Screenplay Marketing: Using Script Registries
by Lenore Wright
Aspiring screenwriters know the importance of that first script sale. Yet, few of us are prepared for how difficult it is to get that first script read by the right people and sold.
How can we beat the odds?
A new marketing tool - ONLINE SCRIPT REGISTRIES - can increase our chances by putting our scripts into the hands of a receptive audience.
How Registries Work
Writers post a logline and synopsis of their script in an online database. Industry professionals - publishers, movie producers, film executives, and agents - subscribe to the registry. If a post interests them, they request to see the script.
Since most unproduced screenwriters must market their own material until their careers are well established; a marketing tool like this can prove
Popular Registries You Can Explore
Most registries charge for each script posted; but the fees are generally modest. Some registries charge for other services but allow writers to post for free.
----> The Writers Script Network: http://www.writerscriptnetwork.com/
Since Jerrol LeBaron founded this registry, Writers Script Network has amassed a huge database of quality scripts. They post their marketing success stories regularly online. In addition to the script database, Jerrol sends a bi-monthly newsletter (Players Marketplace) to 5,000 producers and agents promoting his writers and their scripts.
----> Screenwriters Utopia: http://www.screenwritersutopia.com/
This great site offers a free script registry along with other helpful features for screenwriters who market their scripts from outside the Hollywood loop. Their subscription service offers lots of premium features that will give you even more of an insider's edge.
----> Scriptiverse Spec Script Marketplace: http://www.scriptiverse.com/
Dan Garcia's site promises to 'save the universe one script at a time--'. Screenwriters post FREE for the first six months.
----> Film Tracker: http://www.filmtracker.com/
In addition to a script registry service, this helpful portal for film professionals offers industry news, box office stats, networking opps and promotion services for writers and filmmakers.
----> Unmovies: http://www.unmovies.com/
This boffo website by screenwriter Daniel Knauf includes a script registry. There is a fee for coverage because he wants to filter the scripts for quality but if the reader recommends the script then the posting is FREE.
----> Never Heard of Them: http://www.neverheardofthem.co.uk/
A new UK talent directory for writers and performers. Currently, writers can post up to 5 pages of their work for FREE. Bonus: Listing pages are ad-free.
----> The Screenplayers: http://www.screenplayers.net/
Sam Quo Vadis founded the Screenplayers, a serious group of experienced screenwriters who joined this alliance to market their work. The website features their writers accomplishments as well as their posted work. They don't post every script submitted, each script must be nominated and
----> The Showcase for Original Screenplays: http://www.scripteaser.com/
Greg Coutu and Tina Lee filter submissions for quality (readability and a cohesive story). There is a yearly fee for posting. Database subscribers are screened for professional credentials.
----> The Rights Marketplace: http://www.authorlink.com/
Authorlink.com currently showcases 800 manuscripts and screenplays online. The Authorlink staff reviews all material. There is no fee for the staff review; but they do charge to post to the Rights Marketplace. Authorlink.com sends several direct mailings a year to producers and publishers promoting the work of their writers.
----> The Screenwriters Market: http://www.screenwritersmarket.com/
The Screenwriters Market is a free script registry. They offer a bulletin
board for independent producers to post job queries and a message board for screenwriters to share marketing experiences.
----> Scriptfly Script Market: http://www.scriptfly.com/
The creator of this registry, Gina VanName, focuses on developing and marketing Screenwriters. You can post your spec screenplays and story treatments for free here.
----> Hollywood Script Readers Digest: http://www.screenscripts.com/
This free registry accepts film synopses and television proposals. In addition to their online database, they publish a print edition, Hollywood Script Readers Digest, that they distribute to 1200 film and TV production companies.
How To Protect Your Script
Some writers fear this type of global exposure will tempt unscrupulous producers or writers to steal their ideas, characters, and situations. Protect your original material from pilferage with these precautions:
1) Establish the date of creation.
You automatically establish yourself as the copyrighted author when you put your story on paper; but it's important to estbalish WHEN you wrote your story. Two ways to establish the date of creation:
~ Apply to the Library of Congress for the copyright to your work (http://www.loc.gov/copyright).
~ Register your material with the Writers Guild of America (http://www.wga.org). Important: You don't have to be a Guild member. If a dispute develops over who wrote the material or when it was written, the Guild has your script or story on file and they will back you up.
2) Keep detailed records.
Choose a registry that keeps track of who looks at your synopsis. Many registries require that the interested buyer email you for permission to read the script. Keep track of all correspondence.
Sure Thing Or Cyber Slushpile?
Some writers believe that floating their loglines in cyberspace will prove ineffectual. It's too new to be a sure thing.
Marketing a spec script is a proactive endeavor. Writers need to create their own advantages whenever they can, if they want to build a career in creative writing. Tools that facilitate global-style marketing help creative writers worldwide find a home for their original material.
Wright has 15 years experience writing and selling
screenplays in Los Angeles and New York.
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