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  • Writer's pictureYoung Screenwriters

How to Get Your Script Read

The majority of the work in screenwriting is crafting a compelling story and molding it into a fantastic screenplay, but what do you do when the script is ready to be read? Adam and Alexie worked through this topic on this week’s Coffee Class, so don’t forget to check it out!

The Film & TV industry is notoriously hard to crack for those of us not born into it, but there are a number of ways to move forward and build the connections you will need to push your screenplay into the development pipeline. Of course, before we can even think about the business of screenwriting, we need to make sure our screenplays are the best they can be. Make sure you have feedback from a variety of readers before you make the leap–you only have one chance to make a first impression!

Once your screenplay is ready, it’s time to get it read and build your professional career. Below are some pathways to getting your script read and on the way to getting made. As always, your mileage may vary. Luck is a huge part of this industry!

  1. Contests

Screenwriting competitions exist to showcase great screenplays to industry professionals, and provide a stepping stone for screenwriters to make connections. Even being a quarter-finalist for a major competition can result in connecting with agents and managers.

Some of the major and reputable competitions are the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition. Coverfly is also a great resource for entering competitions and fellowships.

The Blcklist allows you to upload your script and be rated, with the top scripts circulated to industry members, but it is moderately expensive as you must keep your script hosted on the platform.

Pros: Get your script read, make connections with industry pros, build accolades into your portfolio.

Cons: Expensive, losing doesn’t mean your script is bad, no guarantees.

  1. Querying

Querying agents and managers can be a successful way to make connections and get your script read, especially if you don’t have any existing industry connections. Querying is essentially like cold calling: you’re asking agents and managers to read your script in the hope they may represent you.

A query letter should consist of a brief and personal introduction, your logline, and any accolades or experience that may be interesting to whoever you’re querying. Check websites for query guidelines before sending individual emails, and whatever you do, DO NOT attach your script or a link to your script in the email. If the agent or manager is interested, they will reach out and ask for the material (this makes it solicited, versus unsolicited). 

Pros: Agents and managers may be looking for your voice, and this could open the door for you.

Cons: Risky, difficult to break out of the slush pile.

  1. Networking

The Film & TV industry is all about relationships, so forging professional friendships with other people in the industry is a great way to work your way in. Of course, this is so much more difficult if you don’t live in LA or New York. How do you meet people?

Being involved in places like social media and writers’ groups is one avenue to build relationships online, like the YS Discord. It’s also important to network with other professionals like directors and actors. When a concept is being brought forward to a studio, it will be presented in a package, which is a pre-selected creative team. Having great professional relationships with directors and actors could allow you the chance to be included in a package if you’re the right fit for the job.

Pros: Developing great friendships and professional relationships, having people know who you are and what you do.

Cons: Difficult if you’re not in a big city or are starting with no connections.

Every screenwriter’s journey is different, and the most important part of all this is to keep writing, keep learning, and keep networking however you can. Your best asset is a great script to be your calling card for the industry.

Hungry for more screenwriting education? Young Screenwriters has a range of courses for every writer on each step of their journey! Get started with our FREE Writing the Short and Writing the Scene courses to learn the basics. 

When you’re ready to take the next step, sign up for Writing the Feature and learn NYU Professor John Warren’s complete writing process, including generating powerful film ideas, forming dynamic character arcs, creating beat sheets and outlines, and finishing that screenplay with proper formatting and a plan for what’s next. Writing the Feature is the perfect way to work on that screenplay from start to finish, and our Discord community will lift you up every step of the way!

If you need deeper story consultation and feedback, book a Story Consultation with Alexie and Adam to work through your story questions and ensure your screenplay is the best it can be!



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