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How To Get Your Screenplay Read By An Agent

Adam Scott

This article will discuss how to get your screenplay read by an agent. It will assume that you have your screenplay read by a writer's room, a sales agent, or your script reviewed by a production company.

Please note that there are different formatting requirements for each method.

Before you begin, you should know that no one is holding out any offers for a screenplay based on that one feature. I'm not interested in convincing you to write a whole book so you can get your screenplay read, nor am I interested in telling you what to do or how to do it.

It's up to you to go after your dream.

Your film will get read by your readers because you have shown interest in your script, been active in trying to get the script read, and made significant investments into marketing your script. Those are the things that are going to make the difference between getting a sales agent to look at your script and an agent actually reading your script.

I wrote this article to explain what a screenplay is and how to go about getting it read. Before I begin, I'm going to give you some advice:

  • You cannot send out film scripts as soon as you have completed them. Let them sit.
  • You must get your script read within the first 60 days.

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So here’s a brief run-down on each agent, their territory, and what they look for.

First you will need to figure out which specific agent that you are going to approach. This might include the name and their specific territory.

You should ask to view their available portfolios and/or read their call notes (which are available online). These call notes might include information about how to submit your script, and what specific things they will and will not read.

Note the agent’s address, telephone number, e-mail address, and office hours. This might seem like a lot, but once you have these details in hand you can start making arrangements to drop your script by.

While most agents don’t have their main office in Los Angeles, it is still good practice to drop by and meet with the agent first. It’s a good idea to bring a printed copy of your script to this meeting, and perhaps have them read the entire thing.

If you don’t have a written script at this point, you could also have them skim through the first couple of chapters. You might have your agent explain what she likes and dislikes so you can improve the script.

Also, at some point during this meeting it is a good idea to ask to receive a copy of the script. Once you have received a copy, you can start sending copies out.

Some agents will only read completed screenplays, and other will only read scripts that are part of a studio package deal. The good thing is that the agents that read the whole scripts will be quite busy and have a lot of business to take care of.

While most agents will have a very busy schedule, a few will be much busier and have more time to read screenplays. The agent who might be willing to read your script has likely read hundreds, if not thousands of screenplays and read the first thirty or so pages of your script before passing.

These agents are rare, but it’s not impossible that one of them will be the right fit for your screenplay.

The other agent will more likely have a writing staff, and will only read manuscripts that have been submitted to them. They are less likely to be reading screenplays for commercial considerations and more likely to read submissions that have some originality or use of dialogue.

This is often the agent that is also interested in the overall quality of the script and can usually tell the difference between a screenplay that is poorly written and a script that is well-written.

Now that you know these things, let's talk about what to do.

Attend screenings with your scripts

Meetup groups and similar community groups are a great place to find screenwriters who have submitted to contests, read them for production companies, and give you feedback. Go to screening weekends, host your own, and attend screenings.

Make it a regular part of your schedule.

Set up to screen your script at conferences and other screening eventstwo man watching smartphone

These conferences and events are for screenwriters in general and are not strictly about getting your screenplay read. But since they are often very receptive to submissions, you should make sure that your script has been submitted before you submit it to them.

Find a production company who has screened your screenplay and has read it for an agent or a writer's room and get in touch with them

Tell them that you are writing your next project and would they like to read your script for production company or writer's room material. The more resources they have available to them, the better chance they have at getting your script read.

Spend the majority of your time marketing your screenplaypeople sitting down near table with assorted laptop computers

You are better off marketing your screenplay while it is still in production rather than waiting until it is complete. In addition to the actual story synopsis and pitch, you should also include "Share it!" on your resume and email signature.

Yes, selling your script is just one step on your journey to get your script read. As I said, you must build the connections that will make your script readable.

But one of the best things you can do in the marketing process is to show that you are interested in your script being read. For example, let's say you're doing a series of interviews and discussions around your book, being featured on your own website, and interacting with your fans on Facebook.

The last thing you want is to see your interview on a page titled "Attention: YA Novelists: Write me now to see if I have any openings!" Marketing your screenplay is a great way to begin promoting your novel.

Getting your screenplay read is a lot of work, and yes, there are things that you can do to get a reading more quickly. For one thing, you can try to do a pitch for one of the above production companies and see what happens.

If you do it early in the process, they'll be in a good mood and you might get read sooner. But be prepared to go out there and network yourself to get your script read.

If you're ready to write a movie script and build a following that can promote your new book, see the free agent sample and send it to agents and writers' groups!


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