Will your script interest an investor?

August 27th, 2010 by Ron
The Script Blogger

How do you know if it will?

And if it might, how do you get it to the right person?

When I first started writing my Blogs I didn’t know it would become such a commitment or that they would be taken so seriously.

Isn’t that the case with many scripts? It starts as an idea that you the writer likes.

You play with the idea in your head, where characters take shape, possible conflicts and resolutions, the occasionally funny line and images of grandeur as to what it could look like on the screen.

But in reality while it is in your head, it is a jumble of snippets, of incoherent pieces. In fact it is like a jigsaw puzzle tipped out on a table without the picture of what the puzzle should look like.

As with a jigsaw you start putting all the pieces of sky together, then maybe a building, then people’s faces, not forgetting the edges and corners, gradually the picture becomes clearer.

Ah yes the picture, wasn’t that your aim when you first had the idea, to make a picture or at least write a screenplay for somebody else to make the picture.

So what is it that a script has to have to become of interest to others where they may take the pieces of your jigsaw and help you complete the picture?

And yes you do need help.

You need a producer, a director, financiers, oh and yes, actors, crew, someone to distribute the finished project and then perhaps the last thing on your mind when you first had the idea – An Audience.

In my mind I think of the Audience first.

I ask a simple question; would I want to go and see a movie based on my script?

Surprisingly, it is not a simple question, because I do not go to see a film because of its script. I go to see it because of who directed it, who is in it and the Tag Line, the marketer’s method of getting my interest.

Now when you start a script, who the director might be and who may star in a film based on your script is something you have no control on, you cannot predict the future.

But what you can do is think of the style of a director and consider how he would play certain scenes. You can consider certain actors playing the roles you have created.

I can hear you thinking if I haven’t any control why do this?

The reason is simple; it lifts the quality of your writing.

Just watch Jack Nicholson in ‘As Good As It Gets’ and consider if this was your script how would you write it to appeal to Jack.

No doubt when he first read the script it was as with all the others, just words on a page, so how did it jump from those words to the wonderful character Jack created in the film.

Sure, he is a great actor and brings his own skills to what ever part he plays, but that is on a set in front of a director and a camera. What made him create the character we saw on film?

Yep, you got it; the character was in the script. Not only that, in reading the script he would see a story that was entertaining, meaningful and could be fun to be in.

Now look at your script and ask yourself does it do that?

I’m not talking about the structure, the formatting, presentation or anything else that is part of the creative skill in producing a script, just three main ingredients.

Does it entertain, will it attract an actor to play the main character and will people want to watch your main character make their journey through the movie?

If your script is produced as a movie it has to entertain the audience and it had to have attracted actors to play the roles you created.

If your screenplay is entertaining and has interesting characters that actors will want to play, then it stands a chance, providing everything else is correct.

Oh yes, it has to be formatted correctly, it must have a story that goes somewhere and the dialogue must be engaging and realistically match the characters.

But hopefully you wouldn’t think of sending it to anybody if it didn’t meet those criteria – would you?

Of course you would, that’s one of the reasons producers and readers see so much rubbish. Because most writers can’t wait to get it out there, before their script is ready.

Make sure you have perfected all the small nuances as well as the lager ones. Then and only then you may have a script that might interest somebody else, somebody prepared to invest in it.

Filmmaking is a business, but unlike any other business new people with talent can get noticed, you don’t always have to serve a ten year apprenticeship.

If you are new to writing make sure of your script by having it critiqued and although you can spend hundreds of dollars on this, sites like Zoetrope, TriggerStreet are places you can get opinions on your work for free before you enter the arena for real.

Now comes probably the hardest part of the equation; getting your script to the right person.

A big mistake many new writers make is thinking they have to have an agent.

You almost certainly won’t get one until you have had some success without one. Agents need to make money by having you as their client and that will only happen if they sell your script or get you work as an assignment.

So initially you have to find the right person yourself.

This is probably going to take you longer than it took you to write the script.

Sure you can send query letters to producers and production companies, but not the script; nobody wants piles and piles of unsolicited scripts.

Get a copy of the Hollywood Directory, that’s one place you can find lists of potential people to send your letter to, but in reality your letter will just be one of hundreds, maybe thousands received each week.

You need to build a network of contacts, people you can phone up and ask if they would be interested in reading your latest script.

But before you do that you must have one more piece of ammunition ready, the Logline, or at least a Tag.

A short while ago I was in conversation with an executive who was looking at a couple of my scripts, when she asked, “What are you currently working on?”

“A project for a local production company based on an idea from a director they work with”, I replied.

“What’s it about”, she asks.

“Billy Elliot with Noodles,” was the first thing that dropped into my mind.

“If they need funding get them to send it over”.

Now it is not my job to get involved with the funding but because of someone in my network, the new project has a serious player interested before it was written.

Building your network is one of the most important aspects of getting your scripts read.

It has taken me five years to build my small but effective network of some 400 industry contacts.

I have built it using sites such Shooting People, IMDb-Pro, UKScreen, Done Deal, TriggerStreet, Zoetrope and InkTip, and by attending events such as the B-Movie Celebrations and the American Film Market.

To be considered as a serious scriptwriter you have to get involved even if it is just on the boards, but you must get your name out there.

I use my name on every website forum I go on, so everything I write reflects on me. I don’t hide behind some obscure handle on these sites. I put my name to articles and posts I write anywhere so people know they are from me.

Be proud of what you write, be prepared to take criticism, be prepared to listen to others and be prepared for your venture into the world as a writer, if you want to be considered a serious writer, because only the serious will succeed.

Most importantly enjoy writing, write because you want to, because it is part of your nature.

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