Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Tyler M. Reid

I Finished My Screenplay, What's Next: Finding a Producer

After you finish your first screenplay you will probably think one of two things: “I need an Agent” or “I want to sell my screenplay”. An agent is great at helping you get your screenplay sold, but without first selling or having a produced screenplay, you are not going to find an agent. Now I understand this feels like a crazy catch 22, so this is where finding a producer comes in.

I Finished My Screenplay, What's Next?
Finding a Producer

Producers are always looking for great screenplays and writers.

A producer at any given time may have a couple of films in development at once. That sounds like a lot, but the reality is that most films never get made or they take years to get made. A producer like anyone else in the movie industry doesn’t actually know which films will be hits and which films will be flops. Think about it, no one goes out of their way putting time and effort into making a film that they know will be a flop. So, producers are always looking for new material(screenplays) and they are always interested in new writers.

How Do I Find a Producer?

Knowing you need to find a producer and actually finding one are two very different things. Luckily, finding a producer is simple, the work to do it is not necessarily easy, but anyone can do it.

Like everyone in the world, producers have social network accounts too. Usually the two best places to find them are on accounts where it is easy to share written content, such as Twitter/X or LinkedIn. You will be surprised how many producers are active on these accounts. Maybe they are just sharing their opinions, or they may be sharing advice.

When you find a producer on social media though, You should not try to reach out to them through their social channel. You should use their social profile to give you more information about their company but more importantly to find their contact information. Contacting them through email is far more preferable than their social profile.

As an example of me, I get writers pitching me projects through LinkedIn DM’s. The problem is, I also get a lot of DM’s so their pitches get drowned in the list of messages. Also, I have no way to filter those messages into a folder to read later, like I do on my email. So after a week or so has passed, that pitch message is sort of lost forever in my DM’s.

There are two more ways to find producer contact information. Find 10 movies that are similar to the one you have written. Watch the opening credits of those movies and make a list of the name of every production company listed and also the name of every Executive Producer, Producer, Co Producer, and Associate Producer. Then you can just Google those names or look them up on IMDbPro. If you do that with 10 films you will come up with at least 100 names if not more. The added benefit of taking this route is that you know for sure those producers work with the material you have written. You do not want to email a producer your horror screenplay if that producer has only produced romantic comedies.

Emailing a Producer

You have found a list of a dozen or so producers, now it is time to email them. First, though this will take more effort, ensure that each email you send them is unique. The best way to do that is to tell the producer you are emailing them because you enjoyed a specific film(name the film) they had produced and you believe you have a film that will fit very well into their portfolio.

Give a brief background on yourself, and add anything that gives you a unique voice or perspective as a storyteller writer. When I say brief, I mean brief. It should be no longer than a couple of sentences. A paragraph of 10 sentences is not brief. Remember, these are people who have busy days and receive all kinds of emails, you want to make sure they can get all the information they need in just a couple of minutes.

Then you will want to add a logline and a one paragraph synopsis about your film. I like to think of the synopsis as six sentences where you give each ACT a two sentence description. Lastly, but equally important, do not include any attachments. Do not send them your screenplay. If a producer sees an attachment to the email, it is very likely they will not open the email.

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Being Proactive

In your query letter to the producer you can add a couple of sentences of your professional opinion on your own film. This can go a long way for a producer. Such things you can try to understand about your film could be the budget size and the target market, also known as the audience.

For the budget, this does not mean you have to know how to budget a film, but you can look at similar films as yours and look up the budgets online. For example, many of Blumhouse horror films are no more than $5 million. If you think your film would fall in a certain budget range, that may be interesting to the producer.

Again by looking at films similar to yours, you can also look for the audience demographics to those films. In your query email you can suggest the type of audience you think would be most interested in your film.

Finding a producer for your film is one of the next best steps to take as a new screenwriter. If you can get your film produced or even get a producer actively interested in your film, then that may also get agents, managers, and other producers or executives interested in you.

Tyler is seasoned film and media professional with over 20 years of diverse experience, specializing in production management and creative direction, with a rich portfolio spanning music videos, films, and documentaries, and a global network from the US to Sweden. Reach him on his website, LinkedIn, and X, and gain access to his free filmmaking templates when you sign up for his newsletter here.