5 Proven Strategies to Get Noticed as a Screenwriter

You want to sell your screenplay or snag an agent, and you now that to get the in you need connections. But how do you get connections? Before you try anything too adventurous, you should consider these tried-and-true methods of getting your name out there. These tactics may seem a tad vanilla, but they’ve worked for thousands of writers before you.

Join a Writer’s Group

Working with a writer’s group yields tangible benefits that go beyond networking. For instance, working with a group gives you a chance to hear your script read aloud. There’s just something about hearing your work read aloud that allows you to analyze it more objectively. If something sounds awkward to your ear, there’s a good chance it will sound awkward to a reader too. Similarly, if you think one of your jokes is brilliant but the room falls silent when it’s read aloud, there’s a good chance you need to rework it.

Working with a group can also provide motivation and support when you’re just not feeling like starting on that third draft or polishing your dialog for the nth time. Sharing the experience with people who do similar work can provide stress relief.

Finally, a writer’s group allows you to network and gain connections you otherwise wouldn’t. You never know who’s listening, and you never know who you might impress. Online forums like r/screenwriting can help, but to get the most out of this it’s best to join a live group.

Become an Insider

You already know that networking is crucial, so why not take it to the next level? Is it safe to assume that if you already had stellar connections you wouldn’t be reading this guide? Possibly. So, let’s assume you’re a beginner looking to build some cred. What do you do?

One of the tried-and-true methods of getting in is to become an insider. You can do that by taking a job or internship in an entertainment-related field. It’s not glorious, but it just might do the trick. Here are three places to try:

  • Entertainment management firms.
  • Talent agencies.
  • Production studios.

While you’re slogging away for them, you’ll get to know a few people who work on the inside, but you’ll also learn a lot about how the film industry works. The connections you make can be extremely valuable allies in your battle to get noticed. Just don’t be pushy about it-don’t shove your scripts in people’s faces.

Note: The entertainment world is a small one, and reputation is everything. Make a good first impression, and then keep it up. As the saying goes, make one good friend and you’ve made many of them.

Take Some Classes

Movie executives, agents, and studio readers expect to see screenplays presented in a particular format. One of the best ways to learn the ins and outs of said format is take a class. You can find a basic screenwriting class in most local colleges. This type of class will also familiarize you with using industry-grade screenwriting software such as Final Draft and Fade In.

If you know in your heart that you want to pursue screenwriting as a career, consider going all out and getting an MFA in screenwriting or dramatic writing. This will show potential agents that you mean business. Most of these programs are two to three years, and the contacts you make are invaluable.

Find a Screenwriting Mentor

You don’t have to go it alone. As in most endeavors, having the ear of an experienced mentor can greatly speed up your progress. If you doubt this, look for interviews from seasoned screenwriters. You’ll find that most of them mention someone who either taught them the ropes or who set them straight at a critical juncture. But how do you get a mentor?

Many seasoned professionals are eager to help someone new to the field. But there are three traits that they all look for:

  • Passion.
  • Persistence.
  • Openness to feedback.

Of the three, openness to feedback is by far the most important. Why, you ask? Because talent alone is not enough. Talent alone is never enough. If you think you’re perfect, why are you seeking advice? Your work is not perfect. There is always room for improvement.

Here is a short list of things to do if you want to hook a mentor:

  • Have and be able to demonstrate ample passion for your work.
  • Be open to constructive, and even harsh, feedback.
  • Have a positive and realistic outlook.
  • Have a desire to become a better writer.
  • Be likeable.
  • Be willing to work.
  • Be willing to pay it forward.

Here is what you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t be arrogant.
  • Don’t be disrespectful.
  • Don’t chase or stalk them on social media.
  • Don’t waste their time-don’t ask them questions that you could easily answer yourself with a simple Google search.
  • Don’t send more than a few messages per day.
  • Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams.

Maintaining the relationship is equally important. Make it clear that you value their feedback and will honor the investment they’re making in you.

Build an Author Platform

One of the most important things you can do to get the in is to build an author platform. Granted, this only became as important as it is recently, with the advent of the Internet and social media. But today, it cannot be ignored. Agents, mentors, publishers, movie executives-they all want to see that you’re committed. By creating a polished author website and by maintaining a blog and social media presence you demonstrate that you’re in it for the long haul.

Just by having an author platform, you put yourself head and shoulders above the writers who don’t bother.

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