How To Sell A Screenplay
You just finished your big movie idea, and now you may be asking yourself how to sell a screenplay. It takes a great deal of focus and determination, but with a few tips, you can give yourself the edge that you need to sell your screenplay.
To sell a screenplay, you will need:
- A completed screenplay
- Proofread. Read through the completed work. Check for spelling and formatting errors. Screenplays have a very specific format and yours should adhere to the guidelines.
- Get a copyright. The film industry is rewarding, but vicious; always copyright your material before submitting it for consideration. You can't copyright an idea, but you make sure that the words that you put on paper remain your words. Failing to copyright your material will result in your material being stolen; instead of selling your screenplay, you will forfeit it.
- Prepare a treatment. Write a short summary of your work. Hit the highlights of your story, but don't leave out the story itself. Keep it brief, but don't stray under two pages. This is what people will read before picking up your screenplay, so make it grab their attention.
- Write character breakdowns. Prepare a summary of your characters. Include the characters age, attitude, basic appearance, etc. Keep these to a one paragraph maximum.
- Look for an agent. A literary agent isn't a necessity, but finding the right agent will improve your chances of having your screenplay read by the right eyes. An agents job is to make connections, and then use those connections to match their clients with the proper minds to get the projects completed. Look into agents before submitting your work. Browse through their list of clients, and accomplishments. An agent will take a cut of your earnings, but a portion of a sale is better than not selling your screenplay.
- Package your material. Compile your neat, well written screenplay, treatment, and character breakdowns, and put them in a manilla envelope. This is your business card. Properly presenting your product will make it easier to sell.
- Send out your cards. Mail out your treatment package to anyone who could get the film made. Producers are your best bet. If you can find a producer, or film studio, then your film will have someone to pioneer to process of establishing a production team.
- Read the fine print. When your story sells, it will probably be "optioned". Optioning refers to the film studio taking the option to pull your screenplay off of the market. Read through any contracts thoroughly, if you have the resources, have a professional verify the terms of the contract.
Once you have submitted your work it's time to get back on the computer and write another. The most important part of being a writer is the writing. It may take some time to sell a screenplay, but once you do, you should have another one ready to be sent out. The more work that you have, the more work you will get.