Getting your screenplay read by Hollywood execs can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. But submitting your screenplay to the right places can exponentially increase the chances of the right person reading your script—and offering you a movie deal.
How to Submit a Screenplay
Once you’ve written your screenplay and carefully checked it for errors, you’re ready to send it out into the world. But where, exactly, should you send it?
There are plenty of platforms out there if you want to get your new movie script in front of readers. At the very least, you’ll get some feedback on your writing … but if you’re lucky, you just might get noticed by filmmakers looking for their next big blockbuster.
Get your black-and-white clapboard ready: these are our top 3 ways to get your screenplay read.
1. The Black List
No, not the James Spader crime TV series.
Born from a 2005 internet survey, The Black List is a website that hosts popular unproduced screenplays, allowing its members to read and rank its offerings—as well as to submit their own scripts—for $25 a month.
Members can also pay an additional $30-$50 to have their screenplays read and critiqued by The Black List’s professional screenwriters and editors.
The goal of all this is for worthy scripts to become so popular that they catch the eye of Hollywood filmmakers. Lots of sites claim to provide this service, but all they do is take their members’ cash and sit on their projects. What makes The Black List any different?
One reason: it works. The Black List has a level of prestige and notoriety unsurpassed by similar script-hosting sites—so much so that top Hollywood execs routinely comb its offerings for hidden gems. And of the 970 scripts that have appeared on the site in the last decade or so, just under 25% have been “optioned” for production by major movie studios.
So while submitting to The Black List certainly doesn’t guarantee a movie deal, membership gives you a better chance than most of attracting the right kind of attention to your screenplay.
2. Amazon Studios
As Amazon ramps up its efforts to compete with Netflix for streaming-video domination, they’ve thrown additional resources behind producing original content.
As long as you have an Amazon account, you can log into Amazon Studios and upload your screenplay in seconds for Studio staff to scrutinize and evaluate. If they like your work, a representative will contact you to “option” your script for production—meaning that Amazon has the exclusive “option” of turning your script into a movie or episodic series for a set period of time.
Additionally, Amazon Studios allows you to share your screenplays with other Amazon users, letting them praise, critique, and even collaborate on your writing.
So not only do you have a chance to have Amazon Studios turn your project into a movie or series, you gain access to an audience of millions all looking for scripts to read.
Editor’s Note: You might remember that in 2010, Amazon Studios stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the writing community thanks to confusion over who actually owned a screenplay once it had been uploaded to the site. Thankfully, today the issue has been cleared up: uploaded screenplays belong solely to the author until a deal is reached with Amazon Studios.
3. Screenwriting Contests
Think your script has what it takes to compete? Enter a screenwriting contest for a chance to win cash prizes, grants, fellowships, and even writing contracts with high-powered production studios.
Many successful screenwriters got their big break by winning a screenplay contest—Hollywood producers regularly hire up-and-coming creators from these ready-made talent pools, eager to inject their projects with fresh new ideas.
Most contests charge an entry fee, but that’s a small price to pay for guaranteed attention from some of L.A.’s movers and shakers.
Not all screenwriting competitions are created equal, however, so here are some of our favorites:
- Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition: Up to $65 to enter, with a $10,000 prize for first place, plus access to a network of 150 film producers for a full year.
- BlueCat Screenplay Competition: Up to $65 to enter, with a top prize of $10,000. Additionally, each entered feature script receives handwritten notes from the competition judges.
- PAGE Awards Screenplay Contest: Up to $75 to enter. 31 awards bestowed each year, with a Grand Prize of $25,000 cash. All award winners receive judges’ feedback, listings in prestigious script databases like InkTip, and a private consultation with an industry exec of their choice.
Submitting Your Screenplay
Be sure to check your screenplay for typos, errors, and inconsistencies before submitting it for review.
And check out our tips on turning your novel into a screenplay so you can be confident that your script is tailor-made for movies.
Have you ever submitted a screenplay? Tell us in the comments.
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