screenplay Poor person's distribution of a script.

Lets say I do crank out a script, there is no way I will pay to distribute it.
I. Don't. Trust. the scams :)

So, as a side hobby and somebody obviously not connected in any way to the film world. What is the best way to get script to be read?

Submit to yearly contests for free?

I am not lazy, going to do research on the subject, but wanted to see what y'all do to circulate your work.

BTW, I also need to do the poor person's copywrite on scripts (if I finish it) seen a few tricks on YT. <---another task

Werd.
 
Last edited:
Good question... Difficult answer... LOL.

Basically? You can't query agents. Well, you can but I cannot think of a single agency that would read an email or snail mail query. Everyone is worried about lawsuits these days so agencies (unless you get real lucky) are out.

Next are management firms... There's a post on here somewhere where I link to current management rosters with full contact information. Managers are always looking for good writers but you have to WOW them with your logline. Meaning? If it ain't high concept? Don't expect a reply.

Next on the list are producers... Especially producers who've produced something similar to what you've written. You'll have to research like crazy to find their contact information. Unfortunately today in the age of the STALKER? Many people in the industry -- producers included -- worry about stalkers finding them and using the basis of getting them to read a spec when that's not really what's going on. Having said that? Producers are still always looking for the next big thing so again... If your logline is high concept and makes them sit up -- lean forward when they read it? you still got a shot.

After that? Contests are okay but here's the deal with contests in my HUMBLE opinion... Contests RARELY like high concept screenplays. High concept screenplays are what SELLS most of the time. If you've NOT written a high concept screenplay but end up doing well in a contest (and there are only a handful worth entering), be sure to have at least several other HIGH CONCEPT specs written to show at the meetings your contest entry will inevitably get you. Contest winners all the way down to finalists are always getting the proverbial question:

"WHAT ELSE YA GOT?"

Why? Because what they wrote isn't something that can sell.

After all that? Network. Ask for referrals. Let everyone know you write screenplays. Find out if they know someone in the business. Always ask for a referral... To me? That's most important of all.

Good luck!
 
Last edited:
BTW, I also need to do the poor person's copywrite on scripts

Try going to: copyright.gov (U.S. Copyright Office)...There are a few requirements, but it's fairly easy, fast and inexpensive.

Since you're doing this as a "side hobby" why not hire a professional freelance writer for consultation and perhaps some touch-up work on your script?....They don't appear to be expensive, charge by the hour, and there are some good ones here on IT......especially since you said you're not connected to the film world.....Think of it as an investment......Just a suggestion.
 
Last edited:
Just another recommendation when it comes to COPYRIGHT. Don't skimp on it. The poor man's copyright is sealing the spec in an envelope and mailing it either to yourself or someone else but this doesn't work. All an attorney would need to say in order to render your poor man's copyright completely worthless is to say, "How do we know you simply didn't send an unsealed envelope to yourself, stick your script in it and THEN seal it up?"

DEAD IN THE WATER.

In order to bring a lawsuit or have ANY KIND OF LEGAL LEVERAGE? You need to file an actual copyright.

*EDIT: I always recommend doing both a WGAw or WGAe registration AND copyright. It's good to be PROTECTED should you ever actually need it.
 
Last edited:

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
It's important to register it. However you own what you create, registering adds proof. A digital file with a save date is worth more than an envelope in the mail. This dates back to the typewriter days. Forget it! Keep your old drafts (instead of constantly saving the same file) and register when you can.
 
It's important to register it. However you own what you create, registering adds proof. A digital file with a save date is worth more than an envelope in the mail. This dates back to the typewriter days. Forget it! Keep your old drafts (instead of constantly saving the same file) and register when you can.
All TRUE but? When it comes to the legal profession? The ONLY way to LEGALLY PROVE you wrote an original screenplay is to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. Without it? You cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are the one that wrote it.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yuuuup. But old drafts are important too. You might have removed an ending somebody stole and it's not in the copyrighted version. You might be able to prove that with a preponderance of evidence. Keeping files should only be compounded with copyright. But start saving them before you copyright.
 
Yuuuup. But old drafts are important too. You might have removed an ending somebody stole and it's not in the copyrighted version. You might be able to prove that with a preponderance of evidence. Keeping files should only be compounded with copyright. But start saving them before you copyright.
I agree. When I'm writing a spec, every DAY I work on it? I save it with the same title but I always add the actual DATE to the end of the filename. This way... Should you ever need it? You can show the progress of writing the actual script from BEGINNING to END.

I bookmarked this article a while back because in my humble opinion, it's one of the very best written when it comes to WHY and UNDERSTANDING WHY you should ALWAYS copyright your script:

How to Copyright a Script and Protect Your Screenplay
 
Copyrighting material is easy, the luck part is what's difficult. The script for Die Hard was something like 11 pages. This wisecracking cop goes to a skyscraper where a criminal is holding hostages, after that, 80 pages of ad lib dialouge. That's a 100 million dollar script. Robert Hienlen wrote a 1200 page book detailing the history of a fictional universe, spanning some 60 interconnected tales that told the story of an entire civilization across dozens of generations. Script value $0. So what was the difference? Right place, right time, right friends.

If you look at the music industry, soundcloud is like an elephants graveyard of intellect and talent. At the top of the list making a million a week, are mostly very average people making creatively trivial work. They get connected to financiers, who then use marketing to artificially inflate the creative value of product X.

There are amazing and brilliant artists that do get noticed, and I'm not saying otherwise. It's just that we get a very biased readout in comparison to what's actually going on. Here's how that works. 10,000 authors write an excellent script all the same actual quality. 1 of them makes it, he or she goes to the same starbucks as Les Moonves because it's 3 blocks from his or her house. So this movie comes out, and you hear a news story. The story goes something like this. A person wrote this great amazing tremendous visionary script, and through their sheer talent, they became a big success. Here's the catch, that throws off everyone's perception of reality. There are no news stories about the 9,999 people that wrote equally good scripts. From our perspective, we just heard a simple story about someone writing a script and then becoming famous. We don't get the real version, where 10k people tried, and one got lucky. Once a script has been purchased and made into a film, public assumption instantly skews to the belief that this was the best script out of the 10k, we are not told that no one even bothered to read 9500 of those scripts. It's assumed to be somewhat of a fair contest, but the truth is that it's neither fair nor a contest. Do you think Nicholas Cage is a movie star because he rose through the ranks at second city? His uncle made the Godfather. Maybe if you go to the gym and work hard on your look and acting you can be recognized for your talent. Scarlet Johannsen was born into a family with something like 160 million dollars.

Grim as it may be, screenwriting, music, acting, success, outside a few notable cases, requires a combination of hard work, talent, and luck. Mathematically, imagine trying to roll snake eyes 3 times in a row. The first roll is hard work, and you can affect that roll, but it's hard. The second roll is natural talent, and you have much less control. The third roll is pure luck. This is the process by which 10 million talented people become 250 annual winners. Here's a scientist to explain it.

If you want a short version, skip to about 3 minute in and watch for a few minutes, it shows how this whole thing works visually.

 
screenwriting, music, acting, success, outside a few notable cases, requires a combination of hard work, talent, and luck.

Those 3 qualities (hard work, talent, & luck) apply to many occupations.....but I would like to add a 4th characteristic which the speaker in the video did mention once, but many may not have noticed......and that is destiny.....which some may incorrectly call luck.

Yes, some are definitely lucky without doubt, but a very few are destined (or chosen) for accomplishment....perhaps for only once, or for a whole lifetime......doors seem to open without explanation or reason......they just open.
 
Personally, I would categorize destiny under luck. It's semantics really, but you could say certain people have only destiny and none of the prior 3 qualifications. Let's say there was a guy who inherited 400 million dollars and a half dozen skyscrapers in NYC. That person does not need hard work, luck, or talent to become a "successful business person" they are automatically successful. I'm pretty scientific in my thinking, so I'm not sure I believe in any kind of destiny other than what people and nature create. People that go to the North Pole without gear are "destined" to freeze to death.
 
Last edited:
Try going to: copyright.gov (U.S. Copyright Office)...There are a few requirements, but it's fairly easy, fast and inexpensive.

Since you're doing this as a "side hobby" why not hire a professional freelance writer for consultation and perhaps some touch-up work on your script?....They don't appear to be expensive, charge by the hour, and there are some good ones here on IT......especially since you said you're not connected to the film world.....Think of it as an investment......Just a suggestion.
Definitely will once I feel it’s completed! Thanks
 
Last edited:
People that go to the North Pole without gear are "destined" to freeze to death.

The above example (in my opinion) is the consequences of stupidity, not destiny.....Destiny (to me) is an accomplishment a bit beyond one's control, but can happen as long as the effort is made, even with less natural talent.

In your post yesterday you mentioned an example of 10,000 writers who had equal skills, but only 1 writer "got lucky" and made it.....and about people who started at the finish line....you obviously know people (perhaps yourself) who competed in unfair situations.....but that's life, it isn't fair....some inherit huge assets, other don't.......some get early terminal illnesses, others don't.

A couple of decades ago at my office (preparing tax returns) when not much was on TV around 1-4 am, I enjoyed watching a show called "One Hit Wonders" or something like that......and it would show all the bands in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that only had one major hit song.....but that one hit song made that band famous or at least well known....these bands could never produce another hit song.....but they did the best they could with the talent they had.......and to this day they're still remembered for their one big hit song.

We don't have equal opportunities even if some have equal talents.....but I hope to measure my success based on what I've done with what I've been provided (or earned), not by what others have been given, even if undeservingly.....and now? I'm aiming for that one hit wonder.
 
Last edited:

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I think he is asking how to get it out there not if he is destined to make it or not lol.
 
My life experiences have led me to a rather negative perception of destiny. People pick out one of their kids, load them with 300x the advantages everyone else has, and then when they perform twice as well as someone with no resources, they retroactively perceive the decision to award the resources as justified by the result that the resources, rather than the person achieved. If you look at European sports for example, every competitor is given identical starting advantages, so if someone wins, you know they are better at the game. I'm a very logic driven person, so when I see a time magazine cover that says 17 year old Kylie Jenner is the worlds greatest self made billionaire entrepreneur, I think people are idiots, because they use the same language to describe a teenager that "said it was ok to use her name for marketing" as they did for Lee Iacocca, who singlehandedly resurrected Chrysler in the 80s. Who is a more visionary business person, an instagram model that figured out how to smile in front of a mirror, or Steve Jobs? Who was a more significant public speaker, Winston Churchill or Greta Thunberg? People can't seem to tell anymore. One recited a ubiquitous twitter post in an angry voice, and the other wrote 10k pages of geopolitical analysis and helped win the largest global war in history. But they both got the same magazine cover and title.

1645055219075.png
1645055265909.png


I'm sure it's not what you mean, but when you say destiny, I just hear nepotism. I'm definitely biased though. All the A+ students from my high school class (myself formerly included) are now employed as underlings of the D- students who came from family money. To be fair, it's not really like that on the coasts, when I moved out to California, It was sometimes the smarter people running the show. Here in the midwest, it's a hillbilly in a mansion telling a room full of coders with masters degrees to "make the computer do the business thing" Duck Dynasty, Duck Destiny. I'm not sure I'm really disagreeing with your point though, as I described, people constantly use the same words to talk about vastly different things. My life experience comes from living in an area where the guy who inherited the Indianapolis motor speedway owns the building that every research scientist slaves away in. He is an alcoholic day drinker with an IQ of about 90, some of the top engineering professors of our time work unpaid overtime in a building with his name sprawled across the top in 10 foot tall letters. I've been to their houses, some of them cost less than the alcoholic's weekend bar tab at Ruth's Chris.

My point is that it's always people that create this sense of destiny, and I've lost a great deal of faith in people's ability to identify a winner from a looser. We now have people at the top of the world who I do not honestly believe could graduate 8th grade if forced to retake the exams. We put every fighter pilot through intensive physical, intellectual, and psychological testing before allowing them to fly one armed plane, but if you came from the right family, you can order around the entire air force without taking a single competency test.

People often make the same point as you did, that one should focus on things within their control and ignore the situations of others, and that makes sense, up until the point you realize that your success or failure is basically decided by others, who are often driven by selfish and shallow motives. You only need to look at any meritocratic competition to see that many people feel as I do, that any situation where a lesser competitor can "pay to win" over a more formidable competitor is an ethically corrupt circumstance. Try giving a football team a 30 point lead at the beginning of the game and see if people are still singing ke sera sera. I can guarantee soccer fans would be rioting in the streets and burning down the stadiums. Yet we widely accept that type of situation in other areas. Just doesn't make as much sense as people say it does.

As far as the one hit wonders. I'm ok with all that, and like yourself I strive to create just one winning formula that can stand the test of time. It's in these stories that the last vestiges of the American dream still survives. You can be truly great for just a single moment in life, and make a fortune, leave a mark on the zeitgeist. They say every member of the Village People still lives comfortably to this day off of the residuals of YMCA. Def Leopard still performs "Hysteria" every night to a packed audience. Anyway, I hope you make it.
 
Last edited:
I tend to agree with @Nate North... I've SEEN and EXPERIENCED massive nepotism when it comes to Hollywood. Hell... I was in the Navy for 21 years and SAW and EXPERIENCED massive nepotism there too. LOL. I found out the hard way -- back in the early 80s and showing up early -- being the last one to go home -- and working your ass off more than everyone else simply didn't move you up the ladder like it had done before. POLITICS plain and simple. Unfortunately, I've never been able to play that game and trust me... In both the Navy and in Hollywood? IT HURT ME many times but I can honestly say without any second-guessing that I'm not beholdin' to anyone for anything.

I could go on and on about the complete SHIT I've seen because of nepotism. Mostly in my 21 years in the Navy and Hollywood both. The two could't be more different and yet? Much of the two are RAN exactly the same way.

I'm GUESSING that it's probably like that pretty much everywhere... LOL.
 
Last edited:
Top