You’ve written your script, received notes, did a rewrite, received more notes and did yet another rewrite. Then you sat down and polished it, cleaning up all grammar and spelling mistakes and checking to ensure all your formatting was perfect. So what now? There’s no producers knocking at your door saying they’re ready to option it. Here’s the next steps to help get your script to the screen.
Before you go sending your ideas off to anyone, it’s best you copyright it to help protect you and your ideas (and to act as proof that this is your idea!) I’m Canadian but unfortunately as of October 2018 the Writers Guild of Canada stopped accepting scripts registrations. However, I was able to register mine under Writer’s Guild America West. It costs around twenty dollars to register each script, but if you believe in your work then it’s definitely worth it. You’ll receive a document online and via mail with your name, the scripts name, and the script registration number. Hold onto this paper, you never know when you’ll need it.
A great way to receive professional feedback, win awards, get in touch with producers and have your script showcased it through festivals. Film Freeway is a used as a portal where legitimate festivals can receive your script (for a fee) and judge it against others. However, I find the best site for your contest searching needs is through MovieBytes.com. This site categorizes by upcoming dates, best feed back, and most prestigious to help you find the exact contest your looking for. I also recommend using your script to apply for internships with studios like ABC and Nickelodeon, who take on a new group of writers every year.
When you’re first entering, it’s best to find contests that will give you some sort of feedback. That way, whether you place or not, you have a better understanding of where your script is succeeding and where it is failing.
So your script received positive coverage and placed as a finalist in a few festivals and still no one has contacted you. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. The next step is to getting your script right in front of producers, and websites like InkTip allow for just that.
InkTip will require that your script has been registered. So here’s when you type in the registration number you received from the Writers Guild. Next you’ll add a logline, a synopsis, your resume and finally the beloved script. You’ll list your script under certain genres and BAM!- Producers will be looking at it in no time. And don’t worry, if you haven’t already hammered out a solid logline, InkTip has a logline generator and amazing staff to help you get it right.
InkTip is especially useful for low-budget, high concept horrors, thrillers and comedies, as that’s what Indie producers are generally on the hunt for. Producible and affordable.
You know a local producer with a repertoire of films that closely follow the script you’ve written and you’re just dying to pitch to them? The best thing to do is write them a query letter asking if you can pitch to them. Mention who you are, your background and maybe a little about your past filmography, but don’t give them details about your script. Simply ask if they’d be willing to hear your pitch. If they say ‘yes’, you may have to sign a submission release form that protects them on the off-chance they’re already producing something similar or nearly identical to what you’ve written. Once you’ve sent them the release form and your script, wait two weeks before contacting them again, that’s industry standard. If you receive a rejection, or they ignore your second email, do not bother them again.
Got questions? Leave a comment and I’d be glad to help!