Just starting out



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  • Just starting out

    Hi. I'm a beginning screenwriter working on my first feature length script. I think I have a really good idea going on and I have a few questions.

    - There is a lot of info on this site about how to sell your script. Could someone just give me a brief breakdown of what I need to do to sell my first script. Seems that going the agent route is almost impossible for first sells.

    - I'm really interested in discussing my ideas on this board, but what is stopping others on this board from stealing my idea?

    - Are screenwriting contests worth it?


  • #2
    Carts & Horse

    Hi Dave!

    Before you worry about selling your script, you should get it finished. You're putting the cart WAY before the horse. I know a hundred writers with half finished scripts... and that's not a script at all.

    And don't quit your day job when you finish your script. The average WGA member wrote 9 scripts before making their first sale. So prepare for the long haul. There's no easy money in screenwriting! Your first few scripts may be learning experiences rather than earning experiences.

    Ideas can not be copyrighted - so anyone at any time can steal your idea. It's the execution of the idea that's copyrighted (ie: your script). But ideas are a dime a dozen. On my website I have an Idea Of The Day where I come up with an idea based on some event on this day in history and post it. That's over 250 ideas a year that I just throw away! They're yours for the taking! I've already had a couple of pretty good ones, and tomorrow's ain't too shabby.

    The best thing you can get out of screenwriting contests is feedback on your script. Try to find a good contest that gives you the reader's notes. You can use those notes to improve your script. Winning is a long shot, but the feedback is important (and cheap).

    - Bill

    PS: I have a free screenwriting article on my site every week - this week there are TWO! I also have a free script tip every day.


    • #3
      Re: Ideas

      Ditto. The first step in selling any script would appear to be actually having a finished one.
      But, you should freely discuss your ideas here, so that you can debug, debunk, and refine all the flaws in them.
      Besides, I'm running low on ideas... (joke, man)


      • #4
        Re: Answers

        But seriously, i realize yours is a sincere, though naive question. So in addition to my usual obnoxious 2 cents, I'll tell you something of value. Maybe.
        First, listen to Bill Martell, above. He's got a ton of experience, and is a full time working screenwriter.
        Second, frustrating as it will be, unless you're Harvard educated, or a genius, or both, and have some maturity (years) under your belt, you cannot really expect to sell that first script. Statistics say you won't sell any, ever. But even if you persevere in the business you may not sell any of your first 5 or 10 scripts. That's a lotta serious frustration and rejection, so most people don't stay with it that long, long enough to succeed, that is.
        Would you buy a boat from a guy who just made his 1st one, and has a lot of leaks? Your first script is going to leak like crazy... and lack pacing, and dramatic tension, and characterization, and authentic dialogue, and would make a movie even you wouldn't want to see. So ya can't blame a producer who stakes his reputation on every next project for choosing the best material he can get, can you?
        And the best material comes from experienced people, often highly educated ones, and sometimes young wunderkinds...
        If you're a wunderkind, you won't need to worry about getting an agent, cause your work will be so good, that if you can just get it into the hands of one competent reader, producer, agent, actor, etc. they'll be knocking on your door to get a meeting with you. If you're not this year's wunderkind, you won't need an agent for that script, and you'd be best off to write three more in succession, and by then you'll have absorbed enough industry info that you'll have fewer problems plotting your attack on the agency.
        And, then even if your 3rd script doesn't find a home, if by then you've got written presence, you'll be asked what else you've got... and you can say you have more to show em


        • #5
          Steal this idea!

          If you're worried about your ideas, be vague. Ask one of us to look at it privately. I know it's unnerving that you don't know how many people lurk here without ever posting.

          But, in general, ideas are a dime a dozen; it's what you do with them that's important.


          • #6
            Re: Steal this idea!

            I've just finish Yr12. Anyway through out the year ive had many ideas for screenwriting. The only problem is that i dont know any agents, thats if i have to go to them to sell the play. In other words i have no $%^$ing idea what to do.

            please help me in any way.


            • #7

              What does Yr12 mean?

              Do you have a feature length script written?


              • #8
                Re: Steve000

                Year 12, translated into "American", means senior year of high school. It's Commonwealth/UK/Oz terminology.


                • #9
                  Re: Steve000

                  Steve 000,

                  You might start by going back through the old threads on this board including the archive section. Skip through silliness and flames but the info will point you in lots of informative directions - books, web sites, professional opinions. You sound like you may be a long way from needing an agent. Worry about learning and practicing the craft first.



                  • #10
                    Stealing Ideas


                    I am also starting out so I don't really know how hollywood really works. I can tell you that I have seen hundreds of story ideas on the internet and on this site; however, to sit down and write my script based on somebody else's idea is impossible for me to do. I could only write what I have imagine, but that is only me. Good luck!

                    I would also like to ask if anybody out there who knows an agent who looks at first time writer please email me at : [email protected].
                    I have two completed screenplays, and would love for any suggestions on how to market it. Thank you very much.