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Selling A Screenplay
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The task of selling a screenplay begins to haunt screenplay writers long before they have typed the final words, "FADE OUT." There is no alternative to making a sale because an unproduced screenplay is of no worth to anybody, even to you. It is hardly a collectible to be cherished forever. There is no book of law that says that new screenplay writers cannot break into the industry. Of course they can, perhaps with a little extra effort and intelligent decision making ability. The extra effort is required to beat the growing competition and the intelligence to guide you to plan your marketing strategies logically. Consider the following tips for selling a screenplay:
• Get your screenplay ready - Before selling a screenplay, get it right to ensure it has a fighting chance in the competitive industry. Read and polish the script until it is perfect.
• Get the script registered - 'Borrowing' ideas is a common phenomenon in the entertainment industry. To protect your work against theft, register it with Writers Guild of America (WGA).
• Give the script some time to season - Allow the screenplay some time to cool off and have another go at it, this time with a different perspective. You may detect flaws which you had overlooked earlier. Get a few well-wishers to read your creation and get their honest opinion. Correct the suggested errors and re-write the manuscript.
• Lay out a marketing strategy - Think up of ways of selling a screenplay in the best possible ways. You must have a clear objective in sight to work towards it with steadfast determination.
• Logline, synopsis and treatment - Have the three ready to be used as efficient marketing tools. The summary of the screenplay in a sentence is your logline. The synopsis is a page description of the story and a treatment could be longer, with all the details such as the plot, characters, time, location and sequence of events. Compiling the three gives you a stronger grip on the screenplay.
• Lists - Draw up a list of people who would be willing to buy your screenplay or help to expedite its sale. Producers and directors dealing with the same genre could be your best bet. There are updated lists of contact details of the important people at Hollywood published twice a year. Websites can also provide you with this vital information.
• Query letter - When selling a screenplay, compose gripping query letters and send to production houses, individual producers and literary agents. The letter must be worded well and include the logline and the synopsis. Do not send the script without being asked for it. Include a self addressed stamped envelope and wait for a positive response.
• Submission - With luck and talent, someone will ring or write to read your script. Send it over with an appropriate cover letter. Wait patiently, send out more query letters or do some tele-marketing. There are two main options for selling a screenplay once someone is interested in buying. The producer may make a temporary deal called an "option" or buy the screenplay outright. In both events, read the contract thoroughly before signing. Once your screenplay is accepted, you are on the way to a great writing career.
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