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Strategies For Contacting Producers With Your Script

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

The Do's and Don'ts for UK Screenwriters


So, you want strategies, hey?


DISCLAIMER: These strategies are general suggestions and are not guarantee success...


Please remember that every producer, development exec, assistant etc in any production company are working their arses off. They are overworked and mostly underpaid (we're not joking) AND living in London during the cost of living crisis. They are real life people and their bandwidth can only stretch so far. So it's likely they will ignore random emails and unsolicited scripts attached.


BUT fortune favours the brave, so here we go:


Research and Target the Right Companies: Start by researching production companies that specialise in the genre or type of content you are working on. Look for companies that have a track record of producing similar projects. This will increase the likelihood that they may be interested in your material. There's no point in sending your horror film to a rom-com producer. That's an excellent was for people to dislike you off the bat. Be logical and do your research.


Networking: Attend industry events, film festivals, and screenwriting conferences to meet industry professionals. Networking can provide valuable connections and opportunities to pitch your ideas directly to decision-makers. Building relationships with individuals already working in the industry can help you bypass the "unsolicited scripts" rule. Be 'careful' when you're 'pitching'. Make sure you have your script written, or at least the synopsis or treatment. Firstly, if they're interested; you need to follow up by sending them something. And secondly, you'll want proof that you told them about it, incase it all goes south. You can't copyright an idea. If you don't have it written, don't talk about it yet to big wigs at a party... Keep it in your back pocket for later.


Personalised Queries: Instead of sending unsolicited scripts, craft personalised query letters or emails to production companies. Introduce yourself briefly, mention any relevant achievements or accolades, and explain why you believe your project aligns with their company's interests. Keep the query concise, engaging, and professional. But please only do this is you have something to talk about - like competition wins, or short films is impressive festivals. Put yourself in their shoes, they are working tirelessly and being sent unsolicited material all the time that clutters their inboxes. Give them a reason to want to give you time. If you're not there yet, don't do this.


Utilise Professional Connections: If you have any professional connections within the industry, such as established writers, directors, or producers, reach out to them for advice or potential introductions. Ask to take them for a coffee, lunch, a drink. A personal referral can sometimes help you bypass the unsolicited submission policy. Producers are much more likely to respond to an email if it says 'name of person they know and trust suggested I reach out'.


Competitions and Fellowships: Submit your work to reputable screenwriting competitions or fellowships. Winning or placing highly in these competitions can attract the attention of industry professionals and may provide opportunities to have your script read by production companies. Not only can you win money from some competitions, this is best way to meet and greet industry folk. Winners go on to secure agents and get their foot firmly in the door. At the very least you can use it as a talking point when you contact and meet producers.


Work with Script Consultants or Coverage Services: Hiring a professional script consultant or coverage service can help you refine your screenplay and make it more marketable. In some cases, these consultants may have connections to production companies and can recommend your script directly. But even if you simply end up with an elevated script because of the expert feedback and guidance; you'll already be in a much better position than the majority of writers trying to break into the industry. Even experienced professionals work with coverage services and consultants... how do you think their scripts are so good? Great screenplays take some form of collaboration. Always.


Establish an Online Presence: This isn't a MUST but it can really help. Create a professional website or online portfolio to showcase your work. Make sure your work is good enough to showcase though! If you're not at that stage yet you can utilise social media platforms. Showcase your writing with skits that you shoot in your room. Or get a team together to film something you've written. However, that will be adding to your workload and is certainly not for everyone. Alternatively, you can join social media groups with industry professionals, participate in screenwriting communities, and share your insights on the craft whilst getting advice from others.


Get an Agent: Sorry to state the obvious but sometimes the best path is the traditional one. A screenwriters' journey is a slow one. From the writing process, to getting feedback, to securing an agent, to getting meetings with producers. To getting anything sold... It is SO slow. Most underestimate the commitment it takes to sticking it out. So, if you're sticking it out and have a good portfolio, an agent is what you'll need. If you're also interested in a comprehensive list of agents, download our free ebook.


Be Patient: Not always easy, we know but crucial to your sanity and crucial for the way you communicate. Start working on your next project while you're waiting to hear back. You could be waiting a while and you need to make sure you're not going crazy in the meantime. So whether it's a holiday or a new project; schedule something to fill your time with while you wait. We hope this goes without saying but the fastest way to get blacklisted (and not the good kind) is to be rude or impatient about not hearing back from an unsolicited script you've sent out. We know it's frustrating but producers that you've never met owe you nothing. Better to bow down gracefully and try again at a later date than reply on an angry whim, expressing how disrespectful they are. We hope you're feeling aghast at the idea of acting this way but you'd be surprised at how many people mess up by letting their emotions and frustrations get in the way of their professionalism.


So there you have it.


Remember, it's important to respect the submission policies and guidelines of each production company. While these strategies aim to help you navigate around the "unsolicited scripts" rule, it's crucial to approach the industry professionally and ethically. It's not going anywhere, so don't rush it. You don't want to send scripts out before they're ready and you don't want to piss people off by wasting their time.


Want to save yourself a huge amount of time and get yourself a list of the Top 50 Production Companies in London? The List is here.


 

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