Getting Your Script Noticed

Posted on March 3, 2012

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Here is some advice by Christopher Lockhart, Story Analyst at William Morris Endeavor Agency on the screenwriting business.

Upon completing a screenplay, most writers will set out to market their work. This can be a Sisyphean task in a town where tens of thousands of scripts compete for the attention of busy agents, stressed producers and overworked executives. In a business where supply exceeds demand, it would be impossible for an executive to read every script on the circuit.

Each year, the Writers’ Guild West registers over 40,000 scripts. This does not include the screenplays registered with the WGA East, the U.S. Copyright Office, thousands of unregistered scripts, and the endless stream of ideas that are pitched yearly in the hopes of landing development deals. The majority of these scripts will attempt to make the rounds but only a handful will be purchased. The end of the year does not result in these 40,000 scripts disappearing. They continue to fight their way through the maze while another 40,000 enter the system. As a result, there are hundreds of thousands of screenplays struggling for success at any given time.

Professional screenwriters with proven track records make up for the majority of spec sales, narrowing the entrance for aspiring pros. Despite all the gloom and doom, aspirants can (and do) land credible agents, development deals, and spec sales. The first step in this process is enticing someone within the business to read the screenplay. This arduous journey usually begins with the “PITCH.”

PITCHING” is the art of presenting the story in a COMPACT and intriguing manner that creates a desire within the listener, resulting in the solicitation of the screenplay. Whether one pitches the story verbally or in writing, the scribe must successfully present his sprawling screenplay in a way that imparts the dramatic heart and soul of the piece without confusing or boring his audience. 

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