So you’ve completed writing a couple of screenplays, now what do you do next? Writers constantly ask me this same question over and over again.
by Steve Kaire
Is it time to get an agent or manager? Should you try to get meetings with studio executives? Should you send out your scripts to production companies? Or is participating in pitch festivals in order to get your material read by industry insiders the way to go?
If you are early in your writing career, I would not recommend you seek an agent or manager at this time. I would fine hone my writing skills several more years before trying to acquire literary representation. I would get my hands on as many produced screenplays as possible and read them.
Decipher why some scripts work and why others don’t. I was an unpaid reader for 2 companies when I started out which enabled me to read over fifty film and television scripts.
If you are early in your writing career, I would not recommend you seek an agent or manager at this time.
I would not approach studio executives for the same reason. You don’t want to waste your best shots when your material is not ready. You have only one chance with any particular person or company. You want to approach them when your material is as good as it’s ever going to be.
I would recommend writers send out their material to production companies that have produced the kinds of movies that you’ve written. Don’t mail out your query letter to just any company. Do your homework and target companies whose credits are the same genre and budget that you’ve written.
Do your homework and target companies.
I would also suggest that writers participate in pitch festivals in order to reach lots of production companies in a single forum. This venue will also test and improve your pitching skills as well.
– Steve Kaire
Steve Kaire is a Screenwriter/Pitchman who’s sold 8 projects to the major studios without representation. The last project he sold, he’s Co-Producing for Walden Media. A screenwriter for over 30 years, he holds a Masters in Dramatic Writing and has taught writing classes at the American Film Institute.
Steve was featured on the Tonight Show’s, “Pitching to America” and was voted a Star Speaker at Screenwriters Expo three years in a row. His top rated CD, “High Concept – How to Create, Pitch & Sell to Hollywood” is a best seller. You can find his website here.
Jamie Campbell is an author, screenwriter, and television addict.
Jamie is proud to be an Editor for The Story Department.
Her latest series Project Integrate is out now.
1 thought on “You Finished Your Script, Now What?”
Good, solid, practical tips and advice. Approach targeted production companies with your polished scripts instead of agents and managers: Definitely! Particularly when you are early in your career. (Agents and managers aren’t interested in you at that stage.)
Pitch at pitchfests: Definitely! And not just for the sake of reaching many production companies and/or improving your pitching skills (as Steve Kaire points out). Pitchfests can be a valuable source of market and business intel. If you are making an honest and intelligent effort at pitching a well-thought-out story, the execs will accord you the respect of giving you some canny insights (for example, that maybe the content is better suited as a graphic novel or web series to start with). I have personally found this to be particularly true with LA execs. If you act professionally towards them, they will generously return you the favour. And this mutual respect can become the basis of a lasting, fruitful, relationship – provided you don’t abuse the fragile trust (such as emailing them a full script without them asking for it).