips; and second, to render relevant WGA rules into reader-friendly language for staff writers and executive producers. http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=156
This pdf article gives an overview of writer staffing on a television series and the writer room environment. Also covered are creative credit for scripts and characters.
The 50 Power Showrunners of 2014
The writer-producers at the top of their ultracompetitive class share career lows, the spec scripts they’d rather forget and their stranger-than-fiction fan interactions (Click on names to obtain their background and credits.)
A showrunner is a person who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of a television series—although usually such persons are credited as executive producers. . A showrunner’s duties often combine those traditionally assigned to the writer, executive producer and script editor. Unlike films, where director are in creative control of a production, in episodic television, the showrunner outranks the director.
Here’s What Your Favorite Television Writers Make
Article displays the Guild minimums for various length teleplays on network and cable television. Also discusses salaries of staff members. Rates displays are for 2014.
HELPING YOUR REP HELP YOU
Whether you are a writer or an actor, you have to be the driving force in ones career, doing things that help your agent help you. Frequently, when artists obtain representation, they feel their rep will do everything for them. Not true. In fact, once you have an agent or manager, you enter a competitive arena where everyone is talented, ambitious, and likely brilliant. Thus, you have to do more to make script sales, secure rewrites assignments, and obtain meetings with industry buyers.
For writers, this means producing a continuous flow of viable scripts, creating compelling story ideas, learning to pitch effectively, and cultivating contacts that sustain a career. It also means improving your craft by attending workshops, writing conferences, and reading industry publications. One should also know what other writers are doing by attending screenings, film festivals, and reading scripts available online or through the Writers Guild. You should network with producers, directors, and filmmakers by attending industry organizations and events. Likewise, take advantage of the many resources available on the Writers Guild website. In addition, have at ready your business cards, resume, bio and a link to an online site where the industry can connect with you and see your achievements. It also helps to have success stories, elevator pitches, and log lines at the ready. Another promotional device is speaking at schools and colleges as such a challenge quickly improves your knowledge of the craft. You have to know it. When you can do these things to help your agent help you, you rise to the top of the list because now you are a viable commodity that has a dollar value.
The Motion Picture Academy Library is also a great resource, especially finding background data on production companies, producers, and directors. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Library is located at 333 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, 90211. Tel: (310) 247-3020. There’s a parking structure to the north of the building and the first two hours are free. They are particular about security so don’t be offended about the check-in procedure. No bags or purses are allowed. You can bring a notebook and you should have a picture ID (driver’s license) which they hold until you check out. You cannot check out books or literature. However, they do allow limited copying of documents. You have to wear white gloves when looking through the photos, as the staff is particular about maintaining their condition.
While there, ask the reference desk for books and documents on your profession. They have one of the better libraries on the industry as well as back issues of the trade publications.
SUBMISSION PROCESS FOR FEATURES
The submission process is a complicated procedure it that it consist of more than putting your script in the mail. In many cases, you may have to pitch your script to receive authorization to submit it. Thus, you need to prepare an elevator pitch (3-5 sentence synopsis) and a logline (a sentence summarizing your script). Sometimes you can accomplish this with a query letter or email. If you have an agent or manager, this preparation will assist them in shopping your script. If not, then you will have to promote your script and your writing abilities yourself.
Most agencies, managers, and production companies do not accept unsolicited scripts. As such, you need to select those that do and direct your efforts toward them. The Hollywood Screenwriting Directory contains listing of production companies and their submission policy. It delineates which accept what and from whom—produced writers, represented writers, unproduced writers, or any combination there of. This directory takes much of the work out of selecting to whom you submit. The directory also has helpful articles on writing query letters, clarifying what goes into a treatment and other submission elements such a synopsis, coverage, beat sheet and outline. There is also a lengthy section entitled “The Legal 411 for Screenwriters,” detailing the many legal issues related to writing and selling a screenplay. The Hollywood Screenwriting Directory is available through the Writer Store, and Samuel French and cost around $37.
SUBMISSION PROCESS FOR TELEVISION
The submission process is very similar to that of feature films, however, names of established TV producers and production companies are found in a different directory, the Backstage Call Sheet. This directory lists credits, staff members, types of shows and submission policy, which is usually through agent or manager, sometimes industry referral. The directory also list casting directors, agents & managers, and film festivals. There are also tips on submitting to production companies, which include narrowing down companies that fit your project, adhering to their submission policy, researching their website, being familiar with their personnel, and sending a thank you note. The Backstage Call Sheet directory can be purchased through Samuel French, The Writers Story, or Amazon.com. Cost is around $22.00.
Whether you mail or email your script, it is advisable to maintain some record of your submissions. Occasionally, scripts are lost or misplaced and may require follow up. Seldom are they stolen, and yet a cc copy of the email saved in a special email file certifies the date, time and to whom you sent the submission.
To draw attention to your script idea and yourself as a screenwriter you might want to sign up for an account now on Screenwriting Directory. This innovative site offers a proactive approach for marketing your work to the kind of Hollywood buyers able to greenlight a project. A one-sheet template presents your screenwriter experience in Q&A fields. It delivers your work and yourself as a screenwriter in a way that will catch an exec’s attention. You also have the option to have your logline included in our monthly screenplay report sent out to industry professionals. Costs are $49 for one project for 3 months, $99 for three projects for 3 months, and $149 for nine projects for 3 months. Website: https://www.screenwritingdirectory.com/
www.inktip.com is an email service that sends out notices to producers, production companies, and studio executives displaying a short synopsis of available scripts and writer’s contact information. Every week, up to eight screenwriters are promoted through this email distribution. Writers can choose to upload their entire scripts and/or treatments. This way, as the producer or representative shows interest, they are able to download and begin reading the scripts immediately, thereby increasing writers’ chances of optioning or selling their scripts. There is no additional charge for uploading your script. Costs are $60 per script listing for 4 months with discounts available for multiple purchases. Email them to Jerrol LeBaron <firstname.lastname@example.org> and they’ll help you get started.
In addition, InkTip posts production companies requests for scripts with a certain concept, genre, and budget range. Candidates submit their logline, synopsis or script as dictated by the listing. InkTip’s also has a free Film Festivals Directory and a Screenwriting Completions Directory. For Film Festivals, go here: http://inktip.com/festival_directory.php. For Screenwriting Competition Directory go to http://inktip.com/competition_directory.php
www.InfoList.com occasionally list requests for scripts. Compiled by Jeff Gund, a music composer, sound designer, and producer, InfoList posts notices of interest to people in the industry. These include special screenings, panel discussions, classes and seminars (usually with a discount if you mention Jeff’s name). There are also job postings for casting, crews, development positions, and other creative positions as well as some great networking parties, club concerts, and charity events. A number of organizations use this e-mail distribution system to publicize their networking or educational events. Being on this list gives you an overview of the various industry venues plus great networking opportunities. To get on the list, simply e-mail “Jeffrey G. Gund” <email@example.com> and request be placed on his VIP List. Because his mailing list is so huge, if you have any spam protection in place, you’ll want to add both of his email addresses to your “safe” list (address list): firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Directors can also be a vehicle to getting your script produced. Some are also producers so reaching these potential buyers should be part of your marketing plan. Many directors have the connections and the power to get a movie made provided they are passionate about the script. The Directors Guild has a member’s directory available for $25 at their offices at 7920 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046, 310 289-2000, Fax 310 289-2023 Web site: www.dga.org Directory of members includes directors, production managers and first AD’s.
SCREENWRITER CAREER COACHING
Hiring a coach can boost your learning curve to help you get a quicker start. This is an industry where needs, trends, and sheer luck may subvert even the best efforts from the most talented scribes. A coach has the ability to help clarify ones needs, to help devise and develop a focused strategy that ensures the best chance for success. Writing is just one part of the business and while it’s the most important part, networking and business savvy are also incredibly important. Initially, a coach might focus on the body of work, and then build a pedigree through contests and listing services to where the writer has an identity that is appealing to the marketplace. In hiring a coach, pay close attention to their credentials (do they have their certification?) and their professional background. Verify their credits on Imdbpro.com and/or StudioSytem.com (subscriber based). Likewise, look for voice and personality in these coaches’ marketing materials. Below are some of the screenwriter coaches available. More can be found through referrals and on the Internet.
Career Coach for Professional & Emerging Screenwriter
Manage relationships and prepare for meetings
Reinvigorate a stalled career
Work through business and writing challenges
Ellen Sandler – A Creative Approach to TV Scripts and …www.sandlerink.com
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Social media accounts such as FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can spread your exposure over a wide area. They can promote awareness about your writing efforts and talents to industry professional along with your friends and followers. Think of them, as your scouts for they likely know someone who knows someone who knows someone who represents writers, buys scripts, or seeks writers for rewrites. Building an Internet following requires interacting and building a conversation with these people. Likewise, writing reviews on books and films can up your online presence. One should also consider a page on IMDBPro.com. This is especially true as you build up credits and have news items to which one can link. Cost is around $125 per year. Likewise, being recognized on StudioSytem.com (subscriber based) also indicates you have arrived.
Having a website can also help promote your talents and writings to the industry. The site might contain a short bio, pictures, listings of produced scripts, awards, training, news clippings and short synopsis of scripts both produced and unproduced. It would also contain contact information along with that of representation. To promote yourself, this website address would go on letterheads, business cards, e-mails, scripts and your resume. Such a website increases you networking potential, especially when you connect it with compelling success stories. Companies such as WordPress and BlueHost can assist in setting up your website.
An online presence is also helpful where you name appears on Google searches. One can produce your own newswire press releases with little cost by using free or low-cost newswire services. News worthy events such as a script option or sale should definitely be broadcast as should fund raising efforts and attachments to project. A list of these companies is available at http://mashable.com/2007/10/20/press-releases/. You should know that there are numerous restrictions such as length of title, subtitle and total copy that need to be adhered to. It’s a matter of filling in the online form. For a small fee, better placement, colors, and photos can be added.
Networking. Most jobs come through referrals and personal relationships so it’s a good idea to be out there mingling with industry professionals as much as possible. Numerous organizations can help in this regard as well as provide educational opportunities. I’ve listed a few that catered to independent filmmaking, the entry platform for writer, actors, and producers, as well as crewmembers and publicists.
FIND (Film Independent) 9911 W. Pico Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90035, Tel: 310 432-1264, Fax: 310- 432-1203, Web: www.filmIndependent.org. This organization consist of over 5000 industry members and provides services that range from seminars & workshops to screenings of new works, production support, library, casting rooms, computers with script programs, budget and scheduling programs plus video equipment rental. Dues are $95/year and seminars are about $350 for a 6-8 week series. While the organization is geared more towards assisting filmmakers, it is a good place for networking and getting a better overview of the independent side of the industry. In addition to workshops and seminars, they also have screenings, consultation programs, vendor discounts, resource library, and a resume/reel bank. Likewise, there are seminars and labs on screenwriting. They also stage the annual Spirit Awards for achievements in independent filmmaking. This is held a day or so before the Academy Awards.
Filmmaker’s Alliance is a similar group but more hands on. Their offices are located at 1317 N. San Fernando Blvd. #366, Burbank, CA 91504, phone: 310.568.0633. Web site is www.filmmakersalliance.com. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. FA provides a unique mutual support system through which members share time, energy, expertise, resources and, most importantly, creative support for one another’s film projects from concept through distribution. Dues are now $19.99/year.
Founded in May 2005, BReaKiNG iNTo HoLLyWooD (BiH) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to help creative and business professionals in the entertainment industry pursue their careers with integrity, creativity and enthusiasm! BiH hosts educational networking events focused on the arts and media. The organization strives to inspire its members and creative community-at-large to achieve their career dream. Another avenue that BiH implements its mission is through its launched endeavors: the entertainment trade publication, Hollywood & Vine (H&V), the Hollywood & Vine Film Festival (HVFF) and “The BReaKiNG iNTo HoLLyWooD Show” (The BiH Show). Membership is $300/Year, Student Membership is $150. For membership benefits and to join go to http://www.breakingintohollywood.org/Join.htm. Contact: Angela M. Hutchinson | email@example.com | Breaking into Hollywood | 9595 Wilshire Blvd. 9th Floor | Beverly Hills, CA 90212 to get on their email list and attend events as non-member.
Founded in 1986, is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization created by writers for writers. The Scriptwriters Network serves members by enhancing their awareness of the realities of the business, providing access and opportunity through alliances with industry professionals, and furthering the cause and quality of writing in the entertainment industry. Speaker Series–Meeting at Raleigh Studios, the series features Q & A sessions with top screenwriters, writer-directors, actors and TV writer-producers; plus panels of development executives, producers, agents, managers, TV show runners & more. Seminar Series–Held at CBS/Radford, these seminars focus on the craft and business of writing and are taught by entertainment attorneys, script consultants, screenwriting gurus & more. Yearly membership is $120 and Military, Student or Senior (65+) is $90. Membership application on website: http://www.scriptwritersnetwork.org
California Lawyers for the Arts is a non-profit bar association providing artists and arts organizations with access to legal and business information as well as offering a referral service. Their site http://www.calawyersforthearts.org/ has info on membership and a list of upcoming events on the right side of the first page. CLA offers classes on various aspects of entertainment law from copyrights to licensing to tax deductions and more. There is also a listing of intern positions and jobs. Fees start at $30 for individual artist membership and are higher for corporations, organizations, and lawyers.
Industry publications are also helpful in keeping abreast of production activities and who’s who in the business. For people in their early career years Back Stage is the leading source for casting and crew jobs. Back Stage, www.bac kstage.com/ is located at 5055 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA90036, Tel 800 562-2705. One-year online subscription is $139.96/year and print plus online is $199.32/year. The Hollywood Reporter, www.hollywoodreporter.com/ also located at 5055 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA90036, Tel 866 525-2150. Print Magazine + iPad + Daily PDF is $199/yr. Variety, www.variety.com is another trade publication and subscript for print is $179/year and print + digital is $199. Discounted rates for trades are sometimes available at trade shows such as Cine-Expo (Jun), Location Expo (April), and Actor’s Expo (Sept). There is also a subscription service that offers even lower rates, about $139 per year plus online for Variety subscriptions. Their number is 205 408-7146.
Free online news sites like The Wrap and IndieWire provide insights as to industry happenings and breaking news. To sign up for The Wrap go to www.thewrap.com and go to bottom header where it reads: If you want to sign up for this email, click here. In the next page, enter your email address and submit. For IndieWire go to www.indiewire.com and on the top header hit Get Email Alerts to subscribe to daily newsletter. In the next page, enter your email and submit. Deadline Hollywood is another news organization. Their web site is: http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/. This online publication is a uniquely candid, informed and authoritative source in the entertainment industry for breaking news before anybody else in town. More about the movers and shakers than helpful industry information.
http://www.studiosystemnews.com Studio System News provides entertainment trade-news aggregation, analysis and insider viewpoints to the Industry’s top decision makers by curating the most important global news and trends of the day via newsletter and website. Trusted and used on a daily basis, Studio System News provides analytical and unbiased news along with innovative and cutting edge editorial features, all by insiders and for insiders. It occasionally lists recent screenplay sales with approximate prices. TSS News, LLC, 3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd #200, Los Angeles, CA 90034. Go to website for free subscription.
WHO’S BUYING WHAT
Scoggins 2015 Spec M Year-End Spec Market Scorecard Year-End Spec Market Scorecardarket Report Card breaks down these figures by buyers, agents, managers, monthly sales, and provides a summary of spec sales information including writer, rep, buyer, genre, attachment, note and logline. In 2015 there were 93 spec sales and 57 pitch sales. Data helpful in determining validity of players in this market.
Crowdfunding is an online fundraising device that allows the average person to donated money to promote a worthwhile project. For screenwriters, this could be a way of producing your own movie. It could also be a way of funding screenwriting expenses such as story rights, research materials, travel, and consulting fees. Additional needs might include office expenses, screenwriting programs, video trailer, and subsistence for the writer. Among the competing crowdfunding companies, Kickstarter is the largest of the pack. Next is IndieGoGo. A key difference between IndieGoGo and its larger counterpart, Kickstarter, is IndieGoGo’s willingness to accept anyone who chooses to list on the site. Kickstarter has stiffer listing guidelines. The all or nothing approach of Kickstarter usually gets people much more involved and motivated than IndieGoGo does. Kickstarter charges an administrative fee, of 5%, for handling the transactions and money collection. IndieGoGo charges 4% of the money you raise if you meet your goal or 9% if you do not meet your goal. Their web sites are http://www.kickstarter.com/ & http://www.indiegogo.com/. Additional crowdfunding sites can be found on the Internet. Promoting your crowdfunding project is done mainly through social media, thus having a huge number of friends and followers plus an inviting and provocative presentation factor into ones success.
https://launchandrelease.com/ Launch and Release is a site offering tips and tricks for artists involved in crowdfunding campaigns. This includes creative genres such as: music, film & video, writing, photography, food, crafts, art, dance and theater! Many of the offerings are free and provide an introduction and overview of the various fund raising practices and principles. For instance, free blog topics include 25 crowdfunding mistakes, reaching into a social circle of influencers, and 6 crucial Kickstarter tips that raised $18,000. There is also a free Crowdfunding Mini-Course. Premium Training is likewise available for those serious about getting more backers and getting more exposure for the projects they truly care about. Current cost of Premium Training package is $259. Package incorporates a 6-step Launch Process that helps artists build a campaign based on best fundraising practices and proven principles.
Financing Movies for independent filmmakers is one of the most challenging aspects of the movie making process. You can have the greatest screenplay, the most talented cast and stellar movie locations – but without movie money, you are just another would-be filmmaker with a dream and a passion. The film finance articles at Filmmaking Stuff provide tips on how to view independent filmmaking as a business. http://www.filmmakingstuff.com/film-finance/
Film Finance – Raising Money For A Movie – A Film Courage Filmmaking Series. This hour 57 minutes video features with interviews with filmmakers discussing their financing struggles. http://wn.com/film_finance
How to Pitch Film Investors. Pod cast with producer/writer/actor Tom Molloy who has raised over 25 million to finance films. http://filmmakingstuff.podbean.com/e/ep-75-how-to-pitch-fim-investors/
WRITERS GUILD MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the Writers Guild of America is a goal that demands some planning. The Guild works on a unit system (described in detail at http://www.wga.org/content/default.aspx?id=84 ) based on writing employment and/or sales within the Guild’s jurisdiction and with a “signatory” company (a company that has signed the Guild’s collective bargaining agreement). Depending upon the number of units earned, a writer may be eligible for either Current (full) membership, or Associate (partial) membership.
Current membership: In order to be eligible for Current membership a writer must acquire a minimum of 24 units in the three years preceding application. Upon final qualification for Current membership, an initiation fee of $2,500 is due, payable to the Writers Guild of America, West. As an example, a feature screenplay is worth 24 units and a half-hour TV show is worth six units.
Associate membership: A writer may be eligible for Associate membership if he or she has had writing employment and/or sales within the Guild’s jurisdiction and with a “signatory” company but has acquired less than 24 units in the three years preceding application. Upon final qualification, Associate membership is available for a total of three years at a cost of $100 per year.
For the WGA compensation rates, benefits and working conditions go to link: http://www.wga.org/uploadedFiles/writers_resources/contracts/min2014.pdf
One resource often overlooked is you, the things you personally bring to the story, your struggles, your passions, and the life experiences that make up your persona. Your insights, your prejudices, the way you handle tough situations. You have a meaningful point of view that will come out in your writing, the heritage of your family, the memories and folk tales that ground you and make you a human being. Your moral perspective, your view on justice, as well as your wit and humor, these too have relevance in story telling. Listening, watching and observing others helps fill a reservoir of traits, behaviors, characters and situations that form the genesis for intriguing and entertaining tales. The point is that you have extraordinary stories tucked deep within yourself that can make a difference in the lives of others. This is your voice, your take on life and this resource can enrich the stories you tell. Use it.