You might be wondering, “Where can I sell my screenplay” after you’ve spent time writing and editing your masterpiece. Selling your screenplay is not easy, but seeing those stars align is the goal of many writers. For those who are dedicated, committed, and willing to put the time into creating a great screenplay and marketing that screenplay, there is still a living to be made for many up-and-coming writers. With that being said, it is essential to keep your end goal in the back of your mind while diving wholeheartedly into the process of screenwriting.
Shift Your Perspective On Screenwriting
If you intend to sell your first screenplay, it’s essential to shift your perspective on screenwriting as a whole. You often hear that you will never sell your first screenplay because most writers never do. The truth is, there are so few writers who wholly devote themselves to their craft, which is what it takes to work as a screenwriter full-time. Most writers want to write their first script and quickly sell it to a major studio, but we know that is not how the industry works.
The truth is that studios work with writers they know they can trust. Studios do not typically read or pay for work from writers who have not sold screenplays in the past. That makes it incredibly difficult to break into the industry.
So what is the roadmap to a career as a screenwriter? Like many creative careers, you often have to put a lot of effort into it without ever guaranteeing a return. Even some of the most talented writers out there will never sell their screenplay. It’s the writers who fully buy into the process of scriptwriting over a long period who see professional fruit from their work.
Entering the Process: Your Road Map
You have to fully commit to screenwriting if you want the best chance to sell a screenplay. Your success as a screenwriter corresponds to your ability to do what most people consider “boring things consistently.” You show up every day, write, edit, and rewrite. This is how the majority of professional screenwriters begin. They begin writing “on spec,” short for writing on speculation. Most of these spec scripts are written as writing samples but sometimes can get sold if a studio is interested. Writing without a contract can be pretty tricky, so having a road map of the process helps many writers see the big picture.
Write Every day
Writing every day is the foundational habit of the professional screenwriter. Screenwriting takes a lot of practice, and you need to be writing consistently to have the hours under your belt that it takes to produce some great work.
Many writers feel they can only write when inspired, but sticking to a daily word count can help writers improve rapidly. Of course, not everything you write has to be publishable, but you should be writing consistently enough to write more when you feel inspired.
Read More Screenplays
Reading is one of the most underrated activities that can help you sell your first screenplay. What many new writers don’t understand is there is a particular format and style to screenwriting. Reading other screenplays helps you learn how to screenwrite, inspires you, and gives you a window into what has sold.
It is also important to read other screenplays that are in progress. Reading others’ work is an excellent window into what an unfinished script looks like. By reading both finished and unfinished works, you will begin to see the level of polish needed for a finished screenplay.
Edit and Rewrite Your Script
Joining an online editing community is one of the best ways to tune your script. The goal is to cycle through the process of writing, editing, and rewriting until your script is as polished as it could be, then you fine-tune some more. If you paid editors at each cycle, it would cost a fortune. That’s why we advocate that screenwriters find some kind of online community of like-minded writers who will read and edit each others’ work.
Free editing services, such as these communities mentioned above, are one of the most efficient ways you can get fresh eyes on your work without having to pay for professional editing. In addition, you’ll have access to tons of unfinished scripts that other hopeful screenwriters are crafting. That helps with reading more scripts and honing your editing skills as you continue to receive feedback yourself.
Start Writing for Competitions
Once you’ve begun to tune your script, you may think it is time to start sending it to as many studios as possible, but you might want to consider submitting your work to some writing competitions first.
Winning a writing competition is one of the best ways to build momentum behind your screenplay. It is often challenging, but winning a competition will bring a significant amount of publicity to your writing. Many competition winners go on to sell their screenplays due to the attention.
In addition, entering competitions is a significant way writers hold themselves accountable. It gives you a deadline and requires you to plan. In many ways, writing competitions can mimic the work of a professional writer, but entering will keep you writing, improving, and you might even win some.
Try Out New Ideas
After putting a lot of time and effort into a script, it can be difficult to write a different script, but this can be one of the best ways to market yourself as a writer. So many screenwriters have one script they try to sell, but having multiple writing samples that you can pitch will expand your horizons and increase the likelihood that professionals will notice your work.
Trying out new writing ideas, being creative, and ultimately writing more will set you apart from the pack. Though your work may be very high quality, having a portfolio of good work will show more of who you are as a professional and increase your chances of selling a screenplay.
Closing the Deal
There is not an easy answer to the question, “where can I sell my screenplay?” because there is not one linear path to closing the deal. However, what is valid for all screenwriters is that they contend in a competitive market with many other writers. There is not a “lucky break” when it comes to screenwriting. Success in the industry happens through preparation, skills improvement, and consistent work overtime. By doing those “boring” things right, you’ll begin one of the most potentially fulfilling and exciting journeys of your life.
Join ScriptMother to Tune Up Your Screenplay
ScriptMother is a thriving community of writers who consistently read and edit each others’ work. It is free to join, and our model utilizes a points system that encourages members to read and review more scripts. By doing so, you’ll unlock more reviews for yourself and continue to improve your skills by reading others’ work.
Sign up for free and discover what it’s like to grow your script along with like-minded writers.