Lots of UK writers have been asking me recently about breaking into Hollywood so here’s my advice.
Pretty much the same advice applies whether you’re breaking into your home market or a foreign market and my top tip for both is DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Just as I’d expect a writer applying to write on ‘Holby City’ or ‘Coronation Street’ to watch the show and know it well, so you have to know the market you’re trying to crack, whatever and wherever it is.
If you’re a UK writer wanting to write UK films you’d be researching UK film production companies, right? So, do the same thing for Los Angeles. Learn which production companies and studios make what films. If you’re into the UK market you’d get Broadcast and Moviescope. For the US market there are loads of great magazines and websites to help you keep track of who’s making what – try Deadline Hollywood, Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. There are also subscription sites like TrackingB, Tracking Board, DoneDealPro, ItsOnTheGrid and Screen International.
If you want L.A representation, find out who represents the Hollywood writers whose films you love. The websites that track film script sales always mention who represents the writer so you can build up a picture of the L.A literary agent scene pretty quickly.
Although you can certainly make approaches to Hollywood from the UK, in her ScriptChat Q&A, Los Angeles literary manager Jenny Frankfurt also recommends getting out to L.A and networking in person. One great way to do this is through the Hollywood Field Trip. It’s a bit pricey but the feedback from those writers that have been is that it was money incredibly well invested in their careers. Right now the guys have got 2 spots remaining on their October trip and are offering £200 off the price. Do get in touch with them if you’re interested.
If Hollywood is the market you want to write for then you should GO FOR IT – good luck and I’ll see you there!
Posted in Career, Events, Opportunities, Screenwriting
Tagged advice, events, hollywood, industry, Los Angeles, market, market research, networking, new writers, opportunities, pitching, production companies, Screenwriting, studios
I regularly update a round-up of screenwriting competitions and the very wise James Cary (aka SitcomGeek) added some cautionary advice.
He makes a really good point that the deadline of a writing competition can be both a blessing and a curse. While it might incentivize a new writer to finally finish the script that might otherwise languish incomplete for years, it is also in danger of encouraging them to send off a script before it is ready. You only get one chance to impress so make it count. Make sure your script is REALLY ready.
My advice is to see writing competitions as just a part of your overall strategy to further your writing career. Some competitions may be better suited to you than others. Moviebytes have a great system of rating US competitions and while we don’t have anything quite like that in the UK, you can ask around (Twitter, Facebook, etc) and find out what experiences others have had who may have submitted to the competition in previous years.
The other great way to judge a competition is by its judges. This element, far more than any cash prize, is where the real value lies in submitting to some writing competitions. You may be desperate to get your script into the hands of a particular executive at a particular production company or studio because you are sure your script is right up their street BUT they don’t take unsolicited submissions BUT said executive is on the judging panel of an open writing competition. If your script is good enough, it will end up being read by them and you’ve brought yourself to the attention of someone who might genuinely be able to progress your career.
As with every other element of breaking into screenwriting (approaching production companies, getting an agent) make sure you DO YOUR HOMEWORK! The rest is down to the brilliance of your writing and your determination.
Posted in Career, Opportunities, Screenwriting
Tagged advice, agents, curtis brown, independent talent, Jason Arnopp, literary agent, Michelle Lipton, opportunities, representation, the agency, united agents, unsolicited scripts