Want to find readers for your screenplay? Here’s how. – Pt. 2
In Part 1, we explored the nuts and bolts of how to formulate your plan to find readers for your script. Now let’s make some pals and build a community.
Step Four: Get personal
No man is an island. If you want people to read your screenplay, you have to build a community. How do you build a community? These days, with all the wonders of modern technology, it really isn’t that hard. A few tips:
If you are a shy auteur, a fantastic place to start making friends is through social media. Both Facebook and LinkedIn include “groups” – these are exactly what you think they are, online micro-communities dedicated to specific interests. Within these platforms, film communities are abundant, with users being known for their open, collaborative nature (beware the trolls, though). Start by introducing yourself to groups and become active in a number of conversations. Once you have built up a reputation in that community for being a likeminded, cool, wise sort of person, you could suggest a “read-for-read” opportunity where your new friends read your script in exchange for you reading theirs. Then you offer script feedback to each other.
Always be aware of what your new friends do for a living. You might be able to help them, and in turn they may be willing to help you. Be transparent and clear about the reason you are trying to build your community. Go in looking to make lifelong friends and collaborators as opposed to a more mercenary intention, and you’ll attract the right people.
Message boards & forums
There are still lots of great internet forums and message boards out there. Use the same tips as above to develop real, long-lasting relationships with fellow users. You never know who might be the next Quentin Tarantino and what creative partnerships can garner real results.
Get really social IRL
In just about every city, in every country worldwide, there is a local meetup dedicated to scriptwriting, development, or screenwriting. At these meetups you can gather with other writers looking for readers and willing to read your work. Meetups can also be a great place to get acquainted with other industry folks who have either been invited to speak to the group or are simply there for the same reasons as you: looking to expand their network.
Do you have IMDBpro yet? It’s a great way of finding out about the people you want to contact. IMDBpro can help you with your search for readers in a few ways:
- You can find potential connections based on what films they worked on.
- You can discover people’s email addresses and website URLs.
- You can profile a potential connection prior to reaching out to them, so you know exactly what to talk to them about and what projects they may be interested in, based on their past experience.
Once you have your strategy down, you can start reaching out to these connections. But heed these vital words of advice:
If you’re sending an unsolicited email call or tweet, first to ask if it’s okay. People generally respond much more favorably when they have prior warning of a connection. Make sure you write a badass cover letter telling them exactly what you want to get out of the relationship – without being pushy. The most important thing is to let any prospective partner know what you bring to the table. Don’t pussyfoot around – spell it out in no uncertain terms why you are going to be the best thing that ever happened to their company, making sure to include samples of your very best work and links to your social media platforms (which show all the awesome industry connections you have).
You want your first contact with this person to be a favorable one, so don’t rush this step. Make sure your credentials, CV, and cover letter are polished to death before you hit the “send” button.
Always remember: everyone in this rough-and-tumble, razzle-dazzle industry is just looking for his or her next hit. Your script could be theirs.
Step Five: Call in the pros
Script-reading services can prove indispensable when seeking professional, unbiased feedback on your work, but did you know they can also help you find representation? Each month, these services connect talent with reps. If your script impresses the reader you hire to share coverage, then it’s likely they may pass you over to other people that can really help you. Industrial Scripts is a great agency who’ve been doing this for years. To get on their radar, simply purchase a script-reading service – their prices start at around $125.
Step Six: Wear out your glad hand
You have already covered Steps One to Five and you might even have a lead on a potential agent. Now you’re ready to cement those relationships. Rolling to a film festival, conference, or comic con could be the next step towards your glittering career as a scriptwriter. You may be able to do most things online these days, but putting a face to a name is worth so much more than 10,000 emails.
Agents, managers, producers, studio heads, and financiers all attend such events. They go to make connections and cement relationships, just like you. If you see your dream agent is speaking at a certain event, get your butt down there and meet them in person. You may not come away from every event with a newly inked deal on the table, but you will have gotten yourself on the radar of the people you want to impress. These connections garner results eventually, and showing your face is the first step towards making long and fruitful relationships.
Step Seven: Repeat & enjoy
This process doesn’t suddenly, magically stop. Until you reach your end goal, it’s ongoing, and for any future projects you will have to do it all again. Building a community is awesome – you gain access to many different points of view and a wide knowledge base. Enjoy your community and this journey, which will propel you on that giant leap all the way from a screenwriter merely reading an article about how to get readers, to a screenwriter who actually has readers. Have fun!