How do I be a Scriptwriter? Well… It isn’t something you can just Google and learn or something you can just pick up, you have to be artistic, creative and you have to actually enjoy writing. Scriptwriting is a very hard business to crack- I should know, I am a scriptwriter and it is a hard place to get noticed but…

First thing is always first, many people think the first step to succeeding in scriptwriting is getting an agent… Well, I’ll say this as clearly as possible. YOU DON’T NEED ONE. Well, you do eventually and it is definitely preferable but until this luxury, you can and will do fine on your own.

Scriptwriting on your own, Is what it is, it is touch, it is hard and it is tiring, especially if you’re new to it but you can still do all of the work required to succeed if you want it that much, without an agent. You can introduce yourself to producers/companies and get your scripts out there; you can network with the relevant people within the filming industry just as much as agents would do on your behalf. The only issue, if you’re doing it on your own is that no-one accepts unsolicited material anymore, or most places don’t… If you send your script to a company that works alongside places such as the BBC or ITV or if you’re a film writer and your scripts are sent to film companies then usually, unsolicited scripts end up in a very lonely place – the trash!

…unless you have an agent it can be hard out there…

They do not accept unsolicited scripts because they have agents with preferable writers they can use, those that have experience and are going the right way about things. Unsolicited scripts can also end up being stolen for ideas and used without your own permission so unless you have an agent it can be hard out there. Unless you make your film come true from your own script- which can be a lot of hard work.

If you want to take the plunge and be your own agent, here are a few tips… Start writing. Don’t just hammer out a script and think that because it has a start and an end that it is valuable because it might be complete and utter rubbish. Read your scripts, edit your scripts, read your scripts again and then edit again. Until you know your script is excellent then it isn’t ready. Even if you have a tiny inkling- that inkling could be the reason your script does not succeed.

…get yourself something original and worth creating…

Second of all, RESEARCH. I once read a script that was basically the carbon copy of a short film I watched via the BBC shorts and when I let them know this fact, they were devastated. When you have an idea, write it down and play around with it. Tear it apart, move it about, delete some of it and replace it and get yourself something original and worth creating, but don’t forget, others may, just may, have come up with an idea similar to yours and it’s happened to the best of them out there.

Thirdly, research people. Everyone is now online- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google… The list really is endless. Contact details for agents and film professionals are everywhere and from this you MUST GET SOLICITED. Draft out a very good e-mail or a letter that not only introduces yourself and your work but add who you really are. Add your sense of humour; add your flair, your personality. Think of it this way…. Just how many people who want to be Scriptwriters and those that are contact these professionals on a daily basis?

…You need to keep it short, sweet and informative…

You need to stand out so much that the person reading it laughs or remembers you and thinks “Yep – this person sounds good.” At the very least, make sure you know who you are contacting. If you’ve written a Science Fiction film and contact a company that only deals with Romance and Drama then they’re going to think “Generic cut ‘n’ paste e-mail… delete!!”

Before you do anything, please only write if you can actually write. The last thing people want to read is your e-mail to that fantastic company filled with grammatical errors, poor spelling, wrong names etc. It is not acceptable and you will be placed immediately in the spam folder. You need to keep it short, sweet and informative. Introduce yourself and then follow on with the reason why you are contacting them and then end it there.

…please do NOT be cocky…

Keep their interests rising and make sure your tone is warm, friendly and approachable and please, please do NOT be cocky. They are the professionals with the experience and you are asking them for their time. Do not show off or act arrogant, it really is the last thing they will want and your e-mail will only end up being deleted.

If you haven’t got a world of experience with contacting people, play around with the joys of social networking. This is such a brilliant tool and one I use regularly. Writers, producers, directors, editors, production execs all exist within this realm and tweet them. If you send a message demanding that someone help you then of course, it will get ignored and you might even lose yourself a contact but if you regularly tweet and interact, it might then generate some interest and even a response. There is a very pro-active, friendly and time-generous community out there willing to help you but it is up to you to find it.

…producers, writers, directors and producers…

So, you’ve written your script and it’s polished. It reads well and it keeps the reader on edge, now what do you do? Before you do anything, learn the industry. Watch television shows and films and note down the excellence behind it. This could be executive producers, writers, directors and producers- anyone to get your stuff out there. Then, check out those brilliant social networking sites and have a look for them, jot down a letter or an e-mail and make it interesting and hopefully, you might, just might get a reply.

If you’re reading this and thinking “well… She hasn’t actually got to the point where she tells me how I actually BECOME a scriptwriter.” That is because not everyone can be one. A lot of the time when unrepresented writers or those with one script want to make it big contact industry professionals they come back with comments such as “Nobody will read it. How do I get an agent?” get busy is the answer.

Network, network and network some more. Agents of course, do this for you and they are an important person to have on your side but if you don’t have one and you’re not sure how, use yourself to make it work. Contact people, network, use your talents and ta-da, you might just make it.

About The Author

I'm Katie and am a graduate from Canterbury Christ Church University with a first degree in Film and TV with Digital Media. I am a scriptwriter with experience in front and behind the camera and also a digital media lover who enjoys writing blogs, reviews and articles to help others grasp new information which can sometimes be lacking elsewhere. I enjoy writing about anything that has an effect on peoples likes and dislikes, usually technology, arts, media and of course, film.

One Response

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