Once you complete your initial script, the logical reaction is to celebrate. And it’s completely justified - you’ve complete a huge project and deserve to relax a little bit. But after the party cups are cleaned and the home looks neat again, there will still come the time to think “What’s next?”
Any professional screenwriter from Red Rock Entertainment reviews hundreds of scripts a month, and to say the truth, there is no universal answer to the above question. Some scripts must be rewritten from scratch while others are ready for the market. It all heavily depends on the script quality. We’ll assume that your script is good and can be sold in the market. So here are seven steps to get your script into action.
Proofread, consult, and rewrite
No matter how grammatically correct, wise, and witty your mind is, there will be syntax and lexical mistakes in any script. So don’t neglect the need of proofreading your work. Begin from the small things and let your friends check your script. Ask them about the plot and the language, whether it’s appropriate or should be changed in some way. And when people will be answering your questions, please, don’t take it personally! Listen carefully to the feedback and ensure that you catch every single idea you get. Something that even your friends didn’t like should be changed and rewritten for sure!
Once you are sure in your script, hire a professional reader to cover a synopsis, comments, and grid rankings. Such professional assistance will help you get the script ready for the marketing and selling stage.
Protect your work
Unless you don’t care about the intellectual property rights and the possibility to earn money, you don’t need to think of registering your script with the Writer’s Guild. Whenever you talk about the project, be careful about what you uncover since there are lots of bottom-feeders who will be happy to take your work and present it as theirs. The Writers’ Union in the UK, for instance, requests about £100 for a year membership. Copyright protection costs around £10 per script per year but is generally considered a better form of protection.
Do table reads and make corrections
Table reads can be scary, yet they help a lot. They demonstrate whether your jokes work, if the audience understands your narrative, and if some parts can or should be cut out. Very often the story seems logical to the author while the audience requires clarifications at some points. Besides that, you can also join a reading group for about £20 a month and get a useful professional insight on your work.
Find yourself a representation
At this point, you should have a completed and polished scripted protected by the law from copying and stealing. And this is the perfect moment to find yourself a manager and an agent and to begin selling your work. Professional representation will allow you to get behind the closed doors, meet famous directors and actors to recruit them for your film. These experts also know a thing or two about budgeting and scheduling so can help you transform the words into numbers and budgets to pitch a ready-to-go project to the prospective investors and producers.
If currently, you are still looking for the right representation, then don’t waste your time either. Use one of the following resources to expose your work to the world:
Inktip is one of the biggest and most popular platforms for selling and finding scripts. For four months per one script you’ll pay only £47. And while listed, your script will be sent within a brochure to about 5,000 of production companies like Red Rock Entertainment Ltd.
The Blacklist is a new service offering exposure for both filmmakers and writers. Their fee is only £20 per month. Besides mere posting, they also evaluate your scripts for fair prices.
Moviebytes though looks ugly actually work pretty well in the industry. The website for International Screenwriters Association (ISA) that requests a small fee for posting your script.
Make a mood reel
Once the script is out and the manager is looking for the best deals, you need to get ready for meeting with the industry people. Today the mood reel has become a perfect way to represent what your script is about. This means that you create a “visual lookbook” for your script. You take short reels of scenes from other films (or even your test footage), edit it to match your script and show to the potential filmmakers, investors, and producers. Keep in mind, that in the UK you can even get a development grant for such a stage.
Search for the paying ad opportunities
Screenwriting contests, labs and internships can become a perfect income method until you’re waiting for your project to turn into life. Most festivals and fellowships have screenwriting camps and contests. Wins at such competitions give you more insight into what people want to see on the screens as well as financial rewards and overall recognition in the industry.
Start advertising what you have
Since your work is protected, no one will be able to steal it from you and you can begin advertising it as much as possible to gain attention. Stat collecting money with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Create a website where you will be posting information about the project development. Get into social networks to advertise as well as set better connections with the “right” people. Remember that today advertising doesn’t require millions of dollars to begin. You can do it with any resources available.
What if nothing works?
If none of the above-mentioned steps worked for you, then the question is crystal clear: “What’s wrong?” Try answering it honestly to yourself only. Maybe there are some scenes that need to be rewritten or a whole narrative looks holey? Try not to patch the holes but make a smoothly running script again. Rewrite until it’s perfect.