Now that you’ve written your movie, it’s time to talk about sales. You can’t be a successful screenwriter, after all, unless you get into the process of selling scripts and getting them on track to being made into features.
Here are three ways that you can go about selling scripts:
- Work with an agent or manager to approach buyers on your behalf. If you are fortunate enough to find or have someone that can champion you and your scripts, take advantage of it. A manager or agent is trained and experienced in selling scripts because he or she understands the ecosystem of the industry; they know who to go to, what their market preferences are, and how to present your material in terms that sound successful. You need to do your own research and coordinate with the knowledge and contacts of your agent or manager when it comes to selling scripts effectively. They will be able to help you get through the process, educate you on selling and development, and ensure that you get a fair deal for your creative products.
- Use a lawyer. If you don’t yet have an agent or manager, the industry has a protocol where it will frequently accept script submissions from any legitimate lawyer. Your personal lawyer can therefore be helpful in the process of selling scripts. Lawyers give the studios, producers, and stars with production companies a sense of comfort about your professionalism. Their approach is always taken more seriously than a straightforward, unsolicited inquiry. In the event one does make a sale, it is best to use legal advice from people who have already gained experience in the industry’s conventions and contracts. You don’t need a lawyer to sell scripts, but it never hurts to have a little extra help on your team.
- Approach a buyer personally. If you don’t have a lawyer, manger or agent, this requires you to be more diligent and creative in how you approach potential buyers on your own like studios, producers, directors and actors with their own production companies. These group of buyers are constantly barraged with unsolicited spam-like approaches which irritate more than help sell. Your mission is to research your potential buyer deeply to understand and communicate in your approach that you value and know their previous work and to simply spell out how your material can extend their creative and financial opportunities. If you do submit directly to a buyer, you will be asked to sign a very in-depth and intimidating release form before your materials will be accepted.
These are three ways you can sell your scripts when you’re ready to share them with the world. There is no one right way to go. Everyone has different ideas about script sales and how to best navigate the process, and you need to find what works for you.
About the Author: Pen Densham is an award winning producer, director and author of screenwriting books. This site provides free screenwriting tips and resources and helps you learn how to successfully write and sell screenplays.