Thanks to the advent of the Internet, new avenues in your attempts to sell a screenplay that were not previously available to screenwriters now exist, and, should you so choose, you could market your screenplay without ever even leaving your house – pretty impressive, right? This is a tool that is in your arsenal, and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it!
Knowing how to sell a script means being aware that there are a lot of websites that, for a fee, claim to have the ability to get your script seen by a producer – some are legitimate, some are not, and it is vitally important that you do independent research (outside of the site) before choosing to commit financial resources to one, lest you become the victim of some less than virtuous con man. That being said, there is one site that the author can safely recommend, and that is InkTip, which has a database of over 5,000 producers and is a very solid place to start for someone who is just learning to use the internet to aid in the process of selling a script.
As a general rule of thumb, the projects that seem to well at InkTip are low-budget (meaning limited locations and characters), high concept scripts. You can mix up to two genres, but anything over that becomes a little heady for most readers, and your chances of selling a screenplay aren’t as strong at that point. (By the way, that’s a good rule in general for selling a screenplay in any fashion – don’t bite off more than you can chew in terms of your plot. It’s just going to confuse the reader, who is going to assume that the audience will also be confused by the story, which means that they won’t want to make the movie in the first place.)
The place where most people seem to have trouble during this process is creating a compelling logline. Knowing how to sell a script, and this cannot be stressed enough,means not being vague. Often times, in a desire to not spoil the end of the movie, a writer will say something to the effect of «… nothing could prepare him/her/them for what happens next!» The part that happens next is, of course, the most exciting part, but you didn’t tell the reader what that was! The reader is not an audience member, but they are the first step in determining whether your movie gets in front of an audience or not, so don’t worry about spoiling it for them! If you have a great twist ending, let the reader know about it early on!
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