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You’ve finished your screenplay. Now what the hell do you do with it?

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

(Note: this is adapted from the email I send to my students at the end of my 16 Weeks to a Screenplay workshop.)


Screenwriting is one of the hardest art forms you'll ever set out to learn.  Never doubt that.  I'm proud of all of you.


So where to go from here?
For those of you with finished outlines: - Get those outlines tidied up grammar wise. Make it look pretty.    Your story is the gold.  It will always be yours.  When you're ready to tackle the writing aspect you will have a clear roadmap on where to begin.  You can write it yourself or team up with another screenwriter if you need more experienced help.  And hey...  you can always consider writing the novel version of the story first.  Studios and Prod Cos LOVE an IP (intellectual property) that screenplays can be based on.  It is so easy to self publish novels nowadays.  Think about it!
You can register an outline with the WGA if you plan on collaborating. No matter what happens, the story will always be yours.

For those of you with finished drafts: Tidy them up. Fix all the grammar and formatting. Make them look pretty and submit them to contests!
The most reputable is the Nicholl Fellowship. This is the gold standard of competitions and the only one that actually means anything monumental. https://www.oscars.org/nicholl 
Another option is Coverfly:  https://www.coverfly.com/  Coverfly is a hub that will direct you to MANY screenwriting competitions. Do your research on these competitions, who the judges are and what they're specifically looking for so you can make educated decisions on where to spend your money. If you have a niche genre focus on contests looking for that particular niche.
Why submit to contests other than Nicholl?
A benefit to registering your screenplay with Coverfly is that they provide you a landing page. This means if you don't have an IMDb page or a website (or a YouTube channel or a tik tok or an Instagram or a LinkedIn ((uh get on that)), you will now have "web presence" which is crucial for beginners. But, the biggest benefit of entering contests is that you can get blind feedback on your work. If you have the budget, enter at least three. See where the criticisms overlap. There's an old saying: if enough people tell you you're drunk, maybe you should lie down.


Also! If you place it's a nice thing to put on your website, social media and linked in. Any encouragement is good encouragement!




BEYOND COMPETITIONS?
TRY TO PRODUCE THE MOVIE ON YOUR OWN: 
Independent producing is a messy, messy world.  But people get their films made all the time.  This is a very brief overview on ways to do it:
Crowd Funding / Platforms like kickstarter:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding
Securing independent financiers (read: rich people) Usually in order to get financial investors, you need to have some “pieces in place” to attract them. Pieces means name actors, directors or your own seed money to use for “pay or plays”. 👇🏼

Independent producing is grueling work but if you're starting off with good connections in the industry, that can be a valuable piece of the puzzle to start with.   

OR:
TRY TO SELL YOUR SCRIPT TO PRODUCTION COMPANIES / STUDIOS: Keep in mind “selling” means you sell it. Meaning give it away for money. Meaning producers buy your script and then you never hear from them again. You will hear rumors about how your movie is doing usually with nightmare tales of title changes, ending changes, lead role changes. You will find out they changed the setting of your movie from local New England town to Dubai. And there's nothing you can do about it. But hey you sold a script!



TOOLS TO HELP YOU SELL:
SIZZLE REELS/ PROOF OF CONCEPT: This is especially good for tv shows but can work for features as well:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Du8-k6uxJQo
 A word on getting repped: Agents and Managers DO NOT want to help you.  They want YOU to help THEM make money. This is a huge piece of the business to understand. 
You have to create your own momentum by writing many screenplays and selling them/producing them to prove your worth if you want to get signed as a screenwriter.  
TRUTH: You are much more likely to raise the money yourself, shoot the movie and sell the final product to Amazon Prime than get an agent to sign you because of one screenplay. 



BUT!  As soon as you sell something on your own, oh watch them come running! It's the biggest catch 22 in the business.   
The best you can do is keep focusing on your work.  You will get repped when the time is right. When the time is right, it's not nearly as hard as you think it is.  If the timing's not right (meaning you're not ready to be repped) it feels impossible.
But no matter what route you take now that you've finished your screenplay, just remember one thing: I'm always rooting for you! 😉



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Anton Teichmann
Anton Teichmann
Mar 29, 2023

🙏🏻 Thanks Amanda. Lyra already said it one couldn’t have said it better.

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Unknown member
Mar 29, 2023

Oh Amanda, how can we thank you for all the help you’re giving us? These are all such important information that it takes a lot of time and energy to find and we have them served from you all ready. 😭


“You really are like 300 Men”. 🥹


Forever thankful and grateful for you! 🙏 💕


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Lyra!! 😂😂😂😂

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