Are You Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall?
If you are an emerging or new writer you need to be aware of four symbolic brick walls that so many bang their heads against constantly. Each of these walls are closely associated with Producers, an extremely important group of people in the filmmaking and script selling process.
- The Studio Wall.
Producers who have a ‘first look’ deal with a studio (Warner Brothers, Paramount, Disney) or have themselves aligned with a major production company (Imagine Entertainment, Amblin, Benderspink) will not open your query letter or read your script. They invariably work with A-List writers or produced writers who have a series of successful movies to their credit or an agent who highly recommends a client writer.
- The Mass Mailing Wall
So often emerging writers will send out a query letter or an entire script using a mass emailing system. There are literally thousands of emails sent out indiscriminately each week. The reality? 99% of these emails will be deleted. It would be much better if you know something about the company and the Producer to whom these emails are sent. Better yet, obtain the name of the person who heads acquisitions and development at each company. This information is easily available in IMDB Pro. Instead of a mass email place your script on the Black List. It will cost you a few dollars, but you have a much better chance of securing professional input for your script.
- The Contest Wall
I do favor screenwriting contests, but would strongly advise that you enter only the well-known ones. (The Nichol Fellowships, Page Awards, Blue Cat and Big Break). Generally, the industry pays little attention to contest winners. However, if you win or place in a major screenwriting contest, that will give you credibility in a query letter or a phone pitch to a specific Producer.
- The Genre Wall
Writers must know the Producer or Company to whom they are marketing. If you send a Horror Script to a Producer who only makes Comedies or Action Adventure movies, you will not get the outcome you want. Know the genres the Producer has worked in.
In addition to all of this, one of the best ways to get your script read is to send it to the smallest producer you can find. They often read query letters and these guys will have access to larger producers who in turn may very well have access to financing and distribution.
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