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    The Screenwriter's Web: How to use the Web to Target Your Script Submissions

    Marketing a spec script through a powerful Hollywood packaging agency increases your chances of a sale - no doubt about it.

    But what if you don't have an agent - let alone a Hollywood heavyweight - to promote your script and help you to get it read by the right people?

    What if you don't even live in Hollywood?

    You can still get your scripts read by people who can help you market them. The Web provides a wealth of insider information and marketing opportunities for screenwriters - if you know where to look.

    Here are some steps you can take to target your script submissions more effectively.


    Step 1: Gather insider information on recent script sales

    You can find out (instantly!) which stories and scripts have sold, who sold them and who bought them. Log onto Hollywoodlitsales or Scriptsales (Click on the section titled 'Done Deal'.) These free sites provide an overview of the scripts currently in development and which stars and producers have studio deals.

    For a small subscription, you can have access to Who's Buying What, the Film Script Marketplace from Movie Bytes, a terrific online source for screenwriting contests and markets.

    Agents use this insider information to target their script submissions - so can you! You might even do a better job of targeting because you know your material better than any agent ever will.


    Step 2: Identify the right producer for your project

    Use the script sales sites above to figure out which independent producers have current deals. Find out what scripts they've bought in the past, their successful produced credits and which stars they have already worked with. This will help you customize your query pitch specifically for them.

    These sites provide great lists of active independent producers:

    Film Stew and Film Industry Central offer very complete listings for film professionals, but Tracy Keenan Wynn's site is more accessible because he includes personal comments from his own recent screenwriting experiences. He's an award-winning writer with decades of Hollywood experience, and also a respected script coach if you need professional feedback before marketing your script.


    Step 3: Target stars' production companies

    It's never easy to get your script read by a popular movie star, but if you do the script sales research mentioned above, you will increase your chances. Two suggestions: Only target stars who are appropriate for your material. Target stars who have a film or television production company of their own - there are dozens of film and TV stars who develop their own projects.

    INSIDER TIP: Querying a star's agent directly rarely works because of conflict of interest. Packaging agents usually try to guide their star clients to film scripts written by writers already represented by the agency.

    To find the contact information for a star's production company, look them up in one of the free online talent databases. The three I like to use are:

    Once you know the contact info, write a sharp, enticing query letter. Don't expect the star to answer your query personally but your dynamic pitch might convince the star's assistant, reader or story editor to read your script. If the script impresses them, they will pass it on up the food chain - that's part of their job.


    Step 4: Check the credentials of film professionals BEFORE sending them your screenplay

    The two best places I've found for investigating film credentials are the Internet Movie database (free!) and the Hollydex Directory, which is part of the Internet Hollywood Network, an essential mega-site for film professionals (by subscription).

    Two free services which offer fairly complete directories of film pros:

    When an agent, manager, producer or star commits to your script, they'll spend a year or two, probably more, trying to get the script set up and the movie made. That's a big commitment. Before they will agree to read that great script you've written, you have to convince them it's worth it. The power of the Web can give you the insider's edge you need.

    Feedback: screenwriter@breakingin.net

    Copyright © 2001 Lenore Wright

    Lenore Wright has 15 years experience selling spec scripts and movie pitches to major production houses. This column is part of her ongoing series - The Screenwriter's Web. For more insider information on marketing screenplays log onto her site, http://breakingin.net/a> or subscribe to her FREE newsletter SCRIPT MARKET NEWS by sending an email to newsletter@breakingin.net.

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