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misc Four completed scripts. Is it time to look for representation?

Hi guys

So far I have four completed feature scripts (2X Drama, 1X Action/Drama, 1X Thriller/Drama), one 20 page treatment for another idea (Action/Comedy) and I am writing my 5th feature (Comedy/Drama).

I am aware of the value of getting a good placement in some respected competitions, which would potentially lead to an agent/manager, but I also think that, if I have to take my chances, I can at least do it directly with agents/managers/producers (well, maybe not producers, as almost all of them would only consider material recommended by agents).
Besides, a short script I wrote (for an animation) was optioned by a prod company in Australia. It might not be a great achievement like selling a feature, but it might be worth adding this into my pitch, I guess?

So, do you think I have enough material to show that I am not just someone who can run out of ideas any time soon?

My plan for now is this:
- Making a list of agents I want to send my queries to
- Choose what, in my opinion, is the best script I have (in terms of story, structure, etc...) and send out logline and synopsis of that.
- Hope for the best.
- Keep writing.

Is there anything that you would add, or do differently? For example, would you send the "chosen" script to more than one script coverage service first and then use their (hopefully) positive feedback to enhance my position (or anyway use the feedback to improve the script before sending it)? worth it? Waste of time and money?

For clarity, I had a few people in the Industry looking at my scripts and I always had a general positive feedback overall (of course with some critics too, which I took into consideration, re-writing according to what I would agree with, etc...), so it's not like I wrote those scripts and just thought they were ready on my first draft. But perhaps having the coverage of someone who does that for a living would improve my odds?



Thanks
 
I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in Hollywood everybody out here has more than one script. "What else you got?" is an often heard question, and all Screenwriters have an answer. That said, do not answer questions that haven't been asked. Stick with pitching one script, the one that just HAS to be made. Not the five that just have to be made. Do NOT dilute your enthusiasm for your story!

As for buying "coverage", that's fine if you're learning to write, but if you're good enough to make it in the Industry, you're already skilled beyond anyone who sales "coverage". What is sold as Coverage are Notes. Real Coverage is written for a Producer and involves cast breakdowns, budget estimates, etc. It's outside the Writer's purview. If you tell an Agent you bought coverage, he's going to ignore it, because he knows it's not from a player, because it's illegal for anyone who can place a script in the development pipeline to take money to read a script. (I know all this because I work primarily in Development) So don't waste your money on "coverage"-- if you think you're stuff is good enough, just pitch.

When you send out a query, keep it to one page. Include the logline and what the story is about (but not the ending), the demographic it will appeal to, and why. But do not include a synopsis until asked. As a Screenwriter, do volunteer anything until asked. But be ready. Have a three treatments ready, a One Sheet, a 3-5 page, and a long one around thirty pages.

Good luck!
 
Thanks geckopelli for the wisdom. I actually have logline and synopsis ready only for one script, so I'll work on the other ones too now! Get everything ready as you said before sending out.

Thank you
 
I don't know how it is elsewhere, but in Hollywood everybody out here has more than one script. "What else you got?" is an often heard question, and all Screenwriters have an answer. That said, do not answer questions that haven't been asked. Stick with pitching one script, the one that just HAS to be made. Not the five that just have to be made. Do NOT dilute your enthusiasm for your story!

As for buying "coverage", that's fine if you're learning to write, but if you're good enough to make it in the Industry, you're already skilled beyond anyone who sales "coverage". What is sold as Coverage are Notes. Real Coverage is written for a Producer and involves cast breakdowns, budget estimates, etc. It's outside the Writer's purview. If you tell an Agent you bought coverage, he's going to ignore it, because he knows it's not from a player, because it's illegal for anyone who can place a script in the development pipeline to take money to read a script. (I know all this because I work primarily in Development) So don't waste your money on "coverage"-- if you think you're stuff is good enough, just pitch.

When you send out a query, keep it to one page. Include the logline and what the story is about (but not the ending), the demographic it will appeal to, and why. But do not include a synopsis until asked. As a Screenwriter, do volunteer anything until asked. But be ready. Have a three treatments ready, a One Sheet, a 3-5 page, and a long one around thirty pages.

Good luck!
Let's say your pitch works and they ask for the whole script. In your experience how many times is that script liable to be stolen? Is this stealing part an overrated thing, is it pure paranoia or a rookie move to think that or does that actually happen? Does this happen more often for writers who send scripts from outside the U.S? I know you can register scripts but let's face it if you don't have an entertainment attorney who can fight for you in L.A(which is the case for most up-n-comin writers since they don't have the money to afford one), there is not much you can do if your script gets stolen even if it is registered. What is your advice for writers who send query letters to Hollywood outside of U.S?
 
Let's say your pitch works and they ask for the whole script. In your experience how many times is that script liable to be stolen? Is this stealing part an overrated thing, is it pure paranoia or a rookie move to think that or does that actually happen? Does this happen more often for writers who send scripts from outside the U.S? I know you can register scripts but let's face it if you don't have an entertainment attorney who can fight for you in L.A(which is the case for most up-n-comin writers since they don't have the money to afford one), there is not much you can do if your script gets stolen even if it is registered. What is your advice for writers who send query letters to Hollywood outside of U.S?
I don't think an agent or a manager would steal your work. It might be more of a concern when you send it to producers/prod companies, in my opinion.
 
I don't think an agent or a manager would steal your work. It might be more of a concern when you send it to producers/prod companies, in my opinion.
Yes, my question was what happens if that manager show it to the producer? Eventually you want that manager to show your script to producers right? Also I may be wrong, but don't you send query letters to producers rather than agents?
 
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Yes, my question was what happens if that manager show it to the producer? Eventually you want that manager to show your script to producers right? Also I may be wrong, but don't you send query letters to producers rather than agents?
Hmm, good question. Although I would assume that AT LEAST in that instance you would have the manager fighting for/with you? Like, helping you finding a good solicitor.
That being said, I also believe that, if we stop and think about all this, we would never send our scripts around and we would never see our stories made. Just make sure that you have so many ideas that, if a few of those get stolen, you keep throwing more at the basket, until one finally gets in!
 
Hmm, good question. Although I would assume that AT LEAST in that instance you would have the manager fighting for/with you? Like, helping you finding a good solicitor.
That being said, I also believe that, if we stop and think about all this, we would never send our scripts around and we would never see our stories made. Just make sure that you have so many ideas that, if a few of those get stolen, you keep throwing more at the basket, until one finally gets in!
Forget the manager, I'm asking about the cases you send your script directly to producers. That is true with this amount of paranoia no work would have been recognized these days. My question was a bit more specific than that which is concerning international writers outside of U.S sending full scrips to producers in Hollywood. What are the cautionary measurements and how often that "Stealing" occurs when it comes to unsolicited international scripts being sent to producers in Hollywood.
 
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mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
unsolicited international scripts being sent to producers in Hollywood.
My understanding (which could be wrong) is that producers don't generally accept unsolicited scripts.
So you should only be sending a logline and maybe a brief pitch. In the (rare) case that they actually ask for the full script, you're somewhat more protected because they're on record as asking for it. But people suck, so there's that....
 
My understanding (which could be wrong) is that producers don't generally accept unsolicited scripts.
So you should only be sending a logline and maybe a brief pitch. In the (rare) case that they actually ask for the full script, you're somewhat more protected because they're on record as asking for it. But people suck, so there's that....
Thanks Mara, that's what I wanted to know. Didn't realize them asking for it in an email gives a legal standing.
 
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Forget the manager, I'm asking about the cases you send your script directly to producers. That is true with this amount of paranoia no work would have been recognized these days. My question was a bit more specific than that which is concerning international writers outside of U.S sending full scrips to producers in Hollywood. What are the cautionary measurements and how often that "Stealing" occurs when it comes to unsolicited international scripts being sent to producers in Hollywood.
You first say:
"Yes, my question was what happens if that manager show it to the producer?"
Then you say:
"Forget the manager, I'm asking about the cases you send your script directly to producers."
A bit confusing.

Anyway yeah, agree with what mlesemann said. Never send your script to producers, unless they ask for it :thumbsup:
 
You first say:
"Yes, my question was what happens if that manager show it to the producer?"
Then you say:
"Forget the manager, I'm asking about the cases you send your script directly to producers."
A bit confusing.

Anyway yeah, agree with what mlesemann said. Never send your script to producers, unless they ask for it :thumbsup:
Yeah I apologize for being confusing.
 
Thanks Mara, that's what I wanted to know. Didn't realize them asking for it in an email gives a legal standing.
Mara's absolutely correct... All you SHOULD be sending to a Producer, Agent, or Manager is a query. Should be short and sweet -- containing your pitching logline. Trust me... If the logline grabs them? They will in turn, ASK you to send the script. They'll probably have you sign a release to send right along with it. The release protects them in case they've got something SIMILAR in development.
 
On that, if they ask for it, is it possible to ask them to sign a NDA in the form of an email? Or is that a rookie move that pushes them away?
Nobody is going to move forward with you if you bring up signing an NDA. They'll delete that email and not even reply. Asking them to sign an NDA is a red flag that you could be a disaster to work with. You also run the risk of having your name and email address shared with others in the business. Gets done all the time.
 
That's sad they get to go along with their cautionary measurements but if we do the same that's a red flag.
I can tell you from their perspective? There are ALWAYS scripts to read. The pile is never gone so the basic mindset is that since there are always going to be so many scripts to read? Why take the chance reading a script where someone has already (to them) established they could be a nightmare to work with? And in fact? They tend to share that person's contact information with others in the industry. It can be a kind of under-the-table-blacklist.
 
I can tell you from their perspective? There are ALWAYS scripts to read. The pile is never gone so the basic mindset is that since there are always going to be so many scripts to read? Why take the chance reading a script where someone has already (to them) established they could be a nightmare to work with? And in fact? They tend to share that person's contact information with others in the industry. It can be a kind of under-the-table-blacklist.
Yeah I've heard that before. No way to go around it huh ?
 
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