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How To sell a Screenplay

Updated on May 5, 2014
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Introduction

Ahhh, money... Something everyone loves. When you have finished writing your screenplay, what do you do next? There are many things one might want to do with said completed screenplay, maybe you want to produce it yourself, or maybe, you want to sell it... Which is most likely why you have clicked over to this page.

Different Selling Methods

Before you even think about thinking about selling your screenplay, you must know the way that you want to sell it. There are generally two ways to sell your screenplay, you can either hire an agent and have him send your screenplay to different companies and studios, or you can sell it online.

The first method may sound daunting: An agent. But it can be well worth it if you are trying to get into the industry. Without an agent, production companies won't even take one look at your script, and they will return it to you in an un-opened package. However, an agent has the ability to open doors that are otherwise closed. This doesn't mean that if you get one every screenplay you write will be selling out the wazoo, but it certainly can't hurt.

The other method, and the method that I will be talking about in this post, is how to sell your screenplay online. This method, though not quite as traditional, could be perfect for you. If you are not willing to buy an agent, but you still want to sell your screenplay and see your story blossom, then this is just about the only method viable to you. And money can still be made with this method.

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Pricing

One of the most asked questions: How much should I sell my screenplay for? The answer to that question is not a definitive one, especially if you are selling online. Most of the time, the prices are negotiable. Nothing is set in stone until you get that check. There are, however, a few things that you should take into account.

First of all, look around and see what other people are charging for their screenplays. Don't take anything too much to heart, but sometimes it is a good idea to see what others are doing so you know the basic ball park for what to price yours at. In general, feature films sell for more than short films, but prices vary greatly. Online, a feature could sell for $5,000, or it could sell for $100. And even that is too specific. Everything is situational depending on the person's budget and how much they are willing to spend.

So how much should you charge for yours? It depends. Start by asking what the buyers budget is, and work from there. Maybe they have a budget of $10,000, you could ask for $500 for the script, if they say that's too much, then work something out. There isn't a set number for selling a script. If it seems like your script is too pricey, then take it down a little bit, make it more affordable and keep on trying to sell it.

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Selling Through Online

Obviously, the very first thing that you are going to have to do is to write your screenplay. Refine it, make it perfect. Once you have completed that, you have to find someplace to actually sell your screenplay.

There are a few which I could suggest, such as FilmmakerForum.com, or (if you are in the New England Area) NewEnglandFilms.com. Sometimes, people even sell through eBay, though it is harder to get to your targeted audience there. On the forum and NewEnglandFilms, you can post your screenplay, pricing, contact information and more to people who are interested in buying screenplays. If you want, take a look around the site and see what kind of screenplays are already there. Make note of the different guidelines that they may have, and be sure to abide by them.

Now that you know where you are going to sell, you have your screenplay all set, you know the basic for the price, you can sell, right? WRONG! You are missing the most important step! Nobody wants their work to be stolen... It leaves you feeling empty, you put in hours of work and BAM, suddenly yo have nothing to show for it and no proof you ever had that idea. Before you decide to go and send a screenplay to sell, make sure you copyright it. You can use Writers guild of America East/West and have them copyright your script for you. Or you can use copyright.gov. Before you choose one, look into both. Either way, anything is better than nothing.

The Waiting Period

It could take a while for someone to want to take your screenplay. Heck, nobody may want your screenplay. This doesn't mean to give up. Post your script on multiple sites. Be sure to act professional and keep your transactions clean and smooth. Don't be set with your fees, or even your script. Be adaptable when dealing with other production companies. In the end, the most important thing is being able to see your idea come to life.

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