I Finished my Script – Now What?
Guest Post by Linda Bergman
After you’ve copyrighted your work through WGA and/or The Library Of Congress, you’ll want to “put it out there” for representation. To get an agent or manager, start by first sending what is called a query letter that includes professional facts about you and a tight, short description of your screenplay and its log line.
A log line is one sentence that reveals the tone and the story. i.e. The log line for Glenn Close’s passion project, “Albert Nobbs” could be: A woman posing as a man in 19th century Dublin must hide her secret to keep her job.
Don’t try to be clever or cute. Most agents have already heard it all. Be direct and professional. The letter should be one page or less but meaty. It should introduce you, your experience, and why you are qualified to write a script about killer cockroaches or heroin trafficking and why you think they are the agent to benefit from it. And please, do not send a synopsis unless they ask for it.
In the meantime, show the script to friends and family who have access to agents, actors/ producers/directors. If your friend likes it, hey, they might give you a well-deserved leg-up. It is a huge favor to ask someone to take the time to read your masterpiece. Be respectful of what you ask and grateful for what you get.
Because of the volume of material all agents receive you will probably not get a response unless the agent is interested in the material; this may not be fair nor polite but it is the law of the jungle
While waiting to hear back, submit your work to competitions. Even if you don’t win, chances are you’ll get great exposure that could lead to an agent. It’s a good idea to buy or borrow a Hollywood Creative Directory. It usually runs around $65.00 but it is a great tool with listings for agencies, major studios, executives and producers. Also a good place to find a name for the query letter.
And finally, take all constructive criticism from professionals graciously. It never hurts to accept feed-back if it applies and could mean a “yes” instead of a “no” if they are deciding whether they want to work with you.
Author of “So You Think Your Life’s A Movie? – Ten Steps To A Script That Sells”, a 2011 Global e Award Winner in the category of Arts and Entertainment, Linda Bergman has been paid to write twenty-one scripts and produce five of them.
She has taught her screenwriting class in Los Angeles, NYC and at The International Women’s Writing Guild Summer Programs at Skidmore College, Brown University and Yale University. She is also a faculty member at The San Miguel Allende International Writer’s Symposium for 2012. Her website, Linda Bergman’s Write Of Passage can be perused at http://soyouthinkyourlifesamovie.com