Steve on Screenwriting: You Finished Your Script, Now What?
So you’ve completed writing a couple of screenplays, now what do you do next?
Writers constantly ask me about this. They want to know: “Is it time to get an agent or manager? Should I try to get meetings with studio executives? Should I send out my scripts to production companies? Or is participating in pitch festivals in order to get my material read by industry insiders the way to go?”
If you are early in your writing career, I would not recommend you seek an agent or manager at this time. I would hone my writing skills several more years before trying to acquire literary representation. I would get my hands on as many produced screenplays as possible and read them. Decipher why some scripts work and why others don’t. I was an unpaid reader for two companies when I started out, which enabled me to read more than 50 film and television scripts.
I would not approach studio executives for the same reason. You don’t want to waste your best shots when your material is not ready. You have only one chance with any particular person or company. You want to approach them when your material is as good as it’s ever going to be.
I would recommend writers send out their material to production companies that have produced the kinds of movies that you’ve written. Don’t mail out your query letter to just any company. Do your homework and target companies whose credits are the same genre and budget that you’ve written.
I would also suggest that writers participate in pitch festivals in order to reach lots of production companies in a single forum. This venue will test and improve your pitching skills, as well.