How to sell a script in Hollywood

So you’ve written a script and you are ready to sell it, what do you do?

The most important thing is to sell to the right person. You need to find a producer who is dedicated to turning your script into a feature length film. Many times, a script will be bought by a producer or a studio, only to end up on a shelf.

A producer is the person responsible for the entire project, from inception to the finished sale of the film. Once you’ve figured out which producer you want to sell to, you have to get your script to them. There are many ways to do this. You can mail the script to the studio, you can email the script to the producer if you have their contact information, or you can use personal networking to get the script in their hands. This is tricky and you must be persistent and creative. The film industry is a people industry. It’s not what, but who you know.

If you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to pitch your idea. Hook them, just like you want to hook your script reader. And research the executive. Knowing who you’re pitching is as important as writing a great query. We live in a very fast paced world. The people interested in buying your scripts are very time-deficient. They are also multitasking and processing a great number of ideas at the same time. The reality is that once you have caught their attention you have  to hook them in with your idea and get them to ask you for more.

How to get known as the next great thing when you are a nobody?  When people first hear about you they will Google you to see what other credits you have, and will make a judgment call based on the personality you show in your tweets and Facebook messages. They will also check you out on IMDB to see what projects you may have been involved in. It is on IMDB that your work with student filmmakers and their shorts will assist you in building your social media profile. Design a website to feature your work as well as your contact information. It is possible that while one producer may not be interested in the script, he will pass it to someone who will be.

Now you need to network! The key to great networking is to become a good listener. Ask others about themselves and be prepared to listen intently. People will assume quickly that you are worth remembering. There are a few key events where filmmakers gather looking for new scripts and ideas for features, shorts, documentaries and web series. Part of the business of selling scripts is meeting people. Even people you would never expect to have connections to Hollywood talent, might. Talk to people.

Try contacting talent agents. There are talent agents for writers just like there are agents for models and actors. Get your work in front of them and show them how amazing it is. If they are interested in the project they will work with you to sell the script. They will also have more connections in the industry.

Don’t be afraid to call around and reach out to as many production companies, producers, and executives as you can. You may get shut down many times, but it only takes one passionate producer to turn a script into a movie.

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