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Selling My First Screenplay - Breaking The Jinx, The Deal
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This is to you who think that selling a screenplay as a screenwriter is an almost impossible feat because the conceived idea is that you must or should know someone in the industry you are targeting particularly the Hollywood industry.
Don't quote me wrong, knowing an agent, manager or representative is sure a good plus but I want you to get the fact that majority of screenwriters who have succeeded with a screenplay or more did not have such initial contacts. It is a process that brought them into the arena of the contacts.
But it all started with just one screenplay and the events before and after my first screenplay success is what I wish to share briefly and for the purpose of speaking to anyone reading this article now to stay on and keep knocking at the industry with your ready written screenplay and one day you will surely break the jinx and get the deal you have wished for.
My first screenplay is a thriller and I always refer to it as my first, though I had written about 9 screenplays then, that is because it was the first I sold out and it gave me the first 6 figures pay of my life then.
Follow some of my advice below and you could be on your way to selling your first screenplay.
1. You have written out your screenplay and you think it is the best that Hollywood must see but hold on first with that excitement; take that script of yours and give it to other fellows to critic it for you and if you get a 68% or more pass mark, it is worth an audience to the agents, managers or representatives who will make the sales out for you. But strive to perfect to a between 90 to 100% mark.
2. Your screenplay should be able to hold a reader's attention at its first or last 5 minutes of pages. This has been my formula. No agent is interested at being bored with words after a few minutes of flipping those pages.
3. The 2 points above means that you have a good and ready screenplay for the industry, the next phase is how do you sell it. In my own case it happened through the power of networking and mind you I did not know anyone at that stage. It all started when I attended a class hosted for screenwriters in South Africa some years ago. I now live in the united states because of business.
After the class, I approached the facilitator who is one of my great mentors today and he took me in as his boy. Phone calls exchange took the relationship to a level where he confided in me and he introduced me to someone who linked me to an agent. That was breaking the jinx. Funny enough this agent had the patience to read my 9 screenplays, guess I was favored, but only one out of the nine sold out then. I asked him how he was able to read the whole 9 in a week and choosing just one, that's where he revealed the point I made above that he only read the first and last 5 minutes of the scripts and only one script took him beyond the pages.
Now what makes those pages thick, my answer is that you must understand your characters too well and their roles, weave a drama of suspense around them and your reader will keep on turning the pages.
Finally, network with fellow screenwriters and keep knocking, the next hour could be the open door.
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