Great question today from client Gary T., who asked: “Once I have your views on my script, what do I do to get a studio working on making a movie out of it? I don’t need my ego stroked, I want to see my work on the big screen.”
Yeah, that is the question, isn’t it? Many books have been written on this subject.
Here’s the brief answer:
1) Make sure your script is as good as it can be. Unless you’re insanely well-connected, your material will need to be strong enough to rise above all the other millions of scripts out there. Don’t waste anyone’s time sending out anything that isn’t a ‘consider’. It may well take years of learning, practice and new drafts to get where you need to be — just like every other high-paying, professional job requires many years of training.
2) Once you’re confident the material rocks, get it out there by submitting to top contests, fellowships, BlackList, Virtual PitchFest, Spec Scout, Stage 32, Roadmap Writers, etc. You can also query like-minded producers’ assistants and managers directly, but in general, no one will pay attention without third-party validation, such as by winning a well-respected contest like the Nicholl Academy Fellowship, Austin, Slamdance, Scriptapalooza, LaunchPad, Big Break, Script Pipeline, or Tracking B, or getting strong scores on Black List.
3) Once your script is noticed, you will probably get meetings, and you have to be ‘good in a room’ and handle the politics of those meetings well. That means be energetic, charismatic and easy-to-work-with. At this point, you may be signed or hip-pocketed (unofficial client of an agency) by an agent or manager and then they will send out your material as a spec or a writing sample, and you will take ‘general meetings’ with the town.
4) If you are lucky enough to do that, your script may possibly sell; or it may simply yield more meetings. Either is good.
5) If you make it to this point, you are now in the game. You stay there by continuing to develop new material, developing material with producers and delivering well on assignments (paid or unpaid.) Be careful not to blow it however by being a primadonna, or by not creating a steady flow of new material.
6) If you are lucky enough to sell your spec, there is a possibility it may get made. This often takes many years.
7) Or you can skip all the above and DIY — raise the money and shoot your movie however you can. You can shoot and edit a movie on your phone, and “Tangerine” proved these can actually get distribution.