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Old 03-23-2016, 02:46 PM   #1
sfoster
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Default Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

I've spent a few years refining my craft, writing shorts, etc but it takes me a while and a lot of rewriting to get something I'm really happy with.

I've got a lot of free time right now though, and I'd love to make a feature!
Trouble is it would take me a long time to write one and I might not have as much free time to produce once I'm finished.

If I could get ahold of a feature script with a limited location and cast, like 10 cloverfield lane I could capitalize on my free time. Trouble is I have more time than money and I'm just a nobody. Not a total nobody but you wouldn't know my name and I don't know any distributors. Plus writing is hard work, so why should anyone give me their script?

So what do you guys think is there a good place to look for scripts?
Or does anyone here have something available...

Maybe it's totally unrealistic but it's easy enough for me to come on here and ask. I have experience will all aspects of film making from pre to post production.
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Old 03-23-2016, 04:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

You might be able to get a friend or other close contact to collaborate with you on a movie, most likely in exchange for things like shared credits and profits (if any). Or maybe you can hit up some film/writing students who want help with projects for credit. But there's not like some database of abandoned screenplays out there - people hold onto them in case they become viable down the line, especially if it's a cheap indie-friendly script of the kind you're looking for.

It sounds like a feature is about as hard for you to write as it is for anybody (almost nobody comes up with a good script without lots and lots of rewrites), so there's really no incentive for someone to give you one for free. Especially a stranger.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

A writing student looking for credit is probably my best bet.
It's helped my writing a lot being able to see it on screen.

Not sure where I would find a writing student though, if not a forum like this.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

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Originally Posted by sfoster View Post
A writing student looking for credit is probably my best bet.
It's helped my writing a lot being able to see it on screen.

Not sure where I would find a writing student though, if not a forum like this.
Maybe a Chapman University student?
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

You could try contacting a local university's film department. I'll warn you that students are usually more interested in working with other students than strangers (unless those strangers are pros), since it's just a more natural fit for someone in a directing class to hook up with someone in a writing class and both get credit for stuff. Plus other film students usually have free access cameras and equipment. Do you have access to any of that stuff that you can offer, at least?

You can also see if there are any film-related Meetup.com or Facebook groups in your area. You might not get a feature that way but you could get involved with other people's projects in another capacity.

Edit: Have you ever directed a film project before? You'd probably be better off starting with a short. Less time for you to write one, and still a beast to actually pull off so lots of use for your copious free time.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

I live in maryland so it's not like I can stop by the chapman university and post a bulletin. Local university perhaps.

Facebook group isn't a bad idea - doesn't necessarily have to be local.
I can take a script and produce it. Lights, camera and sound are all covered.

Although this is the only example of my work on youtube right now, it was a while back before I auditioned people and worked with real actors.

Check out the first 10 seconds, it's a great hook.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo5Yl9kyn8k

Last edited by sfoster : 03-25-2016 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

https://www.reddit.com/r/ProduceMyScript is a subreddit that focuses on people wanting their work produced.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

Thanks saunders, I'll check that out!

And just for a sanity check - Saying 'deferred payment' is the same thing as free right? People know these things almost never make money so who is fooled?

Maybe it's just a principle thing. But I don't want to deceive anyone so I'm using the word free.

Last edited by sfoster : 03-25-2016 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

I would not say its unrealistic, I would say it depends on what you are offering in return...

It may not be money since you say you have none, but if you have a reel with some great work, and a writer feels like you could bring their story to life and make it look good, someone may bite just to see their work realized. As a new writer, it is exciting to see how your script would play out on a screen.

That said, most writers work really hard on what they do, and there is no real incentive to give a script away for free if there is no upside... And if your work is amateurish on the production side, then that would make it harder for someone to part with a screenplay period. I want to see my work made, but not made badly.

What are your plans with the movie once you make it? IS it for festivals? For YouTube? Are you shopping it? If you are shopping it are you profit sharing with the writer? All of these things could incite, or turn off someone depending on the answers.

The bottom line is, what is the upside for the writer?
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Old 03-28-2016, 04:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is it realistic to get a free feature screenplay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfoster View Post

Maybe it's totally unrealistic but it's easy enough for me to come on here and ask. I have experience will all aspects of film making from pre to post production.
It's one of those things. If you can make a compelling argument that you can make a kick-ass film, you may find somebody willing to work for deferred payment. Probably not people whose work is close to being at a pro level, but who knows, maybe you'd get lucky.

But since even cheap films cost money, asking for "free" is challenging. If you're going to pay your boom operator and your key grip, it's kind of hard to argue that the writer should work for free, isn't it? This is why some sort of token payment means a lot. e.g., if you're planning a 15-day shoot and you're paying your below the line crew $100 a day, to not be able to find $1500 to pay the writer seems disingenuous.

If, on the other hand, you're relying entirely on volunteer crew, it's harder to believe that you'll be able to deliver a polished enough product for it actually be worth the writer to let you film is script.

But yeah, you need a kick-ass reel. You need a short that shows that you can deliver a great film. Because if somebody's not going to get paid what they're worth, you better be offering something beyond, "I really want it and I don't want to write it myself."
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