Building your Network

February 11th, 2011 by Ron
The Script Blogger

Building your Network

A scriptwriter’s job is an isolated and lonely one.

Once you’ve completed your script, who do you send it to? It’s well known unsolicited submissions don’t even get opened, let alone read.

Query letters or emails occasionally get read and even a few generate a request to read the script.

Competitions can produce results for a limited number of writers a year. But for the majority of new and unknown writers finding someone in a position to help, who will read their work, is an enigma.

This is where networking can help, but first of all you have to develop a network. How do you go about that?

I can only tell you my story, but hopefully it will give you some ideas and maybe some hope.

When I started writing screenplays just over six years ago, I had no contacts within the industry or the foggiest idea of where to start.

After a search on the web, I found InkTip and placed my first screenplay, ‘Boudicca’, up on that site on April 1st 2005 and my second one there by the end of May.

I had a few synopses and a couple of script downloads in the first few weeks but nothing that matched my anticipation. So I researched what was getting success and noticed that most were low budget horror screenplays.

So I penned two within three weeks and now had four screenplays on InkTip by the start of July, by the end of July I had my first commission.

That is when my networking begun.

I asked the director if he would be interested in reading other material and he was.

One script he liked, but the genre and budget was not for him, so he asked if I would mind if he discussed it with a couple of his friends, both producers and one had just picked up an Oscar.

In the end nothing came of that lead but it made me aware of the power of networking.

The publicity I received on InkTip, from the first commission, generated over twenty direct enquiries from agents, producers and production companies, resulting in, another commission and eventually an option.

I stayed in touch with all the contacts I had made, even if they didn’t respond or like the script they had read. Every time I read something about them (good), I emailed a comment, a remark or my congratulations.

90% of those contacts now email me on a regular bases, letting me know what they are doing and asking me, how I’m progressing.

I had opened the door and my network had begun.

On Zoetrope and TriggerStreet, again I enlarged my network and expanded to other sites and other boards, joining sites such as Done Deal, The Horror Film Society, Simply Scripts, IMDb-Pro, UKScreen and Shooting People.

Gradually my networking produced other assignments.

The most important thing with a network is to work it. Keep in contact, when you have a reason to approach, do so.

From my publicity achieved on InkTip in September ’05, a well known director, now part of my network, took a real interest and I recently sent him a logline and synopsis of a new screenplay I was working on and asked if he would be interested in looking at the script when it was completed.

His answer was favorable and two months later he is discussing the possibility of producing it. Early days, but they exist because of networking.

In the meantime, I carried on finding sites to visit and boards to post on. My network expanded dramatically.

I feel there are three things that make networking work:

  • Keep your contacts secret, you’ve been given a privilege, don’t abuse it.
  • Write well, when you email them, it’s a shop window of your skills.
  • And don’t over mail them, have something to say that is worth saying.

For example, when my screenplay ‘Recompense’ was a finalist in TriggerStreet’s ‘Script of the Month’ competition, in my early days of writing, I sent out an email as an announcement.

I was amazed by the response this brought.

The same when I received the story editing job from LA director, Andy Lauer, because I know he is well connected. A recent documentary of his was produced by Brad Pitt and Adrien Brody was the narrator.

Interestingly, this was achieved by adding him to my network.

Our first contact came through InkTip, we discussed the work and he offered me a script editing job, but then his agency, who was possibly funding the project, stepped in.

“Why use someone outside the agency when we have so many well known writers inside the agency”?

So initially he had to take their path. But three months later I mailed him and asked; how was it going? It wasn’t. Would I be interested in . . .?

So by networking, being interested and polite, I got a job.

Use what happens to you to make more things happen, and you can do that by networking.

It should be part of your marketing plan.

Through one forum I became friends with an actor, he introduced me to a producer that led to a commission for a TV series that is now being presented to an American Network.

Don’t have any illusion that it is easy to break in, but it will be easier if you are not alone and have a network behind you.

13 responses to “Building your Network”

  1. Benecke57 says:

    Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any assistance is very much appreciated.

    Email sent – Ron

  2. Shoji says:

    great post very good informations thank you man 😉

  3. Raeann Drawdy says:

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