Writing & Selling Your Screenplay
by James Jaeger

Question: I would like to write screenplays for a living but I don't understand the proper format, or what to do to get an agent and/or get it sold?


1. Here is the proper format.

2. Read the free information at MOVIE PUBS under "Sample Screenplay," paying particular attention to Writer Hat, Script Guidelines and Production Guidelines. The more a movie costs to produce, the fewer of them there are produced. Therefore, most movies produced, cost less, rather than more. To increase your chances of writing a picture that will get produced, it might make sense to write scripts that will cost less to produce. Using more creativity rather than more money for the production, begins with you - the writer.

3. Start writing feature screenplays (90 - 120 pages).

4. Simultaneously look for an agent and begin submitting to production companies/studios that will accept screenplays from other than agents/lawyers. Consider becoming a producer by learning what is involved.

5. Find the Agents that are Writer's Guild signatory by calling the Guild and asking them for the agent list. Write the Agents that say they handle new writers. They will want to see at least one sample of your screenplay. You are wisest to have written two scripts as your second one will probably be better than your first. Send the second screenplay.

6. While doing the above, keep writing. Try to have written 3 screenplays within 4 years.

7. Keep seeking an agent and submitting to production entities until you get a deal, then keep submitting to production entities with the agent, if the agent happened first, and if not, keep submitting yourself, as a writer or as a producer/writer.

8. Keep writing full screenplays. Usually buyers want the full script. Occasionally you can get a development deal with a studio based on a treatment, once you're a known quantity.

9. There are many books on the subject of writing screenplays. Start reading all of them. See every movie you would have liked to have written. Read other screenplays. Collaborate with other writers. Live and understand life fully so you have something to write about - or don't write. Writing has nothing to do with words.

Okay, there's a formula for you. There are other formulae. This is one of them.

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