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Q&A Forum Archives


Records 11 to 15 of 18 Records found


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Topic: Great coverage but still no script sales
"For the past almost ten years, I've been told that getting good coverage (by respected industry persons) is the key to getting one's script sold.
Well, we've gotten this four times over, and we are having tremendous trouble even getting our material read. These same professionals have
had other material for other writers sold and/or produced so what exactly is the problem with us and/or our material? Please provide an answer if
possible because this question eats away at me every single day."

Jonathan


I sympathize with your struggle. Getting a good response doesn't necessarily mean a sale will soon follow. Good scripts get passed on all the time for one reason or another.

Since your coverage seems to be good across the board, it sounds like it's just a game of waiting for the right match of material to desire. Try beginning a relationship with an agency or with anyone who becomes a fan or your material, without hounding them. If it's about "who you know", than get to know them. In the meantime, the most important thing to do until you get a hit is to keep writing. The only thing better than having a great script is having two of them. Or three. Then suddenly terms like "prolific" and "dedicated" will get attached to your work. Show those that like your material that you're consistent, that you're in it for the long haul. Eventually, you'll wear them down.

Rob (About Rob)


Topic: Beginner needing to increase screenwriting knowledge
"I am a beginner looking to find the best way to increase my knowledge in scriptwriting. I have many ideas, just as much as there are books and
classes on the subject. But I would like to know what do you recommend for beginners; classes, books, and/or seminars? Which do you feel is best?

I am already in the midst of completing my second treatment and started working on my first script. What should be my next step?"

Joe


Sounds like you're on the right path with regards to being open and willing to learn. My first advice for writing screenplays, is to read them. Pick the movies you like best and get a hold of the shooting script and find out how the writer put it all into words. There are many sources for finding scripts on line. Beyond that I always recommend two books, Syd Field Foundations of
Screenwriting and William Goldman's Adventure's in the Screen Trade. Pretty much everything you need to know about writing can be found in those two books.

There is a segment of writers who shun any form of rigid structure and plot point devices. It's fine to develop your own voice and style but keep in mind that as a novice writer you will be presenting your material to producers, agents, actors and directors who are used to that "standard three act structure." Always best to master the craft before you bend the rules.

Beyond those books, find some courses and/workshops in writing. You may be going over material you already know but the best thing to get out of these environments is feedback on your work. A writer is not so much a writer, as he
is a rewriter. There is no such thing as a perfect first draft.

And the most important thing is to keep writing. Don't stop at one script. Build your arsenal.

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)


Topic: How much can a script sell for?
"How much does the average movie script sell for? I see reported sales that sometimes run into six figures, is this the norm? Thank you for any info."

James


As with any sale that is going to be reported or publicized, it's probably going to look pretty good. Scripts that sell for $500 aren't going to make the front page. What is the norm for a sale depends on a few basic factors as a starting point. If an original screenplay is purchased by a Writers Guild Signatory - a company that has signed a contract with the Guild stating they will abide by its rules - has two minimum amounts divided in high and low budget films. A script
produced as a low budget film (budgeted at under 5 million) has a minimum sale of $51,705. A high budget film (budgeted at over 5 million) has a minimum of $97,068. These figures are available via the WGA.org website and change every year according to the current contract.

With those minimums established, the maximums, well, the sky's the limit. The highest was 5 million. The last time I saw a figure for an average was taken among WGA members of $300,000 for an original screenplay.

As for the those other factors, well, they really don't set any firm guidelines for what someone will pay for your screenplay. Those center
around everything from how much money a company has in the bank to your track record as a screenwriter. Veteran William Goldman gets several million a screenplay with very little resistance. A spec writer selling for the first time, well, it depends on the material, the
vision of the company as to what kind of film they want to make of it, what stars are interested, etc. Screenplays are works of art, so the buyer really sets the price and their standards are completely subjective.

Rob (About Rob)


Topic: Do I need to live in LA
"I don't live in LA, so what are my chances of being able to get my script sold? Do I have to make the big move in order to make it big? Thanks."

Peter


Mel Brooks said it best when he said, "You want to be a coal miner, you go to Pennsylvania." In other words, you've got to be out here to be in the game. That's not to say you won't be able to attract some attention with a strong spec from anywhere in the universe but suppose you get someone of prominence to read that? You'll need to be here for the follow up meetings. No one is going to fly you out here just to meet unless by some fluke you get Jim Carey or Tom Cruise interested in your project. Has it happened that writer is "discovered" outside of LA? Absolutely, but it's rare.

The benefit to living out here is the ability to network. Through screenwriter organizations, workshops, lectures, classes and even the occasional Hollywood Hills party, you'll be able to plug in and find out what's going on. At the same time you'll be meeting people who can help you. This isn't a blanket recommendation to uproot your family and sell everything you own. But if you're young and single... pack your bags! When you come out here it's going to be a struggle. You'll need to pay rent, bills, car, insurance etc. It's best to come out armed with a job skill like teaching or something where you can write and still make money. And most importantly have more than one writing sample.

Scriptfxr (About Scriptfxr)


Topic: Age Discrimination
"It is a known fact that young executives run just about every field of the entertainment industry - We have gradually seen discrimination against older producers, actors and directors, but especially against sitcom writers - Since your company acts as a liaison between writers and producers, how do you find the climate regarding discrimination against older screenplay writers today?"

Joey


In writing, I believe quality is still the ultimate denominator in screenplay submissions. Quality is a subjective phenomena; not everyone's idea of it matches. As a screenwriter, you're still going to have to fight the unexplainable tastes and motivations of all ages of executives who are looking for a hit, sometimes of the critical kind, but mostly of the box-office kind. Again, the science here is minimal, the generalizations difficult to make. The majority of ticket buyers are still between 18 and 35 years of age, with a huge concentration under 25. These 25-and-unders are the ones with the disposable income, the time and the inclination to go to more movies than us geezers with more important things to do. Naturally, they are going to get the most attention in show business.

The upside is that if your script is truly something good - it contains all of the elements of good drama in a nicely crafted piece of work - it will eventually get noticed by someone, somewhere of some age. Even then, you are playing to realities both creative and economic. So, my advice is fairly metaphysical: don't look for another obstacle to get in your way, another worry to bog down your creative focus, for you usually find what you are looking for with such things. Write to your abilities and be true to your vision. If the work is good, it will find its niche quite naturally, regardless of age. The market ebbs and flows with tastes and the success of screenplays and the films they birth will always be subject to those things.

Rob (About Rob)


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