Your script has been written and rewritten, polished and perfected, and you’re finally ready to send it out to the world. But who are the current players? How do you get them to read what you’ve written? And – yikes! – what do you do if somebody actually wants to option your script?
Here are the top books, classes, seminars, software, and other tools and resources our judges recommend to help you navigate your way through the Hollywood system:
THE TOP 10 BOOKS
The most authoritative source of information for and about entertainment industry professionals for twenty years. Updated three times a year, Hollywood Creative Directory listings include the most current addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, websites, staff names and titles, and select film and television credits for over 11,000 producers, production companies, studio and network executives.
The industry’s most complete, reliable, and comprehensive source of information about Hollywood agents, managers, entertainment attorneys, publicists, and casting directors – a mainstay for anyone seeking representation. Updated twice each year, the Hollywood Representation Directory provides the most current listings for over 2,000 companies and 7,000 individuals, including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, websites, staff names and titles.
There are really only two types of people in Hollywood: those who sit around in coffee shops and complain that they can’t get their script past the studio secretary, and those who understand that the success of their screenwriting career isn’t based on luck or nepotism – it’s based on understanding how Hollywood really works. Kathie Fong Yoneda, a 25-year industry veteran, shows you how to prepare to sell your script, meet the moguls, talk the talk, and make the deal.
A real-life guide to surviving in the film business by industry veteran and Tufts University screenwriting teacher Susan Kouguell, this invaluable script sales manual reveals: what the studios are looking for, the dos and don’ts of pitching a script, insights into how scripts are rated, as well as instructions on writing a successful query letter and synopsis, and tips on negotiating contracts, signing development deals, and working with Hollywood agents and entertainment attorneys.
Allen B. Ury’s practical, no-nonsense guide to creating, developing, and maintaining a screenwriting career. From concept to sale and beyond, it’s the insider’s perspective on how to sell your script to the people who’ve seen it all before: Hollywood agents, producers, and studio executives. A must-read for anyone who is serious about writing feature films – and getting paid for it!
Hollywood veteran Ken Rotcop shows you how to make the most of your sales presentation and sell your screenplay. Industry execs typically devote about two minutes of their attention to writers who bring them ideas hoping for a deal. Can you capture their attention and pique their interest in the time it takes to order a latte at Starbucks? It could mean the difference between seeing your name at the top of a lucrative studio contract or on a form rejection letter.
The one-minute technique for pitching and selling a script to the major Hollywood players. Best-selling author Michael Hauge reveals: The Cardinal Rule of Pitching; How to Design, Practice, and Present the 60-Second Pitch; The 8 Steps to a Powerful Pitch; Targeting Your Buyers; Securing Opportunities; and much more. Also included: “The Best Pitch I Ever Heard,” an exclusive collection of stories from Hollywood film executives.
What do you do after you’ve finished your surefire-hit screenplay? Michael Lent, a working screenwriter in Hollywood, offers excellent insights and advice on how to manage your screenwriting career – everything from choosing an agent to understanding terms like “spec,” “option,” and “assignment.” Learn what to expect from Hollywood agents and managers, who does what in the studio hierarchy, and most importantly, how to nail your pitch so the studio exec can’t say no.
In this insider’s guide, Lydia and Joan Wilen explain how screenplays are reviewed and accepted so that you have a clear understanding of how the film business works. They introduce you to the “players,” guide you in preparing your pitch, provide you with a proven system for query submission, and aid you in negotiating the best contract possible. Tips from the experts will help you swim with the sharks without getting eaten by them.
This authoritative guide is designed to help both fledgling and established writers negotiate the best deal, protect their work, and get fair compensation. Hollywood entertainment attorney Stephen Breimer offers clear, expert advice on all the legal issues involved in the business of screenwriting and script sales – including a thorough discussion of contracts, options, purchase agreements, writing assignments, collaboration agreements, and copyright, as well as tips on working with Hollywood agents and attorneys.
In-depth analysis of the television, cable, home video, music, new media, theater and film business around the world. Breaking news on the latest deals, statistics, hits and misses, published every business day and available 24/7 online at Variety.com. (Get a Discount Subscription)
The industry’s most complete film and TV production charts, U.S. and International daily box office grosses, the latest script sales, entertainment news, reviews, and critical analysis of how current events are impacting the film business. Stay connected to what’s happening through The Hollywood Reporter daily print publication, online edition, and email alerts. (Get a Discount Subscription)
The leading source of information about the craft and business of screenwriting for over eleven years, each bi-monthly issue of Script magazine delivers informative articles about script writing, development, marketing, and script sales. Written primarily by working screenwriters, consultants, and production executives, Script provides you with inside information, news, trends, and authoritative advice on how to write and sell your screenplay.
If you want to know how to write and sell your screenplay, you need to know which genres are hot, which agencies and managers are accepting new clients, what types of scripts individual producers are looking for, and how to submit your material. With exclusive interviews and the latest news about who’s buying what, each issue of Creative Screenwriting answers these questions for you and keeps you up to date on the art of screenwriting and script sales.
The only magazine of its kind based in the U.K., ScriptWriter is an internationally respected publication presenting a wide array of useful information for screenwriters. Contents include thought-provoking articles about writing for film and television, interviews with top screenwriters and other industry professionals, book reviews and extracts, legal information for writers, and insights into the politics and tactics of the film business.
SCRIPT REGISTRATION SERVICES
If you’re a U.S. citizen, once your script is finished you’ll want to copyright it with the Library of Congress. Obtain submission information, current registration fees, and downloadable forms from the Copyright Office’s website. Or you can now request to participate in beta testing the Copyright Office’s new online registration system.
Serving writers since 1927, the Writers Guild of America registers more than 55,000 pieces of literary material each year. The WGA Registry is available to members and non-members alike. Register your script, synopsis, treatment, outline or idea online, by mail, or in person at the Writers Guild offices in Los Angeles or New York. In addition, the Writers Guild offers benefits and protections through its agreements. More information is available online at the WGAw and WGAe websites.
Offering great low rates and worldwide service, ProtectRite is a division of the National Creative Registry, the company that created and pioneered online intellectual property registration. As a disinterested third party, ProtectRite establishes the completion date of your registered materials and offers the security of long-term storage in the event your original is lost or destroyed.
SCRIPT SALES & MARKETING SERVICES
With the most advanced online script search engine available, InkTip offers you an unprecedented opportunity to connect with producers, literary agents, and managers who are looking for new material. As a result of being discovered on InkTip, dozens of feature films have been produced, hundreds of scripts have been optioned, and many writers have gained representation.
A wonderful array of resources to help you sell your script: an online Script Marketplace database; the monthly “Hollywood Bugle” e-mail alert; the personalized “Script Express” e-query service; and the invaluable “Writer’s Rolodex,” providing you with direct contact information for over 3000 production companies, studios, independent producers, literary agents and managers.
The TV industry’s project database, used by top production companies and networks scouting original concepts and scripts for television. This great service provides direct, protected exposure to top buyers in the TV industry. Writers can access a Project Status Page to view requests from producers reviewing their material, as well as a Mandate Report detailing project types being sought by member production companies.
THE GREAT AMERICAN PITCHFEST
& THE GREAT CANADIAN PITCHFEST (yearly events)
There are lots of pitching events out there, but the Great American and Great Canadian Pitchfests are hands-down our favorite. Held in Los Angeles and Vancouver, these Pitchfests are reasonably priced, very well organized, and you get a day full of free pitching classes to boot! The ratio of companies to participants is always very high, the pitch meeting process is simple and smooth, and many participants receive requests for their material as a result. Attend this event and it just might launch your screenwriting career!
CLASSES & SEMINARS
Writing a script is hard. Pitching and selling a script is even harder. This DVD, filmed live at the New York City PitchXchange, will teach you how to pitch confidently, tell your story succinctly, and answer the tough questions from development executives. Laurie Scheer guides you through the proper ways to prepare for your first pitch meeting and critiques ten sample pitches from the PitchXchange.
Have you ever seen and heard a working screenwriter actually pitch and sell a script? This is the first DVD to record exactly that – every pitch Chris Soth, author of Million Dollar Screenwriting, has sold, with the exact words he used to tell the story and make the sale. Then see how the story was generated: from the germ of an idea, through all three acts, until each and every scene, character, and beat was “pitch perfect.”
THE INSIDE PITCH (DVD)
An engaging, unscripted TV program about the art and business of selling a script, this Emmy-nominated half-hour show follows a screenwriting workshop conducted by Christopher Lockhart, ICM Executive Story Editor, and Jack d’Annibale, Creative Executive at Jerry Bruckheimer Films. The two execs provide constructive feedback and entertaining critiques of aspiring screenwriters’ pitches. Fascinating insights into the film business, the skill of pitching and selling a script, and the art of screenwriting.
HOLLYWOOD FROM THE INSIDE OUT (online course)
An overview of the world of feature film development based on Rona Edwards and Monika Skerbelis’ highly regarded UCLA class “Introduction to Feature Film Development.” Learn about the individual players at studios, production companies, and agencies, and what happens to your screenplay once it’s submitted. Learn about the importance of loglines, script coverage, development notes, and talent lists. And learn how Hollywood agents and managers work. Invaluable “inside” information every screenwriter should know.
THE BUSINESS OF SHOW INSTITUTE
Producer Marvin Acuna’s online information hub for screenwriters who are looking to break into the business
DONE DEAL PRO
All the latest development news, script sales, directories, and forums to help you market and sell your script
An wide array of informative articles, columns, forums, and other great resources for screenwriters
The web’s most comprehensive guide to screenwriting contests and more
A great networking site for screenwriters: includes personal profiles, blogs, discussion groups, articles, and lists of upcoming events
Insightful essays, columns, and message boards, offering practical advice from working industry professionals