screenplay Which Production Companies Are Buying Unsolicited Scripts?

Hi - Does anyone know of any production companies who will consider and can pay for unsolicited screenplays?

I have a number of scripts of different genres and am finding it time-wasting to search for production companies online accepting unsolicited scripts.

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It turns out usually/so far that they don't. Even though information is posted as 2021.

I'm on Network ISA which posts leads, but not too often.

Useful information welcome, thanks!
 
I have, as usual, an unpopular opinion. I think a completely unknown screenwriter with no connections or money has no chance. Most of my reasoning has already been written above.

I think in todays market you have to produce something directly for an audience, and gain traction that way. Let's look at Johnny Knoxville. He kept having his idiot friends kick him in the balls until he was rich, and now he has starred in a half dozen films. I don't respect him, but I do understand what happened. He bypassed the system completely, until he had proven his brand as a financial winner, and only then did anyone take notice of him.

I don't know if it's possible to write a breakthrough script in this era. I think it would be a far easier path to gain wealth, and then simply tilt the pinball table. Do you think Ariana Grande auditioned to become a singer? She was pushed onto the set at Disney in a stroller by multimillionaire parents, and the singing lessons came after. The film "White Chicks" got greenlit, and 80 million in total budgeting. Do you think someone read through 3000 scripts and picked it out as the best? Some executive got drunk and watched an episode of Mad TV where Damon Wayans poured a soda over his head, and then the studio guys pulled a lever on their desk that dumped 10,000 unopened script submissions into an incinerator room and made White Chicks. They will ignore 1000 of us to make room for Sandler to make a movie about "How a guy wants to play harmonica but no one likes it until they do and he becomes famous" the cruel irony being that they sell us a movie about how the little guy has a chance, while simultaneously engineering a system where he/she doesn't.

Sorry to sound negative, but all my experience to date has been watching rich people fail upwards, and poor people succeed downwards. Make some money, and level up that luck stat first. J Lo didn't take acting classes until she got good enough to make Gigli. Someone here said the system isn't rigged, and it's not, it's super rigged, like there is no chance for anyone who isn't rich, beautiful, or connected. Your best chance is to get rich, and rig it yourself, since that is far easier than playing someone else's caste game. Setting up a fire extinguisher store in Phoenix AZ is going to take a lot less time than lobbing your scripts over their wall of nepotism. Greenlight yourself, you could be waiting a long time for them to do it for you.
Thanks, I'm agreeing with you. Fortunately the responses on to this post have helped provoke some ideas within me, plus some research I was doing anyhow, so I'm going to take another route now. As the saying goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way.". Etc.

I didn't know things were quite so bad in the film industry until I started reading these responses from you experienced guys. I pray everyone here gets the success they deserve, fast. (And that includes any evil ones too...)
 
Stage 32 is a scam. They are Dream Stealers. Read the fine print. All they sell is notes, and NOBODY there works in development. No one there works in the Studio System, either. Their notes are worthless. Some of them are straight up con artist. There are a couple of old time TV Writers there, but that's it. And Wolf, the AFM guy, who says one thing on Stage 32 and another when he's talking to professionals at the AFM.
They are Dream Stealers-- stay away. If you ever get a real meeting and mention Stage 32, you'll kill the deal. It's a laughing stock in the industry.
They hate me because I wouldn't work for them. But if I did, I would not be able to get work in the actual industry.
You want to get read by a professional? You have to convince us to read it, not buy us.
Yes I was thinking that's the case. But I've seen entities who I thought had some respect/traction in the industry - I think Chaos and Confusion was one of the players there? - line up to get paid for pitches.
 
Most of the producers I've looked up who participate in classes, pitch sessions, workshops, etc. or whatever you want to call them are very low on the totem pole. All you have to do is look them up to see what credits they have. Most already know that 99%+ of what they will hear and read will be worthless and derivative anyway. I assume this is why they don't see a problem making a buck off the people attending. That way, it's not a complete waste of their time. Is it right? Who knows.

It is what it is.

I also know that many of these lower-level execs attend these things because they're told to go to get experience hearing BAD pitches and concepts. LOL. Sure, some of them are hungry... Some if not all of them are always looking for the next great piece of material to help them up the next rung on the ladder but always remember... None of these people could GREENLIGHT a project. They may love your work and push it on up the chain and see what happens but that's about as far as it's gonna go.
 
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I talk about this on rare occasions, but this seems like a good time. There is an entire industry built on taking advantage of would be artists. Festivals, agents, promoters, etc, who KNOW that they will not be able to help you, but will effortlessly lie to your face and can make a comfortable living doing so. With just a bit of logic you can see right past all of it. If someone can make money from your work, and believes that you can make it, THEY give YOU money. Investing in a creator is like any other investment. So when people tell you that you should pay them money, such as a screening fee, attendance fee, promotion fee, that is not a person that feels you are investment worthy. That is a person that sees your limited financing, which they already know isn't enough, and wants to take it for themselves. I would say that people selling fake dreams to aspiring filmmakers accounts for about 85% of the money changing hands in the indie film industry.

Think of those giant lines of people outside the American Idol auditions. Outside of the Midwest, there are all these people with a functional 5th grade knowledge of mathematics. They see a line of 5k people standing in the sun for 8 hours to get a 1% shot at a 12k dollar contract, and they do the obvious thing. Instead of joining the line, they set up a drink stand, they sell certificates of singing, they hawk 20 dollar "I practiced all year for American Idol" t shirts, telling people that the judges will care. At the end of each day, that guy scalping bottled water to the people in the line has made as much or more money than the person who actually won the singing contest. It's reliable income, and unlike filmmaking opportunities, the supply of new fish is endless. Selling false hope is mathematically a far superior enterprise.

If someone thinks you are a winner, they invest in you. As far as the idea of talent scouts, think about how people are. A few years ago the president was tasked with appointing someone to manage the world bank. At his disposal were the resources to interview every professor of economics in America. Across the land there were hundreds of thousands of people with decades of experience in banking, money markets, etc. He looked across the room from where he was sitting, and nominated his daughter with no experience, knowledge, or credentials to lead one of the globes most significant financial institutions. I think that's somewhat typical of wealthy people.

Look at Tenet. One of the biggest movies of the year, with hundreds of millions of dollars in the balance. Did they scout for the best actor for the role? Even with a half billion dollars at stake, did they bother to scout acting workshops, find out who was making waves at second city? No. They hired the son of one of the richest actors in Hollywood. Not saying he was bad, I actually like that guy. I'm just saying that these people would rather take a chance on loosing 300 million dollars than walk across the street to audition one of us for a role. Maybe there was someone far better for that role, we'll never know. What I do know is that my work ethic on a 10k dollar project is stronger than theirs is on a 300 million dollar project. I would have scouted for that perfect actor if I knew the GNP of Paraguay was on the line.
 
I know MANY MANY wannabe screenwriters most of which I have helped with screenplays because there was something about their communication that made me want to help. Most everything I'm reading in this thread is true but what is also true? Most of those scripts I helped these writers out with were derivative. Yes, I told them. Yes, I tried to get them to write something original. But in the end? Most simply thought their story was at least as good as the derivative movie that gave them inspiration.

I tried to tell them that it wasn't the writing as much as it was the concept. It's been done. Nobody wants to do it again. I work on concepts for MONTHS before I ever sit down and bang out a page of screenplay... That's how important they are. So, after reading through all this and you're still UP to the CHALLENGE? I URGE you to come up with a concept that we've not seen before. For lack of a better phrase? What Hollywood calls, HIGH CONCEPT.

A well written high concept spec can still open a lot of doors but it won't open doors if you don't lay it at the doorstep. You have to market. They won't find YOU. You have to go OUT and find them.
 
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Most of the producers I've looked up who participate in classes, pitch sessions, workshops, etc. or whatever you want to call them are very low on the totem pole. All you have to do is look them up to see what credits they have. Most already know that 99%+ of what they will hear and read will be worthless and derivative anyway. I assume this is why they don't see a problem making a buck off the people attending. That way, it's not a complete waste of their time. Is it right? Who knows.

It is what it is.

I also know that many of these lower-level execs attend these things because they're told to go to get experience hearing BAD pitches and concepts. LOL. Sure, some of them are hungry... Some if not all of them are always looking for the next great piece of material to help them up the next rung on the ladder but always remember... None of these people could GREENLIGHT a project. They may love your work and push it on up the chain and see what happens but that's about as far as it's gonna go.

I know MANY MANY wannabe screenwriters most of which I have helped with screenplays because there was something about their communication that made me want to help. Most everything I'm reading in this thread is true but what is also true? Most of those scripts I helped these writers out with were derivative. Yes, I told them. Yes, I tried to get them to write something original. But in the end? Most simply thought their story was at least as good as the derivative movie that gave them inspiration.

I tried to tell them that it wasn't the writing as much as it was the concept. It's been done. Nobody wants to do it again. I work on concepts for MONTHS before I ever sit down and bang out a page of screenplay... That's how important they are. So, after reading through all this and you're still UP to the CHALLENGE? I URGE you to come up with a concept that we've not seen before. For lack of a better phrase? What Hollywood calls, HIGH CONCEPT.

A well written high concept spec can still open a lot of doors but it won't open doors if you don't lay it at the doorstep. You have to market. They won't find YOU. You have to go OUT and find them.
Thank you. I never understood what 'high concept' meant before but I understand what you said. I do think my work is original and now I have a couple of ideas of how to create the money to make my movies and am pursuing them.

Still, not out of the woods yet, still be open to selling a screenplay.

What do you think of Network ISA? They ask for scripts and sometimes the producer said to be looking is said to have a multi-million dollar budget.

Have some good deals have come from that site? So annoyed when I read on some sites that 'success' is considered having a Hollywood exec read a script or option one. I'd imagine 'success' for a scriptwriter is having a multi-million dollar sale, but that's not happening any more, is it?

Maybe there are scriptwriters who make a decent sale and also get a cut of the profits of a successful movie.
 
Thank you. I never understood what 'high concept' meant before but I understand what you said. I do think my work is original and now I have a couple of ideas of how to create the money to make my movies and am pursuing them.

Still, not out of the woods yet, still be open to selling a screenplay.

What do you think of Network ISA? They ask for scripts and sometimes the producer said to be looking is said to have a multi-million dollar budget.

Have some good deals have come from that site? So annoyed when I read on some sites that 'success' is considered having a Hollywood exec read a script or option one. I'd imagine 'success' for a scriptwriter is having a multi-million dollar sale, but that's not happening any more, is it?

Maybe there are scriptwriters who make a decent sale and also get a cut of the profits of a successful movie.
No offense to them but I can't think of even ONE producer who makes large movies who would work with a service like that. None of that is my experience. I understand places like Network ISA and InkTip have producers that try to find material and that they do have some success stories but all one has to do is read up on the successes to find out these aren't mainstream films being shown in theaters. Not to mention that any production company NOT a signatory with the WGA simply AIN'T gonna pay good money for a spec. I know plenty of screenwriters who've sold fairly decent specs for less than $10K to non-signatory production companies thinking they were getting a leg up in the system.

Again... Perform your due diligence before getting too excited to sell a spec to a production company. LOL.
 
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Baloney. Name the PC that does that. Besides, ever hear of Copyright Law?
Every failed screenwriter claims theft. But why steal? Right now, I could call for scripts with the stipulation that the Screenwriter gets credit only an dno money, and I'd have 50 submissions by tomorrow.

It was policy when I was in-house with HGTV/Food Network. There are still policies out there that stipulate this, but I’ll let their websites speak for themselves. Here are just a few, since Google is a tool that works for everyone:


And it’s not relegated just to the TV/Film industry:
 
These kinds of submission policies -- which are in fact becoming more and more prevalent are in direct response to some of those failed screenwriters filing lawsuits and eventually negotiating a settlement. This happens all the time and you're not going to find many of these stories online because of signed NDAs in order to accept the settlement.

Bottom line?

Whether production companies LIKE it or NOT? Once they have a SIT DOWN with a screenwriter or producer to listen to a pitch? There is an implied contract AT THAT POINT. If the production company passes on the material and ends up making something similar? Of course they open themselves up to a possible lawsuit. Again... Happens all the time.

Whether or not the screenwriter and or producer wins the lawsuit? Not often but it does happen but what happens MORE OFTEN is a simple negotiation and settlement.

Unfortunately... This too tends to abruptly close the doors of Hollywood to this creator. Probably not a big deal by THEN because an experience like that with Hollywood would tend to make the creator no longer willing to work anywhere near that system i.e., "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
 
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No offense to them but I can't think of even ONE producer who makes large movies who would work with a service like that. None of that is my experience. I understand places like Network ISA and InkTip have producers that try to find material and that they do have some success stories but all one has to do is read up on the successes to find out these aren't mainstream films being shown in theaters. Not to mention that any production company NOT a signatory with the WGA simply AIN'T gonna pay good money for spec. I know plenty of screenwriters who've sold fairly decent specs for less than $10K to non-signatory production companies thinking they were getting a leg up in the system.

Again... Perform your due diligence before getting too excited to sell a spec to a production company. LOL.
Thanks again - totally makes sense.
 
It was policy when I was in-house with HGTV/Food Network. There are still policies out there that stipulate this, but I’ll let their websites speak for themselves. Here are just a few, since Google is a tool that works for everyone:


And it’s not relegated just to the TV/Film industry:
Now of course, huge production companies almost always CLEARLY STATE they do not accept unsolicited submissions. When you read that? Assuming you're doing your due diligence... Do NOT send them unsolicited submissions. LOL.

For instance... From Sony Pictures Entertainment:

In your communications with SPE, please keep in mind that we do not seek any unsolicited ideas or materials for products or services, or even suggested improvements to products or services, including, without limitation, ideas, concepts, inventions, or designs for music, websites, apps, books, scripts, screenplays, motion pictures, television shows, theatrical productions, software or otherwise (collectively, "Unsolicited Ideas and Materials"). Any Unsolicited Ideas and Materials you submit are deemed UGC and licensed to us as set forth below. In addition, SPE retains all of the rights held by members of the general public with regard to your Unsolicited Ideas and Materials. SPE’s receipt of your Unsolicited Ideas and Materials is not an admission by SPE of their novelty, priority, or originality, and it does not impair SPE’s right to contest existing or future intellectual property rights relating to your Unsolicited Ideas and Materials.

https://www.sonypictures.com/corp/tos.html

UGC is in fact, User Generated Content. That means if you send them an unsolicited submission, you are now a User and you just sent them User Generated Content.

DON'T DO THAT. And in case any of you are wondering? IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

Will Sony STEAL your shit? In my humble opinion? No. But they still have to protect themselves LEGALLY and this is HOW they do it.
 
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Now of course, huge production companies almost always CLEARLY STATE they do not accept unsolicited submissions. When you read that? Assuming you're doing your due diligence... Do NOT send them unsolicited submissions. LOL.

For instance... From Sony Pictures Entertainment...

... DON'T DO THAT. And in case any of you are wondering? IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

Will Sony STEAL your shit? In my humble opinion? No. But they still have to protect themselves LEGALLY and this is HOW they do it.

Exactly! They clearly state they don’t accept unsolicited submissions, but then go on to warn that unsolicited submissions become their property with nothing owed to the one submitting it (no credit, no return of materials, no payment or other acknowledgment)... and that they retain the rights to do with those materials as they please.

As I mentioned earlier in the thread, this policy is common and is intended to give them legal protection AND to try and discourage unsolicited submissions (and you’re correct: it still happens all the time because people don’t like to actually read things). But then someone decided to claim that this policy doesn’t exist anywhere.

Thanks for posting it from the Sony website.
 
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Jesus... I get UNSOLICTED submissions! LOL. I remember watching an interview of John Malkovich on YouTube once where he stated that his production company gets HUNDREDS of unsolicited specs every year and he does NOT produce screenplays. LOL.

I can't even begin to imagine how many unsolicited screenplays are being sent via email without even a query first. THOUSANDS I'm sure. It's just how people are.
 
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