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Journey of a Screenwriter
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Getting Ready PART 5 Setting Your Sites
Well Steve has pushed on and has started a new project called Trashed. I’ve read the script and it is great, a harrowing true life story of addiction. Catch the trailer for it here. I wish him the best of luck. He’s currently looking for financing which can be a bitch.
This is indirectly related to my topic for today which is screenplay sites. I’ve recently had a lot of people ask me about various sites that provide access to industry professionals. For those of you unfamiliar they are online databases where you put in your script name, genre, and a logline. Industry people can then log on and view your submission then ask to see it if they are interested. When I started out I used a few. I actually did get contacted about the scripts I put in there. One contact actually went pretty far and I got optioned.
It was a no money option meaning I didn’t see any money until production was ready to start. Since the project never got off the ground I never got paid. But that’s something for another time.
The question is whether or not these sites are worth your time and their registration fees. I think they can be useful. Go to ScriptPimp.com, they list their success stories on the side. But the problem is with these sites it is a very passive approach to getting your name and your work out there. Now to be fair, I haven’t seriously looked at any of these sites in years. Maybe they’ve become more proactive. Maybe some are like Match.com and actively try to set you up with a producer or agent looking for material.
And they’re always looking for material. That’s how even a passive approach can be successful. My friends in the industry are constantly scouring every resource available to find new talent, websites included.
But many of these avenues are the equivalent of the slush pile at a magazine. Your script gets thrown in with all the others. You really need every advantage you can find. You need to be as proactive about your own career as possible. Even a little thing like personalizing a query to an agency can make all the difference. When you submit to a site you have no way of knowing who might read your entry. The person who reads it might be interested in your pitch, but in the back of his mind he’s wondering how serious you are about your career.
If on the other hand you take the time to research the company you’re submitting to, take the time to find out to the name of the person you’re submitting to, what they’re looking for, what they’ve done in the past (very important to get this correct!) and how your script fits in to all that. Then you’ve already made yourself stand out from the legion of people who just put stuff out on the web at random.
So go ahead and use the sites. They're iffy but chance plays a part in every success. Take a shot into the ether and see what happens. But don’t rely on them as a substitute for good old fashioned sweat and effort. It really does make a difference in the end.
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