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How to Sell Antiques: A Step-By-Step Guide [Helpful Tips]

Selling your first screenplay can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Like you, thousands of aspiring screenwriters also struggle with how to sell a screenplay.

With this article, we’ll be guiding you on how to effectively market your script. We’ll also look into the factors why to sell your script. Finally, we’ll be teaching you the steps on how to sell your screenplay.

By following the steps in this article, we’re sure to see your first project on the big screen soon!

Why You Should Consider Selling a Screenplay

Whether you’re a freelance writer or a working screenwriter, there are a few good reasons why you should consider selling a screenplay:

  • Recognition: If your project becomes a big hit and gains recognition and awards, it can pave the way for your screenwriting career in the entertainment industry.
  • Networking: Having your screenplay reach the big screen means working closely with other film professionals.
  • Financial Opportunities: Selling screenplays can provide lucrative incomes for screenwriters. Even if you have another career, you can also get paid to write.
  • Artistic Realization: Creating a screenplay and eventually seeing it come to life is an exciting accomplishment.

Problems With Selling a Screenplay

Selling screenplays can be a fulfilling endeavor; however, there are also challenges an aspiring screenwriter should be aware of:

  • Competition: There are around 50,000 screenplays registered to the Writers Guild of America (WGCA) each year. In 2020, Ashley Scott Meyers reported that only a total of 26 spec scripts were bought by Hollywood and a lower number are sold each year.
  • Market Demands: Buyer perspectives may differ from one to the other. This makes it difficult for screenwriters to market their screenplays to different prospective buyers. 
  • Lack of Networking: It may be challenging for a scriptwriter to make it out there without enough connections. It’s essential in the filmmaking industry to build a network of people from different tiers.
  • Negotiating Fair Deals: Negotiating fair deals for your screenplay can be complex, especially when dealing with contracts. It’s crucial to understand industry standards before getting into negotiations.

What You’ll Need to Sell a Screenplay

Once you’ve completed writing your screenplay, there are a few more things you’ll need before you’re ready to market your work:

  • Logline: The logline is a one-sentence summary containing the most important elements of your screenplay, usually between 25–30 words.
  • Elevator Pitch: An elevator pitch briefly explains your screenplay, giving the listener a visual context of your project in a short amount of time.
  • Pitch on Paper: This one-page pitch should cover the basics of your project, including your contact information, the screenplay title, its genre, and the synopsis.
  • Synopsis: This is a summary of your screenplay, showing the reader the basics of the story, including all three acts. It also covers plot points and reveals more character details.
  • Query Email: This is a short email containing a brief introduction about yourself and your logline.
  • Strategy: Decide how you’re going to market your screenplay by creating a business plan.

Where to Sell a Screenplay

The key to selling your screenplay is finding individuals or organizations willing to invest and bring your project to life. 

Close-up of a writer holding a screenplay document

Once a production company decides to take your screenplay into production, a screenwriter gets paid 2% to 3% of the total production budget. For example, if the budget for the film is $1,000,000, you’ll be paid $20,000–$30,000 depending on negotiations.

1. IMDbPro

Once you’ve drafted your query email, compile a list of potential contacts you could send them to.

One way of doing this is by creating an account for IMDbPro and subscribing to their free one-month trial. 

Then, search for movies under the same genre as your screenplay, especially those reviewed by a movie critic. Take note of the production companies, distributors, and writers. Once you have this information, try to research as many email addresses as you can.

Once you have a list of contacts, you can send them query emails. Start the email with a friendly greeting before introducing yourself and discussing your logline. Personalize the email by addressing the person you’re sending it to.

What Makes This Option Great

By sending query emails, you can directly contact potential buyers through a cost-effective method.

Then, the more emails you send out, you’ll have a wider reach, which means you might connect with the right person who may take an interest in your work.

  • Fees/Commission: IMBdPro’s one-month trial is free, however, you can pay a subscription fee of $19.99 per month.
  • Payment Methods: Credit and debit cards

2. Production Companies Through Representation

There are two people you can approach to help you reach production companies – a manager or an agent. Remember that there are distinctions between the two.

A literary manager guides you from the beginning and sees that your screenplay gets produced. 

Meanwhile, a screenwriting agent sells your screenplay by submitting your spec script to different prospects in the industry until someone picks them up. 

However, if your work shows no promise, the agent may forget about your screenplay altogether.

What Makes This Option Great

The advantage of getting representation is you don’t have to do a lot of marketing tactics on your own. As an industry professional, an agent or manager is already well-connected.

  • Fees/Commission: Agents usually take 15% of the final sale, while managers take slightly more, sometimes up to 25% of your entire commission.
  • Payment Methods: Screenwriters aren’t required to pay upfront, but agent or manager commissions are taken once a screenplay is sold.

How to Sell a Screenplay: Step-By-Step Instructions

image for how-to schema within how to sell a screenplay post on gigworker.com

You already know the pros and cons, and the basics of selling a screenplay. Now, you’re ready to learn how to sell your script:

Step 1: Do Your Market Research

Before you try to sell your first screenplay, it’s vital to understand the current trends and cultures. Learn which genre, topics, and film types are favored on the big screens.

Moreover, you should also consider how your screenplay can impact social change and how it can reflect society as a whole.

Step 2: Learn Your Craft

Once you have an understanding of the current trends in the industry, determine which genre you would like to familiarize yourself with.

Research on themes, plot developments, structures, and common character types. This will help build your storyline to align with audience expectations.

Step 3: Build Your Portfolio

Once you have your final draft, it will work in your favor to build a portfolio. It can include past works, such as short films, videos, and other completed works. Your portfolio can also showcase excerpts from other screenplays and concepts for future activities.

Having a portfolio ready gives potential buyers an idea of your craftsmanship, and it’ll be easier for you to network with those who share your perspectives.

Step 4: Prepare and Master Your Pitch

After building your portfolio, it’s time to create your pitch package. It should compel your listeners and persuade them that only you can realize the project to fruition.

First, it must have a brief overview of your screenplay – including the title, theme, logline, and genre. Additionally, present the synopsis and main characters of your script without giving away the entire plot.

You can also discuss your visions for the film, such as the cinematography, lighting, or music that would set the film’s mood.

Finally, master the ins and outs of your project to help you confidently answer questions from potential buyers. In addition, being able to discuss your screenplay assertively convinces your audience that you’re passionate about it.

Step 5: Build Your Network

By now, you should be ready to network. The quantity of your connections is more important than the number of persons you can encounter. There are a few things you can do to effectively build your network.

You can attend film-related events happening near you. You’ll meet like-minded individuals who you can bond with during these events — such as film festivals, premieres, or film workshops.

Don’t be afraid to approach anyone to discuss the event and their current projects. These can be directors, producers, writers, and even aspiring filmmakers and actors.

Introduce your screenplay so you can get insights and feedback. Further, exchange contacts with anyone you find valuable and stay in touch with them.

Discuss ideas with them and offer your skills when they need help. However, keep your communications professional, as frequently reaching out may become unpleasant for the other party.  

Step 6: Enter Competitions

Submitting your work in screenplay contests or film markets is one effective way of getting your project out there. Even an unknown writer has the potential to attract agents and buyers.

Before submitting your entry, make sure that you have followed all the guidelines for the competition. This includes the right genre and age group, script length and formatting, and other applicable elements required from you.

Step 7: Build Your Presence

Build an online presence by creating a feature page that summarizes your past works, awards you’ve won, and testaments from people you’ve worked with.

Further, you can discuss how you started writing screenplays and what ignited your passion for it. Prospects can easily know who you are by having a readily viewable source of information.

To add credibility to your name, invest in professional headshots. This shows that you’re serious about your craft.

Once you’re satisfied with your online profile, share it through different social media platforms. You can also release articles about your awards and the projects you’ve completed.

Things to Consider When Selling a Screenplay

Woman working on a Screenplay in her office

Although selling a screenplay is already a daunting task in itself, there are a few factors you should consider to ensure that your craft finds its place in the market.

1. Quality and Originality

Your screenplay should be eloquently written, engaging, and unique. It should also display a style and craftsmanship that’s uniquely yours. Once producers, managers, or other creatives feel that your screenplay is compelling enough, you might get a deal.

2. Marketability

Ensure that your screenplay goes with the current demands of the industry. Align your project with industry trends, including themes, genre, and cinematography.

Additionally, create your screenplay for your target audience. By understanding your market, there’s a likely chance you can persuade potential buyers.

3. Legal Rights

Protect your original script by applying for a copyright. This way, you can safeguard your screenplay and possess proof of ownership.

Screenwriters usually do this by registering their material with the Writers Guild of America. You can directly go to their website, fill out the form and ensure that all details are correct before submitting.

4. Pitching

Aside from having a well-written screenplay, it’s equally essential that you create a compelling pitch. It should contain a brief and concise logline and synopsis that can effectively persuade potential buyers.

5. Financial Considerations

You can sell your screenplay by an option agreement, where the producer pays a certain amount and holds on to the rights of the script for an agreed period. Or, through an outright sale, where the writer is paid a fixed amount of money and loses all the rights to the screenplay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does a Screenplay Sell For?

Depending on the type of screenplay and the budget the production company has, your screenplay can sell for $70,000–$150,000.

However, the industry standard is that screenwriters are paid a total of 2% to 3% of the production budget, so the bigger the budget for a film, the bigger the payout.

Who Buys Screenplays?

Usually, producers and production companies pay screenwriters for their screenplays. 

However, other members of the film industry can also buy screenplays if it attracts their interest. 

These people can include directors, other writers, and actors—as long as they have the funds to produce the project.

Similar Tutorials to Check Out

If you’re interested in making extra funds online, you should check the following tutorials:

  • How to Sell Poems Online: This tutorial is for those who like dabbling in poetry and are looking to make money from it without leaving their homes. 
  • How to Sell an Online Course: This is a step-by-step guide for those who specialize in certain fields and want to share their knowledge while earning from it.
  • How to Sell Books on Amazon: If you’re looking to start a business by selling in an online marketplace, you may want to check out this guide on selling books on Amazon.

Wrapping Up

For an aspiring screenwriter, selling your first screenplay doesn’t stop with having a great script. You should also know how to create your screenplay and pitch.

By following the techniques in this guide to effectively market your movie script, you’ll become a professional screenwriter in no time!

If you like this article, we’d appreciate it if you shared it with your friends. If you would like to share any thoughts, we’d love to discuss it with you in the comment section!

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