Tuesday, November 22, 2011

3 Specs in 5 Months

I'm back from vacation and taking a hard look at my life: I went to film school, won recognition at film fests and screenwriting comps, and met agents, managers, and producers -- and now --

Crickets. Tumbleweeds. I'm still an unrepresented writer/director looking for work.

Might you be in a similar situation? Well, don't lose faith! I'll let you in on my not-so-secret plan. From my network of established screenwriters, I came back with 3 Great Pieces of Advice:

A) Throw Smart Punches!

Take a look at Hollywood news sites -- Tracking Board, It's On The Grid, The Black List Blog -- and see what brand/genre/style of scripts Hollywood is buying right now. For example, contained thrillers, found footage movies, and re-imagined fairy tale scripts sold recently -- so go through your ideas, re-tool a premise into one of these saleable genres, and get writing!

B) Get Out There!

I've written about this a few times before -- no one knows you're writing good scripts unless you actually make them read your good scripts. Go where young Hollywood types hang out, meet new people, and make friends. Because good friends recommend their friends for jobs. So with all the upcoming Holiday Mixers, put down your laptop and network!

C) Just Write the Damn Thing!

Stop dilly-dallying over which script to write. Stop wasting your time schmoozing at mixers and "networking" on facebook. You're a writer, right? So park your keister in that chair and WRITE.

So which bit of advice will I be taking?

D) All of the Above

Two of the very best screenwriting competitions -- Nicholl and Sundance -- have their submissions deadline for May 1, 2012.

That's 5 months away. And I have 3 fully outlined spec feature scripts ready to write.

So I put together a schedule. Writing about 3 Pages/1 Scene every day, I will:
  • finish Draft #1 of my Texas Murder Mystery by Christmas
  • finish Draft #1 of Another Life the Feature by late January
  • finish Draft #1 of my super-saleable Contained Thriller by early March
Then I'll give myself about 3 weeks with each script to rewrite the the hell out of them, polish them off, and send them all out to Nicholl and Sundance by May 1st, 2012.

And with only 3 pages a day, I have plenty of time to network and make new connections.

What's your plan?


  1. I appreciate being reminded of C. I REALLY NEED THAT REMINDER.

    But A is total bullsh*t. You went to USC, Nate. You should know better than that.

  2. I would have to disagree with you Laramie. Just because I went to USC doesn't mean I can sell *any* screenplay. If Hollywood is buying contained thrillers, and I've outlined a contained thriller, that's just more incentive for me to write that script -- I'd certainly write a contained thriller over a big-budget sci-fi/film noir period piece which Hollywood would never buy from an unknown writer. If my immediate goal is to be a represented, working screenwriter, why not write what the market wants?