How Can you Get your Screenplay Passed in Hollywood?
Learning how to write a screenplay can be daunting especially when you start running out of ideas to write about. We will go over some proven tactics the pro’s use when facing writers block.
By Chicago Screenplay Awards Dept.
Have you ever pitched your work in a screenplay contest or to a production house or maybe to a screenplay agent? Has your screenplay ever been rejected? For a lot of screenwriters this might be the most brutal reality of their life. Rejection is tough to handle but the fact is that a lot of scripts do get rejected in Hollywood. You need to be prepared that hundreds of your scripts might just be taking the rounds and not be selected by anyone. Many get disappointed by rejection but on the contrary it is a great learning opportunity for writers. They can get an insight into what is being liked by producers and what is not being liked. This could not only help you grow as a writer but make you a successful screenplay writer as well. So what exactly needs to be done if you want to get your script passed? In this article we’re going to share some quick tips and tricks with you.
1. Stop Being Part of the Bandwagon
There is a trend that whenever a screenplay idea gets hit or a particular genre proves to be profitable one then everyone starts following the same trend. For example if an action flick turns out to be a huge Hollywood success then screenplay writers would automatically be inclined towards writing an action based story, in the hope that their screenplay will be picked by production houses. This is a huge mistake! There is no established rule that your script will be selected because it suits the hit genre. If the story is weak then it is unlikely that it will be picked.
The second scenario is that writers tend to follow the trend but till the time they pitch it, too much time has passed and their script becomes irrelevant. The pace is Hollywood is so quick that in one month thrillers might be a hit and the next sci-fi films might be ruling the box office. You can never predict what’s going to be the next big thing!
2. Avoid Pitching a Poorly Written Script
While a good idea and story is important, following a proper screenplay format is also essential. Writers are often so careless that they do not even follow a format which can turn out to be big disappointment for producers or screenplay agents. Why would anyone bother reading your script if you can’t even follow the basics. Production houses get hundreds of scripts in a week so they would not put in the time and energy to sort everything out. You need to pitch a clean, comprehensive and compelling script to grip the reader instantly.
3. Production Houses Might also have their own Agendas
Whether we like it or not, the fact of the matter is that individuals and conglomerates have their own agendas, likings and disliking. There is a possibility that your script might be great, highlighting a pertinent issue but the production house might not pick your script. They could be against the viewpoint or can see the subject as very controversial. For example some production houses might not be comfortable picking up a story related to sexual harassment.
Your story could be very strong and compelling but for some production houses it is just not acceptable because they are afraid of taking the risk or challenging the status quo. Production houses have to keep in mind a lot of factors because there are too many people involved. You just have your script but a production house has a complete management to which they are answerable.
4. Make the Correct First Impression
First impressions matter a lot, producers and agents will read your script later but first they will hear it from your mouth, they will face you therefore make sure you present the best version of yourself. Pitch your story articulately and don’t shy away because if you undermine your story then nobody will value your story. Remember your screenplay is your baby and you have to showcase it to the world. When you meet a screenplay agent or producer, make sure to convince them in the first meeting. Screenwriters hardly get a second or third chance with the same production house so avail the opportunity to the best of your abilities.
5. Participate more in Screenplay Contests
Screenplay contests and fellowships are an ideal way to enhance your skills and check your potential. Usually some of the best critics and film gurus come together to check shortlisted scripts and screenplays, their feedback could be invaluable as it will be unbiased and objective. And since most of them have worked in production houses so they understand their needs as well hence the process will equip you better in pitching your story to big production company. Remember, the greater risks you’ll take, the better you’ll become at your game. It’s all about practice and learning!
Despite the fact that we have provided you a list of recommendations and tricks which could help you out during this ordeal but you need to keep the fact in mind that there is a lot of luck and hard work involved in the pitching process. You need to have immense amount of patience, there will be dark times but you need to stay positive and fight back with all your might and then nothing can stop you!