Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely just accomplished something BIG. You’ve finished your screenplay, revised, revised, revised, and now you have a story you’re proud to show off. You’re probably wondering, “where do I submit my screenplay so that someone can actually read it and see how wonderful it is?”
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There are so many ways to get your spec script out there, from free (more work) to paid (simple entry fee or submission and hosting cost). whether you're trying to sell your script, get recognition in a contest, or just get feedback from a script reader on your screenwriting skills. We've rounded up a few of those options below so you can get started right away.
Pitch Your Script
If you want to sell your screenplay, start researching producers and production companies within the same genre of your script. Narrow down the companies that might consider your work by researching the type of films or TV shows they usually produce. Research personnel and check their social media accounts to see the other projects they’ve worked on. The contact should be interested in your story’s style. Some resources for finding these contacts (sometimes even their email address) include:
Pay attention to the company’s submission guidelines. Some companies want paper, others want PDFs, and some will only look at submissions that come via an agent or manager. If you’re interested in finding an agent, this resource at Backstage.com is a good place to start.
Lastly, always send a thank you letter follow up. Snail mail for this purpose is a nice touch.
Get Recognition for Your Story
Some screenwriters get their big break by winning screenplay competitions. Contests range from free to expensive, but certain competitions can be worth your time. Review past years’ winners: did they have their screenplay made into a movie or TV show? Did they make any great connections? Consider reaching out to them to glean more information.
That said, there are several contests that many screenwriters agree are worth your time and hard-earned money, such as this list from Stephanie Palmer at GoodInARoom.com. Some standouts include:
Submit Your Screenplay to an Industry Platform, List, or Production Company
In addition to pitching and entering contests, there are several online platforms for uploading your script for consideration, whether it be feedback or discovery you’re looking for. A couple platforms to consider include:
BBC Writers Room
BBC Writers Room works with and develops new and experienced writers across genres. In addition to offering up resources for writers, BBC Writers Room also hosts a portal for writers to submit content during two open windows per year to The Script Room. According to the website, BBC promises to read at least the first 10 pages of your script, then offer up development opportunities to the best and brightest.
The Blacklist pegs itself as a website “where filmmakers and writers meet,” with portals for screenwriters to submit their PDF file screenplay and for film & TV professionals to discover them. You can post your script to the website for review for a fee of $25 per month. Note, though, that competition here is fierce, as many professional screenwriters also use this portal to get industry insiders' eyes on their scripts and to gain some market validation that their script is worthy of production.
Production Companies Accepting Scripts Directly From Screenwriters
In some cases, you may be able to submit your script directly to a production company or a producer who has indicated they'll accept unsolicited screenplays without an agent attached, or who has an open solicitation (often for a specific kind of script). If a producer says they do not accept query letters, unsolicited pitches, or screenplay submissions, heed their warning! They mean it, and you may burn a bridge by trying to submit your film script anyway. A quick Google search should reveal many production companies who will accept original material, or at least the windows in which they will review movie scripts and television pitches.
Some final words of advice: legitimate industry professionals will never require a submission fee, entry fee, or any other kind of paid requirement to read your content. Contests and hosting sites such as The Blacklist do charge but run the other way if a producer asks you to pay anything. Be aware that producers may love your story or core concept yet decide that they don't love your script. There's also a chance that they don't respond to you, don't give you the time of day, or reject your feature script or television concept entirely. Screenwriters say that rejection is often the overwhelming result of the pitching process, but a necessary step to break into the film industry. Don't let it discourage you! It only takes one person to love what you've written, so keep believing in yourself and your story. You can do this!