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Writing a spec screenplay

I'll Gladly Pay You Tuesday for Spec Script... by Friday?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; seeking success as a scriptwriter is a long term proposition. And, we all have our own ideas on how success is measured. For me, it’s not only about making money. It’s about getting films made. And that process happens by:


1) Continuing to write and improve at what you’re doing.


2) Establishing relationships with people that have made films and developing them for long term, mutual benefit.


There’s a lot of smack talking by screenwriters as to how things work and how to go about achieving your goals, which I equate to panning for gold dust. You have to sift through a lot of bullshit to get through the precious metal.


As far as making good industry contacts? This is a long and often arduous process. And, I’m sure I could be doing more blind queries. However, I’m surprised at how many writers think they’re going to write one or two screenplays and immediately get their work into the hands of A-list players. Or that they won’t need some kind of credible representation to make real connections.


Most folks have their methods for connecting with industry people and attempting to get their material read. I often use Inktip, International Screenwriters and sometime (though less and less) Craigslist. And before you bag on it, I was able to connect with a lead actor on a major television drama via Craigslist; and he read one of my scripts. I’ve also contacted people via lists I’ve found online. So anyway to connect with someone is worth a few minutes of your time to vet it out.


This brings me to my main point. I will write on spec if I believe the people involved have a decent chance of getting a movie made. Now, how do I judge that? I do an internet search and find out what’s available on the people who want me to work for deferred payments. I’m particularly interested in real films they claim they have been involved with and seeing that information listed on IMDb. And I’ll consider working with producers or directors with one or two movies and a solid, viable plan on how they aim to get their project financed.


Recently, I answered an ad that was listed on International Screenwriters Association. The “producer” contacted me yesterday about writing a sequel to a romcom that was made in 2012. I watched the trailer and it looks like a good movie with some well-known actors. So, I got the producer to agree to a Skype meeting this morning. Here are the questions I asked him:


  • ”Do you have the rights to the material to do a sequel?

  • Why do you want to do a sequel to this particular movie?

  • How do you aim to get the film financed?

  • Do you have a business plan for this proposed film?

  • Do you have any of the original stars attached?

  • Do you have an interested director?

  • Since you’re in a foreign country, what kind of industry contacts do you have


Based on the answers I received, this one was a no for me. So, it’s on to the next thing. Keep plugging away!