Back from hols and the first thing on my to-do list is to go out and start selling the script I finished last month. Of course as a true artist I should have no truck with the venal world of selling… of course not.
Certainly some writers believe that their work should sell itself, and good luck to them. However, I believe that some producers, bless them, sometimes need a little help when it comes to seeing value on the page.
If a worse writer than you is better than you at marketing their work, then who gains if someone buys their script rather than yours? Certainly not the industry. Or the audience. Don’t you owe it to us all to give your screenplay its best chance?
Three essentials for selling scripts:
First, be sure that your script really is as good as you believe it is. Withoutindustry feedback you are bound to have doubts, even unconsciously, and those doubts will undermine your ability to sell with confidence.
Get it read by a professional. Not a friend of a friend who once knew a soap star, but an experienced script consultant.
My friends at Euroscript can do this for you, as can I, and there are others. Check references and choose wisely.
Second, know what buyers want. Specifically, what a particular company or producer is looking for, and more generally what all producers and development executives need to be able to do their jobs properly. There is someone out there who needs you and your script – your job is helping them realise that.
Do your research.
Third, find out what your selling point is. What is that special something that your script has and which will fulfill that need? The spark that sets your script alight. Once you’ve found it, keep practising until you can communicate it in an easy, conversational single sentence.
Did I say it was easy? No. Some people are naturally brilliant at it. They are rarely the most gifted writers! But they get to sell their work more often.
The most gifted writers often have to learn how to sell – but there is a special ironic bonus: when good writers get better at selling they also get better at seeing what’s good about their writing and therefore they improve as writers too.
Put the wind in your sales. You owe it to your script.
If this was useful to you, look out for my next Masterclass in Selling and Pitching. Good writers need to get good at marketing.