/ by Jared Jones


Q: I’ve written a screenplay how do i sell it or show to a professional?

A: There are a lot of steps to getting your screenplay ready to sell, and all of them are extremely important.

1. Rewrite the entire thing. And then rewrite it again.

Some basic tips for rewriting:

Make sure that you get rid of most, if not all, instances of present progressive tense in the action. Phrases like “he is sitting” and “she is walking” make your manuscript wordcount higher than it needs to be.

Also keep in mind that you should never describe anything in the action that you can’t see. A lot of writers tend to want to describe relationships and the importance of objects and locations, but if you’re not going to show any of that directly through visuals in that moment, then you’re just adding to the wordcount and making your manuscript look less professional.

There are a lot of pro writers who do the last two things I mentioned, but they’ve already made names for themselves. You more than likely have not.

2. Find someone to read your manuscript and give their honest feedback.

It’s not to ask family members to critique your work, because they’re going to be biased in your favor. Try hiring someone or asking someone in the writing community to help you out. A lot of writers like to do critique for critique, so keep your eye open for that.

3. Rewrite your manuscript again.

At this point you should be taking your honest feedback and applying it as needed. Take into account every little nitpicky thing that was said, even if you disagree, but you don’t have to make every suggested change. Just keep the new perspectives in mind so you can really read your manuscript with new eyes.

4. Write up all of your pitching materials.

You’re gonna need to have a logline, a one-sheet, a synopsis, and a treatment. If you pitch your idea to a potential producer and you don’t have one of these you’re going to look very unprofessional.

5. Make friends with industry professionals.

Attend writing conferences, join forums and groups, and make friends within the writing community. It’s really hard to make any progress if you don’t have any connections, so you have to learn to put yourself out there. Once you have friends in the industry, talk about your manuscript with them and ask if they’d be interested in hearing your pitch.

6. Prepare for rejection after rejection. Especially if it’s your first script.

There are a ton of first-time success stories, but there are even more first-time writers who have completely given up writing because they couldn’t sell their manuscript. Don’t lose hope, just keep pushing and eventually, if you have enough passion for your story, you will find someone.

This all sounds very time consuming. And it is. But remember that if you are serious about becoming a screenwriter, you’re gonna have to spend a lot of time trying to get your work out there or you’ll never be able to make a living as a writer.

I hope this helped. If anyone else has a question, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.