Top 5 Tips for Submitting a Screenplay

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Congratulations! You’ve completed your script and it’s ready to be submitted to companies. You’ve made sure that it’s really and truly ready for submission by receiving feedback from trusted sources. Now what?

submitting a screeplay

If you don’t have an agent, manager, or entertainment attorney who knows the ins and outs of the film industry and can get your screenplay into the right hands, writing a brilliant screenplay is just half the proverbial uphill battle.

Unless an aspiring screenwriter has incredible good fortune and happens to meet the right connection, who actually can turn that script into a movie, the remaining aspiring screenwriters out in the world must — in addition to mastering the screenwriting craft — put on a producer’s cap and gain an understanding of the film industry by immersing oneself in books and articles, to determine which companies are the right fit for your script.

TOP FIVE TIPS

  1. Confirm that the company you are querying is indeed accepting unsolicited material. (Unsolicited is defined as work that is not submitted by an agent, manager, or entertainment attorney.)
  2. Follow the company’s submission rules. For example: If a company requests only a one-page synopsis, send them only a one-page synopsis. Nothing more.
  3. Only submit your screenplay to companies who have requested it. When you submit work to a company that is not seeking unsolicited material, your work will be rejected. You are wasting your time and you are wasting the time of the person to whom you have submitted your unrequested work.
  4. Research the companies, film executives, and agents to confirm the spelling of their names and their titles in industry trades publications. Trust me, film industry folks really don’t want to see their names misspelled, in fact that can one reason they reject your work. There is a revolving door; executives’ titles frequently change – the industry person who is there today may not be there tomorrow.
  5. Never submit a logline, query letter, synopsis, treatment and/or script without proofreading it. For screenplays, it is critical that you follow industry standard format.

Your mantra: be patient, persevere, and follow the rules.

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting at Purchase College, SUNY and presents international workshops and seminars on screenwriting and film. Author of SAVVY CHARACTERS SELL SCREENPLAYS! and THE SAVVY SCREENWRITER, she is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with over 1,000 writers, filmmakers, and executives worldwide. www.su-city-pictures.com, http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog

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One thought on “Top 5 Tips for Submitting a Screenplay

  1. Leona Heraty

    Thanks for the excellent article, Susan. Yes, I agree, it’s so important to proofread everything, then proofread it one more time, just to be sure there are no typos. It’s kind of like crossing a street, when we were kids, we learned from our parents we should look both ways, then look again, before crossing.

    I just started reading your excellent book, Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays, and it’s great. Your ideas and writing exercises will definitely help me flesh out my characters so they’re more real and interesting persons. 🙂

    Leona Heraty

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