You don’t have to go far on the internet to find screenwriters bemoaning their lot. Whether it’s “No Unsolicited Material” getting them down, or the fact producers will want writers to get agents (and vice versa), the cry of “It’s a Catch 22!” is seemingly always round the (digital) corner.
But it’s not a Catch 22!
Fact is, there has never been a better time to be a screenwriter. It’s easier than ever to get produced … AND without the aid of an agent. Here’s how …
“How Do I Break In As A Screenwriter?’
I’m asked this question constantly by Bang2writers, plus thousands of others find this blog by Googling it every year.
So if you read nothing else today? READ THIS.
Too many writers believe it’s a question of “just” writing an awesome screenplay and waiting for others to recognise their genius.
But this is a fool’s game. Remember how it felt, being the LAST one to get picked for the ball team at school as the captain chose his or her mates first??
DON’T wait to get picked, make some of your own mates and go to the head of the queue! Doh!
Make Your Own Films
Even better: DYK? The writer is king (or queen or monarch!) IF you’re writing ultra-low budget films.
Why??? Think about it. If you’re writing and making a low-budget film, what is the MOST important element??
Yep, you guessed right: THE SCREENPLAY.
This means making short films is a GREAT place to start … HERE’S SOME TIPS.
If features are your bag, check out 6 Ways To Make Your Screenplay More Likely To Get Made.
Now go and find a producer and director. Thanks to social media, this is easier than ever now. Find out what they like, too. Collaborate. Come up with something awesome. A short, a feature, whatever. Don’t wait to be picked. JUST DO IT!!
To get you started, Here’s Top 10 Tips In How To Break In As A Screenwriter.
Getting Past ‘No Unsolicited Material’
But okay, maybe other commitments or ties means you CAN’T get out there and collaborate as easily as you’d like to … Or perhaps you need to work on your own. I get that.
But what YOU need to get is “no unsolicited material” does NOT mean “we never look at new writers’ stuff EVAH”. It simply means that if they want to read *your* stuff? They will need to ask for it (aka “solicit it”).
So what do we do? GET THEM TO ASK FOR IT!!! Don’t know how? HERE’S HOW.
Remember, a writer’s strongest weapon in getting their stuff solicited and read is QUERYING.
Most people do a terrible job of this, so get deleted instantly. This means, if *your* query is concise, to the point and (most importantly) NOT crazy, then you have a GREAT chance of getting your screenplay solicited!!
Still want an agent?
Then go for it … But know that you probably need some credits (and if applicable, some awards and/or kudos) as a screenwriter before they’ll take you on. That’s why the first two steps are so important. More tips:
Top 10 Tips On Getting An Agent (Or Doing Without One!) by an actual literary agent
You WILL get rejected
But don’t let that get you down. It happens to the best of us! And yes, unfortunately if you hear NOTHING? You’ve been rejected, too. HERE’S WHY.
Make it happen!
So, don’t think it’s out of your hands, or wait to picked. JUST KEEP GOING and make those submissions, whilst creating those relationships. What’s the worst that can happen?? Good luck1
B2W’s book, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays will be TEN YEARS OLD in 2023!
I’ve added a whopping extra 100 pages!! This includes new case studies, plus information on television pilots as well as movie screenplays. Here’s the blurb:
Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays has the lowdown on how to get your thriller feature script on to the page, and how to get it in front of producers and investors.
“First published in 2013, this new edition offers an all-new resources section and a host of new case studies that map the considerable changes of the past decade.
With marketplace disruptors such as Netflix and the first phases of The Marvel Cinematic Universe leaving their mark, new opportunities have been created for screenwriters and filmmakers who are keen to get their stories in front of industry professionals.
This time around, Lucy V Hay doesn’t just guide you through the writing of movies, but spec TV pilots too. Putting iconic, mixed-genre projects under the microscope -such as Stranger Things (horror thriller), Brooklyn 99 (comedy thriller) and Lost (sci fi thriller) – she considers what writers can learn from these shows.
She also argues that the lone protagonist in a thriller has had its day and looks at how the genre is moving into a space beyond ‘The Hero’s Journey’. Case studies to support this include The Hunger Games, Captain Marvel, Iron Man and many more.
Finally, the book considers how the screenplay might be sold to investors, exploring high concept ideas, pitching, packaging and the realities of film finance – all updated for the 2020s – and lays out alternative routes to sales and production, including transmedia such as novels and adaptation, and immersive storytelling online.” BUY IT HERE.