Boards ~ Post to Profit!
by Lenore Wright
Over the years, when I've met working screenwriters I've often asked them how they landed their first paid writing gig. The answer usually involved a convoluted tale of the brother of a friend who introduced them to a reader who worked for a producer whose sister was an agent who represented the director whose ex-wife was the producer who eventually optioned their script.
In short, most first writing opportunities develop through networking.
Working screenwriters have to spend part of each day networking. So should you. Even if you don't live in a major film center like LA, London or Toronto, you can network on the Web. Dozens of screenwriting boards exist online just for this purpose. Once you find them and teach yourself how to recognize genuine networking opportunities, you'll see the benefit.
Let's get started.
THE BEST SCREENWRITING BOARDS
New York Screenwriter ~
Nyscreenwriter.com is the online version of New York Screenwriter Magazine, a great monthly for writers. Their site offers much more than the magazine's archives, a community of screenwriters and filmmakers hang out there.
The link above will take you directly to the Scripts Wanted page where producers and filmmakers post classified ads for the types of scripts they seek. The publishers charge for some classified ads, but this section is free and so are the classified ads for the Collaborators Wanted page and for the Writing Groups page. Check these boards regularly, post your writing group or advertise for a collaborator if you need one.
Script Seeker's Callboard ~ http://www.scriptseeker.com/callboard.html
Script Seeker offers an online script registry service where you pay to post your scripts or loglines so producers and agents can access your material -- that subject is for another column. You don't have to use the Script Seeker registry service to access the Callboard. You'll find calls for scripts and plays posted by producers, agents, directors and filmmakers.
The UK Screenwriters Network ~ http://www.shootingpeople.org/
Shooting People is a unique filmmaking service, a dynamic community of over 17,000 members connected online to enable them to get their films developed, created and distributed.
On the homepage, choose the UK Screenwriters Network and join -- it's free. Members receive a daily (Mon-Fri) email digest of messages from other members -- an eclectic mix of job opportunities, courses, contests, collaborating jobs and other helpful information. Most members reside in the UK, but some opportunities are Web-related so location is less relevant. Wednesday posts are restricted to script pitches only.
Writers Script Network ~ http://www.writersscriptnetwork.com/newsletter.html
The Writers Script Network is well known for their popular script registry service, but they also publish a timely newsletter that lets writers know exactly what type of stories specific producers seek. Subscribe online from the link above. This report offers detailed descriptions of the scripts wanted, along with accurate, updated contact information for the production company. WSN is based on Hollywood, so their film beat is the US marketplace.
The Indie Club ~ http://www.indieclub.com/classifieds/search.asp
The classified posts on this site for independent filmmakers range from requests for scripts to offers of directing and producing services from aspiring (and sometimes experienced) filmmakers. You can also search for screenwriter and filmmaker networking groups by location -- a helpful feature.
Pif Magazine: Writers Only ~ http://www.pifmagazine.com/writers_only/
Writers Only, the classified ads section of Pif Magazine online, offers a special posting category - Calls for Manuscripts. Publishers, producers, agents and other writers post the ads calling for manuscripts or screenplays. Some posts promote contests or announce writing opportunities that can help you get your scripts read and recommended to the right people.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR EFFORTS
~· Follow the guidelines on each of these boards, it's the least you can do, they're offering the services for free!
~· Many posts ask for specific subject matter, themes, genres and budget or casting requirements. Pay attention. Give them ONLY what they want.
~· Investigate the credentials of the people offering the opportunities BEFORE you pursue them. A previous Screenwriters Web column - Targeting Submissions - listed sites where you can check out film industry credentials. Start with the Internet Movie database ~ http://www.imdb.com/
~· Some writers use these message boards as a makeshift free registry service to advertise their scripts. DO NOT misuse them that way.
GIVE BACK A LITTLE
~· If you come across an opportunity that you can't take advantage of for some reason, pass it on to other writers or to a writing group.
~· The boards allow writers to post for free so contribute some useful
~· If you have a bad experience with someone you find through one of these boards, let the Webmaster know. Or post a warning about it -- in the appropriate place -- some sites have a special page to post warnings.
THE POWER OF NETWORKING
Writing may be a solitary pursuit; but to market your work successfully you need a community of resources and contacts. Working with the screenwriting boards I've suggested will help you create your own personalized marketing community -- person-by-person, post-by-post.
Soon everybody will know somebody... who knows somebody... who knows somebody... even YOU!
FEEDBACK ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
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