What To Do With A Finished Screenplay
The age old question of what to do with a finished screenplay is one that screenwriters must ask themselves. I’ve been around this for a long time to give you the very best advice. The raw, uncut truth and I promise you, this isn’t anything that you’ve ever heard before. If you’re not willing to work hard, then please do yourself a favor and stop reading now. You’ll be wasting your time.
By the end of this blog post, you’ll be better equipped to handle your screenwriting career from a more profitable and powerful position. This is a no BS guide designed to cut through the crap that perpetually keeps you in a state of failure with your screenwriting.
My goal is to get screenwriters to think outside the box and approach their marketing efforts in a more intelligent way. I’ll explain to you why this approach makes sense and how to your marketing. You’ll have a firm grasp on building value and a following for your screenplays. In the event that you find yourself pitching and are rejected, the sting of their decision will be painless because you will have built up a business for yourself.
They Don’t Want Your Screenplay
If you’ve made it to this section, that means you really want to make a career for yourself screenwriting. Now prepare yourself for this truth bomb. They don’t want your screenplay. I know that sucks to hear, but think about it for a minute. Why should they want your screenplay? Because it’s well written? In Hollywood, a well written screenplay is a dime a dozen. Do you know how many well written screenplays are sitting around somebody’s office collecting dust as I type this right now?
The most important reason why they don’t want your screenplay is because it has no value. Let me put it like this. If I gave you a blank sheet of paper and tried to sell it to you, you’d most likely reject it. Why? Because you’ve got a whole bunch of blank sheets that you’ve bought from other writers. What makes your blank sheet any more special than theirs? Does your blank sheet do tricks? Can it roll over? Can it leap buildings in a single bound?
You see, the question of what to do with your finished screenplay is only one of the questions you should ask and it’s not even the most important question. The most important question you should ask is what can you do to get an edge against the rest of the screenwriters out there? What can you do to stand out from the pack? If you’re not thinking about this, then you’re just another “aspiring screenwriter” like the rest and that’s not going to get you through the door.
Maybe it’s because I’m an Aquarius and maybe it’s because I don’t like to fit in much, but why do screenwriters think they can stand out in a crowded room? Most of these people think that if they see screenwriters do a, b, and c to get where they are, they too can do the exact same thing that they did and stand a good chance at seeing the same success. I got news for you, it doesn’t work like that.
When they zig, you have to zag. You have to think outside the box in order to be seen. Let’s assume you get through that door I spoke about. What are the odds that you’re in the top 1% of screenwriters in terms of success? I already spoke about how much money most screenwriters make before.
People trying to become screenwriters in Hollywood don’t realize that most aren’t exactly living it up. Unless you’re willing to make fake relationships with industry people after moving to LA, it ain’t worth it. You stand a better shot standing outside the crowded room than inside of it.
Market Your Screenplay
If you want to be a working screenwriter in Hollywood, you have to understand there’s only one language they speak; MONEY. This is a vital piece of information toward your marketing efforts. The goal you should have is making your screenplay as valuable as possible. Every artist on the face of the plant does this. Artists sell their paintings. Authors sell their books. Comic creators sell their comic books.
This is where the problem lies with screenwriters and why their screenplays are worthless.
The aforementioned artists are selling their work to the public. Screenwriters are taking their worthless scripts and trying to sell them to the people who are only interested in valuable intellectual property.
Take a page out of an author’s book and try selling to the public. Authors are able to build up value for their work by doing this. WB didn’t give J.K. Rowling a film deal for Harry Potter when she wrote the manuscript. That deal didn’t come until her book sales exploded.
But here screenwriters are trying to do the opposite of that. Why? Does it make any sense? It’s no wonder why so many fail to break in.
There are various ways to market your screenplay. You can try making merchandise of the characters in your screenplay and selling them on your website. Or you could turn your screenplay into a magazine like I did. You can even turn your screenplay into a book, but I recommend to hold off on doing this until you’ve made traction with other marketing methods.
The last thing I want to do is encourage the industry to continue turning a blind eye to screenwriters in favor of authors for original intellectual property. It would undermine my goal of putting a spotlight on screenwriters.
Ever heard the saying, “they don’t buy the product, they buy the brand”?
Well, you are the brand! People are more likely to buy whatever you’re selling if they like the person that is selling it. Do you really think Kanye’s products are that good or does he just have a loyal group of followers that will buy whatever he puts out?
Focus on selling yourself before anything else. This may require adopting a pen name to give yourself a larger than life presence. It should be something that makes you stand out.
For this, I recommend taking a page out of pro wrestling’s playbook. Not many of you know who Terry Bollea is, but I’m sure you’ve heard of Hulk Hogan. If I mention Steve Williams, you could easily mistake such a name for many other famous people, but when I say Stone Cold Steve Austin, it’s unmistakable who I’m talking about. You most likely know who Dwayne Johnson is, but his stage name looms larger than his real name to this day and it’s no wonder why he went with his stage name instead of his real name.
I don’t know how many people would line up for a t-shirt with the name Dwayne Johnson on it, but The Rock would have a line for miles.
Build A Following
Building a following is essential to your success. A loyal following in lockstep with what you do as an artist can propel you to unimaginable heights. What’s more, they’re the measuring stick in which the decision to buy or pass on your screenplay will depend on.
Studios nowadays are more risk adverse than they’ve ever been in the history of entertainment. They’re not in the gambling business and want to know they can make a sound return on their investment. This is why you’ve seen a huge rise in revivals, reboots and sequels to films from 30 years ago. They can bank on an established intellectual property than a new property that doesn’t have a following…. or so they think.
If you’re able to do the grunt work that comes along with content marketing through blogging, youtube videos and podcasting that provides value to the people you’re marketing to, then you’ll be able to build a following for your work. That alone will give you an edge that most screenwriters with a screenplay don’t have.
There’s not many screenwriters that pitch their screenplays that can brag about their screenplay making x amount of dollars or having x amount of downloads.
By being able to make money off your screenplay in some way, shape or form, you’ve built value. You’ve put yourself in the .00001% of screenwriters with foresight and vision to go beyond the typical route that most screenwriters go down.
The value of your intellectual property has increased and before you know it, industry professionals will be seeking you out as opposed to the other way around.
As someone who has been watching some red pill youtube videos lately, I’ve been able to make a connection with screenwriting and red pill knowledge. You must be thinking I’ve lost my damn mind now, but bare with me.
Red pill knowledge speaks to men about going their own way and building up their value before dealing in any relationship with women. If a man is able to do that in terms of wealth, health and resources, that man won’t even need to lift a finger to seek out a woman because women will be seeking him out.
It’s not different in the screenwriting world ladies and gentlemen. BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!
Working in Hollywood works for some, but I realized long ago that it’s not really for me. I’d rather do my own thing with 100% freedom and you can too. All it takes it time and effort, but anybody can build a business for their self with hard work.
My strategy for self sufficiency has been through content marketing with my blog and social media. Through these outlets, I’ve been able to reach an audience and provide them with invaluable information that helps screenwriters.
With this blog, I’m able to monetize my website through the use of ad networks like mediavine, ad thrive and ezoic.
If anybody says a screenwriter can only prosper by selling their scripts, they’ve never met me.
I highly encourage screenwriters to start a website and start blogging. Following search engine optimization practices, you’ll be able to garner a web traffic. Keep in mind that it takes many blog posts and many months before traffic starts to come, but you have to keep at it in order to receive positive results. I suggest checking out the youtube channel income school to find out how to blog like a champ.
It’s every writer’s dream to write a script and sell it to Hollywood. As writers, we cling to the hope that once we sell it, we’ll make a fortune, live the high life, and all will be right in the world. Unfortunately, that’s far from reality. In some cases selling it can be the worst thing you can do especially if it’s done at the wrong time.
Submitted for your approval or at least your analysis: one George Krstic, who at the demand of fans that enjoyed his short lived cartoon, Megas XLR, had to let them down by informing them that he can’t do anything with the property that he created because he doesn’t own it.
Now is this a shock to anybody? No, not at all. However, was this the only fate that he had to face in regard to his cartoon? No. George Krstic made a mistake all those years ago. I don’t blame him considering the time period, but it was a mistake none the less because he did have options. The mistake he made was that he sold his property at its lowest value. I get that most artists are starving and would pounce at the chance to finally get their big break in the industry, but you have to think of your work like a stock. Always sell high.
At the time of Krstic making Megas XLR, it would have been maybe 2003 so he didn’t really have social media or youtube to work with building value behind his cartoon and I don’t think there were crowdfunding platforms yet. With that said, he still could have done other things to build value for his property like making a comic out of it. I hear those fellows Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird kind of made out alright going that route. He could have created a website featuring his art work and maybe tried to sell merchandise for it on there. My point is there are multiple things he could have done so that when he finally sold to Cartoon Network, he could have been in a better situation to negotiate the deal where he could have had leverage to use the property in some manner after selling it or he could have negotiated the deal to where he could profit from ongoing merchandise sales. Sadly, he had zero leverage.
As of right now, he gets nothing and he can’t use the property at all. It’s almost like he never created the cartoon to begin with. Had he built value for the property, and Cartoon Network didn’t comply to his demands, he could have walked away and he could be still working on the property to this very day with many revenue streams attached to it.
Artists should be wise about their creations and how they handle them. I recommend that you get leverage because if you don’t, you’ll end up selling at the property’s lowest value and it could hurt you in the long run.
Hopefully, this post has enlightened you on how to approach your screenplays and what to do with them when you finish them. Now go and make that paper!
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