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How to Get a Movie Script Produced

Updated on August 15, 2015
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Penelope is retired but teaches English in Rome. She is a published feature writer, playwright and poet. She loves local Italian customs.

Universal Studios in Hollywood

Universal Studios in Hollywood
Universal Studios in Hollywood | Source

How to Sell a Screenplay

You have written an industry standard movie script that rocks. You have a catchy title and sensational tag-line. You've written the Treatment and your script outline. So, here's how to get a movie script produced.

In Hollywood you would look for an agent who will represent your work. If you live anywhere else in the world, you could still try to get a Hollywood agent because that's where the big movie business happens, but you might also try other in-roads. How to get a movie produced takes innovation, perseverance and as much imagination as it takes to write the script.

This Hub explains:

  • Other brave avenues to go down to try to get your movie script produced.
  • What the formal steps are from when you find an agent until when the movie gets made in Hollywood.

A Chjàna (The Plain) Won at Venice Film Festival 2011

The 19 minute short drama was written and directed by new film maker Jonas Carpignano. Several of his movie making friends and connections helped produce it.

Through, they raised $12,310 financing.

The movie (which was inspired by real events in the wake of the most significant race riot in Italian History) won the best short film award in its category at the Venice Film Festival in 2011.

It was nominated for a SXSW award in 2012

It won 2012 short film award from the Italian National Syndacate of Film Journalists

How do Indie Movie Makers Fund Movies?

Young film makers tend to make movies among themselves, (especially in Europe), working for free. They get hold of a little funding from somewhere, which pays a few basic bills and they plunge into making a low budget movie; usually a short movie. It could end up being submitted to Film Festivals round the world. It may get a nomination for an award. It could win, in which case the film makers have what is called "a calling card". They now have a professional motion picture credit such as Producer or Director. At the festivals they have the opportunity to mix and meet other film makers; they are on their way. The short movie "A Chjana" is an example of such success.

In order to get your script to the producers, to the companies in the business of film-making, or to councils that promote film, there are several other channels of approach. Be imaginative and make connections with film makers as well as with people in the film business. Here are four avenues worth a try.

  • In the USA the non profit organization Independent Filmmakers Project represents 10,000 film makers in the New York area, schooling them in the business of independent film making, helping to develop 300 movies a year. If you're a New Yorker, knock on their door.
  • Enter your movie script into a Screenplay Competitons. Your script could win.
  • Create your own web-site, which promotes you and your scripts.
  • Be a member of - or other similar web sites which assist "in getting exposure for the screen writer".

How to Find An Agent

  • Look through online listings, the Writer's Guild and Variety Magazine.
  • Select the agents that represent your type of work.
  • Call them up before sending your script. Unsolicited scripts get thrown in the bin.
  • Write a brief letter about yourself to accompany your script (and script outline). It sells how your life experience in the field of your script is particular and peculiar.
  • Get Copyright for your script through The Writers Guild or through the Library of Congress.
  • Keep at it. Keep making those calls. Keep sending in that script.
  • Work on another script - to have ready to show when an agent gets interested in your work.

How to Find Screenwriting Agents

Your tenacity pays off; you find someone who wants to make a move from your script.

Or, you decide you are going to put your money on your script, bet everything you have on its success and you go off to Hollywood to get it made. You get a job in the film business. You make connections.

The agents are out there. They are looking for good scripts. Believe it. Hollywood wouldn't exist without them! The column next to this offers suggestions how to find and approach him/her.

Because your script is so hot you find an agent who will represent you!

The procedures of negotiation that follow will be the same as they are for the independent film maker - who has also found his/her producer that wants to make a movie from their screenplay.

What Does an Agent Do?

Hollywood Award winning Tony Bill, producer and director with a life-times' experience in the motion picture business in Hollywood explains what the procedures would be towards getting your script made into a movie

1. Your agent should know who the producers are and who the right producers might be for the project.

2. Your script is 'optioned'. Money is paid to control the script for a limited amount of time, with an 'option' to purchase it upon a later date. The producer will make an offer. The legalities should be minimal, nothing that the agent shouldn't be able to handle.

3. If there are points that need to be cleared up, the agent and the producer negotiate.

4. If there need to be script re-writes, assuming that it is not a Writer's Guild screenwriter, the agent will negotiate the writer's rights to re-write the script.

What Movie did They Produce?

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What does a Movie Producer Do?

1. The producer's job is to take the script to the studio (Universal Studios, MGM, Paramount etc.) or to Independent Financiers.

2. He/she looks for the director. The producer runs the show. The director runs the set.

3. Together with the director and the financing entity, they look for other elements (actors, camera man, art director etc.)

4. If it's a studio movie, the producer collaborates with the studio on the advertising and marketing. On an Indie (an Independent movie) there may be more responsibilities and control.

Tony Bill explains that "Every movie, every producer, director, financing agreement is different".

You have written an industry standard movie script that rocks. You have a catchy title and sensational tag-line. You've written the Treatment and your script outline. So, here's how to get a movie script produced.

© 2012 Penelope Hart


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