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HOW TO SELL YOUR SCRIPT WITH OR WITHOUT AN AGENT

Let’s face it. Everyone has a script. Even writers. The trick isn’t writing a script. The trick is selling it.

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Everyone has a script—hairdressers, gardeners, pool boys, bartenders, Hells Angels, prostitutes—even writers.

The trick isn’t writing a script. The trick is selling it.

Yeah, it helps if your script is good. But you need more than a good script. There are probably tens of thousands of good scripts slowly being eaten by dust mites all over the world.

Selling scripts is hard, but it’s not impossible. People do it all the time. Thousands of times a year.

There are only two things you must have to succeed: a good script and persistence.

Let’s assume you have a good script. (We probably shouldn’t assume that, because 9 out of 10 scripts aren’t, but what the hell, let’s think positively.)

How do you sell your script?

It’s actually very simple. It’s not easy. But it’s simple. All you have to do is communicate and persist.

Communicate to whom? To the people who buy scripts.

Who buys scripts?

Major studios buy scripts—but usually from major writers at major agencies. So let’s forget about major studios.

But what about the agencies?

Truth is, in most cases you have to sell a script to get an agent. (Don’t you just love Catch-22’s?) Or if not sell a script, then win a contest. You have to do something to get an agent’s attention and have them want to risk the time and trouble of developing your career. Trying to get an agent is really no different than trying to sell your script. So I would advise you not to try to get an agent. Just go for the sale.

We’re back to Who buys scripts?

Other than major studios, there are really only two categories of buyers: production companies and independent producers. There are other people who don’t buy scripts but who can help you sell them. These include directors, actors, distributors and their entertainment attorneys.

It used to be that you could literally walk up to these people. But not anymore. Now they have layers of barriers: security guards, secretaries, assistants, bodyguards and an occasional moat (with and without alligators). In other words, most are unapproachable. And besides, they don’t need your script; they’ve got agents with more scripts that they can read.

But, like that wily rat who finds his way through the maze to the cheese, it is possible to find your way through the movie maze and get the cheese.

How? By communicating.

Not directly with agents or studios or above-the-line talent. You communicate with the networks that they are connected to.

For example, there’s LinkedIn. If the person you're after isn’t on LinkedIn it doesn’t matter. Someone connected to them is. So you put your communication out there. Let them know you have a script. Give the logline. Give your credits, awards, education or whatever you’ve got that will let them know you have, or are associated with, talent. Do the same with Facebook, Twitter, etc.

But that’s just the beginning.

Go to industry seminars and make contacts. Writing seminars, directing seminars, distribution seminars, WGA events, DGA events, PGA events, ComicCon, etc. It doesn’t matter. Anything industry related may get you new contacts. The bottom line is that you have to be somewhere that industry people or their associates are and communicate. Go to coffee shops where writers hang out. Go to conventions like American Film Market. Find an events calendar and show up at the events. It will cost you a bit, but a few hundred dollars spent to make a few good contacts is well worth it.

Persistence is paramount. You cannot give up. You may spend weeks, months or years with no apparent result. Everything you do may seem like a waste of time—until it isn’t.  

You also need to be as creative as possible. Do something different. Show your creativity in some way.

I could go on and on, but it’s more important that you figure the rest out yourself. Because by doing so you will be finding your way through the maze. And no two writer’s mazes are the same.

No one is guaranteed to win a game. You may lose at this one. But I’ll guarantee you this—the only way you can win is by communicating and persisting. If you give up you’re just making room for the person who didn’t. Be the one who doesn’t give up. Those are the ones who sell their scripts.

I know of what I speak. I just signed three screenplay options. All I did was have a few good scripts, persist like hell, find a producer at an industry convention and communicate.

Good luck!

©Jeffrey Scott, All Rights Reserved

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