You have hundreds of pages of a shiny submission all ready to go. The words you’ve painstakingly churned out have been read and re-read and checked, edited, checked, tweaked and checked again!
So let’s try and give you and your script a fighting chance, here’s what NOT to do when submitting your script …
6) … Ignore the submissions guidelines
I see you rolling your eyes at me. Yes, they must be read. Yes, they must be followed, TO THE LETTER. The first person who gets to look at your work will be looking for any excuse to throw it out and sling a form rejection at you. Follow the guidelines. It might take a lot of jiggery-pokery your end to faff around with formatting for every submission, but put your big kid pants on and do it. Ignore this at your peril. MORE: 29 ways NOT to Submit to an Agent by BFLA’s Carole Blake, plus How NOT to Pitch Agents: 21 Tips For Agents by NY literary agent Jennifer Johnson-Blalock
5) … Chuck your script at just **anyone**
These days there are a lot of places you can submit your script. The options are vastly improved compared to the old days. But with great opportunities, come the pitfalls. The old adage may well be old, but it’s still relevant – if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Don’t just sling your script at anyone because once it falls into the wrong hands, your chance of making money or gaining in any way from it is screwed.
4 ) … Show yourself up online
You know who gets submitted along with your script? YOU! In this modern online world, every social media post you make is a reflection on you. Remember people GOOGLE names! So, that tweet you sent months ago verbally bashing the place you just sent your script to? That sucker is gonna bite you on the backside. So don’t do it. Your online presence is your office, and if you gossip and bad-mouth around the office, management aren’t gonna like it. Be professional, your script deserves a decent human representative. MORE: 5 Ways Writers Kill Their Credibility Online
3) … Lie your pants off
An extension of point 4, often you’ll be asked to provide a brief bio along with the script. It can be awfully tempting to make up stuff to over-sell your experience, but don’t. These things always get found out. Imagine you’re two steps away from signing a contract with a prestigious production company and someone stumbles across the truth behind that little white lie you added into your bio. If they can’t trust you to be who you say you are, then they won’t want to trust a business transaction with you.
2 ) … Be impatient
You know your baby is going to be the next big thing, so it shouldn’t take someone too long to find that out, right? Wrong. Don’t follow up your submission with phone calls and emails to check on the status too quickly. Some companies with online portals may give you a little status screen you can log into – but even then, you’ll probably log in once a day and only see “In progress” or something along those lines, for a couple of months. Sit on your hands, whistle a tune, do some knitting – do whatever, just leave it alone and wait your turn.
1 ) … Give up!
Be prepared for rejection. I always approach things hoping for the best but expecting the worst. You need a thick skin in this industry and rejection is a rite of passage for almost everyone, but try not to let it get you down. If you’re fortunate enough to receive notes with a rejection then take them on board, learn from them, adjust accordingly and move on. You are not a perfect script writer, because there is no such thing. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Your piece may not be the right thing for that producer at this time, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever find a place. Keep the faith and don’t take it personally. MORE: Making It As A Writer: 25 Reasons You Haven’t Yet
BIO: E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in speculative and fantasy fiction genres. Since 2015, she has independently published six books spanning two different genres and series’, and had four short stories published in a range of different anthologies.If you like action packed, fast-paced page turners, then try one of her books. There’s never a dull moment in those pages. She was born in Surrey, England in 1982. She now resides in Hampshire, England with her daughter and husband. For more information, visit her website HERE.