What to Do If Your Script Is Requested
Congratulations - someone has requested a copy of your script. Hey, all you have to do is grab that spare copy you have lying on your coffee table and throw it in the mail box and everything else will take care of itself right??
Wrong!! Hollywood takes this stuff very seriously, if you can't even get your cover page right, then reason says the rest of the script has problems as well, that's why this stuff matters so much. So never, never send out your script unless it meets these requirements, I cannot stress this enough.
Clean copy - white heavy weight copy paper with no grubby marks
Cover page - containing only necessary information in courier 12 pt font
Format - industry standard, preferably use a software package
Spelling - check it and check it again, no spelling errors
Binding - simple and standard, two brads work fine.
Check out our column HOW TO MAKE YOUR SCRIPT LOOK PROFESSIONAL for the full lowdown.
- Write a simple cover letter (in adobe acrobat format) to accompany your script, detailing the following info in brief form.
- The title
- The logline
- Where and when they requested the script (a little memory refresher)
- Any competitions or awards that the script has won.
- Any attachments - but maybe, probably and if doesn't count. (if your script fell into Julia Roberts hands while she was walking beneath your balcony and she won't rest until she's played the lead - then yeah - you should tell them about that).
- Include a release form (in adobe acrobat format), always use the release form they suggest, but if they don't then you can use our generic version.
- That's it, don't bother with your resume, your dream cast list, your headshot and/or a budget. Let the script speak for itself and don't drown the reader and/or executive with unwanted information. Overload can be terribly off putting.
- Send your clean, crisp screenplay in a plain envelope with the words 'requested materials' printed clearly on the top left corner.
- Keep a log of who has requested your screenplay and the date sent.
- Send your screenplay by postal courier i.e. Fedex or UPS, or professional hand courier (not you disguised in a fake mustache), or certified mail. This way you will get a signature and know your package has been received, without having to phone up, which takes us to the next valuable point.
DO NOT TELEPHONE - Yes, I know that your script has now been with the studio, production company, film executive, etc. for four weeks and you're wondering what's taking so long, well be prepared to wait longer. This is what happens when your script hits the reception at Ever Ready Films.
- The script is picked up by a reader and gets added to his/her rapidly growing pile.
- Once read, the reader writes up coverage, with grades being given for the following sections: characters, dialogue, plot and structure and then overall gives it a 'Pass', 'Consider' or 'Recommend'. Most scripts fall into the Pass or Consider category, with only the rare gem actually getting Recommended. Have no fear, even if your script receives a Pass, you, the writer, may have been rated quite highly and this could open up a whole new door to other writing jobs, or at least an interest in your other scripts etc. If it receives a Consider or Recommend it may now get read by the exec.
- The coverage makes its way back to the original exec, who reads it over and may or may not read the script. A little secret, a lot of execs will rely on great coverage alone to go ahead and make overtures towards a script, they may never actually read the script itself, that's why great coverage is always important.
- The exec will discuss it with his/her powers that be and if they're intrigued they'll read the coverage and so on, until eventually a decision will be reached. Now is the time they will get in touch with you, even if it's only to offer a kind rejection.
You can see how a few weeks can easily pass by. So - don't telephone, don't pester, it won't move your script to the top of the pile and it won't make anyone like it any better, instead you will give the exec the impression that you're a nuisance and less than professional - not someone they will want to build a working relationship with.
Now, if you have an agent, they will already know exactly how to handle any script that they send out, so just let them get on with what they do best and trust me, if there's any news, they'll let you know.
Don't forget to check out HOW TO MAKE YOUR SCRIPT LOOK PROFESSIONAL. It's filled with great tips and advice.