In today’s world, screenwriters are becoming increasingly aware that they are hybrid screenwriters-film makers. It is therefore vital that they are educated about the marketplace. Every writers aspires to become produced rather then optioned screenwriters to advance our screenwriting careers.
Do your research on what movie scripts the market is currently buying, what is being developed and what is being produced. Look for patterns in terms of types of stories, characters, themes, platforms and budgets. There are numerous online and print publications where you can get this information.
Use your networking contacts for similar market intelligence. Literary agents can be as specific as a we’re looking for a “Valentine’s Day ensemble romantic comedy in the $30-$50 million budget range with a starring role for Maya Rudolph” or as vague as “teen horror”.
Many actors have their own production companies which are looking for smaller, non-studio films that are more suited to the festival circuit.
By understanding the kinds of projects that sell, you have a better chance of succeeding in the marketplace. That isn’t to say write your screenplay to that template, but rather hone your story ideas to meet the market.
Be aware of film delivery times such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Awards Season, Summer, Halloween and Holidays. Understand your distribution. Is it wide or platform theatrical release, festival circuit, cable TV, streaming or DVD?
Economic woes aside, the box office dips are partly due to a poorer caliber of film. They are too safe, too predictable, too derivative, written by committee and overall, not good or ambitious enough to excite audiences. Some film studios develop too cozy relationships with a handful of producers and produce their movies rather than going wide and finding the best material possible.
Cinema goers simply spent their entertainment dollars elsewhere. The 3D gimmick couldn’t sustain the box office without quality storytelling to match the visuals. The time is now ripe for original material. Granted, movie studios will still look for established works to exploit as well as franchisable material with merchandising, product tie-in and product placement potential.
A great film begins with a great script. It may seem obvious, but there is a dearth of them out them. This is more than a great concept which may excite buyers initially. Ensure a strong second act, twists and most importantly, emotionally engaging characters. Over deliver on the last point. Movies with an emotional core will more likely trump despite its technical flaws. This may account for the bump in indie film box office.
Get your screenplays in the hands of those who can move your screenwriting career forward. Get read. Get people talking about you. This is sometimes harder than getting your script written. There are many filters in the industry to prevent your script from getting in the hands that can make decisions.
The single biggest factor in getting your script read is a REFERRAL. In a sea of screenwriting mediocrity, having a third party validation will advance your script in the queue. It will also get you one step closer to being represented. Someone championing your script will grant you wider industry access.
Consider your production resources before you write. Aside from friends with equipment, do you know people who can cater, secure locations, transportation and wardrobe, write contracts, publicize your film and find talent for minimal or no cost? Then there are people who can write you checks. You’d be surprised what a sound business plan can do for you. Now you know the scope of your production.
Write a screenplay to match your means. A script with finance or serious talent attached will stand a better chance of being taken seriously and subsequently produced.
For in depth Film & TV script analysis visit Script Firm.