How To Sell a Screenplay
You are probably wondering how to sell a screenplay? Am I doing the right thing by only writing on genres that I personally feel passionate about?
By Jen B.
Many screenwriters ask themselves this question whenever they are about to start working on a new screenplay. As a screenwriter one of the biggest problems that you might face is choosing a genre of your screenplay. There are a variety of genres out there, some that you feel strongly about and some that simply sell well. Each has its own set of pros and cons when you analyze them from a business perspective.
“Just because you are choosing a specific genre to create a script on due to its popularity, it does not mean that you don’t give your best in the work.”
The Art of Screenwriting
Writing is considered as an art form that you use to express your thoughts and explore your creativity. While that is completely true, when you are writing a screenplay for the purpose of having it made into a film, you have to be mindful of how you construct it, its screenwriting format and most importantly which genre you will choose.
As a screenwriter you have to think about how to sell a screenplay that you have created, so that the hard work you have put in can rewarded by seeing your words come to life. You will have to think about your writing from a business perspective along with the creativity driven side of your brain, for you to be relevant and make career-oriented decisions. However, just because you are choosing a specific genre to create a script on due to its popularity, it does not mean that you don’t give your best in the work. You should fully utilize your creative power that is unique to you and own the genre that you choose, blowing the minds of the production companies that will read it.
In the film industry, the genre of the screenplay matters a lot. It can decide, to some extent, the kind of reaction that the film will get. If you are writing a Spec Script it is necessary for you to know what screenplay format you should have to get the attention of production companies who may be willing to invest in you.
Here are some important points that you should be aware of before choosing any genre for you script:
How To Sell Your Screenplay: Drama
If the story is written good enough, drama films have the ability to move the audience’s hearts and can even turn people into an emotional mess. As an experienced writer you have more freedom to write screenplays that follow a melodramatic theme with elements of love and betrayal embedded in it. On the other hand, if you are a novice writer wanting to break through the obstacles and make their debut in Hollywood, writing on this genre is not going to be a good step.
The best way to go about in selling your screenplay with a dramatic and emotional story is to have them be inspired by true events. When movies are based on true stories they make money because they catch the interest of the audience. Movies based on true crime stories like Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile telling the story of Ted Bundy are the kind of stories that pique the interest of the people, encouraging them to visit the cinema.
You can submit your screenplays on this genre to screenwriting competitions and fellowships to get a production company interested enough to create a film on it.
Selling Your Screenplay: Action Genre
Movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, tantalizing your senses with suspense and adrenaline, those are the movies that sell. As a screenwriter, action adventure stories should be a genre that you invest in because many directors and producers are willing to spend their effort and money on movies with interesting storylines but most importantly awe-inducing action scenes which are sure to bring in viewership. The Avengers franchise and Black Panther broke records everywhere because they contained the main elements required to keep the viewer hooked; compelling story, quality action scenes, and characterization, making them different from others in the same category.
The thrill of the fight shown, that exact thrill, is part of the fool-proof recipe for a movie to be able to keep the audience stuck to their screens.
Screenplay Ideas: Horror Genre
When exploring screenplay ideas, it would do you well to also consider making a script depicting a horror story.
Horror movies have been observed time and time again to be able to bring in big money, with less production costs because people love being given a good scare. It is an easy way to bring in people to the cinemas with eerie stories about the paranormal, addressing the ‘what if’ that revolves around in everyone’s heads, spooking the heck out of them. The tingling sensation a person feels in their body, the goosebumps that rise on their skin after watching a convincing enough horror story, that feeling is what you should pursue and try to obtain in your script. There are many horror movies in the market so make sure that you come up with a new concept and a different take on the already present ideas out there
Screenplay Ideas: Comedy
Comedy may seem like a safe choice for a Spec Script but actually involves a lot of risk. Comedy is subjective, which means that what may be funny to you, may not be for the other person. If you pursue this genre then try to write a big concept comedy which portrays the situations where a person is taken out of their usual settings, left to deal with stuff in a bizarre and comedic way.
The typical quirky comedy scripts should be produced through independent productions.
How To Sell a Screenplay: Fantasy
Fantasy genre gained its status when Lord of the Rings came into the market and took the world by storm.
Writing a fantasy screenplay which isn’t an adaptation of an already established novel may be risky because fantasy is expensive to produce with its unique and specific set designs and clothing.
Thriller Genre Screenwriting Format
Thriller is a genre which puts the audience through a whirlpool of emotions and situations, with new twists and turns appearing at unexpected times. The anticipation, suspense, thrill, and surprise that a thriller gives its audience through the story is hard to execute.
If you want to compete with big names in the industry and have your career established then make sure that your screenplay is the best that it can be.